We’ve been on the road over three weeks now, but we have lived this “lifestyle” (in the RV) for going on six months.
Obviously, there have been some massive adaptations to make…a year ago, I had 3,000 square feet of space to move about in- a big kitchen to cook in, a bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub, a shower I could turn around in without bumping my elbows, I rarely hit my head on anything, and where to store shoes wasn’t even on my radar- there was a whole closet for that. The master bedroom? It was bigger than ALL of my current collective space.
Do I miss it?
Some things, yes. I miss a big garden- which is just my imagination, because my garden was crap the first year (hooray Virginia clay!). The second, it was poisoned by herbacide treated straw…and I had to move it (kicking myself for that- make sure you know WHERE your garden mulch is coming from) and then, I was too distracted, unhappy, exhausted, whatever…to do it. Anyhow, I digress…I miss the ABILITY to have a garden- but, I plan to have a little container garden when we get to where we’re going. Herbs, maybe a tomato plant, and some salad greens. Pinterest for the win.
I miss my 6′ Jacuzzi tub…not even going to lie. ‘Nuff said. I miss having some counter space, and I miss having a shower that was more than 2’x3’.
But what do I NOT miss? Massive bills, having a cleaning “day” (or two), being stuck in one place, and never seeing my husband. I don’t miss always being stressed out (at least now when I’m stressed, it’s at pretty places!), and I don’t miss the nagging feeling that something, ANYTHING, needed to change. (Gypsy soul, remember? She’s a bitch.)
I have learned SO. MUCH…and I’m able to teach some pretty awesome lessons to my kiddos. Disclaimer here- I do not hold these things to be law, they are just how *I* personally feel. I don’t want anyone getting butthurt because you may not agree. What is true for me may not be to you. Onward.
- We need far less space than I originally thought. The next time we build, or buy, or drop a big shed on a chunk of land and turn it into a Pinterest worthy house (yes, I’ve considered this…yes, I’m insane), it won’t be huge. It will be small, clean, and simple, with enough bedrooms for the humans who inhabit the house, and that’s it. I know now what space means the most to me: the kitchen, and the living room. I don’t need a big bedroom. All we do is sleep there, so it just needs to be big enough for a bed and our clothes. Also, I am learning how to cook in a smaller space, and how to utilize outdoor space, which means more time in the fresh air. Grills are awesome, ya’ll.
- Some of the things I thought I needed, I don’t. I don’t NEED 500 kitchen gadgets…just a few essentials: I’m saving this for another post. I don’t need as many clothes as I thought I did. Dishes? one set of 4…Why are 12 coffee cups per person necessary?! (We own 4 total now. 2 for me, 2 for Chris). We only need 2 towels each, and I certainly don’t need a house full of *meaningless* possessions. I have become a bit of a minimalist.
- Small spaces get dirty REALLY fast. They also clean up REALLY fast. Even when my space is trashed, it takes about 30 minutes total for me to give it a super deep cleaning. I used to spend all day, or even 2 days, just trying to keep up with it. The more space my kiddos have, the bigger the mess they make. The less space, the more they play outside and let mama be a clean freak.
- With that, I realize that my kids do not need as many toys as they once had. They have a couple of tubs of toys, and their favorite books- but they play OUTSIDE the majority of the time. Nathan is getting good at imaginative play…which makes my heart happy. I introduced him to something I used to LOVE to do when I was little- build little “fairy” houses. We used rocks, dirt, moss, leaves, etc. and built the cutest little house- complete with driveway and flag pole. Then, he promptly T-rexed it to the ground. But, hey…good times. Noah has become obsessed with rocks, dirt, and dump trucks…and the kid gets PISSED when he can’t be outside getting filthy.
- Quiet time is necessary. Every single day, we force our children to nap/rest. (MEAN PARENTS). The little one sleeps, the big one has to lay down and read. This gives us time to breathe in our tiny home, clean up, lay down, drink a fourth pot of coffee, whatever. I cannot imagine not having an hour or two to hear myself think every day. Also, early bedtimes. Screen time may be limited to driving days for them, but I still have to find out what happens next on my latest binge-watch, and eat my chocolate in peace.
- I never realized how much I took water for granted/payed no attention to our usage. I now know ’round-about how much water we all drink per week, and how much we use for dishes/cleaning/cooking/etc. Having full hookups- meaning we can just plug in to water/electric/sewer at a campground and not conserve makes me appreciate my resources SO much more. (I know, I know…I sound like a tree hugger…fine).
- Toilets that just make it all disappear, forever, are really cool. I say this kinda in jest, but also, having to hook up and dump a black tank (sewage holding tank) every little while makes one very appreciative of piping and septic tanks. Also, with this: our toilet has a foot pedal for flushing, and I pump the ground like an idiot for a while when I encounter any other kind. Muscle memory is a funny thing.
- I don’t need to hide from my life anymore, or at least vary rarely. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to yank my hair out sometimes…and when those times happen, you bet your ass my kids will scream, the dogs will puke, and I’ll hit my head on something and stub my toe and have a momentary urge to burn the entire RV to the ground. Life is still life, even when you’re in different places. I still get stressed…And then, it passes. I look out my window and we are at the beach, or swamp, or in some really cool National Park, or the desert…and I am reminded that maybe I just need to have a glass of wine and CHILL. I don’t feel the constant urge to RUN the way I used to (I guess because I finally did it?). I don’t feel like I can’t breathe anymore. I am more content now than I have been in a very, very long time- despite the occasional stress. It’s like a vice grip was released from my chest the day we made this happen.
- My house MOVES. How cool is that?! I was always stuck to the idea that home is a certain place. That leaving is somehow throwing “home” away. It isn’t. Houses are just houses- they are walls, and rooms, and places where memories are made. The memories are what make them powerful, not the drywall itself. With that being said, home, lately, is truly wherever we park it. It’s my husband, and my boys, and our two fur-babies who shed like they don’t live in a tiny house. It’s whatever we lend it. Home is more about *us* than it is about coordinates.
- We are finding joy in the journey itself. It took us until we hit Texas to stop overthinking. We were trying so hard to make this the “trip of a lifetime” (or whatever), that we were forgetting to just sit back and enjoy the trip. Luckily, we had this epiphany early on. We aren’t getting to hit everything on our list. In fact, we are only hitting a few major attractions. What we are doing, is going off the beaten path a little. All this is, all that this entire trip accomplishes, is getting us to our summer job- where we can spend our days off playing in Yellowstone, or soaking in hotsprings, or spending time with friends closeby. We had to take a step back and realize that this is not about focusing on the next amazing destination, but fully absorbing the here and now. Epiphanies are neat.
So there are my musings thus far… I’m sure there will be more to come as we continue to learn from all of this.
Anyhow, we’ve finally made it through Texas…good Lord that state is HUGE! We are wandering our way through New Mexico, and from here we head North, working our way toward Butte, MT., where we will be for the summer. We now have loose plans for the rest of the trip, which suits me just fine. We will go where we want, and do what we want, until it’s time to get to work.
I’m sure this trip has a lot more in store for us. We’re in the travel part now, but we will soon be living and working on a campground for several months…which will be neat in itself. Who knows what next month (or next year for that matter) has in store for us. I’m okay with that. Right now, I’m enjoying soaking up the sunny and 70s weather, and spending a lot of much needed quality time with my family. I love it thus far…despite the tiny shower, and stubbing my toes all the damned time, I wouldn’t trade any of it back. We get to watch the world go by, from our home, while we dream about what we want to do when we grow up. I have to do a reality check often, and count the many blessings as they come and go. It’s kinda awesome, guys.