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Low-Cost Living in a TINY Camper for 3 Years

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Added by Mel in Variety


Karen has been living this 21-foot caravan full-time for over 3 years and she's currently in the process of renovating an even smaller vintage trailer to call home! This RV lifestyle allows her the freedom to explore New Zealand, and it also gives her more financial flexibility with her graphic design contracts since her cost of living in a camper is lower than it would be in an apartment or owning a home. In this video she gives us a full tour of her tiny home, she tells us about the pros and cons of her minimalist nomadic lifestyle, and she shares her favourite places to park!






Video Script:: 

I have been living in this Caravan for three and a half years now one of the advantages has been the ability to travel and work at the same time and I can shift so have time in a stunning location and then if I feel like family time I can move closer to my family or closer to my friends or I can have more intense work time and move to that job I love that I have my own home and I don't have to pay off any more money on it I don't have a mortgage it's given me a lot more freedom to explore things that interest me you get to experience things that are generally outside of your budget my reason for moving into a caravan was because I wanted my own home I had been flatting for quite a few years and started saving for a house and realized I just wasn't going to be able to afford a house in Auckland on my own so I started looking at my options I was looking at van life tiny house and boto homes as well as caravans but decided on a caravan because I found anything with an engine was just too expensive and a tiny house took time to build whereas a caravan you could just pick it up that day from a caravan dealer this is a sterling Europe er 260 it's 21 foot long this is my kitchen space when I first moved into the caravan I did struggle a bit with how to use a space well but I've ended up kind of having my dishes drying here my chopping board kind of balanced over the sink and I always have this glass up with the kettle sitting on the stove top so I've got three gas burners and one electric hob a grill and an oven and it really works exactly the same as one you would get in the house I can cook anything the only downside really is I've got limited space for pots and pans and other kind of cooking accessories I can extend the space by dropping down this board just to give a bit more kitchen space it was a microwave here but I found I just didn't have enough space for all my food so instead I've put extra containers just to hold bulky food and in some fruit here and then I have a drawer on either side for my other food this is kind of my dinner food cupboard for like all the spices and rice etc and then my other cupboard I've kind of ended up having for tea and snacks and there's also a skylight which is curtains summer and then this is the lounge I love all the windows and how I can kind of look out and enjoy the scenery while working from here and then the seating area also becomes a queen size beard if I ever have guests staying over and then under the seat are all my batteries so I've now got two six volt 390 amp hour deep cycle batteries and it's actually more than enough I never really need to worry about power at the moment it's probably too much and probably too heavy for this type of caravan as well I've also got a 400 watt inverter for running my laptop and charging my camera batteries etc I get my power from a solar panel on the roof I also plug into the power and this is my fresh water and groundwater set up the tanks are separate sat next to the caravan and I then attach them this is where the freshwater and let this and then the grey water comes out here we are very strict about groundwater in New Zealand so it's probably a more hardcore set up than a lot of other countries and this is where the gas bottles are stored and other outdoor items like the grey water pipes and the toilet chemicals [Music] some of my expenses are paying for campgrounds but again it's a lot cheaper than what I was paying in Auckland other costs on top the caravan insurance and I find I pay a lot more for fuel partly because I've got a larger car to tow and also towing uses more fuel just because of the extra weight I also pay for gas bottle swaps and I'm also paying for my internet modem so I can work from this location I make my money as a graphic designer I have been a graphic designer for over ten years now and it works out because most campgrounds do have good internet I personally pay less to live this lifestyle than I did to living in the city I find that means I don't have to work as many hours and I have more time for passion projects like my youtube channel it also means that I don't worry so much if the freelance graphic design work goes a little quiet one month it gives me a bit more room to relax a bit more about money so there are plenty of windows around the whole caravan that I can open for good airflow and then there is an insect screen and then you've got the option for completely blocking out all light which is absolutely perfect at night and this is my beard it's a small double with the corner cut out and it's really only just long enough for me I am quite tall and then there's extra storage underneath where I keep my shoes and spare sheets and it's where the water pump and the hot water cylinder are - and this is the wardrobe for all of my clothes I've got a heater here which runs on gas and on power this heater heats up this whole space very quickly just because it's a small area and this is where my toilet and my shower are I just close this shower once and it becomes the shower space very small not my favorite but it does the job [Music] I live in New Zealand and mainly base myself on the North Island which has a more moderate temperature it is around about 70 to 75 Fahrenheit and summer and around 50 to 60 Fahrenheit in winter but of course you get extremes on either side this Caravan is a UK caravan so it is designed for the colder climates it's got double glazed windows and a heater and because it's such a small space it does warm up quite well my uncertainty was the caravan was I didn't have any towing experience but I kind of just dived in and figured I'd learn as I went along when I first started I spent in the dryer at the time at traditional campgrounds where a lot of tourists stay and got all the facilities but the longer I've been doing this I've started staying more at the caravan and motorhome club park over properties which are where members have opened up their land and other members can stay on there sometimes for free sometimes for a bit of money and sometimes they'll have basic facilities as well I generally like them because sometimes they have a great sense of community and usually a bit more privacy a bit more space if I am traveling a lot I might also stay at Department of Conservation Camp grants which are like National Park sites they're usually you know beautiful surroundings sometimes with a long drop sometimes with proper toilet facilities and then sometimes they might freedom camp which is like boondocking but because I tend to travel on my own I am more cautious with where I stay and I might not freedom camp as much as others do if they are in a van and they feel comfortable jumping into the driver's seat and driving off that's one of the downsides with the caravan is if you feel uncomfortable at night you can't really just jump into the driver Satan and move off because you have to pack everything up put the stabilizing legs up reattach it to your vehicle so that's one of the downsides of the caravan I had thought I would struggle to date living this lifestyle but it's worked out I've actually started dating someone who lives in a bus a might up for anyone who does want a date I would suggest traveling more slowly you get the chance to meet more locals and get more of a community and have time to date I don't have any plans to stop caravanning anytime soon I've actually just bought myself a vintage Caravan which I'm in the process of doing up and thinking about giving it a go living in that instead it's an even smaller space than this so it shall be interesting [Music] subscribe to explore alternatives and check out our playlists for more stories like this you can also follow Karin on her youtube channel at traveling kay thanks for watching


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