Arched Cabins: an option for a tiny home that won’t kill your budget

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com (and no, this isn’t an arched cabin!)

This post has changed a lot over the past few days, from discussing multiple options for “tiny” living such as park model RVs, converted sheds, etc., to just covering Arched Cabins.  I’ll discuss park model RVs in an upcoming post!  And just so you know, I’m not being compensated to talk about arched cabins – with my tiny blog, I would be surprised if they ever even find this post. 🙂

I prefer a studio type of layout to anywhere that I live, rather than a bedroom type situation. When you have a bedroom, inevitably one part of the house is going to get used a ton more than the other — at least that has been my experience.   For example, before my roommate moved in, I hardly ever  used the living room.  I have some shy cats who tend to stay in their “safe” part of the house and not venture beyond the bedroom, so if I want to spend time with them, I go in there and sit with them, giving and receiving cuddles. 🙂

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Finished cabin from Arched Cabin website

So, thinking along the studio-layout, I’ve come across an option which is a prefab home, but not the one you might traditionally think of.  A coworker of mine had a house fire a few years ago and on their property, they are now putting the finishing touches on something called an Arched Cabin. It’s delivered and put together for  you on your property but then you have to finish the interior on your own (or hire someone to help you with that.)  The company is based in Texas, and they ship to 48 US states.  (Their patent is only in the US so far.)  Transportation fees are $2/mile for the smaller models, $2.50/mile for the larger models.

With the arched cabins, there are many sizes to choose from, with the smallest kit costing about $1,000.   (I think my coworker is getting one of the biggest ones.)   If you’re wondering what comes with an Arched Cabin kit, they have a lot of answers on their FAQ page, including this important one:

“Our Arched Cabin kits include a build manual, floor plates, ribs, ridge beam, standard R13 insulation, Super Span Roof Paneling, trim and fasteners needed to assemble the cabin. The kit price does not include the foundation, installation, interior, end caps, delivery, or anything that is not included in the list added above. Our upgrade options include a color upgrade on the roofing panels (choose from 26 colors including Energy Star rated colors), a fireplace thimble, insulation upgrade to R25, a custom loft, foundation (choice of pier and steel Ibeam or block and beam), stairs leading to the loft, and a quote for rough-in labor and delivery.”

Now, if I were to go with one of these cabins, I would definitely go for the upgrade on insulation!  I would also likely go with a blue color (or the one that is Energy Star efficient).  And I have a feeling I would be happy with one of their 12′ foot cabins – the 12 x 12 would be awesome! You would have a 12 foot ceiling at the apex, more than enough room to build a loft, especially for a little short person like me who is just five feet tall!

If  you live in an area prone to high winds, they are able to withstand 150 mph winds. (I’m looking at you, Floridians!) And if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, they can withstand 30 psf (pounds per square foot).  (Again, see their FAQ page for more info.)

 

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Photo of finished cabin from Arched Cabin website  – notice all the windows!!

I also know if I were to have an arched cabin, I would like a lot of sunlight. You can build them with big windows on the “end caps” and if you want skylights or windows in the walls/roof, you can build them but they can’t be more than 2 feet wide due to the ribbing that you see in the roofs.  I would also want a second door on the other end as a means of egress in case of a fire or some other problem.

I’ve talked with my coworker.  Her arched cabin will be 24 X 40 and they will have a loft.  They have lots of windows on the front side of the house and a sliding door in the back. They will have a patio on the backside of the building.  She told me that working with the Arched Cabins folks was very pleasant, and the actual erecting of the cabin on their property went really quick! It was the permitting and planning stages with Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties that created the most headaches.

arched cabin on trailer
Photo of cabin on trailer from Arched Cabins website

My coworker mentioned that the company can now help you with having an arched cabin built on top of a trailer! So  you could have an Arched Cabin on Wheels or ACOW (I just made up that acronym, lol.)  But they can also be erected on top of a concrete slab if that’s what you want to use as a foundation.  The photo above is of their 12 X 8 size trailer.

 

When it comes to financing, the Arched Cabins website says that most people use a construction loan or a home equity line of credit to finance their project.  Getting a traditional mortgage might be a bit difficult due to most lenders wanting to find comparable properties, and well, you don’t see arched cabins every day.

So yes, there is a lot of things to think about when you’re considering building a tiny home.  Budget can be a main part of it, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from imagining what could be.  Do your research, spend hours on Pinterest (here’s my page), read through blog posts, look at design books.  And write down a list of what you really value, what you like to spend your time doing, etc.  Do you want to live off-grid?  Use a composting toilet?  Or be connected to all public utilities or have a well?  That can really help you properly plan out your indoor (and even some of your outdoor) spaces.

What do you think of the Arched Cabins?  Could you live in something like that?  Please add a comment below and let me know your thoughts! And as always, thanks for reading!

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The Little Things: A Matter of Perspective

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This photo reminds me of the West Coast and the ocean, which I’ve begun to increasingly miss more and more (image from pixabay.com).  Also, it’s a matter of perspective – these monoliths can also extend downward into the water for hundreds of feet!

Woohoo! I’m done with my first semester of the Masters in Humane Education program I started this past fall!  It’s been a while since I’ve taken classes in something I feel passionate about, and it makes all the difference. We had what we call our “Capstone” salons this weekend for each of my classes, where we meet with the professor and other students via zoom and share projects.  In one of my capstones, I got some great ideas for how to develop my blog!!  I really want this blog to also become an educational tool, not just me simply blathering on about my life. 🙂  (Although there will still be some of that, lol.)  It was so cool to see people you’ve been in contact with on Blackboard but never seen their face!

So last night it was so relaxing – I sat there and was reading Dude Making a Difference, by Rob Greenfield.  I love this book so much that I’ve already put it on my Helpful Books page.  He has some great pearls of wisdom in it and he makes me desire to be a better person.  One of my favorite quotes is on page.156:

“Life is a matter of perspective.  Change your perspective today and you’ll be living in a whole new world tomorrow.”

His book has been published by New Society Publishers, and they specialize in publishing books that provide solutions for those who want to make a difference – I can’t wait to see what they have in their catalog!!

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you all know how much I love taking pictures of trees from this vantage point – love the sense of perspective in this photo! (image from pixabay.com)

So, before I get into the meat of this blog post, I hope you will take a look at my newly revised About Me, Helpful Books, and NEW page on Animal Welfare and Rights Groups.   Oh, and I even created a Hire Me page!There are more new pages in progress, including Inspiring Videos and Inspiring Stories, to come in the near future!  The more I write, the more creative I feel!

So I thought I might suggest some little things that we can thing about anew, and feel more positive about our day, especially if it’s a crappy day for whatever reason – weather, people being grumpy, etc.

These are some of the little things that have helped my weekend to be a good one:

  • that perfectly brewed cup of coffee first thing in the morning
  • the cat that insists on sitting on your lap and putting his head on your laptop screen as you are trying to type (ahem, happening right now – I remind myself that it’s because Max loves me, as shown by his loud purring now taking place)
  • waking up in the morning and realizing today is what you make of it.  You might have to go to work, but only you can decide how to react to things, events, and people
  • a good conversation with a good friend
  • seeing your roommate start to flourish in this new town, meeting new friends and joining a community of like-minded souls
  • joining in a free(!) webinar with other interested souls to learn about building your own tiny house from this guy, Ethan Waldman
  • hearing from another writer whose work you really admire that your blog is one of her favorites (check out Sal’s blog at One Empty Shelf – her writing is so calming)
  • sitting in silence enjoying the beauty of your first Christmas tree in a few years
  • on a cold night, having a roof over your head, a comfy bed to sleep in, and a very cute dog named Snuggles, well, snuggling, at your side, knowing he is safe and loved
  • realizing the notebook with the cover “My Brilliant Ideas” that you recently bought for $3 was a great use of your money

What are some little things that help to center you and ground you in a positive perspective on life? Please share them below – I’d love to hear them and get a good conversation started! 

As always, thanks for reading.  And please, do check out my newly revised and created pages and let me know what you think!

And thank you to those of you who have recently used my Amazon Affiliates link and Ebates Referral link!  (Every little bit of income helps, so thank you!!)

Those who inspire me right now

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

 

timothy ward fingernailI don’t watch a lot of TV, but I do have some favorite YouTube channels I turn to for inspiration.  One is Timothy Ward’s channel.  Currently, Tim is working in Colorado, and he is working on a series of videos called “100 Ways To Create Your Dream Life.”  He is so down to earth in all of his videos.  He’s lived in an RV, like me, but decided it wasn’t for him.  He loves to travel and so he does a lot of seasonal work, most often lately in housekeeping, even though he is qualified to do so much more.  (Another reason I like him – he does what he likes to do, not because he feels it’s a job he HAS to do to be what is considered a “success” in today’s world.)   He goes to work every day with a positive attitude.  His laugh is genuine, and luckily,  he laughs a lot (sometimes at himself) in his videos.  Though he doesn’t have tens of thousands of subscribers, he doesn’t care.  To him, it’s more important to connect with his viewers and create a community, much like I am with this blog.  Please go check out his channel and tell him I sent you! 🙂

dylan magaster fingernailAnother channel that I like because of the Alternative Living series that he has begun, is Dylan Magaster’s channel. His film-making skills have improved so much from the early days.  In particular, one video he shot recently really spoke to me.  His subject was a guy called Artisan Josh.  I’d seen videos of Artisan Josh’s house, Lil Red, in the past, but they hadn’t really gone into who he was as a person.  Josh grew up in foster care, spent time behind bars, and now has found peace in his tiny home, among the tiny home community.  He travels and builds tiny houses for others. It might not be a life for everyone, but it’s the one that works for him. When he laughs in this video, I hear a man who has found peace and seems genuinely happy with his life as it currently stands.  (He commented back to me that he sounds like Woody Woodpecker, lol.)

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At the end of the video Dylan shot, Josh reads some of his original poetry.  I just felt drawn to it, and the first time that I listened to it, I felt chills, but in a good way.   Check out some of the work he has done at his website: Artisan Josh.  He also appears to have begun his own YouTube channel and he is also on Instagram.

becky fingernailBecky Schade is the author of the Interstellar Orchard blog of which I have been a fan for a long time.  I’ve written about her in the past, and she never ceases to amaze me.  She’s like a very old soul in a thirty-something’s body.  She has written and published a blog and now started up her own YouTube channel, chronicling her six years (6!!) of living full time in an RV.  She currently lives in a Casita, but has decided to downsize next year into a teardrop trailer!  Since she’s announced her decision, she has had to deal with a lot of flack and comments from those who think they know better how she should live her own life.  She’s amazingly mature at dealing with those types of comments. And knowing her own mind and what is best for her to do to follow her own dreams.  She inspires me with her independence, her self-awareness, and her writing skills.  Plus, she’s also a good human being! (Oh, and she now has her own YouTube channel too!)

There’s one common thread that ties these folks together in my mind.  They have each found happiness on their own terms.  They don’t sugar coat how their life is – life is not a set of Instagram photos as many would like us to believe.  Some days are good and some days are bad, and they acknowledge that, just as do I. They’ve all realized that life is (to use a cliche) a journey.  You learn more about yourself every day. And that’s something that you can’t put a price on.

If you have any comments as to who inspires you, or if you’ve already begun following these folks or learning about their stories, please let me know! If you’ve liked this post, please hit the like button or share it with someone who you think could benefit from it too! And as always, thanks for reading!

And now, I’m off to volunteer at a food pantry! My hospital gives away pet food on the third Friday of every month and today I think we’re going to have a lot of extra stuff like leashes and collars to give to everyone, as part of an early holiday gift.  These are some of the best four hours I spend every month – it makes me grateful for my life, my job and my pets.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Determining wants and needs through my tiny house/living fascination

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If this house looks familiar, that’s because it belonged to Dee Williams!   Photo taken by Tammy Strobel.  Attribution:  By Tammy – Weekend with Dee, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11211685

 

I’ve been obsessed with the idea of living simply and living in a tiny house for many years now, way before it became trendy. Thinking about living in a tiny home helps me to stop myself from buying things I “want” but don’t necessarily need. Kind of like when I was getting ready to move cross country.  The way I made decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of was to ask myself, “was there room for both this thing and my animals in the car?”  The animals were definitely going – that was not even a question.  It was more a question of whether there was room for this additional thing.

So now I sit and think to myself – is this object I’m perusing, be it a second-hand shirt or pillowcase, or whatever, something that I would definitely want to move into a tiny house when I finally achieve that dream?  Or when I move into a small bachelor-type apartment? If I can’t picture it, I don’t buy it.  Do I already have something at home that can fill the “need” it would otherwise cover?  Usually, the answer is yes.

When I first got out of law school, I should have done what I advise all students to do now.  When you get out of school, don’t live any differently.  Continue to live like a student while you pay off your debts and get started with your life.  Just because you’re no longer in school doesn’t mean your home needs to look like it just walked off the pages of Dwell magazine.

So these days, I live frugally.  Like a student.  I have a roommate and it’s a one bedroom apartment, so my bed is in the living room and I’m totally fine with that.  Every morning when I wake up, I look at the Sandia Mountains to the east of Albuquerque.  It’s a beautiful view, especially when the clouds are so low they obscure the tops of the peaks. I have a large picture window that lets in lots of light.

Speaking of beds, mine is on a platform of milk crates. Guess what?  It’s pretty supportive on my back.  It’s also a good way of creating some built-in storage in a very inexpensive way.  My mattress cost me all of $129 from Walmart, and I bought it online so didn’t have to deal with transporting it in my small car.  It came in a box and once it was opened, my roommate rolled it open, and voila, in an hour or so, it was ready to go up on top of said milk crates.  And instead of buying heavy, hard to move bookcases, I have, guess what?  Milk crates!  When you have to move, you just turn them, your stuff is in them, and voila, no need to get lots of extra boxes to pack your stuff in, because it’s already packed!

You  know those plastic white bin type of drawers you can get at Walmart or Target? I bought those to organize my stuff in the fifth wheel I owned in Utah.  Still got ’em.  The old me of several years ago would have gotten rid of them as soon as I could afford a nice “dresser.”  But you know what?  It’s hard to move heavy furniture on your own and when you have a small hatchback type car.  Plus, these white drawers can be configured in a multitude of ways.  I can see everything I have in them.  When they’re too full of crap, it’s time to downsize.  Looking at them now, I see that yes,  it’s time for me to get rid of stuff again.  You really do only wear 20% of your stuff, 80% of the time.

I’ve been thinking of what I would want in a tiny house.  I honestly don’t need much, aside from room for me and my animals. I think about whether I would want a flush toilet or a composting toilet.  To not have to deal with a black tank would be awesome, so I’d likely go with the composting toilet. I’d like to do solar and have as  much of my energy needs filled off the grid.

Would I want my tiny house to be on wheels?  I sometimes think so, but then realize a shed that could be insulated, etc., might be a more economical way to go.  Just have to find a place to put it (and oh yeah, be able to afford that place/land.)  So I have begun to save.  It’s a small amount right now, but that online savings account is named “Tiny Home.”

You might wonder how all of my animals will fit into a tiny home.  If my roommate and I go our separate ways, Morgan will likely stay with him.  She does very well with training – her brain likes to be challenged, and she helps him in a great therapy-type way.  He has PTSD and a few other problems from having been in the army and Iraq.  Also, since Snuggles is so possessive/obsessive of me, he has become “her human.”  (It is a trait of weiner-dogs to be super possessive.)  Morgan adores him to the moon!   Yes, I’m her momma and the one who feeds her, but he’s the one who takes her on lots of walks, and snuggles with her and plays with her in the yard during the day when I’m at work.  When he is feeling down, she stays close to him.  Every time she hugs him, I see the bond that has formed between them.  It makes my heart feel good.

So in closing, if you started reading my blog because of my tiny house posts, never fear, I’m still very interested in them!  I still watch tons of YouTube videos about simple living and tiny houses.  Yes, I used to live in an RV and that one didn’t work out for me, but I feel like a tiny home is different and can be made much stronger and much better insulated than that fifth wheel was!  I haven’t given up on the tiny living dream, so don’t give up on me!

And yes, in case you’re wondering, I don’t like that they’ve become trendy and that the prices have increased so drastically over the past few years.  I think they can still be built economically, and I’m willing to put in the elbow grease on mine, if someone is willing to help me figure out what the hell I’m doing!

Are you interested in living more minimally?  In a tiny home?  Or an RV?  Let me know what you think, what you would prioritize, if you’d want it to be on wheels, etc., in a comment below!  And if you’ve liked the post but prefer not to comment, please hit that like button or share it! 

And as always, thank you for reading!

 

Getting Past Fear of Change

I'm not the best photographer, but this is the size of the house I am hoping to get. No loft, everything is on a single level. Kitchen to the right of the door and living space and bathroom to the left.
I’m not the best photographer, but this is the size of the house I am hoping to get. No loft, everything is on a single level. Kitchen to the right of the door and living space and bathroom to the left.

A friend wrote to me last evening, as I was writing up this post: “Your life path seems so logical to anyone who knows you and has seen your progression but sounds like such a jolt to anyone who doesn’t!” I was like, “are you sitting right next to me, invisible, right now??”

As I take more steps to making such big changes in my life, it’s natural for those around me to worry. It’s natural for them to ask questions to make sure I’ve thought all the scenarios through. And it’s natural for those questions to get into my psyche sometimes and make me doubt myself.

Artist's rendering of what the  inside of my tiny home may look like. The railing is there if you want to have a raised kitchen floor. Because I plan on adopting more disabled animals like Osito in the future, I will have it all one level.
Artist’s rendering of what the inside of my tiny home may look like. The railing is there if you want to have a raised kitchen floor. Because I plan on adopting more disabled animals like Osito in the future, I will have it all one level.

Here’s the thing. I can’t let fear run my life. I can’t let the fear of the unknown run my life. And to be perfectly frank, I feel like that’s how i have lived most of my life up until now. When in high school, I followed the assumed path “well of course you’re going to college.”  I had one parent (Dad) who had gone to college and then pursued a masters degree while working, and another parent (Mom) who had not gone beyond high school. Dad was the breadwinner (until the time that it became my mom when they divorced, along with child support and alimony from my dad.) My idea of someone being successful had been a person who wears a suit to work (or at the very least a shirt and tie) and who made a good salary. You went to work at 9, did your thing, came home at night. Get up the following morning and repeat, until the weekend comes.

A better photo - the bumpout you see will house the hot water heater, so it's easily accessible to repair without having to rip apart the house from the inside.
A better photo – the bumpout you see will house the hot water heater, so it’s easily accessible to repair without having to rip apart the house from the inside.

So I went to college. First the plan was to get a business degree. Then I realized (after struggling through statistics as a freshman) “well, that sucks, I hate math…” and decided to switch majors to one I did like — English. Not exactly the moneymaker, no. So the logical path seemed to be “be a teacher or go to law school.” So on to law school, I did. I pushed back the feelings of “maybe this isn’t right for me,” because I had already sunk a lot of time, effort, and not to mention, CASH, by the time the end of my first year rolled around. Sure, maybe it wasn’t really feeling like something I loved, but what kind of job could I get with an English degree and just one year of law school under my belt?

So, on to the safe route AGAIN. I feel like that’s what my life has been, one safe option after another. So when people bring up the “What ifs?” (which I know they do out of concern and love), it can sometimes really stress me out. And at times, it has, interrupting my sleep or my eating. A good friend asked me yesterday “What if your pets get sick? What if you fall and break your leg? What if you can’t find a job?” But I think I have gotten to the point now where when people raise these questions, I don’t see them as a reflection on or criticism of me for making potentially wrong choices. I know they just want to make sure I have thought everything through. And I know that some of these questions are being projected out of their own fears for themselves. 

I have thought a lot of things through. I have played all those negative scenario “what ifs?” through my mind. But I have also come to the conclusion that if I wait to have it all figured out before I make these big changes, I might as well never even try to chase my simple dreams. And they really are “simple” in so many ways. A tiny house with just the right amount of room for what I love and that doesn’t take forever to clean. A life with lots of pets and unconditional love around me.  A job that leaves me feeling fulfilled. (Believe me, I know there will definitely be some days when I will question myself and my choices when working with animals. People are cruel and do mean and stupid things where animals are concerned.)

This is the interior of the model house. i will not have wood paneling on the walls, the walls won't be orange, and there will be more cabinets, a stove, a fridge, and a stackable washer and dryer. And more windows.
This is the interior of the model house. i will not have wood paneling on the walls, the walls won’t be orange, and there will be more cabinets, a stove, a fridge, and a stackable washer and dryer. And more windows.

As I have said to some friends, I cannot sit and just not do anything to change my circumstances.  If I were to do that, I might as well shut up and go home. The thought of doing that — of not moving forward, even in small steps, depresses the hell out of me. I have to take a leap of faith in myself. Not everything in life can be completely planned out. I know that when push comes to shove, I will make things happen.

So, am I afraid? Of course I am. I’m human. I appreciate the care and concern of those around me. But I just refuse to let them keep me frozen in place and ignore what my heart tells me it really wants me to do. No more. And every time I pick up my baby girl Osito (if you’re not familiar with her, there are tons of pics of her on this blog), I know in my heart I’m following the right path. Animals – helping animals that is, is where it’s at. It’s where I need to go, and need to be.

My siding will look like this - vinyl siding on bottom with cedar shake on top. It reminds me of the Cape with the cedar shake. It will likely be different colors, though.
My siding will look like this – vinyl siding on bottom with cedar shake on top. It reminds me of the Cape with the cedar shake. It will likely be different colors, though.

If you have liked this post, please hit like or subscribe or drop me a line below. How do you get past fear?

So many choices of RVs!!

There are just so many choices of RVs out there that at times I feel myself getting overwhelmed. Everyone tells me I’m in that exciting stage of things right now — the dreaming and research stage. And I agree, it’s definitely fun. But I seem to be changing my mind from month to month as to what I want. However, I think I have narrowed it down a bit by making one decision: I do NOT want to drive some huge, honking truck like a Yukon Denali or other. I just don’t feel comfortable driving such a large vehicle. Not to mention the gas that it would use on a daily basis. So…wanting to drive (at the largest end) a mid-size SUV like the Nissan xTerra helps me to narrow things down. (Very good if you are decision-impaired like me to have at least one decision sort of taken out of your own hands.)

A week and a half ago, I took a comp day from work so I could drive around to RV dealers. There is one RV dealer in all of New England who carries an expandable trailer called the Trail Manor, and they are on Cape Cod, about 90 minutes away from me. So that was the first place I went, thinking this could be the perfect solution for me. It’s lightweight (even the 2619 model has a dry weight of 2300 lbs), and doesn’t cause you to use more than one extra gallon per gas per 100 miles (or so they say.)  Because it’s an expandable trailer, you can have one that is 19-20 feet when rolled down, and 26 feet of living space when opened up. Great for me and all the furballs, right?? Well, maybe.

In a Trail Manor, I kind of feel like I’m camping. My friend, Dan, of WanderDano fame of YouTube, asked me if I thought that was a good thing or a bad thing, and I said both. At the same dealer, I checked out a more traditional travel trailer and was amazed at how much more permanent it felt. And I seemed to be drawn to that. Plus, there seemed to be a lot more storage, and many more electrical outlets. Granted, I’m not going to use every electrical appliance I own all at the same time, but unless I was missing something, I only counted four in the Trail Manor. The smallest model, the 2417, didn’t have a plug in the bathroom (what could they be thinking?) but the other models did. I’m a girl. I might need to have a plug in the bathroom, you know? 🙂 That, and I have to admit, storage is a big thing to me. From all that I have read, whatever storage you have in an RV, you never have enough. And, I honestly didn’t see a whole lot of storage capacity in the 2417. The larger models, the 2619 and 2720, I could picture maybe having enough room for all my stuff. (You have to remember, it’s not just my stuff, but that of the furballs I will be taking on this new life with me. For having such little bodies, the stuff you need to take care of them can really add up over time. Not that I am complaining, trust me, I’m not!)

So, the feeling of camping I mentioned? I like the idea of camping, but I also like the idea of permanence, even if it’s just what I am living in and carting around with me, at the same time. I thought about it, and I realized, my life is going to change in so many ways next year. I won’t have the same 9-5 job to go to every day. I won’t be living in this part of the country. If I do seasonal work, my surroundings are going to change every few months. And I’ve always needed a bit of security in my life. Ok, maybe more so than most.  That’s why the whole idea of changing my life is so exciting and at the same time, terrifying, to me.

The folks at the McD RV dealership were very nice and didn’t hover over me the whole time I was sitting in the RVs, trying to picture myself in them, long term. Not so much at the other places I went to. From there, it was on to Camping World of Berkeley,  where I was disappointed that most of the travel trailers were locked. Yep, I’m assuming that they, and most dealers, do this so you have to go ask a salesperson for help. And I didn’t want that that day – I just wanted to look inside, see the setups, see how stable or not-so-stable they felt as I stood in them. I was able to get into one trailer at Camping World, and really liked what I saw. Then I found out it was over 5000 pounds, dry-weight, so I high tailed it out of that one! No use falling in love with something you’re not gonna marry, right?

So my trip to Camping World took all of, oh, 25 minutes, and that included my trip to the ladies’ room upon arrival to change out of some of my layers. (The weather is fickle in New England, a day can start out cold and warm up like you wouldn’t believe, even at the end of September.)  I then went to a place called Campers Inn, where I was able to get into one, count it, one, travel trailer. And with my friend Dan’s help, I realized it was not even on their website, so I had no idea of how much it cost. Every single other trailer was locked, and even though some of the employees saw me, no one even bothered to ask if I wanted or  needed help. So, that was another quick visit.

I then went to Bradford RV, which was just a few miles down the road. Again, the same thing. Everything locked. Except that this time, the salesperson saw me try to open the door to an ultra-lite (by Forest River) and came out to greet me. He asked me a few questions, and some look that I can’t describe came over his face (albeit briefly) once he asked if my budget was under 10K, and I said yes. I think at this point, he thought he was being generous in showing me two different RVs, one a 16 foot model and one a 17 foot model, the cheapest of which was 12K, brand-new. He hovered the entire time, so I probably spent all of ten minutes there. He checked over the inventory of their other location to see if they had any used RVs in my price range, but no such luck.

At this point, it was somewhere around 3:30ish, so I decided to go to one more RV dealer before heading for home. My zipcar was due back at 7, and I needed to give myself a good buffer of time to get back to Boston with the rush hour traffic. (Yes, rush hour begins around 3:30 in these here parts, and yes, in case you are wondering, it does suck. Big time. Part of why I am looking to move from the big city!)

Finally, there was a dealer willing to talk to me as if I had a brain in my head, in Plainville, MA.  He spent a lot of time with me discussing hitches, amps, 12v batteries, etc.  (And when I wanted to take pics inside of a trailer, he said “you don’t need me in this picture, I’ll get out of your way!”) I went to this dealer because I knew they carried the R-Pod and I really wanted to see what they looked like on the inside. It’s one thing to see the pictures but another completely to see them in person. We talked for a while about them, and how I wanted a smaller travel trailer but that the R-Pod was definitely out of my price range.

So he showed me a 2000 Fleetwood Mallard 19N (click here for some stock photos of the same model) that was 19 feet long, and I really liked most of what I saw. It was a bit dated, but I expected that (designs on the mirrored front of the cabinets over the bed). It didn’t have a sink in the bathroom, which I admit, I want. I don’t like the idea of having to leave the bathroom to wash my hands in the kitchen sink, or to brush my teeth in the kitchen sink, all the time. That’s just me. But other than that, I liked it. And the price was right–$5,950, and they would be willing to store it for free for me until April. So…why didn’t I jump at it?? The weight. Its dry weight was already 3897 lbs, and with full tow capacity, the dealer estimated it would be about 5600 lbs. Meaning I’d need a vehicle with at least 6000 lbs towing capacity, and honestly, I’m not comfortable with having an engine working so hard. So, when push came to shove, and Dan helped me with my pro/con list and talking over my priorities (he let me come to all my own conclusions), I decided to not go for this one. The right one will come to me, he keeps assuring me. I believe him. I’ve just got to get better at the patience thing. As in, getting some….the only thing stopping me from going out and buying an RV right now, is: where do I put it?? 🙂

I have to admit…I’m really loving the idea of a molded fiberglass travel trailer like a Casita or a Scamp these days…yes, I know they are smaller, but they are lightweight, and there’s no unfolding to do, and they’re white on the inside (white is a big thing to me, I hate the look of all wood, especially dark wood.)  Whenever I sit inside of a travel trailer, I try to imagine where each of my animals would feel most comfortable, and where I would put the litterbox(es), so that I wouldn’t trip over them. My friend Dan suggested I take a bunch of stuffed animals with me and throw them all over the place to get an idea of what it would be like with all the furballs. He may just be onto something, LOL.

I have to admit, every time I go to look at RVs, it’s like another part of the dream is becoming real, slowly, oh, so slowly…I’m getting there…

I know that some of you out there are RVers, so I’d love to hear your thoughts (and even if you’re not RVers, please feel free to comment.)

As always, if you’ve liked this post, please hit like or subscribe! 🙂

 

I want to do this..wait, no, that…wait, no this!!! (Decisions, decisions)

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When you tell someone you have this dream of living in an RV, you usually get a few of the expected responses. Some are afraid for you, because, as you already know, you’re a single person. How will you support yourself? How will you stay safe? How will you drive it? You’re a little person after all!  Even last week, a friend of mine said “why can’t you just move into an apartment somewhere new? You won’t have a guy with you.” I was like “um, you’re telling ME that I won’t be with a guy, and that’s why I should be worried….” Of course this friend of mine , who I love dearly, watches a lot of true crime shows. As a single person, more specifically, a woman, I don’t need to remind myself of all the sickness in the world. All I can do is prepare myself as best as I can for whatever each day throws at me.  And well, my friend must have momentarily forgotten that I can be like the Tasmanian Devil as one of my friends nicknamed me. But in a good way (of course.)

Others are very excited for you, and some are even wistful, maybe wishing that they could do the same, or at least experience some of that feeling of freedom from the drudgery of the routine of day to day life. Now, before you think I have gone off into la-la land and think it’s going to be all roses and petunias, trust me, I don’t. I know there are going to be problems along the way. I know there will be times when I worry about money (ok, I already do that….), and repairs, etc. But I also know I can’t wait forever. I guess it’s kind of like what they say about having kids – if you wait until you are ready and have enough money, it’ll never happen.

So, I keep reading RV blogs and RV forums, etc., and watching YouTube videos of people living in their RVs, trying to learn as much as I can. I’ve subscribed to the Dreamers portion of the Workampernews.com website so I can learn as much as possible about that way of life and see if it’s viable for me. I like the idea of being able to work some place seasonally, see the region and learn different skills that I won’t get by sitting in an office every day. But at the same time, the idea of not necessarily being in one place all year round is a bit scary. Will I be lonely? Will I be able to secure enough work for myself far enough in advance and even more important, will it pay enough to allow me to pay for my expenses?

I know that I would like to be able to either work outdoors or work in an area that is beautiful and has places I can escape to on my time off. I know I want to be more connected to the natural world than I am now. So, I think about going to school for something like that, but then I hear from others that it is more important, sometimes, to get on the job training rather than learning a lot from books. And a big part of me agrees with that. And what if I spend all this money on more schooling and don’t end up making any more in some job than someone who didn’t spend all those bucks?

I have been thinking of attending an outdoor school but the price tag is a bit scary at $10,350. That’s about 2/3 of the balance of the LAL loan I’ve been fighting so hard to get rid of. (Oh, and drum roll please, with my most recent payment, the balance should be BELOW $15K!!!!!!!!!!)  I cannot tell you how much I want and NEED that loan to be gone by the time I go on the road. It will make such a huge difference, and be a great weight off of my shoulders. To have part of my law school education paid off, FINALLY.  It’s a loan I thought I would have until I turned 54. Can you imagine? Yes, it is like a freaking mortgage, but let’s not get me started going down that lane.

I do have a concern about getting work – when I tried to get out of the legal law firm world many years ago, I faced so much hesitation on the part of employers. After all, I had this law degree….why would I ever not want to do something in that world? Wasn’t it such a glamorous life?? (Um, in a word, NOOOOOO). And not all lawyers get paid the big bucks like everyone thinks.   But that fear is again creeping up – I am worried that people will think I wouldn’t possibly take a job that pays less than $15 an hour, or who knows, even less… (Many workamping positions don’t pay highly because they are something akin to entry level positions.)  But can I be honest? It would be REALLY nice to leave my work at work, both mentally and physically, for a change. And if I could spend some of my time living in a gorgeous area of the country, say, the Olympic Peninsula, or the Grand Canyon, well, trust me, I can find stuff to do that’s not going to cost me anything, or very little.

So, as you can see, I feel like I am all over the place. I like the NW but wonder what kind of seasonal jobs there would be to had, if I went that route? And what happens if I start having to pay more on my federal loans? How will I afford them? What about the fact that I will be taxed at a higher bracket for 2015 than I will in 2016, but not making the same type of wage I am now making in 2014? (My thought on that is to save extra for the tax bill while I am working in my full time and part time jobs so that I don’t get stuck when filing my 2015 taxes.)  So, yes…I am a planner. But from what I am reading online, that’s a trait that will help me when my home becomes an RV.

By chance, I came across an interview on youtube the other day of this blogger, at Interstellar Orchard and I’ve been reading through many of her posts, because it seems like every question I might come up with, she has had to deal with. She makes it on seasonal employment but she didn’t start out with the debt that I have. But I know she knows of others who have. I just like her very pragmatic approach to tackling problems and the type of lifestyle she is  leading. And she seems very down to earth. If you are even considering this lifestyle, I suggest you head on over to her blog and check it out.

Anyway, this post has already grown much longer than I expected it to, so thanks for listening/reading if you’ve made it this far.