RV Lifestyle Session

Hello friends, so glad you wandered on to my blog! Today, I'm sharing something I've never done on here before, a Q&A with my friend, Caleb, on life as a full-time RVer. I'm all about Q&A's and getting to know humans better. My goal as a photographer has always been to get to know my subjects, and to allow my images to introduce my subjects to all those who view my work. We are hardwired for connection, and connection is why I do this work, so what better way to help you guys connect with the people in my images than by asking them a bunch of questions?

Hope you enjoy getting to know Caleb, and his lifestyle a little better, and I look forward to doing/sharing more of these little interviews!

-Em

Q&A with Caleb James on life as a full-time RVer:

Q: How long have you lived in your RV?

A: On September 12th, 2016 my friend Chris drove me to Chattanooga to buy my RV and on October 12th, I finished enough of the renovations to move in and begin tiny living. 

Q: What is the best thing about tiny living?

A: The kitchen and bathroom are literally 15ft from my bed. 

Also, financial freedom. It allots for more opportunity to do the things I love without obtaining a financially lucrative career (cause that ain’t gonna happen). It’s like having a $1K bonus every month. 

Q: What is the worst thing about tiny living?

A: Maintaining food in the winter. To save resources l don’t keep the heat on while I’m out which means the food cabinet turns into a refrigerator and the refrigerator turns into a freezer. Then it all defrosts when I’m home for the night. And that pretty much ruins all fruits and vegetables. 

Also, I don’t really like the looks I get when I tell people I live in an RV. They think I’m Uncle Eddie from Christmas Vacation. 

Q: Why did you choose to live in an RV?

A: Social status, obvi. 

I hated the stress of just trying to make it week to week, paycheck to paycheck. I have a bachelors in outdoor recreation so 30k is making it big in my field. I couldn’t afford healthy food, or travel to climb, or do things for others or really do anything I loved. Now I can, and I even have a little extra to help others afford little luxuries like taking friends to dinner or to see a movie. It’s amazing to have that opportunity now. 

Q: What was the hardest thing to adjust about your lifestyle change?

A: Managing stuff. When I began watching HGTV tiny house shows and hearing them talking about “downsizing” their possessions, I was NOT about that life. I love my outdoor gear, hockey gear, bikes, vehicles and clothes from Forever 21, but I really had to learn the invaluable skill of balancing my needs & wants.

I’m not to the point of “one thing in, one thing out” but I have gotten rid of a lot of extra things and am very aware of the reality that if I buy something, I have to have a place for it. 

Q: Do you always want to live tiny? 

A: I’d be up for doubling or even octupling my space to a spacious 1000 sq ft. But I would love to always maintain the idea of keeping my lifestyle “tiny”. 

I love having everything I own with me because it helps keep my focus in one smaller space. 

Q: What is something you've gained by going tiny? 

A: Perspective. All these answers so sound cliche in the viewpoint of a tiny house but they’re all so true. My perspective has completely evolved on what I need, on what’s important, and especially how blessed and fortunate I am to have what I have.

When my water lines freeze or my roof hatch flies off in the middle of the night in a Tennessee monsoon, I try to remain thankful. At least I’m alive, I have a warm place to sleep, a place to still call home. So many don’t have that.

And when things do go right, oh man are those great days. If I can get a working hot shower, a heater that doesn’t cut out in the middle of the night and not wake up to a mouse or bird that’s made their way inside... it’s going to be a really good day. 

Q: What is one tip you would have liked to have known before starting your new lifestyle?

A: Composting toilets are NOT as cool as they sound. Mine lasted about two weeks before I decided it was just too barbaric for me. Every guy loves a good dump. I just didn’t want to have to handle it again in a week. 

Q: What are the most common questions people ask you about living tiny? 

Here they are and their answers.

Q: Where do you go to the bathroom?

A: First question I get asked. Yes, I have a toilet (porcelain I might add) and no, it does not smell (except when emptying tanks of course). 

Q:What’s the shower situation?

A: Currently a sit shower with a tankless water heater that works wonderfully when the water lines aren’t frozen. 

Q: Where do you park?

A: I spent my first 8 months of tiny living off the grid on the streets of Nashville near the 12 south district. I parked in front of an undeveloped lot in the midst of $600,000 homes. Most of my neighbors loved me. 

Once summer hit I moved to a friends property in Nashville and I now live on 12 beautiful acres with electricity for A/C and a convenient water hookup. 

Q:How do you get your mail?

A: I pick up my 1 credit card bill at my parents once a month when I come over to watch Sunday football. 

Q:How does it work bringing women back to your place? 

A: Probably my #1 question from men and unashamedly I have yet to extend such an offer, as that is reserved for only 1 woman. Though I’m sure it would take a special kind of women to want to “come back to my motorhome”.

 Q: Do you have a car?

YES. And a motorcycle. Which makes moving from location to location logistically challenging but I gotta have my toys!

Q: What’s next for you?

A: The most important thing I have learned from tiny living is that people NEED friends and family. From the day I bought my RV with my buddy Chris, I have been dependent on others patience, generosity and support. I honestly thought I’d be more independent than ever once I moved into an RV. Though in many ways I am more independent, this journey could not have been successful without the most amazing friends and family. 

So what’s next? To pass that on. I hope that no matter what type of home I have I use it to help others. Whether it’s by being an “inspiration” to try something crazy like living in an RV or using what extra I now have, to give, I hope to be a blessing to others and spread a lot of joy from my tiny home.