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We made it!!! One year of life on the road!!!

We made it!!! One year of life on the road!!!

Our first 6 months of life on the road

We’re celebrating 1 year of living on the road!! We hit the road at the end of last summer and headed straight from the Northeast to Sun Valley, Idaho. Since then, we’ve explored numerous places in the West with our Airstream. We’ve learned to boondock on BLM land, mountain biked some of the world’s best singletrack, found places to shower or swim after biking, installed a composting toilet to extend our boondocking, and ate a whole lot of tacos! Life on the road has been even more fun than we imagined when we set out. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with it’s fair share of challenges.

Even though there’s still a lot to learn about life on the road, we thought it would be helpful to put a video together to answer some of the questions we get from time to time. A lot of these questions pertain to the last 6 months. We have a different video dedicated to the first 6 months already.

Have a look and let us know what you think!!

Questions:

What have we seen in the last 6 months? 0:30

Best part of RV life? 2:17

Worst part of RV life? 3:04

Favorite campsite? 4:22

Worst campsite? 5:22

Favorite area visited? 6:52

Did we choose the right rig? 8:06

Most frustrating moment? 9:45

How much longer will we live like this? 11:32

How would you feel if you had to stop today? 11:53

Is RV Life for everyone? 12:49

Advice for newbies? 13:48

How did the last 6 months compare to the first 6? 15:32

Where are we headed next? 16:37

Learn about our first 6 months here – http://tincancreative.co/6-months-of-life-on-the-road/

 

Do you have questions about living on the road? Let us know in the comments below!

 

How we downsize and declutter! | Full Time RV Life

How we downsize and declutter! | Full Time RV Life

How we downsize and declutter! | Full Time RV Life

Downsizing and decluttering is not something that stops once you move into an RV full time and hit the road. Even though you’ve cast off most of your possessions to fit your life into a tiny mobile living space, you’re still going to bring along a lot of things you don’t really need, and you’re going to pick up stuff you don’t need along the way. That’s why we still make an effort to downsize and declutter while living on the road. We found that when it becomes a part of your routine on the road, and off, it helps keep the wave of clutter from consuming you!

This is something we’ve certainly learned after being on the road. We’ve done multiple donation drop offs, passed belonging off to others that could use them, and sold some stuff on eBay. And we still have things we don’t really need. We decided to put together a little video of use going through and finding a few things we weren’t using and eliminating them.

After so many downsizing sessions, we’ve come up with a format we follow when going through our stuff.

First and foremost, remember “WHY?” you are doing this! Without a good reason, you’re not going to be able to push through the hardships of downsizing. So, it’s important to have that in place when you get started! For us, the reason was we wanted to move into a 200 square foot Airstream, because we wanted more freedom to travel by not being tied down to a location.

1. Start Small: Warm up your downsizing muscles by getting rid of the easy stuff. Have a pile of papers you haven’t recycled yet? Go through them and get rid of what you don’t need! Got something you’ve been meaning to fix, but haven’t been able to? Get rid of it if it can be replaced easily! Are you carrying around something because you imagine the perfect scenario for it to be used, but that scenario is super unlikely? Maybe it’s time to pass it on to someone else! Have a pair of pants you absolutely hate and haven’t worn in months? Someone else would live to find those at a thrift store!

2. Ask Your Partner: We can’t always see the value of something we own very clearly, so we tend to overvalue things and hang on to them. But chances our your partner has a list of items they don’t understand why you’re hanging on to. Ask them to identify these things! It might be painful, but it should at least move them to the forefront of your mind. Maybe you don’t get rid of them immediately, but now they’re in your sights for the next round of downsizing!

3. Go Digital When Possible: We had so many books and movies before we hit the road. Most of these had to go. And we have way few books now that when we started our travels. We’ve replaced them with our library and apps like Libby. But we still keep a few of our favorite books around for rereading when we feel like it.

4. Save Sentimental Items For Last: When we have a strong emotional tie to something, it’s really hard to let it go. It helps to have already purged some things before you take on the more challenging items. A lot of the time the attraction of the item is related to a person or experience. You have fond memories of this person, place, or time, and the item triggers those memories. But here’s the thing. The item itself is not the thing you are reminiscing…it was just part of it, and happens to still carry this value. As long as you have the memories, you don’t need that thing around anymore. You can throw it away or pass it on to someone else who could better use it!

This approach to downsizing has helped us get through countless piles of stuff over the last few years. Do you already have an approach to downsizing that works for you? Let us know in the comments below!!!

Check out our interview with Aimee here – http://tincancreative.co/downsizing-with-aimee-olsen/

Learn more about Aimee, or reach out to her:
Instagram – @lifedonesimply
Website – lifedonesimply.com
Email – aimee@lifedonesimply.com

Installing an Airhead composting toilet in our Airstream

Installing an Airhead composting toilet in our Airstream

Is a composting toilet really better for full time RV living?

The idea of not having a toilet magically sweep your poo poo and pee pee away into the mysterious void that is the public sewer system was a foreign concept to us for a long time. Years ago, we’d look at potential cabins to stay in on Airbnb. Look at those windows! It’s close to the bike trails! Oooh, look, a hot tub!! Wait, it’s got a COMPOSTING TOILET!!!??? Yuck! I don’t want to poop into a 5 gallon bucket and smell it all weekend. No thanks! Next listing!

When we started full-timing, we heard of people getting rid of their RV toilet in exchange for a composting toilet. What is wrong with these folks? How does letting your poop sit around in a bucket make RV life better? How do they live with all those odors wafting around their rig? These are the kind of questions we had. We didn’t dig too deep into them, because we were certain a composting toilet was NOT for us!

It wasn’t until we were on the road a while that we ran into a couple with a composting toilet. And they wouldn’t stop talking about it! Like it was the best upgrade they made to their RV, something that had truly changed their lives. We were all for the conversation of course, we love bathroom humor.

We continued to meet other couples who absolutely loved their composting toilets, as we made friends on the road. There had to be something more to this. We were truly intriged. We would pepper them with questions on how these things worked and listen intently to their answers. We would go into their bathrooms at stare at the odd shaped plastic commodes…at a distance of course. We would wonder what it would be like to not have a smell in our bathroom, or not have to dump that blackwater every week or so.

Fast forward a few months, our traditional RV toilet needed a new seal, we were looking at ways to boondock longer, and we would have access to some more tools since we’d be moochdocking at our friends’ house in Victor, Idaho. This would be the perfect time to swap out our toilet!

How these composting toilets work:
Modern composting toilets are not just a bucket you defecate into and sprinkle sawdust to cover it. They have been designed to separate the liquids and the solids. It’s not until #1 and #2 gets combined that things get really nasty. Urine is directed to the front of the unit and is collected in a detachable bottle that gets emptied every few days. The brown stuff gets deposited through a trap door in the bowl into a chamber filled with coco coir. You rotate a handle on the side of the unit and chops the logs and mixes them with the coco coir. There is a fan that draws air from the solids to help dry out and break down the mixture. The solids tank is supposed to last for a month with 2 people using it full time. You can read more about it here on Airhead’s site.

What we hope to gain:
It would be nice to save on some water when boondocking. Our toilet was supposed to use a pint of water when flushing, but that is an ideal scenario “quick flush”. We all know it literally “doesn’t go down like this”.

No black tank smell. Even though we use Bio Paks, we can still develop a wretched stank in our bathroom, especially in hot weather. We’ve been told the smell isn’t bad with a composting toilet, nothing more that a hint of “rich fertile soil”…time will tell.

We only need to deal with the grey water when we head to the dump station, no need to blast out poop residue on our hose after dumping.

Stay in one spot for a longer time. Maybe even indefinitely if we purchase some land in the future. Dealing with the disposal of greywater far from a dump station is way easier than getting rid of black water. You don’t have to run things through a mastication pump in order to chew up the nastiness. Our Airstream was parked in our driveway for 3 years before we hit the road. We would sleep in it when we’d Airbnb our house, or have friends stay in it, BUT we wouldn’t dare use the toilet! If we had a composting toilet installed at this point, we could have been utilizing the trailer even more.

Why Airhead?
There are a number of popular composting toilet makers out there. We considered Nature’s Head and C-head before we settled on Airhead. All of these manufacturers seem to get great reviews, have good customer support, and use “head” in their product name. They all have similar features, but a few things stood out for us with Airhead.

First off, the Airhead uses a regular shaped toilet seat. Our rumps are familiar with the curve of such a seat, and prefer it when we make our “deposits”. This seat also has rubber gaskets to keep any odors that might creep up down below.

You can empty the liquids jugs without opening the solids container. This is something that needs to happen every few days, so not having to stare into the brown depths each time is a welcome relief.

The fit and finish of Airhead is great. The plastic is nicely molded and the hardware is top notch. The build quality should hold up to years of abuse on the road. It even looks a lot like a regular toilet, if that counts for anything.

Installing the composting toilet in an Airstream:
Installing one of these is pretty simple on the surface. You take out the old toilet. Plug the hole. Add some new brackets to hold it down. Run wire for a fan. Vent that fan. Nice and simple.

This becomes much more difficult when you try to install a composting toilet in an Airstream you’re currently living in. There were no easily accessible wires to tap into, so we had to fish some wires in from another location.

It was not possible to run a vent downward due to the black tank, and we’d have to remove some walls in order to run the fan vent to the roof (unless we just wanted a hose dangling from the ceiling in the bathroom). We ended up running the fan into the black tank vent, which was really close by. This required building a custom fan housing, since the one included was bulky and would have to be reduced to 1.5″ in a very short distance.

The last bit of fabrication involved building a little platform so the composting toilet could sit flush above the black tank toilet mount. Check out our video to see some more details on the installation.

While we had the toilet out and bathroom apart, Jess updated the wallpaper to something more modern. This really made the tiny space feel like it fit in with the rest of our Airstream.

Once the composting toilet was installed and the fan was running, we soaked the coco coir in water for a few hours. The coco brick swelled up after absorbing it and then we broke it up and added it to the solids tank. This gave us some exciting stuff to churn around.

See the pics below for install shots:

Why not remove the black tank completely?? Not having one could save some weight, or make room for another fresh or grey tank, we could eliminate the toilet pedestal to make the bathroom feel roomier, and not having the black tank sewer lines would give us a bunch more ground clearance. All great things! So we definitely considered this, and still might do it in the future.

We were a little concerned that we might not like the composting toilet, so having the black tank in place would let us retreat to a normal RV toilet. Also, not having a black tank might hurt resale if we ever decide to sell the Airstream in the future. And removing it would require us to rebuild the floor in the bathroom, not an easy task considering we don’t have many power tools on the road.

We traded our old toilet to someone on Facebook Marketplace for some IPAs, so we’re committed to using the Airhead toilet from here on out. We’re excited to see if it improves our lives in the way it did to our boondocking friends. Stay tuned for an update on this thing in the next month or two!

What kind of questions do you have regarding our decision to go with a composting toilet?

Here are some of the things we used for our install!

This is to plug up the black tank – https://amzn.to/2YlTfiZ

rubber reducer – https://amzn.to/31lclTm

PVC fitting to join to existing vent – https://amzn.to/2YBkP77

PVC to adapt hose to reducer – https://amzn.to/2YmQHBr

PVC cement and primer – https://amzn.to/2YElQv6

Wallpaper – https://amzn.to/2Kyjqt5

Ryobi Impact Driver and Drill – https://amzn.to/2LX6akR

Ryobi Jigsaw – https://amzn.to/2YiLsCJ

These links are affiliate links, following one and purchasing an item helps support us and does not affect the cost of the item. Thank you for making a purchase via these links if you do.

Downsizing: An Interview with Aimee Olsen of Life Done Simply

Downsizing: An Interview with Aimee Olsen of Life Done Simply

Downsizing: An interview with Aimee Olsen

One of the biggest challenges we faced before hitting the road was downsizing our lives and possessions to fit into a 180 square foot Airstream. We read stuff from Marie Kondo, The Minimalists, and many others to help us in our purge. Even with all this advice, we still found the task to be very daunting. That’s why we’re putting together a downsizing series of videos.

For the first video in our downsizing series, we interview Aimee Olsen. Aimee is an organization expert who also happens to live on the road full time with her partner, Ben, and golden retriever, Selby. She understands first hand what it’s like to whittle down her life to fit into an RV. Plus, she has helped many of her clients declutter their homes and work towards a more organized life.

We hope her wisdom helps you frame your own goal of decluttering and sets you on a path to success!!

Learn more about Aimee, or reach out to her:
Instagram – @lifedonesimply
Website – lifedonesimply.com
Email – aimee@lifedonesimply.com

Follow Aimee and Ben’s RV adventures here – @theroamsteaders

Learn about how we downsize and declutter on the road – http://tincancreative.co/how-we-downsize-and-declutter/

Do you have questions about downsizing? Let us know in the comments below!

Our first 6 months of life on the road

Our first 6 months of life on the road

Our first 6 months of life on the road

February 2019 marked 6 months! That’s just CRAZY. We have so much more to learn, but so far – we are loving life on the road.

We posted a question on Instagram, asking “What do you want to know about the first 6 months of life on the road? There were a ton of great questions like, “What is something you thought was going to be hard, but really wasn’t?” and “What’s the most surprising part about being on the road?”

After answering the questions we received on IG, we figured, why not make a video for YouTube to share this information. 🙂 Check it out below!

5 Practical household items for RV life and tiny living

5 Practical household items for RV life and tiny living

5 Practical Household Items for RV Life and Tiny Living

We have to be pretty selective nowadays when it comes to items we bring into our life… you know, because only have 200sq feet to work with! We decided to put together a short video highlighting 5 of our FAVORITE household items we use every single day! Things that make our life easier on the road and are also very practical to have. In fact, we owned a few of these items even before hitting the road! 

We provide links to the items we talk about below.

Please note that these are our Amazon Affiliate links. There is no additional cost, whatsoever, to you, but it does help us earn a tiny bit of revenue if you choose to purchase any of these items! So thank you!

1. Fozzils Snap Fold Dishrack: https://amzn.to/2KobdqY

2. Aeropress Coffee Maker (owned prior to life on the road): https://amzn.to/2TwsyCh

3. Black + Decker Handheld Vacuum (owned prior to life on the road): https://amzn.to/2PKEFgP

4. Simplehuman Trash Can: https://amzn.to/2TuatVo

5. Felt Storage Bins: https://amzn.to/2Kon8Fa 

What household items do you use on a daily basis that help make your life better?! Tell us in the comments below!