Everything I Own
NOTE: The opinions and commentary expressed in this essay are those of the author and are an exercise of free speech. They do not necessarily represent the views of Free State Project Inc., its Directors, its Officers, or its Participants.
Everything I Own Has Got Wheels underneath It
by Glen Hubbell
You will never be able to clearly measure how much of your current, economic life is determined and controlled by other people until you commit to the full time RV lifestyle.
The most obvious difference is the cost of your home: A good used motorhome or travel trailer can be bought for under $20,000 and paid off in a few years as a simple car loan. A conventional stationary home will cost you far, far more and require decades to pay off.
The next most obvious difference are the taxes and other assorted fees: An RV can be licensed and insured in the cheapest possible state (Nevada is very popular). A conventional stationary home, on the other hand, is a easy target for every tax proposal, insurance scheme, and community improvement scam imaginable.
The third most obvious difference is the utilities: In an RV you own your own utilities. You can make any alterations or improvements you like, within the limits of common sense highway safety regulations, and can shop around for the best buys (non-fluoridated water, cheap propane, next-generation storage batteries, etc). In a conventional stationary home, you are told what utility services you can have, how much they will cost, and you will need to get permits to alter or improve anything - or face stiff penalties.
The single most expensive cost related to operating an RV is the cost of fuel and repairs required to drive it. Here though, a wide variety a strategies have evolved to suit every budget and purpose.
Some people never go anywhere. They buy a piece of land and park the rig, or pay a small rent to hook up to a friends house, or get a long term caretakers job which allows them to hook up for free.
Other people bounce from place to place as money or jobs allow. Others make a habit of moving from one free campground to another (up to 14 day limit). Others, like myself, park the rig somewhere as a base camp and use a smaller camper to do all the exploring and sightseeing.
And finally, because of space and weight considerations, everything you own or want to own must be thought about and justified: the barbell set and the aerobic jungle gym thing? The two car garage full of stuff you might need someday? 100 different clothing outfits with matching shoes? Probably not easy to justify.
Once you get through this process and work out your personal system, you will find a level of economic freedom you never thought possible. Also this will be a freedom that you create and control every day - not a political freedom that requires agreement with other people or a cultural freedom that constantly requires you to tell other people to mind their own business.