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Four Years of Tiny RV Living — With No Intentions of Upsizing

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Isela and Tyler never planned on living in an RV for four years, but after their first year of saving for a “bricks and sticks” home by living tiny, they realized they loved the minimalist lifestyle and at the moment, have no intention of “upsizing” any time soon.

In fact, when they found out they were expecting a baby, they transformed their half bath in to a baby nursery with a loft! Now the family of three — and their two fur babies — are all enjoying the tiny life together.

Soon Isela will graduate from nursing school and become a travel nurse. As you can imagine, the RV life is perfect for travel nursing! They can bring home wherever they go. Read our Q&A with Isela at the end of the post, and follow the family on Instagram.

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Long-Term RV Living for This Awesome Family

Lady and Levi, the Pups of the house!

The kitchen has this awesome island with sink.

Nothing like a fire to make the living room cozy.

Here’s a little bench in the bedroom.

That clip-on high chair is perfect for a tiny house with a baby.

The open shelving on this wall looks incredible.

This used to be a half bath!

Now it’s an itty-bitty nursery. Love it.

Now THIS is a tiny house bathroom! Two sinks!

The sage green cabinets look wonderful.

And here’s the cozy bedroom.

Isela on Four Years of RV Living

What are your name(s)?

My names Isela, my husband is Tyler, our 7month old is Deagan and pups are Lady + Levi (hehe).

How long have you lived tiny?

We’ve been living tiny since October of 2016 & truthfully we’re more obsessed with it now then we were then.

What do you do for work? Or do you travel full-time?

Tyler is a welder/machinist and I’m currently in nursing school. I graduate in June 2021 and we plan to hit the road to travel nurse.

What are you hoping to get out of living tiny?

Honestly if we were to stop living tiny tomorrow we would have already gotten more out of it than we originally planned. We fell into RV life by default & thought we would only live full time for a year max, giving us time to buy a sticks and bricks. But within that year we fell in love with the simplicity of the lifestyle and how our marriage grew because of it. And it’s just the icing on the cake that it feels more like home than anywhere we’ve ever lived.

What inspired you to choose an RV (rather than say a tiny house or a bus)?

My husband was about to get out of the military after 10yrs and we truly had no idea what or where we were going next. On a road trip a few weeks before the movers were coming we kept passing RV dealers, we took it as a sign and thought “why not?”. It was really just a spur of the moment decision. Lol

How did you acquire your RV? Did you do a lot of renovations?

We bought brand new, so we weren’t forced to do any renovations since everything was brand new. We truly thought we would only live in the RV for a year max to buy us time to look for a home. So we initially didn’t do any renovations, but within that year we knew this was going to be our home for awhile so we very slowly started to remodel and renovate. And now 4+yrs later what was once a 1/2bath is now a little nursery with a loft on top.

What are bills/utilities like compared to before?

Typically we stay at places that are all inclusive (water, trash, electricity) so everything’s included in the monthly cost. We have also spent a good amount of time boondocking on BLM (Bureau of Land Management). In the summer time the weather’s perfect for it and it’s free!

How did you find a place to “park” your home? Or do you travel?

We’ve done a little bit of both. When we go to a new town we simply look up RV parks and see what there monthly costs are and what they include. And we’ll stay wherever we think fits our needs.

Before going tiny, what was life like? Is there anything from your old life that you miss?

My husband was in the military so we were use to moving around a lot which is one of the reasons we so easily transitioned to moving around. But I think the one thing I miss is being able to host family and friends they way we use to. I have a big extended family and having everyone stay with us is pretty tough but we have managed to sleep 10ppl at once, it was a giant sleep over with air mattresses everywhere!

What benefits are you experiencing after going tiny?

Financial freedom has been huge for us, especially now, I’m currently not working while I stay home with our little guy and finish nursing school. Living off one income would have been so much harder if it weren’t for RV life. When I graduate in June we plan to apply all over because we have the freedom to go wherever we want without the stress of figuring out where we’ll live which is another added bonus. We also just love the simplicity this life gives us, I purge our closets and storage about once a month and it’s so freeing to get rid of stuff we don’t use.

What about some challenges?

Having just had a baby I think new challenges have started to come in the form of keeping things minimal for him. It’s hard at times not to get sucked into getting all the latest baby gear and all the cute baby clothes, so continuing to ask myself if it’s needed or wanted has been my go to for baby things.

What makes your tiny home special?

Growing up my family and I were constantly bouncing around from apartment to apartment, constantly on the move & at times we were homeless crashing on couches & floors of friends who so graciously allowed us. I was one of five and “home” for me was never found between walls we shared, but “home” was wherever my mom and siblings were. In the past 4yrs as I painted over manufactured walls and remodeled the entire rig, I have finally felt that comfort of home within these tiny walls and it’s a feeling I’m so grateful for.

What is your favorite part of your tiny home?

Favorite part is our sons nursery. We converted our 1/2bathroom into his nursery/loft. It was a crazy idea when we realized we would need to make room for him somewhere and it turned out even better than I imagined.

What helpful advice would you give to others interested in going tiny?

To find value in experiences, people & relationships rather than materialistic items. It’s definitely a different mindset living minimal, but learning to shift my values has been so incredibly freeing. It’s all about perspective.

Anything I didn’t ask about that we should know?

Just that this RV community has been such a blessing to me and my family and it’s been so fun watching all these new families take the journey into RV life. It truly makes my heart so happy.

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Our big thanks to Isela for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Marsha Cowan
    January 9, 2021, 4:48 pm

    Absolutely lovely RV and a wonderful story. It’s hard not to get hooked on living tiny, right? Very clever use of the half bath, by the way. Everything is beautifully decorated and warm and inviting. God bless your jouneys.

  • Kathleen veltsos
    January 9, 2021, 7:09 pm

    Just wondering what state you were in as I see all the snow. Does the rv stay warm inside and how do you keep pipes from freezing?

  • Zoraima
    January 10, 2021, 3:31 am

    This article is wonderful!!!you guys are my inspiration ❤️🙏

  • Michelle S
    January 10, 2021, 9:46 am

    What mod of RV is that? We are looking to hit the road with our family this summer.

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