We’ve sold our business and home. We’ve either sold or stored all our belongings. Now we are living full time in our 35ft fifth wheel with our two cats. Our plan: travel the country (slowly) while picking up temporary jobs along the way. We are hoping to try this out for a year and see if we can survive financially and mentally! Do you know how many times I’ve heard “That sounds awesome!” or “You’re living the dream!” or something of sorts.
Well…. it’s been more of a pain in the ass so far!!
The packing, the selling of stuff, the organizing, changing addresses, the decisions etc. It’s been a process! Because we were living at a “business” address, the USPS would not allow us to use a change of address card or get our mail forwarded. I’ve had to contact everyone individually to change our addresses, which was time consuming. It took me 26 minutes and a three way phone call to change my address with Blue Cross of Michigan. It was amusing listening to the Blue Cross woman argue with the Healthcare Marketplace woman about who had to do what first to get the address right. You’d think in our day and age, with all the technology we have, that one could simply check a box or fill out a form to get your address changed. During the phone call, I removed the phone from my face and asked Jerry what country he’d like to move to. Apparently ours is all messed up!
We’re going to continue to use our son Sean’s address in Michigan for now. If we haven’t killed each other and are happy with this lifestyle, then we’ll head to Florida in November to establish a mail service address and become Florida residents. Why Florida? Well, in short, tax and insurance reasons. Plus it is a pretty nice place to be. I don’t look forward to all the address change crap again. But hey, it could be worse right?! In the meantime, I haven’t been gone from Michigan for even two weeks yet and I get notified today that I received a jury duty inquiry. Grrrrrrrr. Figures. Jerry just had one last month! That’s pretty weird that we sell our place and we both get jury duty notices AFTER the sale.
It took about six weeks to tie up all the loose ends at our former home. We had a few other setbacks like a rescheduled doctor appointment (Carol) and the stomach flu (Jerry). The day we were finally going to be hitting the road, we woke up to rain…which turned to snow! We really thought we weren’t ever going to leave town!! We decided to just go for it.
By the time we hit central Wisconsin, the sun was shining, the grass was green and there were leaves opening on the trees. I just smiled. This is what I was looking for! Spring! Our day started at 32 degrees and snow and ended in Sandwich, IL with 70 degree temperatures. I was running the air in my Uhaul for the last hundred miles. Had to keep the kitties comfortable you know.
Our first stop was Illinois where there was another list of things to do. It didn’t start off on a good note. The storage unit my parents have had for the last 12 years wouldn’t fit the extra furniture of theirs we were bringing back, let alone our stuff.
We had to get a bigger storage unit and move all mom’s stuff into it then unload our Uhaul into it. We made it work. On an ironic note, we are staying in a friend’s driveway in Illinois. It is right across the street from the house we owned prior to buying the campground. New house, old house. I even got a tour of our old house. My first thoughts when I stepped inside was, “Man is this place bigger than I remembered!” I think it’s because of my tiny box living situation. Everything else looks huge!! The house if pretty much the same as I left it 12 years ago other than a fresh pain job and some new flooring downstairs.
We will have spent two weeks in Illinois before we finally get on our way to our first job. This is the most time we’ve spent in Illinois in the last 11 years! We’ve been able to visit our son
catch up with old friends,
Even caught a visit with my sister in law from Colorado who was in town visiting!
We did some hiking,
Found some places to take a few snaps
and even got a haircut from an old grade school friend!
We also then took care of odds and ends like selling more things, donating stuff to Goodwill, meeting with a financial planner, washing the camper, fixing the camper (our slide out broke again!!! Second time in 3 months, dammit!!!)
I’m sorry that I didn’t get to see everybody I’d hoped to in Illinois. There’s just never enough time! Next time!
So now on to camper life. I’m still trying to adjust to living in such a small space. At times it is frustrating. Like, I have a pantry in the kitchen. It’s narrow and deep. I find myself moving things around or pulling everything out so I can get the one item I need out of it. Actually, that happens in all of my cabinets. Being vertically challenged, I can’t reach the top cabinets or see in the freezer without a stool. Pull the stool out, put the stool back, pull the stool out, put the stool back…. Repeat two dozen times a day! It probably doesn’t help that we decided to start a plant based-whole foods lifestyle as well (I’m not going to say diet). That requires lots of fruit and veggies. Cleaning, preparing and storing them is a bit of a challenge what with the tiny fridge and minimal counter space.
On the outside, Jerry has one basement compartment he’s been fighting with. He’s been back and forth to the storage unit multiple times with things, trying to make it all fit. When I think about what I’m saying I realize this sounds so minuscule. This is pretty awesome that we don’t have to get up and go to work everyday (yet) and we have so many options available to us. I think we’re both just anxious to get this party started! And we will.
The kids have adjusted just fine although “moving days” are still not their favorite.
We’ve accepted our first positions!! We will be working for the Forest Management Services of South Dakota. We start May 15 and will be stationed at Pactola Lake in the Black Hills just west of Rapid City and north of Mt. Rushmore.
I’m excited to get to spend 4 months exploring the area. Maybe we’ll even get into Sturgis for the rally! The job itself is as a camp host at one of the loops of the campground on the lake. We’ll also be manning the booths for the boat ramp and beach. Right after South Dakota we’ll head into North Dakota for our next job – working the sugar beet harvest at a processing plant for the month of October. After that, we’ll probably head to Florida for the winter.
For now, we’re squashing all our stuff into the camper and starting off in a few days for Colorado. I must make a side trip to see the boys there before we get started changing lanes. Stay tuned for more adventures from the road!