That’s Not a RV, That’s a House!

Just for fun, we went to a RV show on Saturday. It was a gloomy day anyway and the event was being held indoors, so we thought it might be a nice way to pass the morning. In 2015, we casually strolled through a similar show in Florida and had a great time looking at all of the unique camping vehicles on display, from tiny Teardrops to respectable size motorhomes, and everything in between. The Middle Tennessee RV Show was not at all like that. Instead, I thought we landed in the RV version of Nashville’s Parade of Homes (and paid $10 apiece to get there!).

It took a minute for us to switch gears upon entering the show. We had halfway expected the Universe to answer our recurring question of “should we give full-time RVing a try again” by presenting us with the perfect vehicle – solar powered, decent storage, queen-sized bed, modest bathroom, and plenty of space for the cat; all compacted into something the size of a cargo van. Instead, the Universe smacked us in the face with reality. These weren’t your average recreational vehicles or even wannabe tiny houses. These were penthouse apartments on wheels!

I can honestly say, I’ve never seen such luxury in a recreational vehicle in all my life. There were travel trailers with media rooms to seat 8 people comfortable in leather recliners. There were 5th wheels with slide-out kitchens the size of our bedroom. One even had a 6’ x 8’ granite kitchen island and an oversize side-by-side refrigerator freezer (stainless steel, in case you were wondering). More than one trailer had 4 televisions. Several had fireplaces. And one even had a garage. Yes, a garage beneath the master bedroom that would hold a golf cart or quite possibly our Chevy Spark.

After adjusting our expectations, we had a great time pretending we were rich. We sat in the media rooms. We sprawled across the beds. We opened the refrigerators and imagined them filled with food. We flicked on fireplaces. We walked into the walk-in closets. We turned on the TV in the outdoor kitchen and grabbed a pretend soda from the mini-fridge.

How cute is this??

On the way out, just on the outskirts of the show, we saw something that really didn’t fit with the rest of the offerings. It was so small, we thought it might actually be a pet camper. Nope, it was a travel trailer called the E-Pro 12RK. It was so cute! Totally impractical for full-time living but absolutely adorable nonetheless. It’s basically a bed and a kitchen. We wanted to get a better look at it without attracting a salesman but that’s didn’t happen. Mr. Salesman gave us his standard pitch – how it only weighs 1,200 pounds and can be towed by anything and is the perfect entry-level camper for folks who are new to camping.

We both spontaneous burst into laughter. We’ve slept in a 2-man tent with a dog and a cat while crossing the country from Denver to Tampa. We’ve held down a dome tent, from the inside, in a Florida windstorm. We’ve gone to sleep with it 70 degrees outside, only to wake up with icicles inside our tent the next morning. We’ve shared accommodations with lizards, ants, flies, and mosquitoes in a vintage travel trailer named Scotty. We’ve gotten locked in a KOA Kamping Kabin. And once we even spent the night curled up in our Spark. And those are just the fun times. I think we could teach Intro to Camping.

When we left the RV show, we went to the nearest park for a picnic lunch. We sat alone in our little tiny car contemplating the future and again pondering the question of road-tripping in a RV. Maybe someday, we concluded, just not right now and that’s okay. There are plenty of other adventures we have yet to try before returning to something we have. As we sat there dreaming aloud and passing a bowl of grapes back and forth, I couldn’t help but think about the simpler things in life – the grapes, the picnic, the fun we had playing make-believe at the RV show, and I realized, how very little it takes to be truly happy.

Food Waste Update

This was a huge week for food rescue. We happened by the store when they were tossing out spiral sliced hams and oranges by the bag full. We took home 3 hams to distribute to families in need and 69 oranges. 

  • Wasted Food this week: 0 ounces
  • Total Wasted Food in 2018: 38 ounces
  • Rescued Food this week:  85.22 US pounds
  • Total Food Rescued this year:  184.39 US pounds

Keep up with our food finds in real time by viewing our Food Find Gallery.

The Habit of Forming Habits

Almost all my life I was in the habit of thinking that habits were bad. When my parents talked about habits, the conversation usually tended toward smoking, nail-biting, drinking too many sodas, or some other something that one of us was doing that we weren’t supposed to. For a long time I would even cringe when someone mentioned their “habits”. Habits were simply things that needed to change but you knew they never would.

Then something shifted. Several years ago I read a quote in a book by Dan Miller that said that the first hour is the “rudder of the day” and that whatever you do in that hour sets the tone for the rest of the day. I thought that was awesome and for a few days, I paid close attention to how I spent that first hour. Before long though, life got in the way and every day got started differently. Some were good starts but most were not. To fix that, I needed to create something that would last. I needed to start a habit.

With rare exception, for the past (almost) five years, our days have started the exact same way, no matter what the day and no matter how much work we have to do later on. We get out of bed, open the blinds to greet the world, feed the cat, sit down with a cup of coffee, and read a book. Call it habit, call it routine, call it whatever you want but trust me, it really does work to help us start the day in a more mellow, mindful way.

Since January is the month we traditionally make New Year’s Resolutions, I decided now was a good time to take a closer look at creating other good habits. There’s a lot of science behind the formation of habits. I won’t bore you with those details but basically, all habits – good or bad – are formed in the same way. A reminder (or cue) alerts the brain to perform an action (or routine) in order to receive a reward. My alarm goes off every morning at 7 AM (the cue), telling my brain to activate our morning sequence (the routine). I get out of bed, look outside, hear the cat purring for breakfast and the water boiling in the kitchen, and I know that in a few minutes I’ll be nestled in my nook on the couch sipping coffee and reading my latest book choice (the reward).

Forming habits sounds easy enough when you think about it that way but getting the brain on board is harder than it seems…especially when the reward is not so instantaneous. As someone who has made and broken New Year’s resolutions all in the same week before, I can attest to the fact that forming good habits is hard. Every year, I resolve to keep a journal and every December I look back at a lovely notebook full of blank pages after March. This past year, I did a little better job. I made it through August with actual entries in my bullet journal before dropping down to simply logging how far we walked and whether we ate meat that day. To form good habits, some of us need a little help and in the age of technology, there really is an app for that.

My 2018 habits on HabitShare.

I recently saw a post on Instagram for an app called HabitShare. Its a habit tracking app that allows you to connect with friends for extra accountability. Angie and I signed up and each entered the habits we wanted to create (or continue) in 2018. By connecting with one another, we receive notifications of when one of us completes an action within our chosen habit. The app itself will remind you to check in too, which is good when you’re trying to create a new habit of logging your habits. I’m not sure how well I like the app yet since it has only been a week but so far I find it pretty straightforward and easy to use.

Another app that I just reincorporated into my repertoire is Diaro, an online journal that syncs across multiple platforms. I installed it on my phone, my Kindle, and my laptop so that I can journal wherever I may be. Like HabitShare, it also sends me a reminder when I haven’t journalled for the day. I’ve used Diaro off and on for a few years and I really like it. You can create different layouts for your journal or even have several different types of journals. You can also add photos to your posts. I’m not sure if Diaro allows sharing though. Personally, I don’t want to share my journal with the world so I’ve never checked for that feature.

Along with the “Better Me” habits listed above, we also want to get in the habit of doing a few things toward creating a “Better World”, like remembering to always use our cloth grocery bags and produce sacks, taking our own cup and straw to restaurants, and buying local whenever possible.

What about you? Are you starting any new habits this year? Continuing any old ones that really work well? We’d love to hear your habit story.