A quiet morning

01 As the sky begins to lighten, I think about the way the last half of 2016 has gone for many of us. And I think about myself, too.

There were days, weeks even, when I thought that I’d give up my dreams of heading out onto the highways and visiting with all the people I’ve come to know over the years. I could feel myself giving up home of actually being able to make this into a reality anytime soon. After all, my failing health, slow sales, and so many other things were adding to the weight that I was carrying and it all felt to be too much.

That’s not true, though. There are more and more days when I know that I’ll be standing in the Acadia National Park or the Tonto National Monument Park, and I’ll be able to share those adventures with all of you. There are even more days when I remember how many people believe in me and those thoughts life me out of my doubt more than anything.

Today is Christmas and I am wondering where I’ll be next year. Will I be with the kids? Will I be on a mountain or a desert mesa? Will I have lights in the RV? So many unknowns out there and all of them with the potential for adventure and joy and wonder.

I wish you all the very best for the remainder of this year, and the best blessings possible for the next.

Destination

02Throughout the month I have been thinking about my chosen word for this year (Apparate) and how I can apply it to each day. This past week, I’ve chosen to focus solely on the Destination. In the simplest terms, I think about how the things I do each day would be handled in such a small space. In what ways would I conserve water even more than I do now? Would I prepare food differently? What about washing dishes? Clothes? Planting veggies?

Right now, as many of us do, I rinse my dishes after use then wash them when I have a day’s worth. I wash them in a small Rubbermaid bin and rinse them under running water. That’s a lot of water, even if I have it just above a trickle, but I’m not entirely comfortable rinsing them in a second tub of clean water because I know that the water will be more soapy as I rinse the last dish. I do know that I could collect the rinse water and use it for watering my plants, but that’s still only a tiny solution since I don’t water daily. Since the water will have a trace of dish soap, it wouldn’t be a good medium for dyeing yarn, either. Washing clothes? Perhaps.

I’m still using the laundry room here, but also have a bucket and (new) plunger for when I wash my non-work clothes and my hand-knit socks. I also have a Laundry Alternative Spin Dryer and that really makes a huge difference in the length of drying time. For the most part, I’m fine with washing my clothing by hand (except the work clothes), so I think that part is set.

I’ve also been spending some time reading articles and watching videos on various repairs that might be needed. Replacing a roof is certainly not something that I want to do, but I know that I would be able to. That goes for a lot of other repairs that could come up. This is one area that I am forever grateful to my parents because they involved me in household and vehicle repairs.

As I continue to set money aside and build up stock for the shops, I also think about the people I’ll be visiting. There are so many out there who I want to sit down with and talk about whatever comes up, knit a few rows, spin a couple ounces, or whatever else we feel like doing. There are some who have shown support and faith in me throughout the years and I am looking forward to hugging them in person and telling them how very important they are to me. While seeing the country is a great thing, it is the people who will make this all the more amazing.

Apparition

 

20110430202858!Snape_Apparate

 

“One must be completely determined to reach one’s destination, and move without haste, but with deliberation.”

~J.K. Rowling

As the year finally comes to an end, I can’t help but to look around and see how far I’ve come as well as how far I have to go. And the thoughts become a chaotic tangle of threads while I sit here. My morning has been filled with the clearing of projects that will be the final fundraiser items (not counting the striping yarn club since that is ongoing), making notes of what must still be culled from my possessions, and how to organize my life and shops so that they run more smoothly. During the last couple weeks, one word has continued to ring in my heart and I’ve decided that it will be the word of the year for me.

Apparate. Yes, it’s a made up word by one of my favorite people, but it also symbolizes everything I have planned. “According to Wilkie Twycross, Ministry of Magic official and Apparition Instructor, one has but to recall The Three D’s: Destination, Determination and Deliberation.” (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling)

Let’s break that down by pieces, shall we?

Destination: I know the destination may seem a bit hazy, but it’s really not. My destination is to buy a used home on wheels (a motor home is the best choice for my intents) that doesn’t need a lot of repairs and to travel around to visit my loved ones and the people who have become great friends through Ravelry and Facebook. Part of that Destination is the attend fiber shows and festivals, to stop in coffee shops and knit with my customers and others who I call ‘fiberly’ (which is a combination of fiber+family), and to see places that I’ve never had the chance to see or only barely remember from childhood. Part of the Destination is to share pictures of dyeing yarn out in the woods or deserts or plains, blogging about the walks I take in the wild and the inspiration that stems from that, and to bring you all with me so that you can share this adventure. Part of the Destination includes teaching the new puppy (who will be adopted shortly before I leave, I hope) various tricks and good manners, perhaps allowing the cats to come outside on harnesses, and to do all the things I need to do to remain healthy (I am still striving to avoid any cardiovascular surgeries). The Destination includes moving every couple weeks to a new location fewer than 300 miles from the old location. For example, I might be in Sandusky, Ohio for the winter holidays then travel to Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia for a couple weeks. The Destination is fluid, but also certain.

Determination: I will admit that some of my Determination faded during this last couple of months when the work schedule became one of stress and pressure. Longer days of physical activity wore me out and left me needing so much more sleep than I thought possible. Arriving at work at 2 o’clock in the morning and staying there until around 10:30 put a strain on my physical reserves that I’d not thought possible. Adding the hours at home trying to keep the shops from folding increased that strain. And so, the determination faltered just a bit. Now, however, I can see that I really need to stay focused and clear on my Destination. The Determination has increased ten-fold and I have tightened my budget, planned out some changes for the shops, and am letting go of more things that will have no place in that Destination. I’ve mapped out a daily schedule that will allow me time at the ‘day job’ as well as give me plenty of time to work on the shops, physical movement (I’m focusing on yoga right now since it’s gentle), and still give me a full night of sleep.

Deliberation: Now comes the harder part. So many of my decisions have been mostly on a whim and with little forethought. Granted, many of those worked out for the best (like starting to dye yarn), but a few of them caused me to land face first in the mud and having trouble getting back up (like moving to Asheville). But I must move forward.

According to Merriam Webster:

definition of deliberation
1: the act of deliberating
2 : a discussion and consideration by a group of persons (as a jury or legislature) of the reasons for and against a measure
3: the quality or state of being deliberate

I am currently in the third definition of being deliberate. Every decision I make must be a deliberate one. Do I buy this coffee pot or that one? Should I replace the toaster oven now when they are on sale or wait until it breaks down? Will this dresser really work or should I think about simple shelves for my clothing and business supplies? Even things as small as which earrings I’m wearing that day has become deliberate since it causes me to think about the jewelry I still own but haven’t worn in years. Will I take it with me or cull it along with the countless t-shirts I still have in the drawers?

When it’s time for me to take that big step of making the purchase of an RV, I want to be sure that I’ve planned everything I need to plan and avoid any possibility of splinching (for those unfamiliar with that term please go here). While a mild ‘splinch’ could be something as small as not realizing that the sink needs a new faucet, it could also be as huge as the entire roof leaks and will cost hundreds of dollars to repair.  And so, my Deliberation must be thorough.

As the sunlight begins to make its way to my windows, I want you all to know that I am looking forward to meeting as many of you as I can.

A Big Step Forward

Yesterday I opened The Raven’s Cauldron! I’ll admit that I was pretty worried about several things, but I can’t exactly figure out why. I’ve asked myself if it was the fear of not making any sales or maybe that no one would like the shop or that I would just lose the passion for it. These are all silly worries, really. I think, for the most part, it was simply that it’s new and that’s always a little scary. With that opening, I will be building toward the motor home a little bit faster. Of course, a portion of the money needs to be put back into the shop for additional supplies and new items, but the rest? That will go straight into my savings account. Along with any other “extra money” I get.

Blessed SolsticeThis has been a strange month so far. As I continue to clear out things that haven’t been used or even touched since we got to Asheville, I can’t help think about the “why” behind their disuse as well as why they were purchased in the first place. Some of the things I am letting go of are simply not needed anymore. Like the stacks of books that are now sitting on my bedroom floor waiting to leave the house (these are going to be donated). Or the other stack of books in my living room that are waiting to be mailed out to their new homes. Or all the kitchen stuff that came out of the cabinets and are now in a box for donation. I haven’t even started on the closets yet.

With the new emptiness and open spaces, it’s hard to imagine that I still need to clear out more to fit into the new home. Even with the clever organization and storage under the vehicle, I know that I need to be very careful with what will come with me simply because I know that the bigger items (spinning wheel, skein winder, swifts) will take up a lot of floorspace. Along with all the business supplies.

sigh

In the middle of all of this, I’m working very hard to keep the tears from my eyes whenever I think about Brianna leaving in February. That is so close! Even though I’ve “prepared” myself for this throughout the years, having it glaring at me in the near future makes it seem all too real. I think it was easier when Anthony left home because I still had Brianna so it wasn’t a complete shock. I truly will have an empty Morrigan’s Nest. Perhaps that’s part of the reason that having a traveling nest is so appealing. And maybe this is why I look at my Yule tree with just a touch of sadness even while it brings a smile to my face.

May you all have a fantastic holiday season!

🎇

Fear of the unknown

As I continue going through my days and looking at how I use things around my house as well as how often I use them, I keep checking out the other blogs about traveling. Andy Baird, for example, has dozens of wonderful ideas to keep your travel plans running smoothly. (His page, his pinterest.) For the most part, I am still looking at this as a financial decision, but I’m also trying to focus on the adventure part of it. Visiting with friends, seeing places I’ve never gotten to see, revisiting places that I love… all of these are part of the glamorous side of it. But, being an Earth creature (Virgo through and through), I can’t help but focus on the responsibility of it all. How will I make sure I have enough food stocked up? Will I be able to fix the minor things that might break down? What are the best roads to travel? What am I missing with all this planning?

I felt the first real fear a couple weeks ago about all of this. Not fear that I’ll be on the road alone (that has crossed my mind, but I believe I will have that as covered as I can), not even fear that I’ll end up feeling lonely at times. No, this was a fear that I will not be able to stay warm enough in the winter. While I do plan to knit, crochet, and weave as many wool rugs as I can and I do plan to add more insulation to the interior, what if that’s not enough? I read about how people recommend the space heaters since they are actually more efficient than the heaters that come installed and it makes me think about how much electricity I’ll be using. Many of the blogs that I read talk about staying in the RV parks during the winter and using the power there. But that wasn’t part of my plan. My plan was to remain as off-grid as I possibly can. And so the fear set in. What if I can’t stay warm enough through the night? What if the cats get sick? What if the motor won’t start and I’ve got crappy cell phone reception? What if? What if? What if?

And, even though some of this is terrifying and there is a part of me that wants to cling to the instability of the current life I’m living, I know that I have to go forward. I have to swallow that fear and acknowledge how sour it tastes now so that, when I make it through my first winter, when I wake one morning to the first signs of spring, when the sunshine comes streaming through the window, I will taste the sweetness of that success. Or, if worse comes to worst, I will taste the grit of determination to do better the following winter and I will have learned what to avoid.

In the meantime, as I sit in my nicely heated apartment with my hand-knit wool socks keeping my feet warm, I will continue to downsize the things I rarely use and I’ll keep doing what I can to think of any potential issues that might arise. And I’ll knit. 🙂

drinksIn the picture you can see the “drink station” in my house. The blue water jug is filled from the filter attached to the kitchen sink and we fill it daily so that water is a little easier to get to (especially when the sink is full of yarn soaking in Eucalan). The electric teakettle is used several times a day for a variety of drinks or cooking and when it finally boils its last liter, I will be very sad. The French press gets used every two days and is relatively new to me (I have found that I don’t like the extra “graininess” of the coffee). The teapot gets used whenever I know that I want more than one cup of coffee and I generally use it with a mesh ball. And, of course, one of my favorite mugs (it holds 16oz and has sunflowers!).

So… which of these items really need to come with me? Which ones can I find new homes for? Counter space will be very limited, of course, so I have to think along those lines. But I still have plenty of time to figure it all out.

I hope you are all having a beautiful day!

Simple preparations

I gave away seven pots of plants yesterday. No, not plants of pot. I had seven flowerpots full of plants that now have a new home. I chose very carefully which ones I’ll keep for myself and gave away the rest. A very cool young woman (J) came by and picked up the mini-orange tree, pineapple plant, ficus & evergreen trees, several African violets, the spider plants, and several cuttings from the cereus and Christmas cactus. J will be creating a terrarium with these plants to fill a large spot in her home. What I have left are the coffee plant, the original Christmas cactus and cereus, peppermint, and all the mini orchids and air plants. Eventually the orchids will be mounted in a wall hanging (most likely cork) so that they can happily decorate the spaces in the motor home. I’ll be rearranging the air plants pretty soon and they will stay on the driftwood that was a gift from a friend and the cholla branches my dad sent to me.

8395151770_f12e177e24_z (1) Why did I choose to rehome the ones I did? Well, the pineapple and miniature orange have sharp bits that might not be great in small spaces and the cats nibble on the other plants unless I keep them on a high shelf. In such a small space, I really don’t think that will work well. I’ll admit that it was oddly refreshing to see all that empty space in my room. I know that I will eventually buy a few more plants, but I’ll be very careful about the choosing. It will most likely be herbs and such, but that’s about it.

I measured out a space in the apartment that sort of represents the interior of a 30 foot RV and, since it’s mostly empty, it seems really big. I know that, once I move the yarn equipment over and rearrange a few things, the space will seem very small, but at least I’ll have a visual now.

I’m in the process of making a lot of cool items for the new shop and I’ve decided that a large portion of the profits will go toward the cost of the motor home. I’ll buy more supplies, of course, and add new items to the shop, but the sooner I can locate and purchase the RV, the sooner I can start renovating it so that I can move in. The renovations won’t be easy, but I don’t think they’ll be too difficult, either. A small list of what I plan to do is:

  • remove almost all the furniture (table, couch & chairs, beds)
  • possibly add more/larger windows
  • add a stronger fan for the stove exhaust (the dye pots tend to get really steamy)
  • build shelves & extra cabinets
  • figure out how to mount the skein winder & swift (I’ll only bring one of each on the road)
  • mount the warping board (I use that to make the striping yarn)
  • figure a safe way to secure the spinning wheel (possibly velcro straps on one wall)
  • install hooks to hang the yarn rack for drying
  • add a work table for making the candles and such
  • mount the embroidery machine (possibly not, since it might be better to put it away while I use the table)
  • mount a spool rack (with elastic bands to keep the spools from bouncing off while on the road)
  • install a twin futon (I assume that I need to secure it to the floor) and the drawers underneath
  • possibly add a shelf that runs the length of the RV for the cats to run around on
  • install a cat tree (secured to floor & ceiling) with extra scratch surfaces
  • install the water filter & distiller (so I can even use creek water)
  • install solar panels
  • paint the whole interior

This is just a small list so far. I’ll still need to figure out a safe place for the yarns & dyes, the supplies for the embroidery, supplies for candle making, and all the other business stuff such as shipping bags/boxes, labels, printer and all that. When I write it all out, it seems a little daunting, but I believe I can do it.

For now, I’ll just keep paring down the household items and decide which ones will go into storage and which ones will come with me. Eventually I’ll settle down, I think, and I’ll want some of the things that I won’t be taking with me. For example, all the photo albums & kids’ things. I figure that a storage unit somewhere in the middle section of the country would be best since I could reach it relatively easily (in case the winder breaks and I need the other one or something like that).

I’m also reading several full-time RVer blogs and learning all that I can about being on the road. Postal mail, insurance, taxes on the stuff I sell (that alone almost stopped me from doing this), and so much more. At this point, I’ll take almost any suggestions and information so that I’m more prepared once I actually hit the road.

I feel almost as if I’m putting more energy into this than I need to at this point, but the ideas are popping into my head almost every moment. And that is a really good thing.

To travel is to take a journey into yourself. ~ Danny Kaye

And so it begins…

Sunlight through the branches Hello, and welcome to the beginnings of my journey. I am Shayla and I look forward to sharing this with you. There may be long periods of time before a new post comes about, but that is mainly because the beginning sometimes doesn’t have a lot of action. I hope you understand.

Several years ago I had this idea to buy a motor home and travel around the country, selling my herbal salve to tattoo shops and health food stores, homeschooling my kids on the road, and generally traveling around to wherever the wind took us. I was in a relationship at the time and I knew that it wouldn’t work out so I stayed where I was. I set the dream of traveling aside because it just didn’t seem to fit into my life.

Here I am, nearly seven years later and I still want to hit the road. There are so many new events that have happened since that long ago dream and they have all led to the time when I can say that I’m going forward with it.

My children are now grown (Anthony) and nearly grown (Brianna) and I will be living alone for the first time in my life. It’s exhilarating and a little unnerving all at the same time. There is a freedom that I’ve never had the chance to experience until now. At first, I only shared this with a very small number of people and was actually afraid to share it publicly. Silly, right? Nevertheless, I had a fear that people would be negative about my news and would try to talk me out of it. It finally occurred to me that this was my dream and no one had the power to take it from me except, of course, me.

I invested in an embroidery machine to help bring more sales into the business and I’ll be opening a new shop in December. The new shop will have a variety of embroidered goods, candles, crystals, and much more. My goal is to make enough with the two shops to cover the cost of keeping them open and to be able to travel to the places where my customers live and visit with them. I think it would really be wonderful to sit down with them and knit while chatting away with them. And, I promise not to overstay.

So… now I’m saving for an RV. Not anything fancy, but an older model that I can remove all the furniture and renovate it to suit my needs (yarn business, embroidery machine, supplies, cats, open floor space, bold colors). The main idea is to get it renovated and move into an RV park (I found one that is close to work and pretty cheap) and keep working where I am until I have a sizable chunk for emergencies in my savings account. Then hit the road and start meeting with my customers, attending fiber shows, and all kinds of other stuff. I’d mostly stay in National parks and such since they are free (it’s called “boondocking”) and I’m planning to get a solar setup for the electricity and a water filter that will allow me to use water from creeks & rivers. I’d incorporate my current kitchen filter, too, so that my drinking water is double-clean. I’ve been looking into rocket stoves and other items that will make the yarn-dyeing easier and more efficient and I’m happy to say that there will be a lot of ways to cut the energy usage.

Right now I’m in the waiting period. I need to save up enough to cover the cost of the motor home and some of the renovations I’ll be needing. I think, if I’m super careful, that I can have enough money in 9-12 months. That seems like such a long time right now, but I’ll be doing all that I can to bring in more money to reach that first goal.

I know that this won’t be easy. At the same time, there will be compensations that will make up for the challenges. Meeting with people I’ve only known through Ravelry or Facebook, attending fiber shows, seeing the country, and meeting with other people who live in their motor homes full time, all of these add up to a potentially wonderful experience. And I look forward to each step of it.