Living Free Means Hard Work

*Another update in my personal saga as I search for a means to commit mobile fiction. It’s been a busy few months and, yes, my writing has slowed but not to worry – I’ll be back on track soon. Eric and Spencer keep chatting in the back of my mind and my work in progress will see some much needed attention today.*

Last week I mentioned the constant stream of disruption caused by our decision to go full-on nomad. I also mentioned I like to keep things real, even in my fiction. Going forward, I’ve decided to continue posting updates about our lifestyle as I write my way into the sunset, but I’ll also interject some cold, hard truth about the process.

Several weeks ago we booked a spot at The Vineyards, a lovely city-owned RV resort in Grapevine, Texas. Close to home, this was to be our initial staging area. From here we could finalize stuff with our rental house and make the transition over the space of several days instead of trying to do it all at once.

Whether staying at State Parks or commercial resorts, spaces can fill up fast. Many resorts accept reservations months in advance and spots can be booked for the long term. There’s a lot of planning, a lot of work, in making sure you always have an open port.

For instance, the northern U.S. largely shuts down during winter as snows hit and temperatures dip below freezing. In the summer, popular destinations are booked solid. It can take a couple days of internet surfing and phone tag to lay out your trip plan.

Boondocking, or camping in the wild at places which allow it such as national parks and federal lands, is always an option. However, a forty foot motorhome isn’t ideal to get to those off-the-beaten, often unpaved paths. Plus, we’re not quite geared for it yet. Solar panels would be best for off-grid living, and we need to make sure we have consistent, uninterrupted cell service for work (more on that in a future post – communications arrays are not fully upgraded…).

With our first destination locked in, we spent Friday loading Discovery parked out front of the rental house. While we worked, it dawned on me just how much I’d been anticipating this moment.

One of my stupid-human tricks is the ability to Tetris the shit out of things. Boxes, canned goods, clothes, electronics, office supplies – I can look at a space and generally determine exactly what will fit. And if it doesn’t? I make it happen.

Seeing the space come together inside Discovery as an actual home was exciting. The “must haves” we’d decided on were all finding their places and we were beginning to visualize exactly how this life would work.

And work it was, but we weren’t done yet.

Saturday meant another two carloads of stuff brought to Discovery and a truckload to Goodwill. It also meant prepping what was left to be taken to storage.

Trying to stick to a minimalist credo, the storage unit is a bit of a sore point. In the photo, you’ll see what’s left of our near three thousand square foot house. We have items such as fragile glassware, paintings, dishes, and a few small furniture pieces which are family heirlooms and non-negotiable. But we also ended up stuck with a few really big things which we simply ran out of time to get rid of and couldn’t bring ourselves to put out at the curb.

For anyone looking to sell a couple decades worth of furniture, a word of advice: people don’t want TV armoires anymore (no matter how versatile and fancy). Nor do they seem to want desks. Not for donation, not for consignment, and not even practically for free.

That meant Sunday was spent moving furniture. Heavy furniture. Nothing a truck rental, a determined family, and a continual stream of curse words couldn’t fix…but it was tough work, nonetheless.

Next week we have one more Goodwill run. Mattresses need to be put out for the trash. Utilities and services terminated. Mail forwarded. And then we’ll be free…sort of.

Living in a fixed residence, you get complacent about so many things. Making this free life happen means establishing a routine and continual planning. Our new, smaller home has an equally smaller washing machine / dryer combo which turns once a week (or two…) laundry into a daily necessity. We don’t have a dishwasher aside from a sink and our two hands, so this will be another regular chore. Sites without a sewer hookup will require us to make regular trips to the dump station. There’s no yard to mow, but Discovery will require consistent TLC of all systems, from the engine to the plumbing to the climate control to communications, in order to keep her roadworthy as the miles add up.

And add up they will. From our plan, we’ve got a couple thousand to cover and that’s just through November. So far though, on day four of our full time adventure, we’re loving the freedom and willing to give whatever effort necessary to keep this dream a reality.

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