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Prologue

This is how it begins, with a whisper not a bang.

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Hello, hola, bonjour! Welcome to the prologue. Allow me to set the scene; two beautiful Adonis-ish twenty-somethings sitting in their living room. One turns to the other and whispers something equal parts breathtaking and terrifying into her ear, she feels his breath on her cheek as he leans in close and says “let’s quit our jobs and run away”. He doesn’t dare breathe as he watches for her reaction, and her lips trembling with trepidation form the word he’s been waiting for, “okay”. This is how it begins, with a whisper, not a bang.IMG_8657

What if Doesn’t Work Out? What if it Does?

I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And what do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.

Sylvia Plath

The question that we kept asking ourselves before taking the “leap” intruded over and over again into conversations, asserting it’s dominance like an angry customer demanding to speak to “the manager” over a bad coupon. Squeezing into sentences and falling out of mouths before the speaker, hand to lips to catch the slip, even knew what they were saying or had a chance to pull it back in and reverse that taboo sentence. But yet against all efforts it would escape and our vocal chords would vibrate in defiance of our brains and put sound behind our greatest fear and the words would be uttered “what if it doesn’t work out?”.

The question that we should have been pondering was not “what if it does not work out?”, but instead “what if it does work out?”. Do we dare contemplate the idea of the consequences were we to actually achieve what we had set out to do. It is a scary thought, that realization that you may just might make it work and come out on top. It is rare to find someone who thinks themselves deserving of the hand that they have been dealt in life and rarer to summon the courage to stack the deck in one’s favor. I don’t think that we have gotten “lucky” to fall into this lifestyle, we merely got desperate. Start with blog entry #1 and you will hopefully get some idea regarding the work that was put in to get us to this point in our lives. If anyone is considering leaving a job that they hate, a city that drains, or a house that is haunted, I hereby pledge my support and my love. It is not an easy step, in fact it is more of leap, I take that back, it is a free fall. Remember though that you cannot get ahead if you are stuck in the past, and life after all is only a series of moments, tied together by actions, which are defined by our choices, and the occasional rash decision. We waste a lot of breath talking about living when we could be using it to live instead.

Speaking of living, the countdown has begun and we have officially reached that “Oh Shit” moment in terms of getting the RV ready for a 3,000 mile road trip. New tires have been ordered, new brakes are being shipped, we found a sketchy businessman who “knows his way around a Winnebago” to do some minor adjustments. Money is coming in at the same rate it is going out and I could not be more excited. We do well under pressure, without pressure we are coal, with it on the other hand we are still coal but there may be a hint of diamond in there somewhere. My biggest concern is reorganizing the rv, (I should mention that this is due to the fact that it is the easy task to tackle). I learned in life that if you are taking the easier job you better be the damn best at it, so that is my goal. Here are some tiny living organization tips that I have picked up..

  • Hanging shoe racks work well if you do not have a lot of drawer space for things like socks, underwear, and beta fish.
  • Poke holes in all of your significant other’s favorite snack bags, letting the air out creates space and letting them get stale saves calories.
  • Use clear totes for storage and label them if feeling industrious to save you from tearing your entire home apart to find that “one thing” you were sure was in that “one space”.
  • Use the Marie Kondo method and toss anything that does not bring you joy, do not throw away the too small tiny fridge though because although it does not bring joy, it is necessary.
  • Utilize all storage available but make sure that it makes sense, i.e. do not store your bras under the sink. On second thought, use the Kondo method, do those bras bring you joy?
  • Replace glass containers with plastic, plastic weighs less and will not hurt as bad if thrown at you.
  • Instead of lugging around your entire dvd collection pull the DVD’s out of their covers and place them in cd binders to have on the adventure. You’re only going to watch The Lord of the Rings on repeat either way but this way saves more space.
  • Your emotional baggage weighs a ton and there is a weight limit that needs to be adhered to when it comes to RV’s so you might as well leave that behind as well.
  • Kill your houseplants, if you can not have them than nobody can. Just kidding, that got dark. Donate that indoor palm tree and buy a small succulent instead.
  • Convert your bricks of gold that you purchased for the collapse of society back into cash, gold is heavy and cash is key. Also you cannot start a fire with gold if you are lost in the desert but cash should get you by.

Those are just a few helpful tips for living small, there will be more such as lighting all of your high school yearbooks on fire (your crush didn’t sign it anyway), and rolling your fitted bed sheet into a ball and then stomping on it in frustration for storage, I’m assuming everyone folds a fitted sheet in this fashion. Life is short, make sure you live it.

Fievel Goes West

“The world is a big place and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark”

Planning a road trip.

Supplies needed:

  • Wine
  • An open mind
  • WiFi
  • Roadtrippers app

“In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse”

We are 80 days away from our 11-14 day road trip to Northern California and have officially begun all of the projects that we meant to begin 2 months ago. Cheers to adventure and exploration and everything that goes with it. We are preparing body and mind, I don’t want to brag but I did 10 sit-ups today so yeah there’s definitely a 6 pack hidden under my baggy sweatshirt and I could probably kill a man with my vice like grip. Now that we officially have a departure date things are becoming a lot more real and I can’t tell if I’m really excited or really terrified but I am beginning to accept the fact that these two emotions generally go hand in hand. Anxiety, depression, and fear are all symptoms of the human condition, if you do not feel these things on occasion (or all of the time for some) you are an alien and need to phone home, if you do you are not alone. I for one am constantly terrified that I am making the wrong choice, going the wrong way, or saying the wrong thing. Most of the time all of the above is true for me but at our very worst there is still room to try our very best. Remember that it’s okay to sometimes feel the need to run away. Stay Sexy and go on an adventure.

Sleeping Around

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

-TS Eliot

With sweaty palms, nervous laughter, and shaky hands we put pen to paper and bought a home. The house is nestled among the old Cypress and colorful Azaleas of Dunnellon Florida, the self proclaimed “treasure” of Florida’s nature coast. Our home’s previous owner was said to be a connoisseur (hoarder) of antique clocks. Upon hearing this my imagination instantly conjured up ticking in the walls and an Edgar Allan Poe story I once read back in high school about a man who killed his neighbor and nonchalantly buried him under the floorboards. To my dismay I have not discovered any clocks in the walls and thankfully no neighbors under the floorboards either. Ghosts aside it is a charming place. We are meeting our neighbors and putting down shallow roots, deep enough to grow but not to take hold. Every hand that we shake comes with a silent plea to please like us enough to look after our house while we are away. Every nosey neighbor is another sentinel to our cause and worth their weight in afternoon soaps and neighborhood cats. I do not get upset when I see the curtains move and the eyes peering unblinking thru their Venetian blinds, I take comfort from the neighbor who is always sitting outside folding and refolding his paper watching and waiting, I respect the woman checking her mail ten times a day looking for some kind of change; these are the few, the mighty, the neighborhood watch.

A coworker asked me if buying a home meant that we were not going to travel anymore. I had not really put much thought into the question and responded with a vague answer quoting The Lord of the Rings. The truth is that owning a home mortgage free gives us the freedom to travel even more. During our first six month adventure all of our valuables were divided between a storage unit and utility trailer which we had purchased solely for that purpose and we had a lot of unease about how we were going to make it work long term. Having a home base gives us a safety net and the confidence that no matter what happens on the road we have a place to go back to. We are heading to California in mid April and there are a lot of things that can go wrong along the almost 3,000 miles of roadway that we will be traversing so it is really nice to have a plan B in case anything were to go wrong and a place to work on the RV and do any necessary modifications and repairs. Not to mention the fact that I really wanted a place to hang my hammock and Jesse needed more room than the RV had to offer to set up his drums in the off-season. Slamming doors is a lot more rewarding in a brick and mortar home.

We are both currently working seasonal jobs while we prepare for the next adventure. It is a very humbling experience to go from a high paying management position to an entry level role. All of your experience and knowledge goes out the window and I have had to reteach myself the fine art of smiling and nodding. I will say that I have learned a lot with this new perspective regarding how to treat and talk to staff and how important it is in a management role to practice patience and respect whether interacting with those above or below your “pay grade”. You learn a lot about a person not by how they treat their superiors but those they view as inferiors. On the more stressful days when I catch myself falling between the cracks it is easy to get lost daydreaming. I constantly find myself being led astray by thoughts of all of the places that I have yet to see and the pages that I have yet to fill. I find myself trapped within a stranger’s tales of adventures on the west coast and treks beyond our unseen boarders, lusting over every step they have taken. Every morning while I sip my coffee and mentally prepare myself for the day to come I utter a silent but heartfelt congratulations to myself for being one step closer to the next adventure.

Ways that we have found to make money while traveling

  • Seasonal Jobs- this is the most consistent way that we have found to make money. Most areas have seasonal offerings in jobs related to tourism and farming. Workamping gigs at RV parks are a lot more prevalent in the summer/fall months.
  • eBay- This is a lot less reliable but there is something to be said about the thrill of the hunt as you scour thrift stores and rummage bins for the next overlooked treasure.
  • Shutterstock contributor- Only if you are ready to put in the time to really build up your content, more of a marathon than a sprint.
  • Blank Checks- Have you seen that 90’s movie?

Stop Drop and Roll With it: How to Put Out A Fire With Gasoline

You know what? Fuck beauty contests. Life is one fucking beauty contest after another. School, then college, then work… Fuck that. And fuck the Air Force Academy. If I want to fly, I’ll find a way to fly. You do what you love, and fuck the rest.

-Little Miss Sunshine

December has snuck in like a thief in the night and robbed us of November. November was full of family, friends, wine, and the subsequent hangovers that these all inevitably leave behind. Crawling out of the November haze it is time to detox and decompress. Detox here is defined as sticking to only white wine and consuming less garbage. Honestly there was a week when we could have been mistaken for well dressed, well educated, highly functioning raccoons.

We have been staying with Jesse’s family for almost a month now and there has been laughter, tears, and a nervous breakdown or two. Jesse’s mom has gone above and beyond to open her home to us and I am beyond grateful for all they have done for us. That being said, sometimes I want to go outside and dig a 5ft 4in hole in the ground and hide in it. No offense to our gracious hosts it is just that some things should not be discussed at the dinner table such as politics and religion. Coincidentally those are the only things that end up being being brought up over our meal. The only safe route is to shove as much food as you possibly can into your mouth so that there is no room for words to possibly escape. I understand that some people would love to see nothing more than an AK-47 toting Jesus high-fiving the president whilst drop kicking refugees, I am just not a card carrying member of that club.

On another less offensive note I am absolutely embracing being 17 again. “Play hard nap hard” is my new life motto and I will never turn down a meal that comes out of my mother in law’s kitchen. Speaking of being 17 I’m also realizing that I’ve lost the the stealth I once prided myself in. I used to be able to climb out of my window, leap over a sago palm, traverse a fenced in field and sneak into another house all without rousing a soul and then do it in reverse. I would go to such lengths as to put my car into neutral and push it down the driveway than navigate a mile down the road with no headlights on to avoid detection. Now when I tiptoe into the living room at 4am I immediately knock over a lamp, step on a cat, and trip an alarm leading to a long string of muttered curses and made up words. What I’m trying to say is my in-laws may be growing tired of me and our presence.

This all leads us to our newest venture, purchasing a winter home that we can own mortgage free while we travel. Here are some terms that we have picked up on in the process:

  • Cozy Small, so small, very tiny, it’s actually just an outhouse with a new metal roof and attached garage.
  • Florida landscaping have you ever seen a banana spider? Google it, that is Florida landscaping, face eating spiders hiding in wannabe trees.
  • Historical Haunted. There is a 100% chance of a poltergeist in this home, if you are lucky it’s Casper, if you are not you are dead.
  • Foreclosure They stole the appliances, stripped the copper wiring and did an “upper decker” in the toilet, bring lots of bleach.
  • Chateau You can not afford it, do not even look at it.

Somehow in the Wild West that is the Florida real estate market we have managed to find a home. A little fixer upper with big potential and a two car garage with room for the bus.

While we wait for the realtor to hand us the keys we are able to start planning our next road trip. The goal in April is to head to Northern California for the season. We anticipate this trip to take between 10 and 12 days and cost us around $125-$200 a day which includes food, gas, and accommodations. This means I need to start stashing money like a squirrel getting ready for winter. I don’t like stereotyping but I am Jewish and know a thing or two about saving money so this should not be an issue. I am definitely not a “fly by the seat of your pants” type of girl so the planning is half of the adventure for me.

So here I sit waiting when I’m used to going. Waiting for a phone to ring, waiting for a letter to come, and waiting for the other shoe to drop. We find ourselves again in the in between time and I’m getting used to being used to it.

And so it goes again, our eyes meet, his mouth curves, and my world changes.

I Know What I’m doing, and Other Lies I Tell Myself

The offbeat, fact-based saga is enlivened by the perfect balance of humor, emotion and insight and should be one of the true sleepers among fall box office releases. (A review of the hilarious and thought provoking 1993 movie Cool Runnings)

16 Different ways to say hello

  • Hello
  • Hola
  • Bonjour
  • Privet
  • Ciao
  • Guten tag
  • Shoulder shrug
  • Head nod
  • Nondescript under the breath muttering
  • Salam
  • Hallo
  • Dobry Den
  • Goedendag
  • Haja
  • Over excited waving
  • Nook-neck (klingon)

Why only 16 ways to say hello? Because after the 16th one I really just want to say goodbye.

How to lose a job in ten days.

I accepted a job helping a local woman walk her dogs to make extra money in my spare time. Prior to meeting her we texted back and forth and she seemed like a normal person. At least I thought she was normal until I spoke with her on the phone and was roped into a brutally painful conversation that lasted 50 agonizing minutes. During this triathlon of a phone call we laughed, cried, and I found out she was more than slightly racist and very unstable. I did not know how to quit but also could not justify investing any time in her or hell hound Cerberus (I did not formally meet her dogs but I can only assume they were spending the winter with her while Hades is out for a total knee replacement). To get out of the situation I did what any true passive aggressive would do and lied. I know it’s bad and I should have just told her thanks but no thanks, it was just so much easier to say that I was working. In retrospect I should have just told her the truth because she fired me, that’s right, she fired me. It’s like when you try to tell a joke and someone beats you to the punchline.

Brit’s tips for getting and keeping a job from management to entry level:

  • Show up early and stay late
  • Do the jobs that no one else wants to do, do not complain about these jobs, in fact do them so good that people get jealous that they are not cleaning the toilets. Make them think that it is your passion.
  • Work the days that no one else wants to work.
  • Never stop learning new things no matter how silly (16 different ways to say hello).
  • Listen, listen to your boss, listen to your guests, listen to your gut.
  • Smile often, laugh often, no one wants to be around a “Debby Downer”
  • Be reliable as shit, like show up on days you weren’t even scheduled just Incase, that may be a little over doing it but hey you’re a go-getter.
  • Bottom line, make yourself indispensable

Making a list to remind yourself to make a list.

We have a mile long to do list of adjustments to make to the rv before April including fixing a hole in the closet caused by a rogue propane tank and repairing the handle on our screen door so that you don’t have to bust thru it like the Kool Aid man every single time you leave the rv, sometimes it’s acceptable but most times not. I am working full time telling bad jokes at a local dive shop while Jesse is stuck doing the heavy lifting and I have zero regrets with how that worked out.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and here are a few things that I am thankful for:

  • My mother in law and her endless patience (and snacks)
  • My mom because she’s my mom and this will make her smile
  • Jesse and his strong shoulders because I throw a lot on them
  • My pets for always listening to my problems
  • Smooth jams on the radio always playing the hits (this is to be read in a sultry radio voice)
  • The mute call button on the phone
  • High top shoes so that swinging doors don’t clip the back of your ankle when you walk through. Pretty sure that’s what they are for.
  • String Cheese, probably the funnest way to eat cheese.
  • The look on someone’s face when they are genuinely excited about something
  • The look on my face when someone gives me string cheese
  • Fast cars stuck behind dump trucks in traffic because they tried to get over but you “accidentally” blocked them in
  • The feeling when you’re about to fall asleep and you jerk awake because you think you are falling but then realize that you are safe.

Reading is one form of escape. Running for your life is another.

-Lemony Snicket

Dashboard Confessionals

“Oh how we’ve shouted, how we’ve screamed, take notice, take interest, take me with you”

-Dashboard Confessional

As I sit, we sit in Georgia. Douglas Georgia to be exact. I’m not 100% sure how to accurately describe Douglas except for the fact that we don’t fit in, we were a little nervous about the idea of spending the night here. As I told a friend, I took one last picture on the off chance that Jesse was leading us to a cannibal camp so that I could properly document the story about the time that I lost my left arm. First impressions can be entirely deceiving though and “General Coffee State Park” was unexpectedly serene and beautiful. Don’t get me wrong though it could still be the perfect setting for a great “B” horror movie.

Disappointed about the lack of Coffee here.

What led us to BFE Douglas, Georgia? The end of the season that’s what. High fives to us for starters for successfully completing our first working season at a camp! Reading our first posts where we merely dreamed of owning an RV and traveling for a living I would have definitely not held my breath in terms of us actually reaching our goal (there were a few who told us this in less words). We have officially overcome and become the kind of people that I always wanted to be when lusting over the “idea” of this lifestyle and it is everything that I imagined it would be and more. I say more because I could have never taken into account the people that we would meet and the effect that they would have on our lives.

Somehow unbeknownst to me the incredible experiences that we have shared have cemented themselves into unbreakable bonds and memories worth their weight in propane. By October this rag tag group of workers somehow morphed into the most dysfunctional family that I have ever seen or ever been more proud of calling my own. We owe a lot to Bill and Sharon the first managers to take us on as part of their team. They took a chance on two inexperienced campers who had yet to even officially resign from their careers at the time of the long distance interview and gave them a shot. You two are what helped fuel our flame for adventure and helped us gain the confidence to realize that we have what it takes to succeed in this gypsy lifestyle.

“In the mean time, in between time”

By this time tomorrow we will have traversed the cotton fields and red clay hills of Georgia and be back in Florida left trying to answer the question of “what do we do now?”. My top priority is making money so that Jesse (silent J) can complete his arduous and boring list of RV modifications without depleting our savings account. I hired him based solely on looks and I’m starting to regret it as his hourly wages are outrageous.

I have a job lined up assisting a woman with two finicky Grey Hounds and an interview scheduled with a local dive shop. I am doing everything I can to shamelessly promote myself to avoid both losing my mind and losing any money during the “off season”. Most employers do not want to hear that not only do you wish for an entry level position with your background of management experience but you would also only like to be employed for a four month stint. This makes finding employment very interesting.

Our biggest struggle currently is the fact that Jesse (pronounced Hesse) keeps trying to play the blu ray copy of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo on our standard ray DVD player. If that is my only complaint in life thus far I think that we are absolutely doing something right and that we will surely figure out the details as we go. I currently in the process of writing a book titled Truck Stop Bathrooms and the People You Meet There, a romantic comedy.

Here are a few other things that occurred this month:

Carrot post leg amputation surgery
Carrot got adopted by the Vet tech who assisted in his surgery ❤️❤️❤️
First day of our new lifestyle
Last day of our first season workamping
Did I say we’re getting good at rv cooking?
Haunted house has been added to the resumé

PS during the writing of this Jesse (pronounced Asshole) thought that he would be helpful and changed my writing light from standard lighting to “submarine” lighting resulting in our most physical fight in years.

Accurately depicts the Submarine Lighting
I won the fight
The only souvenirs we have space for, thank you Kimi at Sacred Lotus tattoo in Asheville

Tips For Not Murdering Your Spouse In A 140 Square Foot Home

“My husband and I have never considered divorce… murder sometimes, but never divorce.”

When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”

We are nearing the end of our first workamping gig in Cherokee, NC and have learned a couple of things about how to live in a small space together without killing each other. My family definitely took bets about whether or not we would be able to cope and how long this adventure would last and although it took some real adjusting, both this lifestyle and tiny home have grown on us. Here are some of the things that we have learned and overcome in the past six months.

  • PrivacySometimes I find myself screaming “STOP LOOKING AT ME!” At the top of my lungs like an overly tired and misunderstood toddler. There is no privacy. Privacy is going “upstairs” to the bunk over the cab to read a book in peace or putting on headphones to listen to a murder podcast while sitting on the opposite end of the couch. Pro-tip if you sit on the couch horizontally and back to back you can pretend the other person is a backrest instead of a living and breathing entity.
  • Arguments- Arguments mainly consist of whisper-shouting at each other about who’s turn it is to walk the dog. As quick as arguments start in a small space they end just as fast because it’s hard to stay mad when you live in a Little Tykes Playhouse or to take someone seriously who just accidentally bumped their head on the above seating storage area when they tried to storm off.
  • Communication- Communication is probably never more important than when living in a home on wheels. I say probably because the jury is still out and sometimes I choose to either not communicate or purposely miscommunicate just to keep Jesse on his toes. I prefer physical communication over verbal like when I stomp on Jesse’s foot or give him a sharp jab in the ribs when I think he’s about to say something embarrassing.
  • Chores- Small spaces get messy quick and my advice for staying organized is to designate an hour out of every day for decluttering and tidying up. Unfortunately for Jesse this normally coincides with me having to take an exceptionally long shower meaning most of the cleaning is left to him. To compensate he gets an enthusiastic high five for a job well done.
  • Traveling- Kilometers are shorter than miles so to save gas we always travel in kilometers instead. Any road trip is bearable with a good soundtrack and a great sense of direction. I’m guilty of slamming on my invisible passenger side brakes every time we approach another vehicle and screaming profanities when I believe I can get away with it, Jesse on the other hand is a relentless backseat driver who doesn’t know how to just let “Jesus take the wheel” (My favorite driving joke is to take both hands off of the wheel and ask Jesus to take over).
  • Cooking- The kitchen is no where near big enough for two so it is important to delegate one person as the chef for the night and the other usually winds up as the culinary version of the “backseat driver”. Some things that you may hear at our home while cooking include but are not limited to “I am going to light your face on fire” and “Show me your hands because I am going to cut them off”. The smaller the kitchen the higher the tension.

We are currently 9 days away from the closing of the park and 3 weeks from heading back home to Florida for the holidays. We arrived with 2 cats and 1 poodle and will be heading home with 3 cats and a poodle. Carrot the campground cat broke his leg and because I’m a sucker for a sob story we have taken on responsibility for him, with that responsibility comes a pricey surgery to amputate his front right leg scheduled for the upcoming week. What will we do with a three legged cat, your guess is as good as mine. We have also visited Biltmore and Jesse dragged me up Grandfather mountain, hiking boots do not make you a mountain climber. In the next three weeks we will get a crash course in winterizing a campground, new tattoos to commemorate the journey, and a fresh perspective on what is to live a life of our own making.