50 Lessons From One Year Of Full-Time RV Life

IMG_20131029_114400_445

The title of this post is a bit deceptive, because not all of these lessons are a result of having lived in an RV for a year, some were just learned organically during the course of growing and changing. And honestly, some of them aren’t even lessons… they’re just observations I’ve made along the way.

Regardless of the cause and effect though, today marks exactly one year since we left the house on the hill and slept in the Turtle for the first time ever! No matter what happens from this point forward, we can always look back and say “Hey, you remember that time we lived in an RV for a year and everybody thought we were crazy?”. Good times. Here’s to many more!

In a way it feels like everything has changed since then, but at the same time like nothing has. We’re in a different state, but only an hour away from where we started. We’ve gotten busier with work, but we’re approaching it with a different attitude. So many things are different, but it feels like it’s always been this way, other than the awesome river in the front yard.

I have learned a lot about myself along the way though, maybe as a result of getting a year older, or developing some habits that force me to stop and pay attention to myself, or maybe I made half of these up.

Regardless, to celebrate one year of full-time RV living, I give you 50 things I’ve learned so far, in no particular order.

  1. Creativity needs to be fed. Daily.
  2. Goat cheese and strawberries go together like peanut butter and jelly, only classier.
  3. Taking leaps of faith becomes less scary every time you jump, but the fear never really goes away.
  4. Paying attention to your breath can change everything.
  5. RV refrigerators can actually freeze and go out in cold weather. Who knew.
  6. Small consistent steps taken over time build more momentum than giant strides taken sporadically.
  7. Sometimes walking away for a bit can be the most productive thing to do.
  8. Even a short daily yoga session makes all the difference in how I feel.
  9. The voices in my head are wrong. A lot.
  10. Setting the bar too high can shut a project down. Just start from where you are.
  11. Natural, organic food is worth the money. Garbage in, garbage out.
  12. Six months of dedicated hustle will get far more results than five years of wishful thinking.
  13. Change doesn’t have to be easy.
  14. Telling someone you live in a camper generates a plethora of facial expressions. A lot of them aren’t good.
  15. Telling them you live in an RV tends to get a better reaction.
  16. If you listen hard enough your body will tell you what it needs.
  17. Sometimes what your body needs is an afternoon of Lifetime movies and mud masks. And that’s okay.
  18. You don’t need a lot of clothes, but the ones you have should be good quality.
  19. Nothing slows progress more than perfection.
  20. If you want to learn a new skill, start practicing. Right now. With what you have.
  21. Where you are a year from today will be a direct result of the choices you make now.
  22. You can be healthy and still like cookies. You can even eat cookies. Just don’t eat only cookies.
  23. Checking email first thing in the morning is a great way to waste three hours.
  24. Becoming the person you want to be is hard. Being a person you don’t want to be is harder.
  25. Hand-lettering is NOT writing.
  26. Even introverts can make new friends. It just takes a little longer.
  27. Three feet of counter space is plenty if you do it right.
  28. Good socks are important.
  29. Of all the things I sold and donated, I miss my scale the least.
  30. Don’t pick the best spot in the campground. There’s usually a catch. Or a flood.
  31. The only thing that slows progress as much as perfection is clinging to the past.
  32. Pleurisy sucks.
  33. For change to last you have to know your ‘why’, and it has to be something that really motivates you.
  34. Two air conditioners are a necessity if you’re south of the Mason-Dixon line in the summer.
  35. Cats don’t like succulents.
  36. Going for a walk when you’re stuck on a project can change your whole perspective.
  37. Drinking water every day is crucial.
  38. You can take a surprising amount of wind broadside in a 37′ fifth wheel. But it’s still terrifying.
  39. You get what you give.
  40. Don’t force creativity, but also don’t let it trick you into thinking it’s not there.
  41. Show up.
  42. You have a unique set of skills that no one else has. Use them.
  43. You can shut off social media for a whole day and not miss a thing. I promise.
  44. The 80/20 rule applies to pretty much everything except murder, adultery, and stealing.
  45. RV toilets are magic.
  46. I spent too many years of my life designing on a PC. Apple rules.
  47. You are every bit as beautiful and capable as you think she is.
  48. There are a million seasons in life, and they all pass eventually.
  49. Nothing heats up a camper like a gas furnace, but an infrared heater does a pretty good job.
  50. In the end it doesn’t make a difference what you live in, or what things you surround yourself with. The only thing that really matters is who you’re with and how you spend you’re time. Get those things right and the rest will fall into place.
signature

Small Steps Will Take You Anywhere You Want To Be

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I know there’s a lot of talk about going big, doing big things, going big or going home. I even have prints in my shop saying those exact things, and I think you should always aim for big things. Don’t aim for the small stuff, dream as big as you can and go for that.

But when it comes to execution, to getting from where you are to that crazy far off dream place, small steps are key. There’s a reason the term ‘baby steps’ is so popular.

Let’s say you decided to walk across something huge, like a football field or the Golden Gate bridge, or maybe Texas. Your dream is to get to New Mexico from whatever state is on the other side of Texas (I know it’s Louisiana, shh.) and traditional ground and air transportation just won’t cut it.

So you start walking, and you figure since you have a long way to go you should take big steps and get there faster. You decide to take huge Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks type steps all the way across the state of Texas (If you’re not a huge nerd just imagine yourself sprinting at this point).

At first it’s great, you come out of the gate strong and make it a few miles. You start to think how easy this is gonna be, and imagine the things you’re going to do when you get to New Mexico. You can’t imagine why everyone isn’t doing this, because you’ve obviously uncovered the secret to interstate travel. You start taking notes in your head for the book you’ll write entitled Six Silly Steps To Success.

And then you realize you’re slowing down. You trip a little on a rock because your legs are tired of all the action. You haven’t built up to this, you went from walking normal distances like from the couch to the refrigerator to suddenly taking giant strides and your muscles weren’t ready for the change. They start to give out on you, cramping and locking up. You think maybe a break will help so you lean on a boulder off the side of the trail (we’re in a Looney Tunes setting by the way). The break helps a little so you start back strong, but you wear down again in a few miles. After a few increasingly lengthy breaks you decide you just weren’t meant for interstate travel and go back to wandering around, dreaming about what New Mexico would have been like.

If you had started that walk in your normal stride, walking towards the goal a little bit every day, you wouldn’t have worn yourself out. Your muscles would have adjusted and grown over time instead of revolting and seizing up. It would have taken a while, maybe longer than you wanted to spend, but you would have eventually reached the goal.

The thing is, when you’re making slow and steady progress sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’re going anywhere. It’s easy to get frustrated when you don’t seem to be getting any closer to the finish line. Sometimes you might even go backwards for a bit before you start in the right direction again. But as long as at the end of the day you’re moving in the right direction, no matter how slowly, you’ll get there.

The time will pass anyway, so don’t spend it wandering around aimlessly daydreaming about where you could be.

signature

How To Support Your Favorite Artist Without Spending A Dime

shoplocal

So you like art / hand-made jewelry / custom wooden iPhone covers. You've found an artist at a farmers market / on Facebook / in a little shop on the square and her stuff is right up your alley. You love to go check out her new stuff, even though … [Continue reading]

Different Doesn’t Equal Wrong

edittillitworks

Have you ever struggled with something for a long time, maybe years, before you even realized you were doing it? I've started paying more attention to my own reactions over the last few months, and was pretty surprised to find out I've been not … [Continue reading]

Weathering The Storm In A Tin Can

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

So, I've never been a huge fan of storms. I enjoy them more since I got married, because Marty really loves them, but all in all I'd happily live in some permanently sunny and 70 locale without the risk of tornadoes or damaging straight-line winds. … [Continue reading]

How To (Not) Get Sidetracked By Creativity

ride

Most days I don't have a lot of trouble staying on track and getting stuff done. I have a morning routine and a general 'schedule' I try to keep every day, plus I always have a list of what needs to get done this month, this week, and today. My nerdy … [Continue reading]

Right Here, Right Now

righthere

I started getting serious about meditating a few months ago. I didn't know if I'd like it or not, and in the beginning it felt a little silly to say I was doing it. But I wanted to at least give it a shot and see what all the talk was about, so I … [Continue reading]

Now, About That Design…

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

If you've been paying attention you might have noticed the tagline up there says musings on life, simplicity, and design. That's not just a random word I picked. Originally I planned for this blog to cover our transition into the RV, but as it grew … [Continue reading]

Why Yoga Makes Me Feel Like Superwoman

namaste

One of my goals this year was to build some new habits, and one of those habits was a daily yoga practice. I wanted a healthy habit that I could keep up long-term (no Insanity workouts thank you), with lots of room for variety, that would help keep … [Continue reading]

Annual Review: January Check-In

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We're in the middle of another 'cold snap' in Alabama. What that means is for the last two nights we've dropped down to single digit temperatures, and today and yesterday had highs below freezing. That might not seem like a big deal if you live North … [Continue reading]