When The Contributor last featured Vicky Batcher, she was living in a hotel. Her story published in The Contributor, an exposé in her own words, set in motion a chain of events — one negative, the other positive.
In the story, Vicky's depiction of living conditions in the hotel led to her eviction by management displeased with the piece. But one of her customers, who had become a friend, was spurred to give Vicky an RV that had been sitting idle. “Some people may look at it as a recreational vehicle, but for us, it’s housing,” Batcher says. “We call it our HV.”
She’s sharing the “HV” with one of her 25-year-old twin sons and says operating the vehicle has had a learning curve.
“My dad used to say when you buy something used, you buy someone else’s problems,” says Batcher, wearing a gray T-shirt emblazoned with a fierce-looking Wonder Woman. Operating the RV has been “complicated, but you get used to it.”
The Wonder Woman shirt is an apt metaphor for Vicky, an outgoing and assertive woman with a wide smile, who moved to Nashville in 2005 and spent three years working in customer service for The Tennessean.
After layoffs at the paper she became homeless, and in 2014, started selling The Contributor.
Having her own home has given her the opportunity to better focus on two of her favorite activities: cooking and writing. Always an avid cook, she’s acquired new skills as a result of life in the RV.
“I’m a big crock pot fan, but it requires too much propane, and in the winter, we didn’t want to use the propane for cooking,” Batcher explains. So, she headed to Wal-Mart to buy a pressure cooker — and it’s not your mom’s old pressure cooker, either.
“Pressure cookers scare a lot of people, but the new ones have great technology,” she says, noting she uses it not only for cooking but also for washing dishes.
Batcher loves trying new recipes, and while much of her cooking is trial and error, she sticks to simple ingredients and doesn’t overdo spices, preferring to let natural flavors shine. (Her jambalaya recipe is featured on Page 27.)
Vicky also makes use of time used for routine RV maintenance to hone her writing, and keeps a daily journal to prevent writer’s block.
“Four nights out of each month, we go to an RV park to plug in and charge the battery. I find it peaceful to sit at campgrounds — inspiration comes from anything.”
Inspired by a 2017 law enacted in Los Angeles that regulated parking for people living in cars and RVs, Batcher is now working on an essay about people in Nashville in similar living conditions. It’s obviously a situation that resonates with her.
So far, Nashville has no law like Los Angeles, and for Batcher, that’s one of the best things about life in her “HV.”
“When people ask us where we live, we say ‘Anywhere we want!’ ”