Me and Dena have been living in caravans on and off for about 2 of the last 3 years and we got talking about this the other night.
We got onto the subject of what things we had learnt that made our lives easier living in a caravan – and when we looked back we realised that there was a number of things we did now that we didn’t when we first started living in a caravan.
They may only seem like trivial things to people who live in a house/flat etc, but for us not having mains water, toilets, sink etc it means we have to be a bit creative when it comes to certain things.
So I thought I’d share with you my lovely readers…
‘5 Things Living Full-Time in a Caravan Can Teach You!‘
1: You learn to appreciate having water!
We are not on mains water in the caravan (seeing as though we are in the middle of field!) and we have to walk up to the farm-yard and fill up various water carriers that we have – which is fine on any normal day.
But when we’re having a lazy evening and we realise that the water carriers have no water in them we then can’t be bothered to walk up to the yard and get some more water.
It’s only about 100 meters to the yard, but it’s still 99 meters more than we want to walk when we’re feeling lazy or tired from a days work out in the orchard!
So we’ve learnt to use far less water than normal. We’re much more careful what we use water for and try to ensure we reuse it in some way.
Another thing is that when we do have to go fill up the water carriers it brings to mind the amount of water we are using and seems to make us want to use less.
Not ‘just’ because we don’t want to go fill up more often – but by actually seeing the amount we are using as litres in the buckets.
By not just seeing figures on a bit of paper from the utility company it seems to bring it home more how much we actually use and it seems to have made us appreciate actually having water full stop – let alone having it on tap.
2: Not washing everyday is fine!
The first thing out of people’s mouths when they find out we live in a caravan with no bath or shower is ‘”So how do you wash?”
Well we get this funny thing called a bucket, boil some water, add some cold water to it and use a flannel!
It can get a little frustrating at times when we are cold, tired or really dirty after working in the orchard and all we want to do is turn on a nice warm shower or bath, however, we just grab our ‘wash bowl’ as we call it (it’s a 10 litre bucket) and then boil the 2 litre water urn we have, grab a flannel and we’re off, washed and cleaned in a few minutes.
If one day after work we don’t feel that dirty or don’t feel like washing – then we don’t – we don’t fret about it, as long as we don’t stink we’re fine about it.
It won’t kill us and a bit of dirt in our lives helps build up our immune systems because if there’s any bugs around and we catch them, then the next time around our immune system will be used to it and we’ll be fine.
Theres nothing more annoying to me than someone who is overly clean, always cleaning things and wiping things – a bit of dirt really doesn’t hurt and in fact does more good than harm in the long run.
Not washing everyday has become second nature to us now, and we don’t really think about it, neither of us have noticed the other stinking or looking dirty so it can’t be that bad!
I must say though that when we go around friends or relatives houses we do make sure we get good use out of their shower or bath!
3: You learn to appreciate having electric.
Obviously as we are in the middle of a field we are not connected to the mains electric, meaning we cannot run your every day household appliances, however, we do still have electric in the caravan.
I run an arctic cable reel from the farm-yard to the caravan – but as the maximum load is only 3200 watt we monitor what we have plugged into it.
The only thing that is plugged into it continuously is the under counter fridge.
At night as well as the fridge we have 1 or 2 small lamps, the laptop and sometimes the tv for my footy or sci-fi programme we both watch.
We only have the 1 appliance that uses a lot of power and that’s our water urn which can use 2000 watts when it is boiling, other than that everything else is around 50-400 watts at a time.
Although we always have plenty of wattage load spare on the cable reel we are always careful not to overload it, even for small amounts of time.
I brought a cable reel with a cut out trigger built-in, and thankfully it has only kicked in once this year – when I forgot about the load maximum and whilst the water urn was boiling I plugged in my jigsaw as I was working on some wood and as soon as I turned the jigsaw on, the power went, and it took me a minute to realise what I had done.
Thankfully the trip had gone on the cable reel and all I had to do was press the reset button to get the power back on again, once the water urn had finished boiling that is!
Living in a caravan has definitely made us more aware of what power each appliance uses – and it has made us more aware of what electrical appliances we use too.
It’s amazing when we visit friends and family how many appliances they actually use and how much they rely on electric – and if we mention about cutting down on usage or not buying a particular appliance all we get is funny looks.
We’ve deliberately cut down our appliance usage ourselves, obviously because of the power limitation but also because we just don’t need anything other than what we have – we’ve got the base electrical appliances we need in the caravan and they see us more than comfortable!
4: You learn how to use storage space far better and to be much tidier!
The one thing for me that I have had to overcome when living full-time in a caravan is to utilise storage space better and to make sure I tidy up after myself.
I’ve never been a particularly messy person but when I decide to tinker with something I do have a tendency to leave stuff lying around – that is until Dena shouts at me to tidy it up!
When ever we’ve lived in houses I had a tendency to not put things back where I got them from – I would grab something from a draw in the kitchen and I’d end up putting it in the spare room or somewhere else completely random.
Dena would of course tell me off when she couldn’t find something because I hadn’t put it back where it was originally (hee hee).
As anyone who has used or lived in a caravan for any amount of time will know, you really do have to make sure you use every nook and cranny available when it comes to keeping tidy.
The good thing about caravans though is they all seem to have plenty of storage space, you’ve jut got to learn how to use it all properly and in my case remember to put things back where they came from!
Energy: For some strange reason I find that when the caravan is tidy and everything is in its place the energy just feels better.
If you’ve ever heard of or used ‘Feng Shui’ you’ll know what I’m on about, and although I don’t particular believe in it – in principle I do feel it’s got something to say about things being tidy and the energy it brings to an area.
For the 5th and final point I was going to write about routines, and getting used to them to make living in a caravan easier, but instead I thought I would write about a more serious point – that being…
5: You get to appreciate how luxurious our western lifestyles really are!
One thing that I’ve become more aware of over the last 5 years or so is how luxurious a western lifestyle is compared to the rest of the world.
But we also take for granted things like fresh water, electricity, easy access to food etc – and they’ve become standard in that if we don’t have these we class ourselves as poor for not having them.
And yet a massive percentage of the world’s population would class even our basic living – like living in a caravan with electricity and access to fresh water, as a luxury.
I think personally I have become much more aware over the last couple of years as to how much of a luxurious lifestyle we actually lead in the west – and yet I’ve found so many people take these luxuries for granted and don’t really appreciate the life they lead when compared to other people around the world.
Nowadays when ever I get grumpy or angry over something I can’t have or do because I live in a caravan (yes I still have a tantrum or 2 inside of me!) I just think of the people around the world who would happily swap their own lifestyle for mine, and would be more than happy with it too!
That way I appreciate what I have, and make do with it simply because even living in a caravan like I do I have much more luxury than a lot of people around the world do.
Me saying this may not make any sense to most western people who live in a nice cosy house with all their appliances etc, but I really do think that as a society we in the west need to take a step back from our lifestyles and look at them objectively, and I’d like to think we’d all realise that we really do live in luxury.
Perhaps if all of us in the west decided to give up some of this luxury and didn’t want to have it all to ourselves, more people around the world could share it …. imagine that – a fairer world where everyone had similar luxuries and not just a small percentage of them: generally at the expense of the rest….
But then that’s a post for another day!
So – there you are ‘5 Things Living Full-Time in a Caravan Can Teach You!‘
Or perhaps it should have been titled ‘5 Things Living in a Caravan Full-Time Has Taught Me!‘
Either way I hope that even if only one of you lovely readers has taken something away from this post it has made you realise how much luxury you really have around you: and maybe it will even motivate you to minimise your lifestyle … even just a little bit!
Please feel free to let me know what you think about this post and even if you’ve got some tips or advice on Living in a Caravan Full-Time yourself?!
Until next time…