"Once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can't go back to being normal; you can't go back to the meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time." -Donald Miller
Category: Getting Started
Experiences and tips for getting started with the RV life
We are exhausted and still haven’t had a chance to relax yet as we are doing errands and organizing the 5th wheel but we wanted to update everyone on what’s going on in our life. Mainly, we want you to know we are still alive.
It’s hard going off the grid. The last few months we have looked at every single possession and item in our house and decided if they are garbage, good will, or storage. We rented a 10×10 storage unit for things we couldn’t get rid of like food storage, photos, old hard drives, and Legos. Our Legos happen to be one of our prized possessions. It’s harder emotionally than one would think to pare down your possessions. It’s also hard physically to transport everything you own to storage, good will, or the dump. It’s especially hard when you drop the piano you sold to your neighbors on your ankle while moving it the week before launch. Don’t worry about me, I’m OK.
Friday, our friends Jason and Sally did a going away party for us in our neighborhood. We were able to see a lot of our close friends. We love our neighbors and friends. We will miss them dearly as we travel. Some people have asked, if we love it so much where we live, then why are we leaving. The best answer I have is that we are following what we believe we have been inspired to do. It is hard to leave the comfort of where we live and a good job but it is also good to do hard things in life. I have a feeling that doing hard things is going to become a common theme for us on this adventure.
After staying up until 2 AM on Friday getting our house ready for our renters, we hooked up our truck to the motor home for the first time. We were too busy to take the 5th wheel on any practice runs and we didn’t get a truck with the hitch on it until 2 days before launch. I will post a clip of our first hookup in the near future. Let’s just say that I was so nervous about hooking the truck up, that I left it in drive when I got out to check if I was lined up correctly. FYI, when you leave trucks in drive, and then hop out of them, they tend to drive off by themselves. I had to chase the truck down and jump in. This led to a large decline in the confidence I had that we will survive this trip.
We took the fifth wheel to a nearby church in order to practice driving it around. I felt like something was sketchy with the wheels on the trailer so I took it back through our neighborhood to have our friend Rich look at it. He verified that we there was nothing wrong and that I was paranoid. Paranoia might end up being another common theme for our trip. Within 2 hours of leaving our home we were back in the neighborhood and we had some errands to run. We were so tired from the week of preparing to go that we left our fifth wheel there and swam at our neighbors Jason and Sally’s until 4. More on our first camp experience tomorrow.
“What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there somewhere.” (Inception Motion Picture)
Have you seen the movie Inception? If not, go watch it and then come back and finish this article. In the movie a group of men try to infiltrate a man’s dream in order to plant an idea that will influence him to do things when he is awake. There is a question throughout the movie regarding whether or not it is possible to plant an idea in someone’s mind that influences them. I believe it is possible. I did this to myself.
This is my story of inception.
Eight years ago I left a job at a stable company for a higher paying job at a less established company. I felt like the opportunities of the new company were worth the risk. They had never had layoffs and they seemed to have a lot of growth potential. Once I had completed five months at my job, layoffs began. I felt like I was going to be let go since I was one of the newest employees.
The insane workings of my panicked mind came up with a plan that I shared with my beautiful bride. If I were to lose my job, we would sell everything we owned and go on a cross-country trip. My partially insane wife agreed, and we were comforted by our dream of the freedom of the road as layoffs continued.
The economy turned around and my job seemed to gain some stability. We no longer had a need for a backup plan. The dream of living on the road was repressed and only appeared in that time between wakefulness and sleep. I would fall asleep with a smirk on my face as I thought about what might have been.
Over the years, the dream of the freedom of the road burrowed through my brain. I could feel a tickle or a pull at times when we would go on a road trip, but I was never fully aware of what was happening in my subconscious. The rhythm of the tire on the asphalt and the calming sounds of small town talk radio as we drifted over an open prairie seemed to awaken a part of my soul, only to recede when I would return to the normal life.
Last December we felt like we were going to have a big change in our lives. That change is self-imposed. We are going on the road. We love our home and our neighborhood. I have a good job, and we love the many friends we have here in Utah. We didn’t want to leave but we had planted an idea in our own heads. That idea grew like it had a life of its own. Now we have our house up for sale, and we own a fifth wheel. We are saying good-bye to stability and security and saying hello to adventure. An idea had taken hold in our head, and it had become impossible to eradicate it.
Wednesday we listed our house on the market. I had a lot of anxiety wrapped up in that step for so many reasons. Pushing the button to list our house, was a huge milestone. It kind of felt like there was no going back at that point. This meant that we were going to have to announce our plans and I was worried about the things people might think of us. It meant that I had to keep the house clean EVERY SECOND OF THE DAY. We were supposed to list it a week earlier, but I kept finding excuses not to. I finally realized that I had to take that leap of faith and just do it.
Sooooo….We are officially on the market, and it feels good, it feels right, and I feel silly for being nervous about it. We had to let people know about our plans and I’ve been surprised and humbled by the response of our family, friends, and neighbors. We feel extremely blessed to feel so loved and supported.
Here are a few pictures of our home that we have loved for 5 years. The home we anxiously awaited and had to live in a tiny little apartment for 5 months for. The home that we have put our blood, sweat, tears, and a lot of money into to make it ours.
Ok, maybe they are known for 2 things; Images like this one, and for fixing your plumbing. They are NOT generally known for being blabber mouths. Well ours was! We have kept our plans a secret because Michael would like to keep his job until our house goes under contract. It could put him in jeopardy of losing his job earlier than we wish, or put him in an awkward situation at work if they find out he is going to be quitting soon. So, we haven’t told anyone about our plans except for close family AND the plumber. Don’t ask me why I told the plumber, I guess I thought it didn’t matter, that he doesn’t know me. Who is he going to tell? Our next door neighbor, that’s who. A few weeks after he did work for us, he did work for them and asked if we had moved yet. OOPS. The word is leaking out, thanks to a leaky mouthed plumber.
We have searched, debated, and prayed about what we should travel with. A motorhome is part of the American Dream. When we had Lola (a class C motorhome), I loved that we could lounge around, eat, sleep, work, and pee all while driving. I loved seeing this amazing country pass by as I fixed my kids a sandwich and then sat down to read to them. As we looked at motorhomes vs. 5th wheels in our price range, it was obvious that you can get so much more in a 5th wheel for the same price. The kids HATED the idea of a 5th wheel until we saw this beast:
2013 Jayco Seismic 3712 Toy Hauler
It was love at first sight, it was meant to be, we knew he was ours. It is a Toy Hauler, meaning the back actually folds down to make a ramp, and there is a back “garage” area where you can park toys like ATV’s and bikes and stuff. We liked it because it offered a separate “room” for the kids and 2 queen bunks for the kids to sleep on. If we had gone with a motorhome, we were going to have kids sleeping on couches and possibly the floor.
We put the cart before the horse and are looking for the right truck to tow this bad boy. So for now, he sits at the dealership. To Michael’s dismay, I can’t wait to get my hands on him and add some flare to him.
Every good story has conflict, it does! Just think about your favorite story. Without conflict, the story is pretty flat and boring, you don’t even need a “villain” (think of Joker in Batman, the evil step-mother in Cinderella, or Swiper in Dora) in order to create conflict. A lot of times conflict can arise from positive values that conflict. Take the Bennet girls from Pride and Prejudice, they value marriage, love, and wealth. These are all good values that can conflict if they fall in love with and marry someone without wealth, or marry someone with wealth they don’t love. There are many other types of conflict, but in any story, the conflict causes the protagonist to grow, learn, and become a better person in the end. Here are our 2 different story lines, which one would make for a better story? Which one will cause greater growth in the protagonists?
Story Line A:
We continue on the path that we are on, a comfortable house, comfortable jobs, comfortable neighborhood, drifting through a life of comfort, ease, and predictability. We have the ability to serve the limited number of people we come in contact with. We rarely step out of our comfort zone and fulfill our potential.
Story Line B:
We leave the comfort zone by selling and donating all that is comfortable to us. Instead of finding stability in drifting through familiarity day-to-day, we find stability in ourselves, who we are and what we stand for. We interact with countless people with the potential to make a bigger difference in the world. We rely on God to direct us where to go and who to serve.
Story A is a MUCH more comfortable story line, but it doesn’t create much conflict or opportunity for the protagonist to grow and change. It isn’t an interesting story.
Story B is scary! YIKES! Sometimes I can’t believe we are choosing to throw ourselves into this conflict. But, by the end of the story, there is potential for a greater reward, and more growth in our family.
I’m not a snob when it comes to most things, or really anything. EXCEPT when it comes to my water. I’m pretty particular about the taste, smell, temperature, container, and look of the water that I drink. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to turn up my nose if someone offers me a drink of water in a container that I don’t like, or water that is at an undesirable temperature for me, but I may not drink much of it.
I didn’t realize what a water snob I was until we moved to a home with terrible water, and I just about completely stopped drinking water. This kind of caused some issues since I don’t drink juice, milk, soda, coffee, tea etc. I’m a water drinker.
You may be asking, “How does she like her water?” Well, I like it to not have a taste or a smell for starters, unless of course I’ve added essential oils to it. As for the temperature, I like it tepid. It’s the only way I can drink it fast and without getting a brain freeze. You really can’t guzzle cold water. I like it to be in glass, because I think it tastes better (I already admitted I’m a snob on this, so yes I’m aware that I’m picky) And how should it look? No color to it and NO floaties!
Since we will be drinking all sorts of funky water on our trip, I wanted to make sure I didn’t die of self-induced dehydration. The first purchase for the motorhome that we do not have YET is a Berkey Water Filter. Isn’t she a beauty?