Over the last few years, there have been human interest news stories about families displaced by unemployment, bad weather, or other tragic circumstances. These stories tell of how these families scrape together what moneys they can, sell their most prized possessions, give away their family pets, pack a few clothes and some toiletries, and begin living full time in an RV. These families are almost always traveling, talking about how tight money is, and they almost always make it sound like a feat to cram all of the children into the RV for a meal, let alone full time life.
Inevitably, someone knows somebody, who knows somebody to whom this situation happened. They also know somebody who lived in an RV in college, in order to save on rent, because beer was expensive when drank by the case.
Then, there is the older couple, or perhaps the widow or widower, who want to make their retirement stretch because they are in good health. They may also want to visit with children, grandchildren, or siblings, now that they are no longer tethered to a ten mile radius of their job.
These are all folks who traditionally live full time in an RV. Society expects it of them. No one bats an eye lash or holds their breath for just a second when Grandpa says he’ll be taking his new girlfriend to Vegas or New England by way of the open road. No one asks the traveling missionary if his family is comfortable in the RV, as he is setting up a backyard Bible Study, or feeding soup to the homeless.
All of that said, when we were in the process of packing, purging, and prepping for Full Time RV Life, the first question on everyone’s tongue was, “But what about your boys,” as they tried to hide the horror and worry for our well being that was clearly passing through their minds and over their faces. As if something must be wrong, that we would want to leave an extremely spacious home with two family rooms, a huge back yard, three bedrooms, a garage, and a workshop. (When we first moved in, it was more space than we could furnish! Then, it was more space than I could keep clean.)
Nearly everyone we told about our goal to go FT was stricken momentarily dumb, then asked, “But why? Where are you going?” Well, let me explain, for those of you that I do want to share our lives with:
Once upon a time, we wanted to move to Brunswick very badly. It consumed all of our discussions. It went something like, “Hey, we should move… but how would we eat? Obviously, someone’s gotta get a job. Where would we live? But, we really wanna do it.” So, to the figurative drawing board we went. First, we thought we could live in the Mobile home on the property we wanted to live on. No go. Nature had taken it over, and it was no longer inhabitable. Second, we decided that we should make a “tiny house” in the old washroom that was separated from the house. It had a good foundation, and a great tin roof that didn’t leak. At first, we thought this was something we could work with. So, we began ripping out the old interior, and cleaning out the decade old appliances that hadn’t been used since I was a kid. I posted pictures to this blog, even, of some of the work. You see, I grew up in Brunswick, and wanted desperately to get back there. However, as we were doing the work, we realized that it was going to be a losing battle against nature. The wood we put up for a ceiling and wall boards warped due to the humidity. The bunk beds are still just as good as they were when MacGyverAsawa built them, but we quickly realized that these beds took up nearly 2/3rds of the house. We realized that storage for necessary things (clothing, dishes, toys for the kids, etc.) was nearly nonexistent. As I scoured the internet, looking for ideas, I ran across a YouTube video that spoke of tiny houses, and Rvs. From that, a new solution was born.
~~Note: on property, we have a pump for water, but no heater or electricity. We’ve worked out a way to power the pump, for camping purposes. In the past, we filled sink, tub, pots, storage containers, a big blue barrel… Just to have water for when the fuel ran out of our generator. It wasn’t good for drinking, because it would sit stagnant and open to the air, but it was great for cleaning, washing dishes, hands, and laundry. Now back to your regularly scheduled program~~
We spent two years searching for a way we could do this. We looked at Rvs online, and watched videos of how other folks built their own from the ground up, or from buses, or renovated really old Rvs. Turns out, it takes a LOT of money to buy one of those things!
We got our financial ducks in a row. MacGyverAsawa inquired at the bank, and found out the amount we could get. We had been watching an RV in a church parking lot for nearly a year before we actually looked at it. It was another eight months before we decided that would be the one we’d buy.
Once we purchased it, at a steep discount to the asking price (yeah, we can rock some negotiations), we couldn’t wait to move in. So we did! Right there in our driveway. And the rest is just routine stuffs. As I said before: packing, storing, and giving away. Then there was the 3.5 weeks in Mom’s driveway, while we finished up everything with the house we were renting.
That’s the HOW, now for the WHY.
Anyone who knows me just a little bit, knows that I enjoy deviating from the well trodden path. In middle school, it was polk-a-dots with stripes because someone had made fun of my clothes (I didn’t wear Tommy Hilfiger). I thought to myself, ‘Oh, they’re offended by my no name jeans and shirt? Well, wait ’til they get a load of THIS!’ In high school, it was Abstinence and Poetry Club, because the crowd was playing sports and trying to see just how many commandments they could break in twenty four hours. Was I a good kid? Yeah. A little sheltered? Sure. The fact still remains that I did what I could to go against the grain… That included my rebellion. At that point, everyone else was talking down about their folks, and getting wasted at parties. I didn’t see the point in doing what they were doing, because I wanted a different result. I wanted to go some place my peers didn’t. (Note: I did eventually behave that way, but it was as a legal adult… I didn’t skip it all together, but I postponed it until I could make those decisions with an informed conscience. Whiiich makes it all the dumber. But that’s got nothing to do with Rvs.)
My husband has always been an original thinker, from what family says (SUPER smart). He’s one who believes that anything easy to get isn’t worth having, and anything worth having isn’t easy to get. (While I admire his dedication to this thought process, I often disagree with his methods. That’s another post.)
So, basically, there’s the two of us who either thought we could build a better mouse trap, or we weren’t interested in mouse traps at all.
We found ourselves working to keep a house clean, working to pay bills, working to have space to hold all our stuff… We were working FOR our stuff. What was our stuff doing for us? The dishwasher didn’t– Oh, never mind about the dishwasher. I kinda miss it, and the washing machine, and ice maker.– The TV didn’t run out to get a gallon of milk when we were out, and the extra family room didn’t make us happy. Matter of fact, that extra family room gave us more space… to be apart. I can’t tell you how many times our Saturday afternoons looked like this:
Mom on the computer in the office area of the family room, one kid watching Netflix in the game room, one kid playing with cars in his bedroom, and a father doing something entirely different outside. (cutting grass? Working on a car? Making noise with power tools so I’d leave him alone???)
Where was our stuff? In closets, above the garage, under the bed, tucked away under the bathroom sink, sitting around collecting dust. Then, when it came time to clean it, we would end up exhausted and frustrated. We didn’t do anything with most of it! We just moved it around! We saved some things for a rainy day, like baby clothes and toys, car parts MacGyverAsawa purchased, so he could take them apart and see how they worked… because he wanted to build a better one. When we were moving, I realized I had things in storage at his sister’s home, my mother’s home, and in the home I was living in. Yet, when we packed the RV, I noticed it was not all going to fit. Still, without it all, we survive. We’re happy in the RV.
In the mean time, I think we’ve worked around to, “we don’t need to go to Brunswick, but it’s an option. Now that there’s the RV, where do we want to go?.. Where does God Want us to go?” What do you do when you don’t know what to do? In our case, we’re organizing (because there are still some ducks that just don’t want to stand in that straight line), and we wait… But we’re also DREAMING.
This is already an extremely long post, so I won’t get into anything else right now. I will say:
Happy Trails, to you and yours, until we meet once more.