It’s been awhile since we updated the blog because last week, even though we spent most of our time in one place settling in to our new lifestyle, our minds were out wandering plenty as we were trying to figure some things out. And let me tell you, they go much farther than we ever could in a week.
Before we left and throughout the entire planning process, I knew there would come a time early in our journey that we would wonder what the hell we were doing and if we are completely insane. I just hoped that we would recognize it when it happened and we would be able to work through it and understand that it was all part of making a change this big. Moving out of our comfort zone is well….not very dang comfortable! We had a beautiful home, our kids were running in and out with their friends making us laugh every day, we had our family all around us, and no matter how much we like to travel, Ames, IA is actually a great city with everything we needed. So why would would we want to leave all of that?? Because as much as we loved our lives there, we knew that we wouldn’t be content if we didn’t at least try this new life we had been dreaming about for a long time. Even though we did countless hours of research and thought we talked about everything we could fathom that could happen, we found out pretty quickly that there were a lot of variables that we hadn’t figured into our planning.
The house not selling was a huge set back that we are still trying to work through. The sale was supposed to provide us with a little financial cushion to help us early on because we knew the beginning phase was probably going to be the most expensive. Since that didn’t happen we have no cushion and things ended up being a little more expensive than we realized. For instance, we knew the truck wouldn’t get great gas mileage but pulling the RV here cost over $300. We also didn’t budget in the $70 for the park passes and the $8 every time one of our kids wanted to come visit us. When we move to our next place we will need fork over $90 for a county pass because we can’t stay in a state park for more than 28 days in a 45 day period. We have to pay for these passes on top of the regular camping fees. Nowhere in our planning did we figure in our cost for our regular living expenses on the road as well as all of our utilities and expenses for the house at the same time. In hind site the best thing to do would have been to wait until the house sold to leave but we were anxious to get going and tired of the stress of trying to sell the house while we still lived in it. But in no way did we think we would still be trying to sell the thing in November. So needless to say, finances have been a strain on us for the last couple weeks. We knew we would need to be more careful with our budget and we were ready for that. It was part of the plan. It was our choice. What wasn’t our choice was the way the house sale collapsed and with it our sense of security in our financial situation. I’m still trying not to be bitter towards that woman and her realtor, and I’m trying to let it go but its taking a lot of work!
Jason was sick most of the week the first week, and Sam had to be taken to the dentist to get his infection taken care of. Sadie was at home really sick and there was nothing I could do for her to make her feel better being 700 miles away. Obviously none of this was in the plan but we knew illness or dentist visits accompanied by trying to figure out what places would take our insurance would be part of living on the road. You can’t avoid that kind of stuff all together but we didn’t picture our first week in beautiful Colorado sitting in the camper while Jason felt miserable and I felt helpless. But who would ever picture that kind of thing?
We didn’t realize that there were actually things we would miss about home besides our families. Like, we will have to find a new favorite coffee house every where we go! How are we a going to find a coffee joint that has the black bean burgers, cinnamon rolls, and cheesecake that Cafe Diem has that we love? We loved riding our bikes around the paths in town through Brookside Park and I enjoyed being able to run all my errands through town on just my two wheels. With my terrible sense of direction, it would take me months to figure out the way to get everywhere by bike and then we would leave and I’ll need to figure it out all over again. Familiarity creates a strong draw to a place and we didn’t understand quite how much until last week.
So it took a broken iPhone which let to entire meltdown on my part for us to start doubting our decisions and re-thinking our plans. I was upset about something, probably a really dumb thing like dropping one of my cookies in dog hair or something, and Jason said the words “Do you just want to go back?” Since things weren’t going quite as we had planned it was very easy for us to start picturing the life we left behind and suddenly wanting the comfort of being where we used to call “home”. We quickly put the RV and truck up for sale on Craigslist in Fort Collins and we planned to stay here until Thanksgiving, then move back to Ames to our house. Our very. empty. house. The next day after realizing that we didn’t want to go back to our same exact situation, our plan was to try to trade the RV for a smaller Class C which would allow us to get our cushion back and travel a little cheaper because we could sell the truck and pull the Mini behind us. We even went to look at a few but now that our 5th wheel was starting to feel a bit like home, I had a hard time picturing myself actually living in one of those dinky things, tripping over my dog, possibly dislocating my shoulder…AGAIN. We liked the idea of having a home base and traveling so we first thought about selling the house, finding a smaller place to rent in Ames, and then still traveling the country like we wanted to but having a place to land from time to time when we were missing home or Vesuvius’ wood fired pizza. The idea of renting an apartment and asking someone if we could paint our walls pink or whatever wasn’t sitting well with us. Plus we didn’t know how we would afford such a lifestyle. At one time we came up with this brilliant plan: What if we asked our kids here in Colorado to let us rent a room in their house when they found a bigger place so we could have a place to come “home” to? We quickly regained what was left of our sanity and chucked that idea because it really didn’t make any sense and honestly, what late teen and 20 something kids would want their parents renting a room in their house?? So in the matter of a few days our minds had wandered all over the country, to Ames, and back to Colorado and we still handed landed on a solid plan.
Then one morning I was out walking Lucy. It was 9AM or something like that and I had on a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt…in November. The sun was out and it was so warm and in front of me there was the lake that we’ve gotten used to looking at every day and walking around with the dogs. I turned my head and before me were the Rocky Mountains with all of its beautiful colors and snow capped peaks. I recalled the previous day where we took a drive up to Estes Park and even though we couldn’t go for a hike like we planned (because we learned that you can’t take your dogs on the trails in the national parks) it was still an amazing drive with views that we’d never see in Iowa. I thought about our plans for the day which was to pick up Sam and Tater and go for a hike at Eldorado State Park since it was such a nice day. I suddenly remembered that this is the life we have been striving for. We’ve been planning and dreaming about being gypsies for years and now that we’re finally doing it, why are we sitting here trying to figure out a way to do something else? Were we EVER going to be satisfied with the life we were living at that moment and stop planning for something different? It finally hit me that this was the time that I knew was going to come, that I thought I’d prepared for. That time where we would wonder what the hell we were doing and if we were completely insane. And No, we didn’t recognize it when it hit us.
When things aren’t quite going as you hope, its really easy to want to fall back to the comfort of knowing what lies around every curve. But that is what we were trying to get away from in the first place. So now we are back on plan and still keeping our 5th wheel even though we have spent the better part of the day trying to thaw out the lines in the front half. We haven’t ruled out the idea of traveling in a Class C, if we can find one that will offer a few more comforts than what we looked at before. We like the idea of traveling together and pulling the car which would save us a little money on gas. We would be able to sell the truck which would get us our cushion back we would lower our insurance bill which is already significantly high with a teenage kids’ “not so great” driving record attached to it. But that is something we will probably look at later. I was able to sell some of my fiber for a little extra money and we still had a little downsizing to do as we found things that we’re lugging around but not using (gotta love Craigslist!) I’m going to start putting together a few things to sell in our online store which will be coming soon to our blog, so hopefully I’ll be able to contribute a bit financially. So even though things aren’t perfect, we know that they aren’t anywhere. We are far better off that the few people that are living in tents out here in the 15 degree weather, moving from campground to campground because they don’t have a home. We also know that after just a couple weeks we’re bound to struggle here and there because this is all new to us. And that is okay. That’s part our journey.