This site is called Cheap RV Living, yet I don’t live in an RV. Why is that? It’s about finding a balance between comfort and freedom—a balance that works for me, that aligns with my personal priorities. I want—I need—freedom more than comfort. Your priorities might be different. Not better, not worse, just different.

Comfort and freedom are in conflict with each other. The more you want of one, the less you can have of the other. Let’s look at several ways that’s so.


Comforts cost money. The time and energy spent making enough money to afford all the comforts of home is time I’m not free to pursue things I’d rather do. Money spent on comfort—and on maintaining the systems that provide that comfort—is money I don’t have for other things. How free am I if I can’t afford the gas to drive when and where I want? How comfortable are my comforts if I can’t afford to maintain them?


The more comforts I require, the larger the rig I would need to contain them. The larger the rig, the fewer places it can fit. Fewer roads are wide enough, have enough overhead and ground clearance, and are smooth enough. I would have fewer route options. Fewer places to turn around. Fewer places that are level enough. Fewer places that are away from the crowds. Fewer places to park or even stop. If my comforts depend on hookups, that limits where I can be, and there’s the expense of being at those places (which brings us back to financial freedom).


The fewer comfort-providing systems I have, the fewer things I need to worry about breaking, repairing, maintaining, replacing, losing. And like they say, if something can go wrong, it will. Eventually. At the worst time. They also say bad things happen in threes. I would rather have less worry than more comfort.

There’s no magic answer, only a balance point where we get enough of both comfort and freedom. And “enough” is personal. What are frivolous comforts for some are essentials for others. For example, room for physically limited people to stand and move around, enough power to run medical equipment or to refrigerate medicines, or hot daily showers to be clean enough for one’s job (or to clean up after a dirty job). I don’t judge where your balance point is. I only want you to be aware there are tradeoffs.

Popular wisdom says life, growth, success, adventure and all sorts of other desirable stuff awaits outside our comfort zone. Not just our mental or emotional comfort zone, but our physical comfort zone as well.

We can’t all be Jack Reacher, the ultimate (and very fictional) free man, contentedly wandering the land with only the clothes on our back, a few dollars in our pocket, and a folding toothbrush. Even minimalist me recently moved up from a van to an ambulance, because my happy balance point required more room to run CRVL and four-wheel drive so I could get to more secluded places. A little more comfort, a little more freedom. But when all is told, when all is put on the scale, freedom is my greatest comfort. What about you? What are you blancing?