One Year – A look back

Currently, I’m huddled next to our trailer in the Arizona desert, next to Saddle Mountain, trying to find shade and a breeze. In a few weeks we will wake up somewhere on the road on our one year anniversary of moving into our motorhome…you remember, the one we spent a year gutting and renovating and then couldn’t bring out west. Yea… that one.

I’m sad we won’t get to wake up someplace epic in the bunk of our old, big girl on the anniversary. I’m also sad she didn’t get to come on this adventure with us. But if we’re all friends here, I can say that we haven’t missed that much as we’ve been traveling. The trailer, it’s ease and simplicity, it’s newness has made this trip easier than we had ever imagined it could be. Nonetheless, she’s a part of our family, that big girl…and we miss her.

Since I don’t have any new photos of her to share on the anniversary of our move-in, I thought a look back at her renovation days would suffice as tribute to our 365 days spent together.

Looking back, the year went surprisingly quick and was devoid of issue as far as living in a small space goes. We are both surprised at how effortlessly we adjusted to the new tasks and routines of living in a camper, even if stationary. We managed to transition the business, the cats and ourselves mostly seamlessly. Our savings is finally starting to reflect the lifestyle changes we’ve made and truthfully, that’s not even the best part.

In a year we have saved nearly $20,000 in home ownership expenses alone. That’s not including the savings of living more consciously, sharing a car and just generally buying less. We had some unexpected expenses this year that surely offset our projected savings a bit, but we’re able to recoup more quickly after unexpected issues now than we were before. The savings and the growing financial freedom are things we are proud of, but they’re not the only reason for our choices.

The best part of living in the camper is that by choosing to do so, we have begun to place value on different things than we used to. Because we don’t need as much money to live, we can work less and spend more time at home/traveling/doing creative things; things that we never had time for when we had full time jobs, a house and an ever-growing list of social activities.

Now, with a new mindset and this altered lifestyle, our energy goes into things that bring us joy instead of being bound to the responsibilities that used to fill our free time. The mindfulness we now have opens a physical and a mental space where we find intention and meaning in our thoughts, our activities and our goals. We’ve really grown, as individuals and in our marriage. Often in a spat, I’ll complain that we aren’t on the same page but really, we’ve never been more together as individuals chasing our own dreams!

To some people we know, this first year may have seemed like the trial-run that didn’t go as planned. It may have seemed like a lot of mistakes or bad decisions that led to nowhere but we don’t think of it that way at all. This lifestyle may seem…ok, it probably seems “crazy” or weird to most everyone. To some, it may seem like we’re avoiding something or that we’re wasting our precious time, squandering our chances at a ‘good’ life, one that looks good to everyone, with the fancy cars and the big house and the expensive clothes and jewelry, etc, etc, etc. Some might even think less of us; think we’re poor or struggling. And that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

One thing I know for sure after this year of living in 150 square feet; without a mortgage payment; without a laundry list of bills to pay; without a pile of debt and numbered days off to enjoy my life…is that this lifestyle isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t have to be. It’s a way of life we chose and we plan to keep living this way, in some capacity, for the rest of our lives. And truly believe me when I say, we aren’t squandering a thing.

I challenge anyone reading this right now, anyone who is interested in this lifestyle or in changing theirs. Make one small change in your life right now. And a year from now, tell me how you feel about it.