We sold our first renovated trailer and bought a new one. All in less than a week. We covered 9 states between driving our first tiny home to the new family in Oklahoma and picking up our second soon to be tiny home in Texas and then bringing it back to California, our home state, where we will renovate it and jump back into fulltime RV living. We get the question a lot, why???
Well first and foremost, we decided that fulltime travel was something we were not yet done with. We were not ready to settle back into a "sticks and bricks" home, join the hustle and bustle of life again when we feel there is still so much to do and see out there. We've been able to maintain this lifestyle financially, so were going to keep on keepin on. Also, we just found our groove! Believe me, this took us some getting used to. The routine of fulltime travel is exhausting, as much as it seems like we are relaxed and without stress, thats so far from the truth. Think about how you feel after taking a vacation. I often say, "I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation!" Especially if you're traveling with kids and/or pets. It's a constant juggling act in a new place all of the time without a break in sight. Thats how the start of fulltime travel feels. It's completely exhausting. On this second half of our travels, we finally felt like we found a groove to it and we were not ready to toss that aside.
Secondly, we had to head back to California, which is our home state, and we thought why not?! I honestly don't think we believed it would all happen so quick and smooth. It literally felt like it all happened with a snap of our fingers. It was so meant to be. We know that without a doubt, now that we look back on it all. In the midst of it all, we were feeling a little crazy. (A lot crazy to be honest). Before we jumped into fulltime travel, Travis had a successful woodworking shop. Lately he's been daydreaming about building something new. When we talked about renovating a new travel trailer, he couldn't get it off his mind. He was anxious at the possibilities and so ready for a new project. Believe me, not working all of the time, a typical 9-5, is not easy. It gets boring at times.
Lastly, we felt like we had done so well with our first renovation, yet there were still a few tweaks we would make to make another year of fulltime travel comfortable. We were looking for a bunkhouse, so all three boys could sleep in one room with a door. We also wanted a larger bathroom with a bathtub. Since we boondock so much more, we are in need of a little more bathroom space. Other than this, our first renovation was fantastic and covered so much of our wants and needs.
So, here we are. 1 week into our new trailer renovation. We purchased a 2007 Jayco Eagle. She is a little older than our last, but 2 feet longer, a slide in the bunkhouse and a larger bathroom. It's everything we needed and the potential she has makes our minds spin. 5 days into her renovation and she's been gutted of everything but the kitchen and storage cabinets. The front room is gone, wall between the front room and living space, flooring, shower walls, vanity and bottom bunk. Couch and dinette are all gone too. To say we have our work cut out for us in an understatement. We also feel super prepared for this renovation, and super excited.
More to come! Follow us each day on Instagram as we share more!
I still cannot believe we pulled it off. Seriously. We pulled it off. 8 days of driving, 4,500miles. We sold our first tiny home and bought another one to renovate and turn into our new tiny home. We are so relieved its done and can't wait to turn it into our tiny living space.
Everything happened so fast. Seriously, SO FAST. We were reminding ourselves that everything happens for a reason, everything will fall into place. Check out how we got to this spot!
Tall house in a big neighborhood, two cars in the driveway, rushing from baseball to soccer to music class, weekends in the backyard, BBQing with neighbors after a day of soccer games, this people, is the American Dream. The attempt to keep up with the Joneses, to have the next big thing, to compare yourself to the person next door and wonder if you have enough, if you're doing enough, if your kids are happy enough and if you look the part and play the part. Make sure you have it together, don't let the world see that you may not. Don't look too stressed, make sure your hair is done, don't get caught in yoga pants if you're not going to yoga. This life, was once my reality as well. Barely getting by in our Southern California home, trying to be a stay at home mom to 3 boys and never feeling like we had enough or were doing enough for our kids. Rushing around each and every day and lying my head down at night, wondering where in the heck each day went. Only to wake up and do it all over again. This people, is that American Dream we are forced to believe. This, was not for me.
After the loss of my first husband in 2011, the idea of time, and things collected, no longer mattered. I struggled with keeping up and at the same time, wanting nothing, just wanting to live each day. I didn't want to miss a single moment with my kids. I didn't want to give up 10 hours a day every weekday to be apart from my now husband. Every day was flying by and I was ending the day completely exhausted. My first husband passed when he was 27. It also was not his choice or his fault. A women made a left hand turn in front of his motorcycle and before I could take a breath, he was gone. I was widowed at 28 with two little boys. That American Dream felt like it crashed the moment the woman turned her car in front of his motorcycle. After losing him, I had many months when I didn't want to live any longer. I just wanted to die right alongside him. Yet each morning, I had two babies that were crawling on me, crying in their beds and needed their mom. The best advice I ever received was another widow who told me, "Your kids already lost their dad, don't let them lose their mom too." This changed things for me. They gave me reason to live. Then Travis came in, and he gave me reason to love. This time, I was going to do it different. The Joneses didn't matter any more, living mattered and living each day was my new goal.
Several years went by and at the moment I considered starting my career as a teacher and as we looked into purchasing a house, when I was rushing my kids around and feeling like life was flying by each and every stressful day, was the moment I jumped at the idea of leaving it all. I had been sucked back into that American Dream and I was spiraling down. Travis and I jokingly talked about moving into our travel trailer and traveling for a year. It didn't stay a joke for long, with a business we could run between traveling, we did it. We sold it all and left. Left the daily grind, left the house on the hillside in a bustling community, left the rush around from the moment we woke to the moment our heads hit the pillow.
Why does this have to be the American Dream? Why do we all have follow suite? Those days of Dad working to provide for the family, coming home to a home cooked meal and kids playing outside is no longer reality for so many. In most homes, especially in Southern California, the only way to get by is to have both parents working which then means your kids are in daycare each day and the weekends are the time you get together, which you end up spending rushing from one place to another. Kids playing outside? As much as we wish the childhood from the 80s was a reality, coming inside when the street lights came on, this is just not how so many neighborhoods function any longer. Is there something called internet fear? If not, I'm creating it. As a mom in the 20th century, the internet has given me mom fear. Fearful of my child being snagged by a stranger, wondering off, crushed by a car, the list goes on and on. My reality of how quickly that can all be gone and how much you would have missed just trying to keep up is real. It's real because I lived it. I lost my husband and felt like I lost it all in a split second. The American Dream was was not for me.
We changed that. We knew the most important thing to us was today and this moment and this time. We may not have a routine, we may not have a 3,000 sq ft house and baseball on the weekends. What we do have is each other. We have experiences and memories we would have never had the opportunity to create. We are grateful for this time and living it while it is still livable.
This also doesn't mean we are irresponsible financially. We have jobs we can work remotely and we go back to photograph weddings in Southern California and all across the U.S. Our work schedule is flexible. We have an endless idea of ways to work and bring in income and we are okay.
We also know one day, we will slow down, pick up a career and settle. Yet, while we are young we are going to keep on keeping. I guess what I'm saying is come June, we are not done. We will keep exploring and continue to grow together as a family. This is our American Dream. It is what you make it.
When we are not out exploring, we are just hanging out. It's time well spent. Random Tuesday afternoon.
It's been a long time coming, but we finally did it. We have created an online gallery for all of Travis' amazing landscape images. We couldn't be more excited about it. Before photography became a business for us, Travis' passion was landscape work. He has an eye behind the camera and I love what he sees. If you don't yet follow his personal instagrams, he's got a few, check them out here at TMwoodworksandmetal as well as his new black and white gallery my_rearviewmirror.
And....here it is ladies and gents. The online gallery. If you love following our travels and love his work as much as I do, we'd love to see these images hanging in your home.
We had such a fun day adventuring in Tombstone, Arizona. The boys of this household are cowboy obsessed. Trenton believes he is truly a cowboy and Travis dreams of being a rancher. We knew this stop was a must! We have childhood friends who live near Tombstone, so they played hookie from school and met up with us, along with Marissa and Nathan from LessJunkMoreJourney, who we've caravanned with for the last few weeks. It was so fun exploring this cowboy town and learning the history behind the real cowboys who once walked these streets. We even saw the historic gun show at the O.K. Corral.
1. Movies, movie and more movies. Just like in a home, when the rain came in California, we jumped at the chance to stay in our pajamas and watch movies all day. Now that we are in a travel trailer, movies can be the best way to kill time. It just so happened, we've enjoyed boondocking a lot more lately, which means we've opted out of hook ups. Thank goodness for the generator.
The last 2 days, we've watched the Emoji movie and Woody Woodpecker on Netflix, Big, Sing, and Planet Earth. It's too bad we saved that one for last. The cinematography was amazing.
2. Make Play Dough! (Recipe Below). This has been our 3 year olds favorite activity. It's entertained him for hours and he carries the bag with him everywhere, all within 350 sq ft.
3. Card Games. We've recently become hooked on Phase 10, and yes we are keeping score. And, if you're wondering, I am currently leading.
4. Science Kits! The boys get subscriptions to Groovy Box which are prepared science experiments for kids. Although this is all a part of home schooling, they enjoy them so much that it's almost just play to them.
5. Bake! I love to bake when it's raining. Now, if I had the space to really get down, I would. Being in a small space, I'm limited to the amount of food and baking machines I can keep around. I've enjoyed finding the Red Mill Muffin mix, which actually, is really hard to come across. I always check for it. It's a gluten free muffin mix that you use and add your own ingredients to. Like blueberries or carrots or bananas. They kids love them and I enjoy mixing up the flavors each time. (Seriously tho, if anyone comes across it, send it my way!)
6. Draw. Jake is our artist. This kid blows me away with some of his art he creates. He has several drawing books and on rainy day, this is his go to! We also recently got an Oslo. If his iPad is charged, this is always something fun to get out.
7. Move the island (that is in the center of our trailer) and have a dance party. Actually, it's been more like a The Greatest Showman soundtrack sing along party. Anyone else as obsessed as we are? Currently counting the days until this movie is on DVD.
8. iPad activities. As a family, we have several favorite iPad apps we use as a family. One would be YouTube. We love going back and watching our old videos from the last 8 months of travel. We also have so many science channels we enjoy watching. GoNoodle is also a fun app that is great to help get kids energy out in a small space.
9. Tent building. We obviously don't have a lot of space for this, which means that when tents are built, the entire trailer becomes a tent. This has only recently happened once, but it was fun to see how excited this made the kids.
10. Books on Audio. We've recently enjoyed listening to the book Wonder on audio. I knew this was one I wanted to read with the boys before seeing the movie. We've never done this before, but it has been so incredibly bonding and soothing for us all at the end of the day. Trenton usually falls asleep on me within minutes of the audio starting, but once its on, we are all engaged. I often stop it, we talk a little about whats happening, especially if I feel the boys are becoming distracted. (Spoiler alert) Tonight, Bryce cried when they put their dog down. He got up, needed a hug and then said he needed to go outside to see our dogs, in the rain, at 9pm. We will continue books on audio for sure.
There you have it! Whether you're stuck in 350 sq. ft on a rainy day like we are, or 5,000 sq. ft, you can still find things to do, together, to get you through it with your hair all in your head. After the rain lets up, ditch the kids and get a Starbucks. You did it.
I always hated when it rained at our California home and the kids were cooped up inside. We called this cabin fever and we all felt like we were on top of one another as we attempted to entertain ourselves. Californians don't function well in rain, I'll admit it. Having to toss our flip-flops and sandals aside for boots, Uggs (which are not waterproof), or something called shoes with socks....no thank you! Jackets? What's that?! You mean to tell me a hoodie can still get me wet? Ugh, forget it, we're inside for the day because rain stops our world when you live in California. In California, rain doesn't typically last for more than a day, so a day inside, manageable.
I now look back at this thought of cabin fever and laugh. Like seriously (is that Californiaian enough for you?), I laugh. We are now living in 350sq ft of living space. Cabin fever has a whole new meaning. We've had very few times where it has rained all day, forcing us to stay inside all day. What the heck do we do on these days? How do we not lose our minds? This mama gets creative. Yesterday, we made play doh. (Instructions are below). Luckily I had everything we needed and I made three batches. We staying in our pajamas all day yesterday too. Without a washer and dryer in our home, it helped not wasting another pair of clothes just to sit around in. We ran the generator most of the day and watched movies. My mom recently mailed us the movie Big, and the kids loved it. We colored and the boys even got free range on their iPads. WhAT? iPads all day? Yep! That's how we survive each other. Travis took Trenton with him for a grocery store run so that gave them a break. I did some homeschooling with the big boys and we made due. Today, we spent half the day home, cooking breakfast, watching more movies, schoolwork and such. A much needed break was taken when we went to explore Las Cruces in the rain. There are 4 museums in town that are completely free, so we killed time walking around two of them. I then found a kid play area we paid to go to. It was more run down than I had anticipated, not worth the $17 we paid for 2 kids to play, but they sure enjoyed themselves, so I guess overall, it was worth it for an hour of time killed.
Rainy days in a trailer are just like rainy days in a house. Mom gets creative to keep little minds busy and we attempt tp enjoy each other company, we are just stuck in 350sq ft of living space. Sounds crazy, but its doable. Seriously, it is.