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5 tips for living in a camper trailer full time

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From a couple who found the perfect balance between the creature comforts of home and life on the road

dog in an rv
Mandy Fierens and Kevin Holesh brought all their furry friends on the road.
Courtesy of @188sqft

Summer is perfect for road trips, but what if you could make your road trip last forever? Wedding photographer Mandy Fierens and user interface designer Kevin Holesh did just that.

It started off as a joke about “how it would be cool to do this full time,” but after a full winter road trip of living in a borrowed pop-up camper—and loving every moment of the experience—Fierens and Holesh started seriously considering the idea.

They bought a 15-year-old RV and within 3 months, fixed it up and hit the road. One month later, their Instagram account, 188sqft, was born.

“Everybody else has a pun for their Instagram name so we were trying to be different,” said Fierens. “We were looking at how much flooring we had to buy and it was 188 square feet. We thought ‘Hey, that kind of sounds cool, so why don’t we just do that!’”

Despite their dramatic loss of square footage, their transition to their new home was quite fuss-free. Most importantly, they didn’t have to sacrifice everything, like their two dogs and two cats, to live life on the road.

Want to set out on your own mobile-living adventure, but keep your creature comforts? Keep scrolling for the couple’s best tips.

Don’t leave (all) the greenery at home

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Though Fierens and Holesh did have to give away a few of their larger plants before hitting the road, many of their smaller ones are nestled in the RV in a DIY contraption that the couple calls their “plant shelf.”

“As I was traveling with plants, a lot of them were dying and tipping over and it was just not working out,” said Fierens.

After they installed the “plant shelf,” the plants are now super easy to care for as well readily viewable in their RV’s living space.

Brighten your space with white walls and pops of color

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The single biggest change they made to their RV was painting it white and adding fun, colorful elements throughout the small space. The white helped to make the space feel bright and airy, while the colors kept the space from feeling too bland.

They also managed to strike gold with non-tinted windows, which ended up brightening up the space even more.

“We were really lucky and [the windows] weren’t tinted when we bought [the RV],” Fierens said. “Because our rig is 15 years old, which is pretty old for RVs, we had the not-fancy stuff, which means non-tinted windows.”

Collect mementos on the road

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While most of their family heirlooms are locked up in a separate storage space, Fierens and Holesh have a small “treasure wall” filled with objects found on their hikes or in local shops. Its minimalistic vibe shows the journey they’ve had without being too over-bearing in the small space.

Create the perfect nook

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Fierens’s favorite place in her RV right now is the DIY reading nook, which rests on top of her dog kennel and is decked out with decorative pillows and blankets.

“I love to sit up there and look out the bay window and stare at my plants. It’s like all my favorite things pushed into one,” Fierens said.

Make your URL friends into your IRL community

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For Fierens and Holesch, documenting their journey on Instagram has helped them meet a community of others living on the road.

“We’re actually camped right now next to some friends we’ve met from Instagram,” said Fierens. “It’s really fun because you immediately have something in common and you’ve been following each other’s journeys on Instagram and then you get to meet in person all over the U.S.”

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