SolTrekker: living on the road

At the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup in 2012 we checked out the SolTrekker motorhome. I finally put the video up from our chat with them.

What intrigued me about SolTrekker wasn’t so much about the educational aspect (which I think is important) but more about the idea of a minimalist existence that living in such a vehicle would demand.

My wife and I have been discussing a variety of ideas about how we can achieve our goal of moving to a rural location, preferably without a giant mortgage.  One of the options we considered was selling our house and unneeded possessions and buying a motorhome or bus. The strategy would be to live as inexpensively as possible while socking away money to buy property without a mortgage.

Of course the next question is where would you park such a beast? This conversation became a bit of a rabbit hole and opened up a variety of different possibilities. The biggest hurdle would be local government, which really frowns on people living tax-free in motorhomes, buses, holiday trailers, etc.

City councils must think that people living in motor homes will result in something like Slab City or Burning Man.

soltrekker-motorhomeWe live in Alberta and there is no shortage of motorhomes, buses, RVs, etc. Albertans love their recreational vehicles, but there are a lot of people living in them out of necessity. Our oil business is booming, even through the recession, and many people live in their RVs because of the transitory nature of the work. There aren’t always work camps or hotels to stay in and if there are hotels, the number of rooms may be insufficient and most certainly they will be expensive.

After government the main challenge is the weather. Our northern climate is fine from April to October, but our prairie winters can be harsh. There must be some people out there living year round in their RVs. I would love to hear from them about the challenges they face in the winter and how they’ve overcome them. I know it can be done.

So, are we going to do it? That’s hard to say. If we’re able to buy property first, we might just live in an RV on the property while we save to build a house. If not, we may just live a nomadic existence in an RV for a while.

There are a few options available to us. We could find a year-round RV park, park in Walmart parking lots (ironic considering how I feel about them), or find a spot in a friend’s yard or rural property.

Needless to say, our relatives think we’re a little loopy. Our whole plan to move out of the city goes against the grain of what most people are doing and we don’t expect them to understand, nor do we care if they do. I think if you’re motivated to achieve your goals you had better be willing to get out of your comfort zone to achieve them. We are certainly considering some unconventional ways of achieving ours.

One thing is certain, and that is how lucky we are to be able to make the choice of whether to live in an RV or to live in our home in the city. This recession has forced many, especially in the US, to live in their vehicles or to be homeless.

Have you had any experience living in your RV for extended periods? How did you deal with winter? I would really like to hear about it! Perhaps I’ll do another blog post talking about the systems in SolTrekker and how they might be adapted for winter.

By Alain Saffel

If I were to picture my ideal life, I’d be sitting in some far off land, sipping a coffee in a café, my backpack at my side, camera around my neck, motorcycle at the curb, pondering my next stop or maybe madly typing away on my laptop about my latest adventure. Of course my home base will be a rural location, somewhere in Canada.

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