Sunday, April 3, 2011

Changing & Trying Times

We’ve had a tumultuous two years. First, we both lost our jobs within 3 months of each other. Thankfully, we both drew unemployment while we drastically reduced our living expenses and looked for jobs (to no avail). We seem to be included in a very large group of boomers whose experience isn't as important to employers as young workers who are willing to work for much less. Shortly after my health insurance ended though, I was diagnosed with breast cancer & working wasn't high on our priorities. Because of my 8 years on active duty in the US Navy decades ago, thankfully I was successfully treated at the VA Hospital during 2009. Then Jeff’s daughter & family shared our house & expenses during most of 2010 & gave us the opportunity to make some celebratory trips in the Casita last summer.

During this two years though, we have felt so tied down to our house & property. Too much to clean, maintain, heat, cool, pay taxes & insurance on, & way too much space for accumulating “stuff”. There must be a law of some kind like “The amount of stuff you accumulate is always slightly more than the actual area you have to put it in.” But we knew all along that continuing to keep up with the mortgage payments was a loosing cause. If we spent money (which we didn’t have), time and effort to fix up & clean the house & acreage, we probably still couldn’t sell it in today’s real estate market for what we owed. It became more apparent that it was finally time to cut our losses. Plus, we’ve been wanting a simpler, greener lifestyle for a long time, living in our Casita, traveling some, & workkamping while we investigate other areas of the US. We just couldn’t quite make the jump to full-timing on our own though. We actually needed this push.

So this past winter has been very depressing — partly knowing what was coming, frequent snow storms keeping us from getting outside to start getting rid of stuff, & me starting work very early in the morning at a part time job at home. Our main reason though for keeping our house for the past two years has been our six elderly cats. They were all born here & don’t know any other home. I feel responsible for them since I didn’t get their mothers spade fast enough. They are ages 14 –16, & animal adoption centers won’t accept cats that old. This has been breaking my heart so much more than loosing our house. Thankfully, I’ve finally located a couple of possible rescuers who will each accept a couple of the cats so they can hopefully spend the rest of their lives comfortably. We’re still investigating them to see if a move would be too much stress for them though. A friend in Portland OR is willing to take the other two, and we're keeping two with us. [Yes, you counted right — we currently have 8 cats.] We're seriously considering delivering the two cats to Portland when we leave here for the last time since we've always wanted to see the Northwest.

So, instead of getting out with the Casita just yet, we’ve been cleaning & sorting stuff to go to auction, to a yard sale, to friends & family, or to the trash. And of course, what exactly do we just have to take with us. It’s so overwhelming, but we’re being ruthless because we can’t haul around any more than absolutely, positively necessary! Our house & 4.25 acres of woods will go to a foreclosure sale on April 13. And we're also doing some final mods on the Casita: closet shelves, articulating television mount, partial tile floor, and MaxxAir window vents (probably a few other little things as we start packing). For the most part, we’re very excited (occasionally a little scared) to finally be free of all this responsibility & start a new chapter in our lives. We’re not going to be homeless, nor have to move in with family, not be on welfare & food stamps, & not imprisoned in an city apartment somewhere.

Our “entrance strategy” for full-time RVing isn’t as financially stable as most people suggest, but we’re doing the best we can. Our “lifestyle strategy” is boondocking comfortably as much as possible, workkamping some, visiting friends & family, & traveling around to see as much of this beautiful country as possible. Jeff & I actually like each other, but when life in 74 sq ft becomes too crowded, one or both of us can & will go outside. The whole idea is to live outside as much as possible & to  follow the sun & the seasons. I don't want to see much snow again for a long time. I’m actually looking forward to knowing I have to keep everything put away (like on an hourly basis) in order to find or do anything else inside. I can totally clean the inside of the Casita in an hour or so, & I won’t have many places to loose something indefinitely. Our “exit strategy” is to find somewhere along the way where we’d like to eventually stay fulltime when the time comes. Wouldn't it be odd if I end up back in my hometown though?

So I expect to have much more to blog about for awhile — hopefully things that are interesting & useful to others. I’m looking forward to finding beautiful and interesting things to photograph. I like the challenge of staying comfortable with home-style conveniences in our Casita while staying off the grid as much as possible. I’m excited about meeting and socializing with other RVers & veterans. We’ve realized the RV community is more like the military community Jeff & I always enjoyed than is any other civilian group.

I keep feeling I should feel embarrassed about loosing a job & then a house, maybe even about getting cancer. Did I do something stupid or wrong, is all this just bad things happen to good people, or maybe some universal energy pushing us where we need to go? It doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t have the energy to spin our situation into something it isn’t — & then keep track of it. At this point, we have many more questions than answers, but we’re ready to roll with the punches. Life is still good & our real adventure is about to start! Stand by for tips on 2 adults, a 30# dog, & 2 cats traveling & living happy together in a small travel trailer with very little income.


  1. Bravo You guys ! Call me @479/243/5450. I have some workamper info for you.

  2. I made a comment about your birthday on your last post but I guess I forgot to hit the post comment button. So Happy Belated Birthday, I hope you had a good one.

    I hope you enjoy your life in your Casita. I know we are. We left our 15 year old cat when we started motorhoming, luckily Kevin's older sister took her, if not she would have stayed with us, although I'm not sure she would have enjoyed it. Things have worked out for her and in July she will celebrate her 19th birthday.

    I hope things work out well for you, we also started out motorhoming on a limited budget and do lots of boondocking and enjoy it more than staying in RV parks. I hope you enjoy yourselves and look forward to your adventures.

    Kevin and Ruth

  3. With your attitude, you're going to make it and have a full and enjoyable, interesting life. Oh, the experiences you two will experience. I'll be following.

  4. It's funny how when I put something out to the Universe, it gives me what I wanted, just not always the way I meant. I'm a military contractor in Honduras. I also had a house and acres that I couldn't keep up, and wanted a simpler life. Finances are what motivated me to keep moving also. My ultimate goal is to end up full timing in an RV when I get back to the States, whenever that is. Until then I'm here and paying off debt with the majority of my income.

  5. Thank you all for your comments. I feel "the Universe", "life", or whatever someone wants to call it is very persistent, sometimes gentle, sometimes not. Noticing & following those clues seems to be a major mission in this life on earth. We're excited & scared all at the same time. Maybe it's the grace with which a person handles the changes that make the difference in happiness or torment. At least I'm working on the "graceful" perception for now.

  6. feel embarrassed about losing a job and a house? Don't you dare! Those are only examples of a broken system... just take what is yours... and walk away.

    ... and leaving without the Financial stability that others recommend?

    Well... it'd sure be nice wouldn't it? We left, finally, Last September... with enough to last, almost, to the end of the month... and faith that one way or another, we'd figure it out... and we still are.

    Bein' scared just means you're pushing the envelope... and going where you've not gone before, is 'bout the only way to learn anything... just, breathe easy and enjoy!

    You're gonna love it... Freedom is a sweet place.

  7. Hi Glenda. Thanks for the nice comment on my blog this morning; I really appreciate your words! As of you moving on with your life and traveling, I think you will do great!!! I like your attitude! I have hit the “follow” button, so I will be watching to see where life takes you. Take care.


  8. Just wanted to say hello, I started reading rv blogs and enjoyed yours. We are too letting our home go, so do not beat yourself up. Life is life, people are more important. We are looking at Casita also. When my hubby retires soon I want to rv for awhile at least. Good luck

  9. As you can tell from my blog I am in the research phase of what to buy. I just read a couple of your posts tonight and will definitely be following. I have no doubt with your attitude, both of you will do great being on the road fulltime.

    I will read as much as I can to night to catch up on your blog. I am also looking at a Casita towed by a Toyota 4Runner with a V8....but I am taking a bloodhound and two bassets hounds with my options might be limited.

    Good luck to you.


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