Closing in on summer

Kitties01I sit here this morning with the windows wide open, my toes a little chilled, and hot coffee in my hand. Can it really be that we are entering the second week of June? I check out the upcoming forecast and I see that the temperatures are rising into the nineties in the next day or so. Yep, summer is here and the air conditioners will be running full blast while the fans do their best to keep the air moving in this apartment. Its layout isn’t conducive to staying cool with only one a/c unit running, unfortunately. Still, if I can keep my room below seventy-six degrees at night, I’ll be okay.

This leads me to thinking about life in a motor home. I’ll be using solar power nearly exclusively, so how will I keep everything cool enough? I can deal with the heat better than some, but what about my cats? Parking in the shade will only help so much. Using a misting system like I had in Phoenix would likely cause too much humidity inside (leading to mold or mildew) unless I’m in a very dry climate. I asked Ms. Google what she thought and was happy to find so many ideas and tricks. I’m hoping that some of them work well enough to help the kitties stay cool during the warmer parts of our journey.

In the meantime, I’m playing around with solar methods of cooking and dyeing yarn, looking around at the things I still have and wondering how much I can cull before I buy the motor home, and trying to decide if a dog is really what I want. I love the idea of having a walking buddy and another critter to love, but is it a smart move right now? Until I can decide that, I won’t be getting one. I’m also working out a different way of dealing with the cat box. I don’t want to spend $15 every month on litter, but I know that I haven’t got the patience to teach my cats to use the toilet (though, that might change once we’re out there in the woods). The last stuff I tried didn’t work well, but I have more hopes for the pea gravel that I’m using now. Whatever I use must be non-porous for ease in cleaning, but also small enough and light enough that the cats are okay using it and I’m okay picking it up (litter boxes are heavy, in case you didn’t already know that).

Having my appendix removed recently has set me back a little in my walking/running and yoga. Certain movements still cause a bit of pain near the incision, but I can feel each day that the healing is going well. The silver lining is that this happened while I was still in a place where someone could take care of the cats and that I was able to get to the hospital quickly.  My kids were great in taking care of everything from cleaning the cat box to walking me up the stairs.

As I look toward the upcoming tomorrows, I can’t help but think of how many adventures I’ll be having and how many people I’ll be meeting. It’s daunting and exhilarating all at the same time. I am a hermit, after all! But it will be fun to see you all when I reach your part of the country. For now, I’m sending you love and light.

Sadness and Sunshine

I’m going to say the first part swiftly and without elaboration. I think it will make it easier.

Aurora died at the beginning of April. Her health had declined rapidly and, even though I knew it was coming, it hit me really, really hard.

There. I did it. Yes, it’s been over a month, but I miss her terribly most days. She brought so much laughter to my life and there were so many things that I did because of her that every day has been an effort not to cry. Everything from announcing that I’m “doing foil” so that she could go hide (she was afraid of the sound) to the immediate purry-meow whenever I opened a bag of cheese… all of these things I now do without my blue-eyed sweetheart. I have never had a more loving animal in all of my life and I think I’ll miss her for a very long time.

01In other news, Ofelia is completely recovered from her spaying surgery and has even been taking naps with the other cats. She has her favorite toy and, while she will occasionally play with something else, she gets a little sad when she can’t find the purple mouse. Usually it’s found under a table or a blanket because that’s where she put it and promptly forgot. We shaved most of Lyra’s fur recently to help her stay cool during the hotter days and she seems a lot more comfortable. She still “bosses” us around if we’re up past our normal bedtimes, but mostly she seems to be enjoying her golden years (she’s now 12). Serephina has been sleeping by my side lately instead of at my knees and I can’t help but wonder if it’s her way of letting me know that she cares about me.

Plans for the motor home are coming along nicely. I’m hesitant to say much about it right now since things have gone awry in the past, but I’ve been researching solar panels, battery banks, water filters, solar ovens, and so much more. There have been days when my brain is so crammed with the numbers of amp hours, watts, battery percentage, sun percentage, and how they all mesh together to give me a semi-comfortable existence that I can imagine the numbers oozing out of my ears. But, it’s all stuff I need to know before I connect everything up.

I’ve been able to start walking again and have been able to keep my goal of one mile per day with 2 days break. This morning I slowly ran one hundred meters. I know that it doesn’t seem like very much and, compared to a 5k or a marathon, it’s just a drop in the bucket. But it’s a start. I’ve brought most of my health issues under control, though there is still the prospect of surgery, but I’ll cross that bridge when I’ve no other options. The good thing is that I’m back on my feet. And I intend to stay there, even though there are regular naps along the way.

It’s beautiful most mornings and I’m able to step out onto the porch and watch the sun rise. There is a slight scent of rosemary and lavender from the plants I have out there and I usually run my fingers through the leaves to make the scent stronger before I head back inside to start my workday. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to figure out how to take them with me when I leave, even though I know that neither of them like living in pots.

I’d like to write more, but I also want to knit a little today and I’ve not been able to just yet. So, I’ll sign off and send out lots of love to you all.

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.


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.

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.