Living & Working in an RV

We’ve been living in the 5th wheel on the road for nearly two weeks now.  (I’m not counting the two weeks we lived in it while still in Madison, because we were still in & out of the house and office so much).  I figured I’d give everyone a little sense of what life is like right now – and it might be an interesting contrast point for what life in the RV is like for us 6-12 months from now!

To be honest, these two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind!  This really feels like our first “normal” week (whatever that means!), because of our scramble to change campgrounds in the middle of the week and because I took Friday off.

First, let’s start off with what’s the same between living in a house and living in an RV:

  • Baby toys still get scattered all over the living room
  • The dishes still get piled up in the sink
  • Clothes are still scattered around the bedroom
  • Shoes still end up blocking the doorway
  • The garbage & recycling still need to be taken out
  • Clutter still seems to pile up seemingly everywhere

So, really, not that much has changed! 🙂

Of course, all of the above happens in a much smaller space.  Our home in Middleton was approximately 1800 square feet.  Our house-on-wheels is 300 square feet – so the spaces are smaller and the messes are smaller, but that part is all still the same.

The rv-officebiggest difference for me has been the adjustment to working from home.  I do healthcare IT consulting (through a consulting firm) for a West Coast client. I also do some IT advising and special projects for the consulting firm itself.  The blessing – and curse – of being able to work whenever and wherever is the tendency to do just that.  So in Madison, I’d go into our office most mornings around 9-9:30am and stay until 6pm or later. A part of my goal (and challenge!) for this trip has been to set better boundaries around my working hours, and when I’m done for the day, to really be done (instead of what I would typically do, which is to come home but still have work on the mind).  Since I’m working with a client on Pacific Time, I’ve set my work-from-home hours to be 10am – 6pm Central Time.  This gives me a few hours in the morning before my workday gets started, and more importantly it puts an end to my workday in the evening (even though I’ve already had a couple of days where I’ve had to work a bit later – let’s face it, it’s tough to be a recovering workaholic!).

eli outsideThe other important change is physically being in the same space with Susan and Eli. It means I get to see a lot more of them throughout the day, and it means Susan has another adult around who can (for brief periods of time) help watch Eli.  This is becoming especially important as he’s walking around more and starting to explore & get into things!  Despite this, I also find it’s often easier for me to focus when working from home. Counter-intuitive, perhaps – but something about being in my own home space just makes a difference.  I do miss working withe great folks in the office, though!

By adding this new structure to my day — something that has been strangely lacking until now — it’s given me (and Susan) some space to add in other elements we want to our lives.  Susan has started working out every other morning, for example – knowing that I’m not rushing off to the office.  And I finally got in a run this morning, something I hope to do a lot more of in the coming days & weeks.  It’s been a long time since I’ve run a marathon, but I have aspirations to at least be capable of that again!

In the evenings, we’re starting to have more consistent meal times, because Susan knows for when I’ll be done for the day and can plan dinner accordingly.  We’re bonding over all the terrible houses people tour on the fun shows on HGTV, now that we have satellite TV (something we never subscribed to at home, but decided it might be worth for this trip).  office-to-entertainment And the Packers games, of course! In fact, we got the Dish satellite setup and activated just in time to see the first Packers touchdown this week on Monday Night Football!

We’re also going to start experimenting with some screen-free (or at least internet-free) time in the evenings to make space for offline entertainment like reading, coloring, and other leisurely activities.

Of course – none of these changes in our lives required moving into an RV! Plenty of people establish great routines of living, parenting, exercising, and relaxing in the comfort of a nice suburban home or urban apartment.  But for us (well, me at least!) – I needed a big change to break me out of the unbalanced patterns I had created for myself. I like the changes that have started, and I hope to continue to make further improvements.

It’s certainly not for everyone, but so far this “living and working in an RV” thing seems to be working out for us!  The “living” part hasn’t been as challenging of an adjustment as I expected.  As for the “working”, I’m grateful that I have a job where I have this kind of flexibility and that it’s working out well so far.

One Response to Living & Working in an RV

  1. Nicole Meidinger

    I love your comment on not needing to move into an RV to change your routine and how you live. Feeling inspired!

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