Often, when in “normal” social settings, it seems we spend a lot of time explaining ourselves to others – our cheap rv life, disconnecting from societal norms, etc. But we aren’t alone because even rvers with large bank accounts and deluxe motorhomes can feel they don’t fit in at times – as society tilts the head, giving a quizzical look, wanting to know “why are you doing this? where is all your stuff?”
But in our opinions, it is “mainstream” society that should be questioned (and, no…”everybody’s doing it” would not be an acceptable answer). Yes, we unconventional folks are under society’s microscope, but if aliens visited from another planet…who do you think they would consider to be “odd”…
- Those living simply in the now, with few fancy things but a lifetime of “free time”
- Those putting off living until 65, buying lots of stuff they don’t use because they are too busy working to enjoy any of it (and the irony that they have to keep working to pay for all of the stuff they bought), spending more than they have in hand (going in debt) for cars, boats, electronics, getting only a few weeks per year of “down time” then back to work….on and on it goes…
Wouldn’t you think #2 is a recipe for a very unhealthy society? Ralph Waldo Emerson put it best…and we couldn’t agree more:
Well finally society is under the microscope! I stumbled on an amazing article the other day, which discussed research results from a book that just came out July 12, 2012. The results of research have been published, unusual for an academic study, in a large-format book full of photographs called Life at Home in the Twenty-first Century: 32 Families Open their Doors.
The book discusses the findings of four years of social science research that took a look at typical middle-class American families. Observations were made and data were collected just as the researchers would have done with any other culture being ethnographically studied. Because the subject was “us” in modern-day life, however, the findings become harder to ignore, and even shocking.
The popularity of recent reality shows like “Hoarders” demonstrates that we are interested in how other people live. The subjects of these shows go to extremes, and their behavior is usually seen as being abnormal, and nothing like the average American. But a new study done by the anthropology department at UCLA says that we are really not as far from that kind of behavior as we’d like to think. Of course, when I say “we” I am not speaking for fulltime RVers – we don’t have room for clutter, thankfully!
SO HERE IS JUST A TASTE OF THE SHOCKING (or not) RESULTS THEY FOUND
75% of American garages have so much stuff in them that there is no room for cars. The habit of stockpiling products from bulk-buy stores like Sam’s is mostly blamed for this phenomenon.
People are feeling the result of high stress levels that come from struggling to manage a large number of possessions. Too much stuff is not good for you.
Even after putting money into adding and improving leisure and recreational areas outside of the house – patios, decks, sports equipment – families didn’t use them due to lack of time.
The popularity of convenience foods is very high among families, but the study showed that the difference between using those and cooking regular meals was only an 11 minute saving for each meal.
One way to tell if a family is choked by clutter and being strangled by materialism is the refrigerator door. If there is chaos there in the form of magnets, notes, photos, to-do lists, telephone numbers, schedules and calendars, there is usually chaos everywhere in the home.
Over 75% of the parents in the study spent at most a minute or two outdoors (usually going to or coming from the car that can’t be put in the garage) for a week at a time or longer – any down or spare time was spent watching TV or using a computer.
Obviously, American folks are drowning in stuff, and materialism is the religion of our times. Living the full time RV life doesn’t change that fervor for things, but it helps to put it in perspective. Most of us who live in a camper have experienced the benefits of lightening our loads – we can’t put very much on our fridges, and we don’t have garages and basements. We have to learn to live with only what we need, because that is all that fits! It feels good to have little to maintain, worry about repairing, clean – and it feels especially good that bill paying is done in just minutes every month (more stuff, more bills).
Oh, I’m sure there are RVers out there who have storage units somewhere full of stuff they just couldn’t bear to get rid of too – we have a small one in Montana, but it has very little in it because we sold nearly everything when we began rving. But overall, this rving life is the complete opposite of the modern American household – and in a very good way. The next time we are in normal social settings, shall we rvers begin tilting our heads, giving a quizzical look and asking mainstream America “why do you need all of that stuff?” and “why don’t you ever go outside?” We think so……
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