Back in November when we were itching to get out of Ohio but couldn’t due to the motorhome set backs, we decided to book a New Year’s Eve trip to Arizona because we weren’t sure we’d make it back out here this year. (Luckily we have, and as I sit typing I’m listening to the desert wind howl around our new, tiny Rpod trailer).
We had an AMAZING first time in Arizona. I love when a trip goes better than expected and even better than you’d planned for. We had free flights from points on Southwest and then we snagged a Black Friday deal for half off rooms at the Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale, which is an adorable little spot. Highly recommend both Scottsdale and the hotel. We were basically the only people there for 4 days of solitude at their colorful pool in the sun. But before we headed to the city, we spent some time in the mountains. The mountains of Sedona were incredibly beautiful. We had literally my favorite every Airbnb in Cottonwood/Camp Verde area and never wanted to leave.
Where we went: Lost Dutchman State Park- hiked the Siphon Draw to the Flatiron Summit and man was it wicked. Wicked hard and wicked awesome. Highly recommend. Apache Trail Scenic Drive- Awesome, quiet sunset drive through some beautiful mountains and canyons. Would definitely go back. Jerome– Drove through Jerome, a sweet little (haunted) mountain town on a hill. We didn’t stop but wished afterwards that we did. Doe Mountain- This hike in Sedona was a favorite, after a fairly short switchback climb we had great views from the top of a table that was big enough to explore on it’s own for the day! Watson Lake- in Prescott was a great way to spend a day. The hike was athletic and the views were awesome. Secret Slickrock Trail– We did a sunset hike at Secret Slickrock on New Years eve to ring in the new year in the mountains, it was EXACTLY what we needed to get reset our intentions for the new year.
I could continue writing but I’ll stop and just show you the photos! They don’t do it justice but neither does my writing…just go.
So…where to start the story of our love inside 150 square feet. My mind first goes back to the early days when we were kids, Justin in his twenties about to graduate college and me at 18 about to start college. We fell in love over long talks at work where we met about our big dreams. We compared and agreed on all the amazing things we knew we were destined for in our then separate lives. Justin’s dream of working for Disney as an animator and mine of being an artist, teacher and photographer then seemed so far off. Like the entire world was in front of us, but it wasn’t long before we only saw each other when we thought of our own future. And just that was enough to make us happy forever.
We had a whirlwind romance and looking back now, it’s been that way for fourteen years. We were like debris in a tornado, swirling with force around each other, but with more direction. Like bees, then. They probably have more of a plan than debris. Anyway, we fell in love…hard and we’ve had whirlwind adventures, big dreams and crazy plans every day since.
The plan to live tiny came after a road trip. Rewind a bit, I read a book called The New American Road Trip Mixtape by Brenden Leonard (Semi Rad). I had a bad case of wanderlust and I thought the book might satisfy the craving. It did. It also sparked an idea. The idea turned plan to head all the way west from our driveway with only the essentials in the Jeep, for three weeks. That’s what changed everything.
We came home and knew that life in our beautiful (1500 square foot) home that we loved, in a town that we didn’t love wasn’t what we wanted. In 2014 we started learning about minimalism and purging and living tiny. By April 2017 we moved into our newly renovated motorhome after a long, hard renovation project and get-out-of-debt lifestyle.
Since then, we’ve experienced set back after set back. You can read all about those on this blog. Basically, pick out any well-laid plan and you can bet your ass it didn’t go accordingly. We’ve had expense after expense, major repairs, so many delays, safety and healthy concerns…it’s been a hectic year but if I’m being honest, I don’t think I would trade it for anything. I definitely wouldn’t trade it for the “normal” life we used to have. We used to live paycheck to paycheck, collecting credit card debt just to live ‘comfortably’. We didn’t know any better, really. We didn’t know that life could be different than what we were used to but we were determined as hell to find out. Having each other to lean on is really all that got us this far.
Living in 150 square feet, with six cats, in my parents backyard, while sharing a car isn’t easy. It can be insanely frustrating at times but when we can look at the dreams realized and the goals accomplished, we feel so proud of our tiny, simple life. We’ve cut out so much of what wasn’t working for us and are still working towards making time and space for all the things that bring us joy.
I’m supposed to be talking about how our relationship has changed living in the camper. Let me get back on track. First of all, we’ve always been happy, we like each other…a lot. To claim that our marriage or our life is perfect would be a complete lie. For every gut-throbbing wonderful moment we share in love, we also share a deeply rooted difference of opinion or perspective. We argue, we get overwhelmed, we cry. We don’t always treat each other with enough love or respect as we should. That said, living in a house with no walls between us has made us completely aware of each other, all the time. Something we try to acknowledge with a mindfulness that brings us closer emotionally. We were never a ‘go to bed angry’ or ‘slamming doors’ kind of couple, though on occasion we have blowout matches that usually involve me throwing something (a pack of hot dogs) at Justin’s face or punching something (like a moron) and yelling…but those usually end quickly with a bout of hysterical laughter. We fight because we love each other, because we care enough to fight. The fights haven’t gotten worse in a small space, they’ve been fewer and more hilarious.
We’ve always been the ‘always together’ type, we do everything together so the day to day in a small space really wasn’t a tough transition. Over the last year we’ve worked out the minor kinks and run our home like a well-oiled machine because we make a great team, hence why we own a business together. But we argue…and Justin still leaves his socks in the middle of the floor…and I still avoid the dishes…that’s just normal life with a spouse. The best part about living in a small space is that we’re always together even if we’re doing different things. The VERY best part about living tiny is that we are able to realize so many of our shared dreams and goals. We are able to travel, live stress-free financially, spend more time with family, work less, have a flexible schedule, take on creative projects…all of which makes us incredibly happy and extremely thankful.
I wish I had more mushy, romantic stuff to say about our love and how it’s been affected by living in a camper but the truth is we just live it, day in and day out. We let ourselves feel all of the good, all of the bad and we continue on in this journey because it means everything to us. Just that alone, that we are that connected, that in sync is everything I ever dreamed of in a marriage.
As always, we are happy to answer your questions and we would love to hear your stories! Thanks for reading!
Love, Mallory & Justin