Every lifestyle has its quirks and camp life certainly has no shortage of quirkiness. We are coming up on our 11th month of camp life, and while we are masters of nothing, we have managed to glean a bit of experiential wisdom along the way. In that spirit, we are putting together installments for what we have affectionately coined our “camp life truisms”….
Truism # 1: Conscious Consumption
One of the biggest changes in our behavior since taking to the road has been our consumption practices. Living in a smaller space most definitely curbs our ability to hoard, store, and consume goods, and in turn, has greatly curbed how much waste we produce. Since our capacity to hold items and their waste is greatly limited, we opt for less bulky items and are more conscious of packaging when making purchases. Thanks to limited space, we also now practice the “buy what you need” mentality and have significantly cut-back on the urge to “stock-up” on things.
On the consumption downside. Before hitting the road, we lived in California, where we were lucky to not only have weekly refuge pick-up but also, weekly “0-sort” recycle collection and composting. All of which we took full advantage of. Since we are now at the whim of the disposal practices of individual campgrounds as well as the state & local practices, for which there is a lot of inconsistency, I have realized that we don’t always get to recycle now as much as we would like, depending on where we are located. Also, composting is nearly impossible, as we have never seen a campground with a composting collection and are not about to attract pests by storing food scraps for too long in the camper.
On the consumption upside. We are now incredibly water conscious and water savvy. California droughts were certainly nice training wheels for this, but we really earned our stripes in water conservation when we took to the road. When you store and schlep around a limited source of water, you learn to make it count. It has become a badge of honor to see how many days we can go before we need to refill. While almost every campground we have stayed in provides a water hookup, utilizing it is a process we try to minimize. As our camper is also our vehicle, we move a lot on a daily basis and we are too impatient to fumble with the connect/ disconnect process multiple times a day. As a happy consequence, we have adopted extremely water conscious practices. So much so, that I found it has definitely changed how we interact when in a stationary (a.k.a. “traditional”) house. When visiting friends or family in their homes, our learned behaviors definitely showed in the way we wash dishes and brush our teeth by only turning the faucet on when necessary to rinse. Have leftover water used from boiling veggies for dinner? Perfectly fine for a second use in making hardboiled eggs. And then, giving it a third life in watering nearby plants once cooled. Also, we have become accustomed to metered showers at campgrounds and are extremely proficient in the 3 to 5-minute shower relay. With water being a finite world resource, our conservative water-conscious practices are a positive lifestyle change.