Originally posted as the final entry on our blog The Rolling Homestead (Sept. 24, 2015)
Earlier this year, when we made the brave decision to leave apartment life behind and travel full-time in a 22-foot camping trailer named Scotty, we never expected to find ourselves back to “normal” so soon. We envisioned lazy mornings reading books over coffee, days filled with adventure and exploration, and evenings roasting marshmallows by a campfire, as we leisurely traversed the US from Florida to California.
That vision was short-lived. During the 3 months that we lived in our camper, we tackled all manner of problems while I continued to work my full-time job. Flat tires, electrical failures, a busted sewage cart, a fridge that was only cold at the top, ants in the cabinets, spiders in the shower, mosquito bites, squirrels hiding nuts in the air conditioner, and a touchy hot-water heater…were just a few of the things that became a part of our daily life. Our “big dream” quickly became less about adventure and more about just trying to survive each day without incident.
Shortly after our budget meeting in August, we sat down to really talk about what we wanted out of life and whether living in a camper was accomplishing that. When we went back to our original goal (save money on living expenses and put that savings toward travel), it was easy to see that we were taking the most complicated route to achieve it. But even still, we weren’t ready to give up. We felt like a tipping point was sure to come and we’d surely coast into better times.
That tipping point did come – in New Orleans – when midway through our tent camping trip, with my tired body covered in sweat and bug bites, I had a complete meltdown. Why were we sleeping in a tent in the height of summer in what could easily pass for the nastiest place in America? Because we couldn’t travel in our travel trailer! For all the hard work and money we had already put into her, Scotty just wasn’t ever going to make it out of Tennessee.
I have no regrets about our misadventure (except perhaps New Orleans) and I truly believe the lessons learned were necessary ones. At some point, I’ll probably reflect on what those lessons were but for now, we’re busy moving forward. We have rented a small apartment (475 sq. feet) in my hometown. It is near my mom. It is also near my sister and her family, which includes my amazing 12-year-old nephew, my niece and her brand new baby girl. Our apartment is an area undergoing gentrification so our neighbors are a mix of interesting characters, some good, some not so much.
A tiny apartment, a crew of oddball neighbors, a reconnected family, and two very weary travelers trying to live the simple life amongst the chaos…yep, that sounds like the beginnings of a new adventure to me!