I have a confession to make. It’s a pretty big one in light of everything going on in peoples’ lives right now. HonestIy, our lives have changed very little and we have experienced relatively little stress and anxiety over the current events. There, I said it! We are experiencing the benefits of off-grid living and RV life.
I am NOT saying that it’s all rainbows, unicorns, Bon-Bons, and walks in the park over here. (Most parks are closed anyway!!) I AM saying is that our day-to-day life has been impacted very minimally.
We have worked from home and homeschooled our kids for over 4.5 years in a TINY space. We have been up in each other’s faces all this time. This “quarantined” lifestyle is nothing new for us. We’ve had years to get good at doing this thing that most of you have been forced into. We were mostly prepared for the pandemic.
Our most recent stress came around February 1st, before the pandemic. We had an unexpected financial situation that left us trying to figure out how to eat on about $25 a week. Fortunately, I had a nice supply of food that got us through about 7 weeks.
We went on FULL financial lockdown, even getting rid of things like Netflix! I started doing laundry by hand in a big orange Home Depot bucket to save a few bucks! It’s a good thing we’ve been in the desert where it all dries in about 2 hours. We minimized our propane usage by not using heat and dressing in warm clothes on colder nights. Also, We turned off the fridge at night to conserve propane about every other night. .
We left Taos, NM (after skiing and snowboarding for month) on March 13th to travel south to 3 national parks – Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and Big Bend National Park. To break up our trip, we booked a Boondocker’s Welcome host for about two days. The location is pretty much in the middle of Nowhere, New Mexico, an hour south of Albuquerque.
Then the very early stages of the pandemic started. Mike wanted me to restock on food ASAP. We had to figure out how to make it work. Instead of traveling elsewhere, we opted to stay put, courtesy of our lovely host who has told us we can stay here as long as we needed to. So, we used our gas & lodging money for food. Hello, Costco! We also used ALL of our American Express points to shop on Amazon for food and other necessities. Thank GOD for Amex points!!
When we were already in a storm of our own, Hurricane Corona hits the entire world in full force. After we got fully stocked with about 2-3 months of food, (which includes fasting on our part), a strange calm came over me. “I am ready for this”, I thought. I’m actually prepared for the pandemic. I’ve BEEN ready for this. You see, this crazy lifestyle of ours unexpectedly prepared us for what all of you are now experiencing.
Our socially-distant, off-grid, RV life certainly has its benefits, especially now!
The Benefits of Off-Grid Living & RV Life for Pandemic
- We are pretty well-prepared for most things.
- Off-grid living & RV life keeps us socially distant.
- In our small space, we live with less.
- Living off-grid requires us to me more self-sufficient.
- Our communication skills have been elevated.
- Gratitude is everything.
We are pretty well-prepared for most things.
I married an Eagle Scout. Need I say more??
Had we not had the financial hiccup, we would have easily had about 2 months of food on hand. We have a container of food labeled “emergency food” that we don’t touch. I keep an excess amount of food on hand just to be prepared. For us, being prepared sometimes means that there’s no grocery store near by!
We have most everything we need for our health, too. We have several first-aid kits. One is for trauma and has things like a tourniquet and emergency bivy sacks. Our other kits are known as boo-boo kits for things like cuts, scrapes, burns, splinters, and stuff like that. It has band-aids, gauze pads, ointments and essential oils. We keep our bodies prepared by eating a whole foods diet and taking super high-quality supplements. We also exercise regularly, and that has not changed.
Off-grid living & RV life keeps us socially distant.
We have lived mostly a socially-distant life for most of our time since hitting the road.
We have made amazing friends and have spent more quality time with people than when we lived in our house! But for the most part, it has been just the 4 of us on these amazing adventures. Being socially distant is not always a bad thing, and it has served us well during this time.
Other than Mike not having to travel (which we are so grateful for), it’s mostly been life as usual for us. Off-grid means we are usually in the middle of nowhere or on public lands and not at a campground or RV park. It’s always been my favorite way to live anyway. I love meeting new people, but the beauty and quiet of remote places is extraordinary.
We have not had to adjust to a “new normal” as far as our everyday life is concerned.
In our small space, we live with less.
Less stuff = more life. Having less stuff to deal with saves us time so we can do more important things.
Not only do we live a very minimalistic lifestyle by most people’s standards, we actually thrive this way. I have learned how to live with very little and yet still thrive. We sold almost all of our stuff before hitting the road. We believe with less we are able to experience more.
Especially now that Covid-19 has impacted everyone’s life, I think some people are realizing that there’s too much “stuff” in life and too much unnecessary things to do during the day. I’ve talked with so many people that are so glad they aren’t “running around all over the place.” They even ventured to say that their kids were happier! It’s not just about less stuff, it’s about doing less. It’s about doing what’s important and not being so busy all the time.
Honestly, we have much more than we need in our tiny space. Although we do BIG adventures and participate in things like rock climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, backpacking, scootering, skateboarding, and others, we are not busy on most days with crazy activities. We have less unimportant stuff and choose to do the important things that allow us to get out and enjoy this beautiful earth that God created and enjoy what it has to offer.
Our day-to-day life usually has a nice pace. We eat together as a family every single night. We are always together and do most of our meals at our one table. Because we are not pulled in all directions, we talk and spend time together. I hope this is something most families have been able to experience because of forced quarantine. For us, we chose it years ago and have been (mostly) intentional about our time together. I also don’t miss the normal conveniences that most people do because they have not been part of my life for quite some time now.
Living off-grid living requires being more self-sufficient.
It’s really nice not having to rely on someone or something else for most of our needs.
We did not know that we were preparing for this pandemic, but we found ourselves in a really good position when it happened. With 1600 watts of solar, a Tesla battery, and an inverter that allows us to fully operate our rig with no power connections, we were set up nicely. Our “composting” toilet does not require any sewer connections. Our waste goes out with the trash, like a cat litter box. We have a 60 gallon water bladder that we use about every 10 days to go get 2-3 bags of water to fill our tanks.
As for our grey water, we drain via a garden hose into the desert on the private property we’ve been blessed to stay on. There is no trash service out here, so we have to take our trash with us when we go get water and dispose of it in the dumpster.
I have hand washed my dishes the entire time but now I also hand wash my laundry. And I have to be honest, my laundry has never been cleaner! It’s actually quite therapeutic, too..
We have so much more freedom because all national parks and state parks in every state were once closed during the pandemic. Even public lands in some areas were restricted. That’s completely absurd, but that’s another post!
Our communication skills have been elevated.
Living with 4 people in 380 sq ft requires mad skills.
We have lived together in a tiny space for several years. We have worked really hard on communication skills in our family and marriage. I have homeschooled our boys this entire time. Excellent communication skills are required if you want to live peacefully and thrive in a tiny space. ANY space, really.
The house we left in Florida was not big at only 1683 square feet. It was an open floor plan, so we were pretty much all together most of the time. Mike and I worked together in our photography studio or almost 10 years, so being able to effectively communicate was crucial. We certainly are not perfect by ANY means, and we get lots of stuff wrong. That being said, I think we do well as a family being able to talk about stuff. There’s rarely an argument or verbal upset.
Do we disagree? ABSOLUTELTY!!!!! But we know it’s okay and we are able to talk about it and speak the truth in love. We use the “yes, and” method ALL the time, and it has been a game changer for Mike and me. It also works really well with the kids, and keeps me from always saying “NO!”
Gratitude is everything. Period.
Being grateful daily for what God has blessed us with keeps us grounded and not focused on the cultural craziness.
It can be so easy to focus on all that’s wrong with the world right now. It can be easy to live out of fear and not confidence. We choose gratitude over fear. It’s not easy all of the time, but it’s a choice we make. We are grateful to God for the many blessings in our lives!
Another confession – I’ve not watched any news whatsoever since the pandemic started. Actually, we NEVER watch mainstream media. We do have online news sources, but we do not participate in the mainstream news agendas. It has been a huge blessing. There’s so much anger and division in our country right now, and I certainly don’t need to be bombarded with it on a daily basis. Not focusing on the craziness keeps us focused on each other as a family and all that we have to be grateful for!
The benefits of this lifestyle have set us up nicely to weather the COVID-19 storm. It was almost a side-effect. NEVER in a million years could any one of us predict the pandemic and the way in happened. In the midst of all the chaos in the rest of the world, we have felt prepared and fairly calm in our little off-grid bubble.