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RV Renovation: How Much Can Your Life Change In Less Than A Year?

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

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 an RV renovation 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

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