Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What kind of lifestyle?

Much of the smaller living movement and our still-coalescing goals are aimed at adopting a new lifestyle for a happier life. You hear a lot about it. It's a really big motif. But what kind of lifestyle changes do we really want to make, and how is living more conservatively and mobile going to affect that?


Better eating habits

In our small camper, on the road and at rest, there will be more pressure than ever to watch our diets, both for money's sake and to maximize our health and energy. (Dental and healthcare costs are a big hit to the piggy bank.)

Short of being out in the woods, fast food will always be a temptation when you haven't forsaken the practice of eating out altogether, (how about some videos of factory farming to adjust your appetite?) But the ease of preparing food without heat can push you just as easily toward a whole foods, plant-based diet. Less baking and frying can mean more fresh greens and less overprocessed meat.)

More time outdoors

I used to complain about the weather during winter, always talking about how many great activities I would do as soon as it was warm out. Then I noticed I spent most summers sitting inside, too, talking about how many great activities I would do, just as soon as I could plan a good day to go camping, or get some friends together for a basketball game.

I came to realize was that my life was unconsciously aimed at home, and like many others, a lot of my time became devoted to seeking home comforts, or being on the computer, (not good for my back!) or getting tied up with small tasks around the house, such as cleaning or organizing my troves of stuff! I came to feel comfortable only while being at home, and yet not ever truly comfortable when I was there!

The truth is that there was an imbalance in my view of home and comfort. When your dwelling is just a little camper or tiny house, your whole idea about your space changes, and you come to appreciate space and property a lot more for what it is. Now I don't just live in my room or house. I camp in the woods and grass. I fall asleep under the stars or on the beach. My home isn't just a box to contain me from some horrid outside wilderness. It's my den to return home to after seeing the beautiful world for another day. That shift of view made a huge difference for me.

Mental health

People underestimate the effect of being around so many other people all the time. It makes me wonder how city folk can stand it!

Not to say humans aren't social creatures or that it's wrong to dwell in cities- and not to say it can't get lonely when you're away from your hometown, or friends and family...

But whoo! there's something to be said for setting out and getting away from who and what you're used to and being on your own. The sense of freedom and even rejuvenation is exhilarating, and you'll take that back with you when you go back, along with a thousand new lessons and experiences.

There are risks. But if you take the right precautions, you can limit the amount of emergencies and disasters that can traumatize or demoralize you, and which have made the majority of society perceive it as "too risky" or otherwise not worthwhile to get out of their rented spaces and make use of our's country's roads to travel these beautiful lands. There's a whole continent just waiting for you to explore. What are you doing here??


The freedom that comes along with busting away from the rat race really can't be explained, it can only be felt, because it is an experience unique to each individual. What would it mean to you to have a totally open schedule instead of your 9 to 5 job? What would it mean to you to cut your bills down to a fraction, or to be able to get up each morning and decide anew Where You Want To Go?

For some people, that level of freedom is actually very scary. There's a lot about the "rails" in life we ride that makes life easier to get through, but are we really so afraid to challenge our own status quo that we'd sacrifice our adventure of a lifetime so we don't miss out on more money, (and bills) or sitting around at home groggily waiting for the next workday?...

Not everyone who lives a normal American lifestyle sees their situation so drearily, but there's a lot that are fed up with the lifestyle that seems almost enforced on everybody. So, to those of you who are unsatisfied with your daily routine: why don't you get up and do something about it? What do you have to lose?

If you're anything like me, it's not much. I'm in my early 20's with an active and supportive partner. I make most of my living through freelance computer work, a lot of which can be done remotely or on the road, and I'm always looking at new opportunities for making money. No kids, no debt, either. What's keeping me here? Am I really going to be building something better sitting here while most of my income goes to rent and house bills? Will I spend more time educating myself while I'm distracted by schedule demands and home pleasantries like TV and video games, or when it's just me, my partner, and the earth and sky?

Beyond that, what you might really want to ask yourself is, what do I have to gain?

A little bit of travel taught me that adventures go a long way and memories last a lifetime. Not everyone can do it right now, but as for me, I'm hitting the road!


Grit is the strength and determination to keep working and moving even when things get tough, and I believe it will be an important result of me and Brooke's coming journey. I realized that where I was in life wasn't working and I had to change something up if I wanted to keep growing as a person.

It would take a big jump to break out of my mold, though; I have an uncanny ability for making myself semi-comfortable wherever I find myself, so why move at all?

By choosing to take a big step, I'll be put in a situation that will require a lot more out of me than I'm used to. Like Sun Tzu cornering his soldiers to fight to the death, so is it when you step out of your comfort zone. You'll be surprised to find yourself adjusting to new feelings and new challenges and remembering, Hey, I'm a human. I'm supposed to be experiencing this.

It's okay to be uncomfortable.
It's okay to be scared.
It's okay to be unsure.

It's not okay to not live life to the fullest.

Find your fullest life and live it.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Just starting the blog up

A New American Dream

For a long time, the American Dream has been to own your own home, create your own Dream- to become self-made in the Land of Opportunity.

For a lot of people, the Dream has become just a myth, buried under layers of a bleak reality. For most, the American Dream comes on rent or loan. The Dream takes the form of apartments and car leases, the next paycheck and utility bills. The Dream and the rat race have become perfectly integrated, one in the same. What other options are there?

For pioneers of the past, the wilderness may have once represented freedom and opportunity, trading comfort and complacency for the chance at something real and new. In the same spirit, me and my partner decided to cast our lots on a plan that isn't the norm, but may be seen as a new, emerging Dream. A dream of freedom and prosperity on one's own terms, on the move, on the frontier of life.

Brooke & Heron

In our early 20's, we had both already been roommates together, homeless together, and traveled on some out-of-state trips. When it became time for us to seek a new home, our dislike for the rat race made us consider new options, and truly think about what we were capable of accomplishing. We started thinking of a new route to living happily, and asked What do we really want to do? and Where do we really want to be?

We didn't want to pay over a thousand dollars a month in rent in the Northeast anymore, where such rates are normal even for studio apartments. We didn't want to be stuck in entry-level jobs that mercilessly abuse your work ethic and schedule, and we didn't want to be tied to one geographical location for no good reason. Most of all, we wanted to see the world, and get outside more.

Enter the tiny house / small living movement. We saw that a lot of people our age were successfully whipping up very livable and affordable small homes in their backyard, without prior background. Tiny houses were something we already knew about from the web, but now we were getting on-board for real.

We are planning...

Instead of building a tiny house from scratch, we decided to shoot for a fully stripped, towed camper, since the camper provides a strong, pre-made structure, so we can focus on the interior work. Additionally, a camper is separate from your tow vehicle, so vehicle and home issues are separate. (A huge advantage, since you can't live in your RV when it's in the mechanic shop.)

We will start with what is essentially a live-in shed or mini-cabin with minimal utilities. Then we will add the advanced systems piece by piece...

We are planning to do all of our own heating, plumbing, electrical work, rather than relying on what the camper already has. This will let us choose our setup and how it hooks up, and minimize or at least be able to better foresee the types of problems we'll encounter. We intend on all the 'standard amenities', including shower, toilet, kitchen, but we're taking it one step at a time. The vision is a little blurry until we get our stripped camper and can start applying our designs to its exact size. We may even work with the systems that are already in it, if they're in good condition. We just want everything to be as straightforward as possible.

Where we're at now...

Within a month or two, we'll be moving from Rhode Island to take advantage of a generous family member's property in South Carolina, to have a place to stay and start construction on the RV. We plan to invest every dime and effort we can into getting it ready for the road within another month or two, and from there after, we'll embark to test out its livability. To where? We don't even know yet!

That's when the fun really starts. But in the meantime, we will update with personal posts, research and plans. Right now the plan is very vague in some ways, but our intent is not, and what we hope to show you with this blog is just how powerful belief and determination are when it comes to living your dreams.

Keep dreaming with us. Keep you posted.

Got comments?

Leave comments in the thread below or contact us for tips or suggestions. Any polite discussion or criticism is welcome, and we'll be sure to post reader emails and replies to make the blog even more interactive. You can journey with us too! Here and on the road!