Here at My House Has Wheels we’ve spent a lot of time talking about the tactical advantage of mobility in the modern world.
Those discussions are juxtaposed with an interesting statistical insight about the rest of America which is that mobility is on the decline. The definition of mobility they’re using are the number of people who move into a new home in the course of a year and that statistic has been on a long decline. Fewer people are moving and the reason is mostly money. Companies aren’t paying moving expenses, so people are moving less frequently for new jobs. The military still moves people around a lot, but even they have cut back.
The big push for people to become homeowners back in the 90’s has rippled forward to today. For a long time people were trapped in homes by a lack of equity, then in 2007, they were trapped in homes because they couldn’t sell them. All those factors have combined to limit our national mobility.
Permanence Leads To The NIMBY Lifestyle
Permanence has negative effects of its own. I’m surprised we ever get any new businesses to move to Florida. Everyone talks about jobs but every time some development project is on the board it inevitably draws endless complaining from the neighborhoods nearby. A developer wanted to build a spring training baseball park in a fashionable neighborhood just north of here. What’s more American than baseball? The community organized to keep the project out and succeeded in killing it. More jobs we’ll never see. Any time anyone tries anything, the people with a vested interest in that neighborhood band together to try and stop it. No new projects, no new businesses, no new jobs. One of the reasons that higher rates of home ownership leads to higher rates of unemployment.
Imagine if more people adopted a more mobile lifestyle. More families would be able to move to where the jobs are, new businesses wouldn’t generate the same level of opposition and new infrastructure projects, like new rail lines, would be far less disruptive. And yet we keep nailing ourselves to the ground, fighting over dirt stemming from a mentality that prompted our distant ancestors to fight for the cave they lived in. It’s an ancient concept that no longer needs to limit us either personally or collectively.
We need better housing options and better RV options. The better RVs are, the more viable they are as an alternative to a home. We need RVs with roofs that won’t leak, ever. In an age we can make solar-powered dune buggies and drive them remotely on Mars, I refuse to believe the RV industry can’t make a shell that doesn’t leak. And spend more than 35 man hours putting them together.
For the people who make a go of the mobile lifestyle anyway, good for you. You can go where the work is, move away from unpleasant neighbors and neighborhoods and live closer to the activities you really enjoy. You’ll be free of the trouble and expense of lawn maintenance, landscaping and you won’t feel the need to defend your dirt against jobs or progress because you know there’s another piece of dirt just down the road.
For years people lived in campers and RVs simply because they could. Today it’s starting to look like RV and small space living offers a better way forward.