We bought our first home in the city. 1500 square feet of plaster and hardwood. We loved it.
We fixed it up, hosted holidays and sleepovers, cookouts and costume parties. It was our favorite place to be. The basement was full of crap. The attic was full of…Justin’s action figure collection and we had enough hand-me-down furniture to start our own thrift shop. It was lovely. We also had 6 cats and a gaggle of bills we could barely afford.
Important details in-between:
2008 Justin graduated with his Master’s and we moved to NYC for 2 months | 2009 we started a wedding photography business | 2010 Mallory graduated from college | 2011 we got engaged in Rocky Mountain National Park, the first time we’d ever seen mountains | 2012 we got married and honeymooned at Rockaway Beach outside of Manhattan | 2013 We bought road bikes and fell in love with the outdoors
Instagram was just lattes and selfies around this time, the outdoor adventure trend was still a few years from being a full fledged epidemic. Disconnecting from my device for a sensation I missed was at the forefront of my mind. I yearned to be present and get back what had changed about life since Facebook and Instagram became a thing.
After reading a book by Brenden Leonard (semi rad) in 2014, we planned our first proper road trip. And in July, we left the driveway in our Jeep with just the essentials. We car-camped our way from Ohio to California and down the coast. It was life-changing, literally. I made it a point not to post every detail of our trip. We just soaked in the present moment in places like Yosemite, Moab, Napa and Big Sur. When we got back home, we couldn’t understand why we should continue living the normal American Dream in Ohio. We started purging and learning about minimalism and tiny living.
We saw a run down 1985 Class-C Motorhome in someone’s yard and bought it to fix up and live in on the road. We planned the build to take 6-weeks.
We found tenants for our house and moved into my parents basement, a literal dungeon with no windows where we would end up spending 365 days of misery coupled with truly priceless time spent with my parents while renovating our motorhome. We did a full gut renovation, replacing the walls and ceiling and repairing a mile-long list of mechanical issues. Much of that time is chronicled herein this blog, if you’re interested. While in the dark despair of the basement, we managed to pay off over $30k in debt.
We moved into our long-awaited new home on wheels in my parent’s backyard, with plans to hit the road once wedding season ended. In an unfortunate turn of events, our rig wasn’t road ready. Even though she was our beautiful dream home on the inside, we were told she had a cracked cylinder. Not knowing how to proceed with such short notice before our departure and the devastation of the news…we did what any normal nomad would do and we bought another rig. (face palm)
We left Ohio in our new, tiny R-Pod hitched up to our Jeep. We spent three glorious months traveling around the American Southwest with three cats. It was everything we hoped and dreamed it would be. We returned to my parent’s backyard for wedding season planning to reevaluate our plans while taking small trips in the pod. We loved her. #bertandginny for those interested.
That fall we sold our R-pod for another rig. We stored all of our belongings that we had left in the motorhome, which is still sitting in my parent’s backyard.
You’d usually find us on a trail, at the top of a mountain or in some cases a just a big hill…anywhere with a view. We love watching the sun rise and set and making meals together. Our cupboards were always stocked with red wine and whiskey and lots of potato chips. We love meeting people and exploring new places but we also equally love a night at home snuggled up together with our kitties! We were out there working through all the transitions that a nomadic, alternative lifestyle brings. Some days it’s a literal walk in the park and some days it’s crying with my shirt over my face. Our hearts have been forever changed by our struggles (there have been many) and our triumphs (there have been enough) and the people we’ve met along the way. Our future shaped forever by the nomadic lifestyle and all that we’ve learned from it.
After 2019 and finding all the struggles of the road, we decided a home base in the town we came from couldn’t be passed up. We bought a little brick house at a really great price. A little space to call our own again and place to return to after our adventures, to marinate, unpack and process thoroughly. Our future will hopefully look a little less frazzled and a little more peaceful with a lot more time and space for art and creativity.