Sunday, April 21, 2019


A frequent topic among nomads is how to create more living space. (As opposed to dying space?) But the thing is, no matter how you rearrange X cubic feet of stuff within Y cubic feet of space, you still end up with the same amount of empty room, just shaped differently.

Some shapes work better than others. Better utilization of existing space is the best we can hope for unless we decrease X or increase Y. Less stuff or a larger place to contain it. Or both.

When nomads talk about living space they usually mean within their vehicle. But there’s tons of living space outside. As the saying goes, don’t live in a van, live out of one.

I think what most nomads are talking about is not feeling crowded, not being overwhelmed by the close quarters, having the luxury of our own blank space. They want to feel like they did when they lived in a building.

Building life (unless you lived in a studio apartment) conditioned us to expect different rooms for different purposes. Living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, utility room… But vehicle life is a one-room thing. One tiny multipurpose room. You sleep in the kitchen, cook in the bathroom. All the space in the vehicle—every cubic millimeter of it—is living space. Even the space consumed by stuff.

To get all pseudo-philosophical, we aren’t really separate from our stuff. Our stuff is chosen by us for reasons that are within us. It’s used or not used by us, which says something about us. Our stuff enables or limits us. So make peace with it, with ourselves. Or change X and Y.


  1. A friend with a Class C made five room out of it. The cab-over bed with its privacy curtain was one room. The living/dining/kitchen area was a second room. The bedroom converted to an office was a third room. The toilet was in a forth room all by itself. The fifth room was created by closing the door to the main room and another to the office creating what she called her dressing room. She painted each of those five rooms a different color which emphasized their differences. I am still amazed by that.

    1. Great idea, if not just for the psychological effect of normalizing a ad mall space. Do I have an office? Sure, just close that painted door.

  2. Very well written and presented description of small RV living.

  3. After living out of a backpack for several years my van feels like a mansion!