Updated: Jan 8, 2021
What a difference 9 months can make! Progress might have to be my word of the year. Other words I’ve heard to describe 2020 are unprecedented, hellacious, delete, mute, reboot, eww, & next. Ok, I agree, but for me, this has been a year to refocus. In all aspects.
It started when I bought this 2003 Holiday Rambler Presidential 5th wheel back in February. Little did I know that the whole world would be on lockdown less than a month later. I had to put my jewelry design boutique on hold since I didn’t know what would happen next when it came to us small business owners. And that was scary! But thank God for this camper. It gave me a project that I needed more than I knew.
At the time, my divorce from a 9 year marriage was just being finalized & I was living in a 2 bedroom apartment that I hated. But at least I had gotten away from a toxic relationship that over the years had induced a serious alcohol problem. And had gotten much worse through the separation & heartbreak of losing someone I once loved more than anything. But life goes on, & I knew I needed to figure out what I wanted to do next.
I had owned a camper with my ex husband. We traveled to dozens of Nascar races in it which was fun, but I wanted to explore the country. He never could seem to find the time to travel to the places I wanted though. So I let him buy me out of that camper in the divorce settlement, & used the money to purchase my own. And man, it was a real fixer upper. I mean, I gutted this thing down to the studs. But what I found is that there is real pleasure in truly making something your own, & not having to ask for someone else’s opinion, haha.
So what was next? My lease was up come May, & I didn’t want to throw any more money away renting somewhere. My ex & I bought a house 6 months after we were married in 2010. It was a great house. 5 bedrooms with almost 4,000 square feet on a corner lot with a pool in the backyard. But we were “house poor.” Which was one of the reasons we couldn’t travel like I had wanted. We didn’t need that much house. Of course, when we first married, I had plans to have a family, but that never happened so what was the point? I missed the house a little, but not the cleaning & all the “stuff.” Fortunately, when I left him & moved into the apartment, I had no choice but to get rid of said “stuff.” The idea of tiny living was really starting to sound great.
I thought about buying a small house, but again, wanted to travel, & didn’t want to be tied down with house payments. So I convinced my new partner to help me a little with the renovations on the camper to make it a real home. One that we could not only travel in, but live in full time. He was pretty skeptical at first, but once the paint dried, & the floors were down, he started coming around.
The renovations took a little longer than I expected. Especially the big things like installing a new water heater, furnace, & a second AC in the bedroom. I ended up staying in the apartment a few months past my lease, & moved into the camper the first week of September. There was still quite a bit to do, but at least it was livable. I was very fortunate to have the camper parked next to my partner’s shop where finishing the work would be fairly easy
We moved to our “permanent” spot at a RV & campground resort close to our hometown In NC on October 30. It’s still a work in progress, but it feels more like home everyday. Our plan after the new year is to take a week each month to travel. We’ve already booked a spot in the Keys for my birthday in February. Yay!
So far we are loving this lifestyle, meeting other campers & full timers, & hearing their stories. It’s definitely a different way of life, but really, it’s not that different. We are finding more & more people like us that just wanted to simplify their lives & have more adventures. As my dad always said, it’s the journey, not the destination.
If you are still reading this, thank you. I know it’s a lot, but I wanted to share for anyone that wants or needs to hear this part of my story. I am proud to say that I quit drinking liquor which was my main vice during those rough few years. I mean, a real problem. I’m talking 2-4 half gallons of tequila a week. And I’m pretty small so my tolerance was way too high & my body was starting to shut down. I was battling numerous health issues that I’m sure were a result of the drinking combined with stress & an unhealthy lifestyle. I stifled my own potential trying to numb my pain, & didn’t realize what I was capable of. I’ve learned that you have to make time to care for yourself & if you want something bad enough, only you can make it happen. I go to the gym 6 days a week for strength training with my partner which I never thought I’d actually enjoy, but do now, I eat (fairly) healthy, & I take time to do the things that I really enjoy & that make me happy. It took a while to get here, but I’m glad to finally see the world clearly again. #Progress