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Now that we’re 11 weeks in, we’ve had time to reflect on how we’re feeling about our decision, how we’re adapting, our biggest challenges, how it’s affecting our relationship, what we miss, what we love the most and more.
As we began writing this, we realized the changes we’ve undergone these past few months have been pretty huge!
After all, we did sell our home and most of our furniture along with it, put our personal effects into storage, effectively downsizing from our 1,800sqf townhome to a 350sqf motorhome and now spend our days driving around the country and living in a new place every week or so. Phew!
So yes, it’s taken a bit of getting used to. Here we share our honest thoughts and feelings as we answer a number of questions and shared in an interview format so you get to hear all sides of the story!
What were you most nervous about when you started?
Marc: Having sufficient internet and cellular connectivity to be able to effectively do my job.
Julie: I was concerned I would miss my community and the friends I’ve made since moving to Colorado.
Coda: I had no idea what was going on until it happened!
How does it feel to no longer have your stick n brick home?
Marc: Free! I absolutely love having the freedom and ability to move around and see new places whenever I want. One of the biggest changes for me is that I used to walk our dog Coda up and down the same streets for 9 years, her whole life. Now when I walk Coda, it’s somewhere new. We get to enjoy all kinds of different, natural surroundings – from beaches and lakes to mountains and hiking trails – without all of the effort and expense associated with yard maintenance, gardens and mowing.
Julie: I definitely had a lot more emotions come up around selling our home than Marc did. After all, it was the home we’d created together as a married couple, and I did a lot of nesting! Initially we’d planned to rent it out and then we decided to list instead – it sold within an hour! With only 24 days between the day we listed to the day we closed, it all happened REALLY fast – before I really had time to get used to the idea of letting it go, even though it was a good financial move for us. The funny thing is, as soon as we closed, I felt just fine about it and was focused on our new adventure instead. I really like the feeling of freedom that comes from fewer responsibilities, commitments and bills associated with a regular home. Our life feels a lot simpler and lighter now, which creates more space and time for the things that really matter to us – seeing new places, creating new experiences together and having the time and energy to fully enjoy them.
Coda: I agree with Dad!
What kind of adjustments have you had to make?
Marc: Sometimes it seems there is more I need to keep track of and do on a daily basis compared with our old home. But while the tasks are different, they are not necessarily more difficult or time consuming. It’s actually pretty easy and I have a routine. I need to keep a check on our usage and tank levels – grey, black, water, fuel, propane – and our batteries. I have to be more conscious of my environment, whether it’s the weather, road conditions or the strength of our internet/cell signal. We definitely need to be flexible and willing to change plans on short notice. At one campground we had really poor internet and cell service so I had to pack up my office gear and work from Starbucks for 8 hours. It wasn’t ideal, but it was a useful backup and at least I was able to get my work done. Being in the coach is a good reminder of how easily we can take little things for granted – like unlimited internet, good cell coverage, the water supply and unlimited electricity. Now we both have a much more heightened awareness of what we’re using and how much.
Julie: In the first few weeks, I slept a LOT. I guess all of the planning, packing, moving and adjusting was emotionally taxing, so it took a while for me to get caught up on sleep and feel well rested. As my schedule isn’t fixed like Marc’s, I needed to create a routine that helped provide more structure in my day and week. And we definitely have to be more mindful in general. While we aren’t typically wasteful people, we are much more aware of our usage – whether it’s water, internet data, or not overloading the electrical circuit by running too many appliances all at once. I have to plan ahead a little more for things like grocery shopping, laundry and even mail/package deliveries, as the facilities available for each of these changes from location to location!
Coda: I lived all of my 62 dog years in Bradburn Village. At first, I didn’t understand why we were all living in this funny house on wheels that moves. I am not used to a lot of change, so I got anxious which gave me diarrhea. I lost 7 pounds and got too skinny, but now I am used to moving around a lot, so I am back at my regular weight.
Are you as productive on the road as you were in your office at home?
Marc: I feel my productivity is at least as good as it was in my home office because I have the same ergonomic setup, including keyboard tray, dual monitors, special office chair and my own dedicated office space. I’m out in nature every day and feel revitalized by my new environment, so I actually find I have more energy. When I’m feeling recharged, happy and balanced within myself, I’m always more focused at work and I produce more, so it’s definitely a plus.
Julie: Now that I’ve created a new routine, I feel more ‘in my groove’ than I did at home, so I am more focused and productive. I love developing content for the blog as it allows me to follow my passions and be as creative as I like – no rules! I do aim to do most of my work – including domestic duties like shopping, laundry and meal prep – within regular working hours, to keep our free time totally open and available for play and exploring!
Coda: I don’t get to sleep nearly as much as I used to ‘cos my mom and dad drag me around almost everywhere they go!
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
Marc: Patience. While I’ve always been a patient person, I’ve had to exercise that patience even more, because everything – like getting to the next destination or filling up with gas – does take longer with the coach. I’m also relieved that all of the research I did ahead of time has really paid off – that knowledge gave me lot of comfort to start this new adventure.
Julie: I’ve definitely learned that I need to be patient, flexible and let go of any urge I might have to control a situation, as things don’t always go according to plan!
Coda: Laying in the dirt instead of on the outside rug annoys my Mom and Dad.
How has living in a 350sqf space affected your relationship?
Marc: We were already used to living and working full time in a smaller space at home before we bought the coach. Although the townhome was bigger, I don’t feel the reduction too much as our coach has a lot of windows and we spend more time outside. Julie and I are very cohesive so that was never much of a concern and that’s proven to be right for us, although it might not be the case for everyone! And while I’m social, I am also an introvert, so I need quiet solo time to recharge my batteries. I usually like get out on my road bike for a couple of hours each week – that’s kind of like a moving meditation for me. I think knowing yourself, your needs and your limits is extremely important when you’re sharing a small space like we are.
Julie: People often ask this question, and honestly, I don’t think we’ve had any issues at all! Marc is a very patient person, so aside from him being a little jealous that I was sleeping in a lot while he was working, we’ve been getting along just as well as we did before. Even though we’ve always enjoyed spending time together, we do feel that sharing all of these amazing experiences brings us even closer. When it comes to having our own time though, I am an extrovert, so it’s important for me to get out and work from a cafe from time to time so I can be around other people too as it energizes me.
Coda: I still have lots of places to sleep – on the couch, my bed, the floor, the rug. And when I am not sleeping, I am out walking or hiking or driving with my Dad and Mom. I mostly prefer being with them, but sometimes I am happy to stay at home alone and sleep. It depends on my mood.
Do you miss any of your ‘stuff’?
Marc: Surprisingly, no. It’s a great feeling living so light and knowing that we specifically chose everything we brought with us and each of those items has a purpose and value. Every item we carry literally has to be ‘worth it’s weight’ – meaning that we have a weight limit of what our coach can safely carry. So, we’ve decided that if an item hasn’t been used in 3 months, we’ll get rid of it. We like to call it our “coach weight loss program”. That also means if we buy something new, we have to ask ourselves what are we willing to give up – in both space and weight – in order to bring it into the coach. It prevents us from accumulating extra stuff, clutter and especially weight that we simply don’t need.
Julie: No, I brought everything that I wanted or needed and I could have easily done with less. It was when I moved to the USA from Australia in 2008 with 2 suitcases and my passport that I learned how little I really need to live a rich and meaningful life. It’s all too easy to accumulate more things over time and for me, having too much ‘stuff’ literally makes me feel burdened with less of a sense of freedom. I definitely prefer experiences over things.
Coda: Mom and Dad downsized my bed but I like the new one better now. Dad brought my tennis balls and Chuck-it, so I am a happy camper dog!
What do you miss the most about your old lifestyle?
Marc: I am close to my family, so I miss having them nearby. I also miss seeing some of the familiar faces in our old neighborhood but that’s overridden by my joy of meeting, listening to and learning about the new people that we’ve been meeting on our adventure.
Julie: For me, it’s the in-person relationships with Marc’s family, my friends and our community. I do stay connected with many of them via phone, email, FaceTime and Skype, but I know we’re going to see a big difference in how our nieces and nephews have grown, in between our visits back home. I’m hoping some family and friends will meet up with us somewhere during our travels. I also miss being able to pop in anytime to my favorite Boulder hangout, Tonic and the community there.
Coda: I would like to be able to visit Grandma and my cousin Kimber.Skyping my mother for her birthday from the iPad on the Oregon Coast!
What do you love most about your new lifestyle?
Marc: I love that I am able to fulfill one of my bucket list lifetime dreams while I’m still working and young and fit enough to really experience it. I am getting the chance to fully immerse myself and really explore places I’ve always wanted to see, as opposed to taking a vacation where you rush to get there, then rush to try and see and do everything while you can, before rushing back home and back to work again. By living in each place for a period of time, even just a few days, we get a real feel for the energy and vibe of an area and can take in more scenery at a relaxed, slower pace. That’s what’s most enjoyable for me.
Julie: I love that there is always something new and in close proximity right outside our door. We can take a drive around Lake Tahoe after work, or jump on the tandem bike and take a ride downtown, or drop the top on the MINI and cruise down Highway 1 to Big Sur, or enjoy dinner in the Napa Valley, or watch the sun go down across the road at the beach, or hike the rugged Oregon coastline and take pictures of lighthouses…and so much more. Plus, I love that in the year 2000, my goal was to travel with my life partner and blog about our adventures. Now, 14 years later, that dream is a reality and I get to spend my time being creative and sharing stories of our travels, adventures and learnings in our blog posts, photos and videos.
Coda: I get to visit new places, swim in the lake, fetch ball on the beach, go for long walks and chase chipmunks. There’s so many new and exciting things for me to sniff and explore!Beautiful day for a hike by the lighthouse at Yaquina Head, Oregon
What has been your biggest challenge?
Marc: I’ve had to tackle a couple of very difficult non RV-friendly roads with tight turns, low hanging trees and narrow spaces. Even though I’m a confident, comfortable driver, it can be stressful, especially knowing that I can’t just back up or make a U-turn anywhere, as the coach with the Mini in tow is just too big. Turning around requires about 55 feet (around 5-6 lane widths). There are roads I simply would not drive on again as they are just too risky. Living my whole life in Colorado, I knew the roads really well. So it does feel uncomfortable at times when nothing is the same, including road rules which may change from state to state.
Julie: To add to what Marc just said, I’ve had a couple of stressful times as the navigator, especially when Google Maps gives a direction that just doesn’t make sense. You need to be able to make fast decisions on the fly and hope they aren’t going to take us on a bad road. Knowing that sometimes the wrong decision can lead to pretty serious consequences adds a lot of pressure. That along with the couple of experiences Marc shared above are the reason we recently invested over $300 in an RV specific GPS! A bad situation can end up costing a lot more than that to get out of!
Coda: Trying to eat my dinner outside with Mom and Dad without getting distracted by all the exciting noises, smells and critters.
What has been your greatest gift?
Marc: Feeling such gratitude for being able to live my dream lifestyle at a young age. I truly appreciate the advancements in technology and the support of my employer, both of which make this possible. I feel so much more connected to nature and the world and every day I give thanks for the little things….walking along the beach, waking up surrounded by trees, feeling the earth under my feet instead of asphalt, picking blackberries off a bush at our campsite, watching the sunset in a new location each week. It’s those simple little moments that add up to make a pretty awesome life.
Julie: For me, every time I travel, I am aware that what I am really doing is taking an inner journey. Each new experience or challenge gives me a chance to know and understand myself better – my likes, dislikes, preferences, my fears, what excites me, what inspires me. So I really love how this experience is helping me grow and live a more mindful, expansive life. I also get a kick out of hearing from others who are excited about and inspired by what we are doing, and the idea that it may inspire them to go and make one of their dreams happen too. That’s pretty cool.
Coda: I saw the ocean for the very first time in Oregon and I SWAM in it! I want to do it again!
The sun streaming through the trees at our campsite at Pacific City, Oregon
Hope this article gave you a better insight into our experience! You are always welcome to leave your comments below.
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