Sunday, January 13, 2013

Home on Wheels

Before we left town five months ago we spent two months living in the RV in someones back yard while we tried to work out some of the bugs in the system. We both worked and kept going about life like we would otherwise except that we came home to this beast every night instead of an apartment. My friend Jessi sent me a link to this blog and I began to wonder. I have never really felt like anywhere that I have lived is "home". People tell me all the time that they show up someplace and just know instinctively that it is where they are supposed to be. Some tell me that they finally found the place they call home and that they will die there. But I have never had that experience. Like Meg, I hang things, play music, have familiar things and watch Star Trek to make it feel like the place I live but it never feels permanent.
So far we have been on the road for five months. I miss my bathtub more than I can explain. No hot shower anywhere on the planet can substitute a hot bath. I miss just being able to stop at the end of the day and not do anything and lazy mornings to just lay around. I miss just jumping in the car to run and grab lunch with Jason or poking my head in across the hall to say hello to Erin, Jeramiha or Tyler. I miss the extra room and/or space to go when you get on someones nerves or they get on yours. To be honest, there aren't a lot of places to go in a twenty four foot long box when you are cranky.
But I think that everything comes with a trade as well. No matter what, I have my house with me. You know that brush you forget to pack or your prescription that didn't make it in the bag right before you left. It's in the RV just outside the door now. When people say things like "Where do you live?" we just tell them that we live in the yard outside. Despite having to drag the generator outside and plug it in every time we want to watch television it is actually very efficient to have everything that you need in one room. Every night we tidy things up a bit, make dinner, do dishes and curl up on our couch/table to watch Star Trek while the generator hums under our feet just on the other side of the door. I don't think that I want to be in here forever but as my friend Jena would say... I live here now.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Some Facts and Figures

Since I haven't posted for awhile I thought that I would start out again with some basic stats on the trip so far.
We have been living in the RV, Abenteuer for about six months and been on the road about four and a half months.
We have driven over 9000 miles through 22 states most of which we have had the chance to visit and see interesting things.

We have replaced three alternators, found four leaks and been on fire once.
We have replaced one GPS, bought one heater and a generator.
We have taken the 1975 Dodge Sportsman Travelcraft with the 360 engine through over 10 major mountain passes including the highest altitude on highway 80 in Wyoming which is over 8000 feet above sea level.
We have couchsurfed 7 times and had a fabulous time with everyone we have met through that program.

We have visited old friends and met so many new ones. We have also missed many people along the way but hope to catch time with them the next time around.
It hasn't always been easy and sometimes I feel like this may have been a poor life choice. But days like today when we are sitting with good people and enjoying new things I know that it was a good choice.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What Time Zone Are We In?

We have been in Idaho for about a week. It is, so far a wonderful experience. The folks we are staying with are very flexible about the time that things get done and how we do them. They aren’t morning people and have no problem with when we choose to do things generally. We have been getting up about 9am every morning. Or so we thought. It turns out that if you are crossing multiple time zones and want to get up on time that it is a good idea to set ALL of the clocks in the space you live. We have three of them. One on the dash which I duteously set to the correct time the second Andrew said “Hey, we passed over into Mountain Time Zone”, one on the computer which I don’t care about and one on our alarm clock which is arguably the most important. It turns out that we have not been getting up at 9am every day but 10am because I forgot to reset the alarm clock.

When Billy asked if we could get up a bit early and see Kate off on her shopping day, get last minute instructions and get some things done when she was gone we were happy to oblige. And when I got to the house looking terribly confused and trying to figure out the actual time they were both amused and wonderful about it. Kate tells me every day that time doesn’t exist at the farm and she is usually correct. All the same, I am happy to have all the clocks set to the correct time zone again. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

What Day Is It?

It seems like we have been traveling for months and when we looked at the calendar it is actually only two weeks since we left Fargo which feels very far away almost like another country. The overwhelming feeling of meeting new people, not knowing the bus routes and taking in so many new experiences can be a bit frustrating. I think that we underestimate the effort that travel of any kind takes. You are in the most basic terms taking everything that your body recognizes as "normal" and changing it all at once.
I remember in China after I has eaten so many wonderful foods and didn't feel well that Jess's suggestion that we eat something that my body recognized as food, like the pasta that we ultimately found was perfect. It was my way of resetting the body clock and reminding my body that with all the new things happening I still remembered those that we all felt comfortable with.
We also lose the sense of time and schedule. This is especially true if we travel outside our time zone or completely stop things that help us keep track of time like work. After I quit my job and had been on the road for about a week I started to forget what day it was. My dad, who is doing his sabbatical in Munich is experiencing much the same feeling and he writes that he is trying to get into a rhythm after having been there a week. I think that we take for granted those things that help us regulate how we view that passage of time and how to plan it.

For the next five months this lifestyle is going to be "normal" for us. Every month or so we will move again to a new place and try something out. Right about the time we feel comfortable and normal again we will move and start again. The trade off for this crazy switch every few months has already started. The opportunity to meet so many new people and try different things has, so far proven completely worth the jolt of taking the whole house with us to a new location. Hopefully soon this place, no matter where it sits will feel like home.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What The Hell Am I Doing?

For those of you just joining this blog or who may not be apprised of what has happened here is the story. A few months ago I sold almost everything that I own, bought an RV and decided to travel across the country. Crazy you say? Yes it is. Let's meet the participants...

That is me. I am the idiot who decided to take the insane trip.  

his is Andrew. I'm not sure why he is here but he drives the RV and does useful things like make sure it's filled with oil and keeps me from having a mental breakdown.  

And this guy is Almont. My friend Christina decided that there may not have been enough of us so she gave us a companion. He isn't very chatty but takes things as they come.  

That's Bella. She is cute. And that's about it. 

The plan is this. Leave Fargo and drive to Seattle, which we have already done. It has been an eventful week and a half and as I write this I can't believe that is has only been that long. It seems some days like we have been doing this for a year. We will spend some time seeing cool things and having weird stuff happen which I will update you on in the following days. Then we head to a neat little farm in Idaho for about a month to work. After that, across the country again with stops in various places to St. Louis for the Men's Roller Derby Association National Championship in October and hopefully to the east coast for another stay on a farm there. In the end the goal is to be in Fort Collins, CO for Andrew to go to school. We have to goal of seeing all 50 states in three years. For those of you keeping score at home so far we have MN, ND, MT and WA. We did drive across the small part of ID so you can count that as well. See you all on the road!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Never To Many Clamps

My RV is very old and the cabinet doors have a habit of slamming down on your fingers at the most inopportune times. Usually when I am trying to put the peanut butter back or find a place for the chips. My head and fingers have started to dread visits to the places that we keep everything that we need. 

I found the solution to this problem at the most unexpected place. I went to a wedding. Two friends were getting married… to each other and I was lucky enough to score an invitation. As most of you know I am not generally a fan of weddings but this wedding gave me a huge boost of hope and joy for a few reasons. First of all it was sort of like a mini reunion. Several of the people that I went to high school were in attendance because they had kept in touch with both of these people. I remembered how I felt when I was in high school with these folks. They are smart, interesting and motivated people. Not exactly how I felt back then. I felt more like I had no direction or motivation. I felt out of place pretty much everywhere no matter how kind people were. When I saw all of these man and women again they were kind, joyful and successful. They had lovely families and wonderful stories in which they contributed good things to the world. I went into the day feeling overwhelmed by the impending trip and lifestyle change and left feeling revitalized, encouraged and excited.
The second thing that gave me hope was the clamps. The groom’s father passed away a few years back and was a large fan of clamps. Rightly so, they hold things in place, temporarily fix things and organize. They really are the all purpose tool. Every table came equipped with its own set of lovely clamps which we were encouraged to take with us. It turns out that these clamps are the perfect size and strength to hold up my cabinets doors. It was almost like someone planned it that way. Someone mentally said “Here take these useful clamps and a whole bunch of joy!” We don’t know the impression that we leave in life by just being who we are. Sometimes life can be hard and we are afraid to take the next step towards joy for fear something will break or fall apart. And in the end we realize that as we go through life and all we really need to succeed is the love of our friends… and maybe a few clamps.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Programmer Love

There are things that I do might do well. Things like cooking or organizing or speaking or even writing. Other people do useful things, like engineering and computer programming. They do cool stuff like create shortcuts and make your mouse look like a light saber. You know, useful stuff.

I would not classify my job as exciting exactly. I enter information, do calculations and sit in meetings much like the rest of the world. I try my best to pay attention to things going on around me despite my low-focus personality. One day I had an experience that reminded me that life is greatly about our point of view. I should remember the things that Obi Wan teaches but I remind you of my low-focus problem. I was training on a new computer program in a meeting when I remembered. I remembered the cancel button. Let me first say that having your own personal company computer programmer that will do anything that you ask, like teach your computer to make toast and put you into the Matrix with a shortcut key, is pretty badass. But the best invention ever is the cancel button.

The first thing that happens when you press the wrong button at work, after you swear, is the box that says “are you sure you want to do this stupid thing that you just did?” Yes or No? Well crap. What if I say yes and it blows up the building? Or say no and I disappear forever? The trusty solution is a cancel button that comes from the simplest place of all. Love.

When our programmer was working on a project his wife told him that one of her biggest frustrations is not fear, it is that there is no other choice, yes or no is it. And we just went through what the options are there. His solution? Cancel. Yep, you can just cancel the mistake. Cancel your screw up. Cancel all the pain that you may have caused yourself in life with one simple button. And all of this from the minds of the people around him as they try and find more ways to work harder, longer and make more money. His point of view? Probably that if it works for him and makes his wife happy that it may just do that same for the world. How do programmers say I Love You? They just hit Cancel.