Well, I finally got it going! My fundraising campaign is up and running and I’ll be adding more perks by the middle of next week. If you get a chance, come check it out and share it with your friends. Every little bit helps and you’d get some pretty cool items in exchange.
I have nearly all my stuff in the living room now as I prepare for moving day. It feels strange to know that the next place I call “home” will be temporary but, in a way, they always are.
This corner, in my 850 square feet apartment, contains almost everything that I’ll be taking with me. I wrote a little about it on my personal blog, but that still doesn’t convey the enormity of it. You see, for just a little while, I looked at that corner and my heart felt a bit crushed to know that all my possessions could fit into such a small space. The thought of “when I die” came to mind and it was a bitter laugh that escaped me when I thought about how easily my children could distribute my things. Oh, I know, that is a morbid thought, but death comes to us all and I’ve been well aware of that since my kids were very young. But in the next breath, I looked at that corner and realized that I won’t have a hard time fitting it all into a small motor home after all. Yes, I’ll still need to stay organized, but it will fit!
I also shared my thoughts with some friends and, as they usually do, they reminded me that this is a wonderful affirmation of my choices. These growing pains are necessary to get me to the place I need to be. Now, when I look at this corner, I see all the wonderful things that I have. You see, almost all of this “stuff” is there for a reason and I carefully chose these things while preparing for a life on the road. My spinning wheel, hand-painted by Sally at YorkieSlave Artworks and paid for by several dear friends so that it would arrive by my birthday a few years ago, always brings a smile to my day when I look at it. That chair was found at a thrift shop and has held my kids, the daycare kids, the cats, and a puppy – it’s also perfect to sit in cross-legged and knit. The rack with all the hangers is what I use to hang some of the skeins while I’m getting them prepared for shipment. The guitar was a gift from my dad and will get played a lot more. The walking stick was from an oak tree that had to be cut down (the roots were too close to the house) and I was able to smooth it and keep it for myself. So you see, these things are a wealth of awesomeness and love.
There was once a time in my life when these steps would have frozen me in fear of the unknown, but…last week, when I was talking to another friend (who plans to hit the road in another month or so) we were talking about the change from, “I just want to have roots,” that I used to say so frequently, to this desire to be in a different place every couple weeks. Without thought, “My roots are inside me,” popped out of my mouth. “Exactly!” she said to me, and I knew that was a truth that I’d not been able to recognize before.
I should have everything moved over by Thursday evening, except a change of clothes, cleaning supplies, and the cats. But that’s only because I’ll be sleeping at the apartment one more night so I can wake and clean before the walk-through. After that, I plan to arrange the new place as close to a motor home as I can, then relax for the weekend while soothing the cats.
I will have more news about the fundraising event soon! There are going to be some amazing things listed for you to choose from and I really look forward to getting it started. Who knows? Maybe I’ll actually be ready to hit the road by next summer.
Even though my progress through the house-cleaning has been slow lately, I can see more clear spaces and organization. I even find myself annoyed when I leave fabric or yarn where it shouldn’t be (which will be a great thing once I’m in a tiny space). I’ve gotten a few bins here and there and have been figuring out what items will go into them, thinking about how many toiletries I’ll really need, and even whittling down my cleaning supplies (which wasn’t a huge amount to begin with). I think I figured out how I’ll still make my own laundry soap on the road, but I still have to try it out to make sure it will work and I’ve been messing around with some cleaning techniques to see what works best, keeping in mind how small a space I will be in. I’ve also been taking pretty hard looks at all the things I have and really pushing myself to choose what is important. That Barbie that I got for my thirteenth birthday didn’t make the cut. The moccasins that Brianna wore when she first started walking are definitely staying. Some items are now in a box because, even though they’ve been packed away for years, I still can’t decide whether or not to get rid of them. I’ll open the box every few weeks until I decide.
In the meantime, plans to move to Leicester are still on the menu. As Brianna clears out her room in preparation to move back to Ohio, I do my best not to give her things just so that I don’t have them anymore. She has some basics for setting up a home of her own (even though she will be rooming with a friend until she gets her own place), but no more than I gave to Anthony when he set up his own place. A few pans & pots, some bake-ware, and miscellaneous things. And yet, I find myself wanting to give her more, just like when I wanted to give more to Anthony.
I watched TINY: A Story About Living Small the other night and it brought up feelings of wanting my own land again. And reminded me that I have had a few moments over the last couple of weeks when I thought about how crazy my plan seems. There will be so many things that I have wanted over the years and they will be pushed off even longer. Like a tiny house that I built myself and a garden with veggies & herbs. Granted, I can still grow these things in pots while I’m on the road (as long as I secure them while I’m driving), but it’s not quite the same as walking out your door and sipping tea while you enjoy the growing things around you. Some things won’t do well in flowerpots, either, like snowdrops, so I can’t have them. Would it be worth it to throw the plan out the window, then? Should I stay where I am instead? Should I just forget about all of this and settle down somewhere?
I thought pretty hard about it and the answer is no. I know that I will have days when I’m questioning my decision again and again. I know that I may have some regrets about living such an uncertain life. After all, my element is Earth, not Air. But… I really don’t see any other way to see the people I want to visit and to visit the places I want to see. And, for the first time in my life, I’m making choices that don’t involve someone else. My kids are grown and my responsibilities at this point are to my cats and my customers. And I believe good things will come of this choice.
And, as strange as it seems, I’m looking forward to seeing just how tiny a budget I can live on. I’m also looking forward to dyeing yarn over an outdoor fire in the middle of the woods or under the desert sky. I’m looking forward to visiting with my family (finally) and meeting all the people I haven’t met yet. Am I worried about things? You bet! But I’m also doing what I can to be prepared for it all.
Lately, I’ve been taking a very hard look at how I use the things around my house and realizing that some of them are just not going to work in an RV. My French press, for example. To those who’ve never used one, you add fresh grounds to the carafe, pour in some boiled water, then let it steep for a bit. Stir the grounds, then use the plunger to press the grounds to the bottom, leaving the drinkable part at the top. The problem that I see with this is that I need to rinse it each time I use it, unlike a coffeepot where I just lift out the filter. Since water will be limited, this won’t work well, especially since I can’t use the rinse-water for anything else. So, I may have to buy a coffeepot in the next several months. I’m hoping that, if that’s what I do, I can find one of the small ones or a percolating kind (stainless steel not aluminum). I did think of giving up coffee, but it’s become such a ritualistic part of my morning that I’m not sure I’d be able to. We’ll see.
Conversations with a friend have left me longing for the desert in a way that grows stronger each time we talk about the southwest. The thunderstorms, the heat, the open land… it all calls out to me. I look at pictures of places I’ve been and wish that I could fly myself to the valleys and hillsides and lay under a Palo Verde tree, looking up at the blue sky. Or wander a dry creek bed, looking for tumbled stones and flakes of mica. I know it will take me a while to get back that direction, but I am really looking forward to it.
As I empty out the house of things I no longer use, it strikes me as odd that I’ve kept some of this stuff for so long. old dressers, bags of clothing, knick-knacks, and so much more. Even the toolboxes that were given to me are long gone as well as most of the tools. I am keeping the ones that I use the most, but I have no use for things like a level (one tube has no oil left) or 3 pipe wrenches. I’m not even going to buy a toolbox for the ones I’ve kept since they will likely end up in a drawer or one of the storage compartments. I’ll decide later.
Oh! I found a new place to live. It’s not ready to go right now, but I’ll be moving to Leicester at the end of May (sooner, if I can get everything worked out, but I’m not holding my breath on that). It’s a sweet little community and the owner is such a cool woman. The first time I saw her she was wearing the coolest bohemian pants, had beads in her hair, and a ready smile. She and her husband have all kinds of animals: goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats… and probably more that I didn’t see that day. She showed me the lot that I’d be living on and it’s perfect! Lots of early morning sunshine with trees to block the afternoon heat (deciduous, so there will still be sun in the winter), no need for yard work, and a nice, long driveway where I can park the RV when I get it. She told me about a community garden they will be starting once an abandoned barn comes down and I think I will definitely take part in that, if it’s started soon enough. If not, I’ll try to grow a few tomatoes & cucumbers along the south side of the lot.Oh, the place is also $200 less per month than I’m paying now, which will give me more flexibility in renovating the RV and such. That is a huge bonus.
I did buy a new camera recently, but I’ve not had much time to learn about it and to figure out how to use all the options on it. As soon as I can, though, I’ll be sitting down with it and the manual and playing with the different settings. My zoom capabilities range from 18mm-55mm and 70mm-300mm and it will be nice to try them out, too. Yes, I realize that there is a bit in between that I won’t have covered, but I’ll figure that out along the way. After all, I do still have the point & shoot camera that I’ve been using for the yarn pictures, and I’ll have my phone, too.
I’ve been working on some of the ideas for a GoFundMe or IndieGogo account and I’m just about ready to launch that. Self-striping yarn club, embroidered items, and much more will be part of the perks of the donations. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun! And, of course, help raise a little more money for any repairs and such needed for the motor home. Since I already have quite a bit put away, this will be the boost to get me out there, visiting customers & friends, even sooner.
Now that the issue with Brianna’s school has been settled, it’s time to focus again on my plans as well as work on a few projects I have going. One of those projects is a story of my childhood that I intend to share with my dad since he didn’t know me while I was growing up. While I’m typing away on this memory or that, it occurred to me that I can visit some of these places once I’m on the road. Not all of them, of course, but some. And so, I spent some time looking over Google maps in an attempt at locating a few places.
Mancos, Colorado was pretty easy to find and, if I go there, I’m pretty sure I’d be able to find my way from the school to the apartment building we lived in (if it’s still standing). Valentine, Texas is so small that I could probably drive on every street in just a few minutes, but I wouldn’t really know what places to look for (I think I’m going to have to ask a few family members about that one). Van Horn, Texas, of course, will be pretty easy to find and I’d have my dad to show me around the place and point out important spots. Luray, Tennessee is going to be a little more challenging since all the street names got changed about twenty years ago. Even so, it’s possible that if I went to the general store (or the library) and asked a few questions, that someone might remember where Mr. McCall lived and maybe even guide me to the right road.
It’s exciting to think about things like this and knowing that I’ll be there, taking pictures and writing about it, and sharing it with you all. Between the childhood memories, the friends I’ve been wanting to meet, and the various fiber shows and such, I will have a lot to share.
In the meantime, I’m still downsizing everything and making hard decisions about what I want to bring with me and what will be left behind. I’m getting closer and closer to having everything I own fit into only one room in the apartment. Granted, it’s still spread out between the various rooms, but as I clear out more items I can see how they will fit into place once I’m ready. Business equipment, clothing, trinkets, and various keepsakes are all being culled and then culled again. It’s a freeing process that has helped me to take a hard look at myself and the person I have been over the years as well as the person I want to become in the future.
There is a part of me that longs to head out right now. To get myself onto the open road and just see where it takes me. I still don’t have a specific plan for the route I’ll be taking, but that will be part of the fun. I know, though, that I need to plan this out carefully. Not the direction and route, but the RV and the renovation. I need to make sure that the things I bring are really necessary and that the things I leave behind are really not going to be missed.
For now, I hope that you are all having a good day and that you are all feeling warm and safe.
It took me close to 30 years to fully appreciate and love who I am. At 41 years old, I really am excited that today we are celebrating International Woman’s Day. Sure, I get it, there seems to be a day where we are nationally and universally recognizing everything under the sun, but in reality, isn’t that what life is all about? To celebrate? To live? We become so involved in our own realities that we forget to stop for a moment and think what we’re doing all this for. So, I truly believe days like this were created to help us stop, think, and celebrate. Today, I celebrate being a woman.
As my friend Beth in California said yesterday, she described herself as this: “I am the eternal dreamer. I dream big and never give up on my dreams. I made California happen, I can make any dream happen…”
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This morning I woke to a wonder-filled world covered in snow. It was so quiet that I could hear the snowflakes landing on the ground. I stood on my doorstep a moment to take it all in. Off to the right, in the distance, I could hear a cardinal beginning the first song of the day. Slightly off to the left and closer, a mourning dove quietly chimed in. No one else had stepped outside yet and the snow was pristine and sparkling and I was so enchanted by it, that I hardly breathed for a little bit.
I couldn’t help but think about how mornings like this will be out in the woods. When I truly am the only person around for miles. I think it will be amazing. As will the storms coming across the Sonoran Desert. Or the breeze whispering through the forest trees. I look forward to it all.
Things have been a little hectic around the house, still, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief when we get past this week. Until then, I hope you all have had a wonderful morning!