Camper Life – A story of a traveling physical therapist


Life / Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Hi all, my name is Kayla. I live my life in a small 33’ x 8.5’ camper space. I guess you could say I am like those you see on that “tiny house” show. I am a traveling physical therapist, so my husband and I move every 3 to 6 months. We don’t stay in one area to long, but long enough to discover everything it has to offer. Honestly, I love our tiny home on wheels. I never imagined living this life, but now I can’t imagine it any other way!

When I first started traveling, we tried renting houses. It just ended up being a headache and more work than it was worth. We weren’t paying towards something to own, we had to pack up our whole life in a car. Then there were the down deposits, contracts, cleaning fees… ugh. We finally decided to take the plunge and buy our camper when I was working in a rural area in WV. The only places to rent either 1) required at least a 1 year contract or 2) was for low income applicants. We ended up staying in a hotel for 2 months before we just couldn’t take it anymore!

Now if you were like me, you think of campers/ RVs as something from the 1970s with weird colorful patterns and shag carpet…well, you have no idea how much they have changed! Ours is nothing fancy but it is a modern look. It has 3 queen beds, a 3 person reclining couch (my favorite part), large fridge, 3 burner stove, 2 part sink, oven, spots to put up to 3 flat screen TVs, a mantle.  Ours is technically a toy hauler, so the back garage is used to store our off-roading toy or to turn into a workout room/ office. Heck, we even have a small tub in addition to a shower!  It really does have everything we could need as an amenity. Of course, we are limited on space and not able to take EVERYTHING we own.  We have plenty of room to store most of our stuff comfortably, though. It was a challenge at first to downsize, but as we got rid of stuff it felt like a weight was getting lifted off of my chest. It was interesting to realize how much unnecessary stuff caused me stress and weighed me down.

I will say that Mychal (my husband) and I are a pretty good team, but I wasn’t sure how we would do living in such a small space together. It took a few weeks, but we developed some routines so we didn’t feel like we were on top of each other all the time. For example, when Mychal is cooking I just stay out of his way by doing my workout. We will coordinate our shower schedule so we don’t use all the hot water up before the next person can use it. We have experienced some learning experiences too. Our first night was spent in a freezing camper (36 deg F) because we COULD NOT figure out how to turn the hot water on. That morning we read where we just needed to turn the hot water tank to “on”.  One night that I was by myself, I swear a ghost kept waking me up. I would hear this screeching white noise that became more frequent to the point it was every 30 seconds. As I packed to go try to sleep in a hotel, I called Mychal agitated about what to do. Turned out our built in stereo system shorted out and he talked me through how to pull it out by myself at 3 am. Needless to say I was a bit grouchy at work that day.

Our home is like any other. We have maintenance to do on it which usually involves lots of YouTube research. Before and after we move, it is like checking a car. We look at the tires and air pressure, seals, pipes, ensure everything is in optimal condition. Trust me, it is not good to have something go wrong with a camper while on the road. Actually, just yesterday it had a tire blow out on the road. Damaged the rim and there was some damage to the underside. Thank goodness for insurance! The cleaning and packing is amazing. Mostly because the whole place is sparkling within the hour. However, dishes…dishes are my main frustration. Our sinks are smaller than normal sinks and we do have limited hot water at one time so it seems like the dishes are never done.

I could go on and on about living our “gypsy” life, but I don’t want to bore you. I will say this: if you have a sense of adventure and EVER though about living in a tiny home….take the jump! It is worth every experience, every headache, every beautiful sight, every person you meet. You will have good and frustrating moments as you learn, but you will not regret it. Our society is becoming more accepting and accommodating to this lifestyle, especially around national parks and landmarks. Now is the time to try it.

 

 

Kayla is a traveling Physical Therapist from West Virginia.
She earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from West Virginia University.

Let us know if you’d like to hear anything about her experiences!

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