Category Archives: Work on the Road

Experimenting With Rejection

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Editors Note: You don’t actually have to Keep Out, despite the sign. This will just probably be a slightly different post than you’re used to from me. There are no cats, or campers, or deep and hilarious thoughts. Just me musing about the direction I’m going to go for the next phase of my work and life. I’ll be back with more hilarity later this week though if this isn’t your thing! 🙂

A little secret about me, I’m terrible at asking for things. I don’t want to impose or take up too much of someone’s time or energy, I don’t like the idea of rejection and I generally don’t do well with being laughed at… unless I started it. That’s probably not earth shattering, I’m sure if you asked 100 people 98 of them would say they hate rejection. The thing is, out of those I’m sure there are plenty that would ask anyway. That’s where I want to be. And considering I’m an growing entrepreneur it would be pretty handy if I could learn to ask for things, because obviously no one is going to just offer it… despite all my hinting.

I read a blog post the other day about a man who wanted to learn to accept rejection. He knew being turned down for stuff was inevitable and he wanted to get past the fear of asking. So he decided to make sure the fear of rejection didn’t keep him from asking for what he wanted in life, because that would have actually been rejecting himself before anyone had a chance. Deep stuff, yes?

The way he decided to conquer that fear was pretty ingenious, kind of akin to the invention of sliced cheese or Redbox. He decided that for 100 days in a row he would make an intentional effort to be turned down once a day. He would ask for anything that came to mind and assume the answer would be no. He asked a policeman to drive his cruiser, a pilot to fly his private plane, and showed up on a strangers doorstep holding a soccer ball and wearing a full soccer uniform, asking if he could play ball in his backyard. He did anything he could to be turned down once every day.

The crazy thing is that according to the story, in all three of those examples, he wasn’t turned down. He played soccer in that mans back yard, he drove that police car and flew that plane. But as cool as it would be to play soccer in a strangers backyard that’s not really the part that piqued my interest. The part I thought was so interesting was the concept of asking with the intention of being rejected. It takes all of the pressure off, if the answer is no you can just shrug and say ‘Yea, that’s what I thought!’. There’s no risk of looking silly or being embarrassed because you tried and failed. Well, I suppose doing the walk of shame in a soccer uniform might be a bit embarrassing, but you know what I mean.

I think the experiment sounds pretty interesting, and I think we’ve established I like a good experiment, so I thought I would incorporate it into the Year of Change. Plus the answers may very well be surprising. Ya never know, maybe I’ll get to drive a police car.

Now, I think there’s probably a very fine line between asking in a genuinely expectant way and sounding pushy, or even having it sound like you’re just joking. I’m sure learning to ask will be just as important as learning to accept a possible no. The question needs to be phrased politely, but in a way that makes it clear you expect the answer to be yes. I’m sure a smile and the manners you learned in kindergarten will go a long way. And obviously being gracious if and when the answer is no would make the whole thing less awkward. Plus it beats silently backing away like a weirdo.

I’m in a perfect position to try this experiment. I own a small graphic design firm and I’m working on growing it by getting more clients. My ideal clients are small boutique businesses and bloggers, and I need to reach out to those people before I can offer to help them with what I do. I also need to contact other design firms and build relationships that place me on their list of freelance contractors. Another goal is to grow this blog and do more freelance writing, which might include guest posting on other blogs. That means I have to put myself out there for those possibilities.

This is the last day of my first experience with the Start Experiment (you know, the cult I joined?), and Round 2 starts this coming Monday. I’ve spent this first experiment getting my website and portfolio in order and talking to mentors, it wasn’t what I planned to accomplish, but it’s what needed to be done first. I’ve come along farther than I even planned in the beginning, and now I’m ready to reach out and start actually building the business side. So I’m going to combine the two, starting Monday the 12th I’m going to spend the next 24 days asking for things that will help me build my business. The answers might be no, they might be yes, I might even get laughed at. Whatever happens though I’ll keep asking and I’ll share it here, along with everything else we talk about! I might even throw some crazy questions in there just for the heck of it.

Also! Do you want to join me in an experiment? The Start Experiment is now open to the public! It begins Monday August 12th and lasts for 24 days. If you’re interested in getting motivated to change your life and want to join us there will be more information on Jon Acuff’s blog starting tomorrow, or you can always contact me to find out what flavor of Kool Aid to bring. 

 

Yard Sales, Bugs, and Decluttering… Oh My!

This will be a bit of a quick recap post… I haven’t had much time to write these last couple of weeks, I’ve been lucky to get a post a week in and work on some longer posts that I haven’t finished up quite yet.

Things have been busy at the day job, I’ve had several custom design orders come in which have taken up a lot of my time in the evenings, plus it’s baseball season so we’ve had games take up several of our Tuesday and Friday evenings, we’ve been preparing for the massive yard sale, car shopping, taking care of some things that got lost in the mail during the move, and so on, and so forth.

There have been a few news worthy things happen lately… I am now the proud owner of a Doodle Bug! I decided somewhere about halfway through the car hunt that I would love to find a new model Beetle (not one of the 70’s versions). So I started looking for one in my price range… and that was horribly disappointing. All the ones I could find in the price range I had arbitrarily set for myself were in not-so-wonderful shape. One of them looked great on the outside and looked like a farm animal had been shacking up in the inside for a few months. We didn’t even go look at that one, they were nice enough to post a picture of the inside saying it was in ‘decent shape’.

We found one that looked absolutely perfect in the pictures but was a bit above what I wanted to spend. I was finally convinced that spending a little more for a car that I loved was okay, and that I was still putting money in savings from the sale of the Murano so it was okay. So we got a little more money out and went to look at it… actually racing to get there before another couple, who showed up early and would have had dibs on the car, but in a weird twist they left without saying a word while we were all waiting on the seller to get back from picking her daughter up at school. An omen perhaps?

Anyway, when we got digging around inside the car it was actually pretty nasty, with an abnormal amount of the front end repainted. The surly lady who was selling it spoke very little English, but did manage to inform us that the car belonged to a friend of hers, who had moved back to Brazil and handed the car over to be sold. The ‘friend’ had only owned this fine piece of machinery about 6 months, and it was a 10 year old car. Warning sign #38. The car drove fine, but the center console was missing, there was grime all over the interior, possible front end damage, and to top it off the check engine light came on as we pulled back in the driveway from our test drive.

Lovely.

So I had basically decided I wasn’t going to find a Beetle in my price range (which was basically true) and started opening my search up to other vehicles, but secretly still hoping to find a Beetle. We went out Saturday for a day long car-searching marathon… which mostly consisted of driving past car lots and yelling if we saw something good, then turning around if the traffic was light enough. We drove past a lot of cars that day. But we also had some really good pizza, so that helped.

The last area we were looking in was a town about 45 minutes from here with several smaller car lots, we were actually on our way out of town and saw a silver bug in a mid-sized car lot… Marty was pretty tired of driving around by then so we turned around and went back, and lo and behold it was in awesome shape! It was also a diesel, which was something I knew I wouldn’t find in my price range but had decided would be really cool to have. They get amazing gas mileage, and diesel motors will generally last a lot longer than gas burners, Marty’s truck is a diesel and still kicking with nearly 300 thousand miles on it.

So, to make a very long story a little shorter, the car was out of my self proclaimed budget, but the dealership manager talked himself down almost immediately to a very reasonable price. It might have helped that it was a nasty rainy day and probably a bit slow. I drove it, fell in love with it, and quickly reconciled in my head the amount of money I would still be able to put in savings, the gas mileage, the fact that I hadn’t seen anything in such good shape in my price range… and bought it!

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Ain’t she cute?

And may I just say, I haven’t regretted it yet. That is the coolest little car. I get anywhere from 40-60 miles per gallon, depending on how it’s driven and the speed, it drives like a tiny sports car with it’s turbo engine, and it’s the perfect size. I was really surprised at how roomy and comfortable it was. I’ve ordered a few small things for it, a replacement knob for the side mirror controls (turns out it’s a fairly common problem for that to be knocked off), and a new emblem for the front because it’s a bit faded. But for a 9 year old car I think it’s in great shape, and drives like a dream. I hope with the diesel engine I’ll be able to drive it for a good long time… and enjoy every minute of it! Did I mention how fun it is to drive?

So now I have a more reasonably priced car, with exceptional gas mileage (Something the Murano really lacked), cheaper insurance that I also dropped down to liability because the value of the car is less than the Murano, and I was able to put a bit of money back into savings. And to top it off I was still able to get a car that I absolutely love, actually more than the Murano believe it or not.

We’ve had to push the massive yard sale back from last weekend to this weekend due to rain, but it may have to be moved yet again. Apparently now it just rains all weekend, every weekend. And it’s been abnormally cold too, but that’s another story.

There’s some scheduling issues with moving it this time, it would have to be into June, so I’m hoping the forecast changes because we now have two closed in utility trailers completely full of stuff for the sale. We really need to start getting rid of it! On the bright side, the storage unit looks so much emptier now, we should be able to reduce down to one of the much smaller units before too long. We are keeping one for now to house the tools we still need for the lawn care business, so we have a few totes stored in it as well that we could further pare down or move to the camper if need be. For now though I’m comfortable leaving them there, while we’re paying the bill anyway.

I’m going through the Turtle and decluttering it already. I wanted to be able to use the yard sale to get rid of the things I’m getting rid of, so I brought an empty tote in last night and started going through each cabinet looking for things we weren’t using. I figure we’ve been here a little over a month, if we haven’t used something by now we won’t use it. There’s obvious exceptions, but this rule works for the most part.

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Basket Problem

When we moved in I kept a ton of baskets and storage boxes… partly because I apparently have a basket problem and partly to see what I might need or want to use as we settled in. I put them all in the cabinet over our chairs, and I haven’t taken one thing out of that cabinet since I put them there. I’ve even added a couple of baskets to it as I realized I didn’t need them.

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The Ones I Got Rid Of

So last night I drug them all down and spread them out on the floor to decide what to get rid of. This, oddly, was a little tough. I obviously do have a basket problem, and I know that I logically should have just gotten rid of all of them. But sometimes you have to take baby steps.

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Keeping these for now… and the cat

First I pulled out the ones I definitely didn’t like, then the ones that I had bought thinking they were cute but never used them, and then I pulled out a couple of them that I really liked but could easily and inexpensively replace. I was left with a few that I find really pretty, they are the right shape to house things in our cabinets, and I’m going to try to work them in over the next month or so. If I still end up not using them I’ll look at them again the next time around, but for now I was happy with the pile I got rid of. Sometimes it’s okay to take little steps, it’s better than not taking any steps at all.

So that’s whats going on here lately, a lot of work and busy schedules. I expected May to be this way, spring is usually our busiest season, and throwing a full time job in the mix makes it even more so. June should be quite a different story for several reasons, most of which I can’t get into just yet!

I will say though, that this spring has been a vast improvement as far as stress goes over some in the past, due in large part to our decisions to simplify and downsize. We don’t have to worry about keeping our own yard mowed, I still don’t have a full half day in cleaning the house (even with the vacuum problem described below), our bills are fewer, and every day stress is way down. I can’t wait to see how summer feels.

Do you remember when I said this was a quick recap post? That was silly of me. This is officially twice as long as my longest post lately. So there.

Oh, and a couple of RV living tips before I go, things I’m learning along the way!

First, if you live in a campground, and you choose to walk to the laundry facilities to do your washing, and when you start to walk over it’s sprinkling a little, you should go back in and get an umbrella… or perhaps just take the car! We were stranded about 300 yards from the Turtle Sunday afternoon when it started POURING down rain right as we got to the laundry room. We stood there for around 20 minutes waiting on the rain to let up, and finally made the call to run back to the camper. We had taken both dogs too, so we took off with them bouncing behind on their leashes like really heavy kites in a windstorm. Actually we nearly beheaded one of them when she went the wrong way around a pole… but it turned out okay in the end. We showed up at the Turtle soaking wet and laughing hysterically, and I took the car when I went back to get the sheets out of the dryer. Hindsight it was pretty funny, but just as a tip to you an umbrella is never a bad idea.

Secondly, don’t think that just because your floor is smaller that you don’t need a great vacuum. This is twice as true if you have pets. I’ve been fighting with cat litter for weeks using a tiny three-in-one vacuum that we bought last year for our first camper, it works great for small messes and when you don’t track on your carpet daily, but it just wasn’t cutting it for my needs. So I got my really nice vacuum back out of storage. I had planned to sell it, thinking it was too big for the Turtle. But when I got desperate I tried it, and it fits nicely behind the dining room table, and makes cleaning the carpet so much easier. I definitely should have brought it to begin with.

And now you know.

Apparently, If You Don’t Ask The Answer Is Always No

Who would’ve thought that? Someone really should make that into an inspirational t-shirt or Facebook graphic.

I’ve been a designer for years, I taught myself to design websites on (gasp!) Geocities when I was 13 years old.

I was at one point in time the queen of wavy textured backgrounds, and have used more than one of those little ‘Under Construction’ GIFs. You know the ones, they looked like a pixelated road work barrier and usually had a little blinking light on top. They always showed up with a message that said “Oops! This awesome corner of the web is under construction! Please check back again soon!”. Alas, lots of sites never came back from the blinking GIF… I assume they were absorbed back into the internet or collected up and recycled into MySpace.

The blinking GIF existed before we had plugins for our WordPress sites that let us install a countdown timer with a signup button to join our mailing list. All with one fell mouse click.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

I swear I’m going somewhere with this. Anyway, my point being that I’ve been doing this a while. I’ve built up my skills over time, learned a ton, and had plenty of customers, but never to any real end. I haven’t made a fortune, or even really sustained myself for any length of time with design work. Even as much as I’ve always wanted to call myself a designer and spend my days doing something I love.

Several years ago I decided to get serious about it and set up a legitimate business around what I was already doing for people. I bought my business license, worked for hours on a logo and stationery, then spent a few weeks going to local businesses and handing out cards, telling people who I was and what I did. Looking back on it I wasn’t near bold enough at the time, and probably looked like a geeky traveling salesman.

I did get some jobs, and I was already building sites for quite a few local government entities and factories, but none of it was what I really wanted to do. They are jobs, and they pay okay, but they didn’t need or want someone with creativity or design skill, they just needed someone to build a site. Every now and then a ‘fun’ site would come through, I would get a chance to work with another entrepreneur with a dream, and those were the sites I loved.

But I still didn’t try to do anything specific to meet those people. I didn’t figure out who exactly I was looking for, or how to find them, or even what to say to them if I did find them. In fact, I spent most of my time being so scared that I wasn’t good enough for them that I did nothing at all.

I would take work as it came to me, even if it was for someone who was definitely not on my ‘ideal customer’ list. I never turned a job down. But I also never manned up and went out looking for people who really needed my specific skills, my style, my personality. My target customers.

Because of that work was sporadic, I did minimal marketing and then expected jobs to come to me. Shockingly, they didn’t come pouring in. So I blamed it on living in a small town… my target market is mostly female entrepreneurs with small, fun, boutique style businesses. There’s not a ton of those here, so that might be half true. But that’s just a cop out really.

Cut to last year, when the great mind shift of 2012 occurred. I had already decided that 2013 was to be the ‘Year of Change’, and it turns out there’s something about selling everything you own and deciding to live more intentionally that really opens you up.

I think the act of choosing to make that first bold move, and then following through, helped immensely too. I realized that I can do anything I set my mind to, and that maybe the worst that can happen really isn’t that bad. So what if someone thinks I’m crazy? That’s their problem, not mine. Maybe I’m not ever going to be able to run a successful business, but if I don’t try then I sure as hell won’t be able to.

My fear from before, the one that said I wasn’t good enough to work for these fun, stylish people… It’s gone. I now realize that it was just that, an irrational fear, a silly little voice in my head.

Part of what helped me realize that was putting myself out there. This blog, my Etsy store, choosing to be more open on my Facebook wall.

I decided one day that life really was too short, and that every other cliche thing I had read on Pinterest was probably true. I can choose to put myself out there and possibly build a life doing what I love with people I think are awesome, or I can do the opposite because of what someone might say. I’m pretty sure when the zombie apocalypse hits I won’t be giving a second thought to what someone said.

So I put my designs out into the world, I became more open and started introducing myself to people in the forums on Etsy, I started blogging regularly and sharing the posts on Facebook along with my newest designs. It took a lot of courage at first, I won’t lie.

And you know what? Shockingly, it started working. People actually responded when I told them what I needed. They responded to the blog, to my shop, to me. Turns out, the people I thought I wasn’t good enough for were completely receptive when I offered my services. Who woulda thought.

I’ve done more business in the last few months than I have in the entirety of some years in the past. Apparently the only thing holding me back this whole time really was me.

I can’t help but wonder, if I had started being true to myself years ago, where I could be by now.

My work isn’t quite steady enough to make a living on yet, but the benefits are killer. I feel so incredibly alive when I’m doing something I love, whether it’s helping an entrepreneur put their vision into their website, creating a custom sticker for someones baby shower, or training to run a 5k. It fuels me.

Doing work you love, for people you care about, is an amazing experience, and I hope I get to do a lot more of it. I think everyone should strive for that.

But I think the coolest thing about all this is what I’m learning – that it’s been in my control this whole time.

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t decided to…

– make an intentional change in my life

– decide where I wanted to be and start walking in that direction, however slowly

– just ignore the fear and open myself up

– and most importantly, decided to just ask.

Don’t Forget To Enjoy The Trip

This lifestyle change we started on a few short months ago feels so normal now. It’s funny how that happens.

I’ve never lived in a campground in my life, in fact I’ve lived in the woods most of my life, with no neighbors within screaming distance. I had only even stayed in a campground a handful of times before we embarked on this journey.

And yet now, one month and one week into living in a campground for the first time, it’s the most normal thing in the world.

When I come home from work, I pull into an RV park, drive around to the back, and pull up behind a fifth wheel. I pass dozens of other campers, people out walking their dogs, kids playing on the playground, retirees strolling around.

I no longer have a dishwasher, my front porch is retractable, and my neighbors are ever changing.

I’ve reduced my clothing down to 33 items, I take daily walks, I’m training for a 5k for the first time ever, and the cat lives inside now.

So much has changed… nearly everything if you think about it, except for Marty and I.

But it feels like we’ve always been here, when I think about how things were before it seems like a really far away time. When I imagine having 1500 square feet and five acres to my name I wonder what in the devil I did with all of it.

And the stuff, the storage building full of stuff waiting on the yard sale, the piles of stuff we threw away or sold… what did we do with all that stuff?? I can’t name half of it now, and I didn’t feel like we had that much at the time even.

Now I have 350 square feet and a rectangular patch of grass, and it feels more right than you can imagine. I have everything I need in that tin can. And as an added bonus, most of it is within arms reach.

* I’ve been informed that it’s not tin, it’s fiberglass, but that doesn’t have the same ring, so we’re sticking with tin.

But the end game was never just to move into our camper. This is a lifestyle change, and this is just the first of many phases. This is the beginning of living deliberately, deciding our own path and taking it. There are other areas to deal with now, other changes to be made. It’s time to start Phase 2 of this journey and get one baby step closer to fully living the life we want to live…

We’re about to shed even more things. We’ll be getting rid of a car that’s just more than we need this weekend. It’s a great car… sunroof, a five disc CD changer, a back up camera for goodness sake. That’s right, I don’t even have to turn around to back up. And oh have I grown attached to those heated seats. But in the end, it’s just a car. I don’t need it, and it flies in the face of the simple lifestyle I want. Right now, when I look at it all I see is money. Money that equals freedom to me. Soon, it will be money in our savings account, and I’ll find myself a much more reasonable car for the 10 miles a day I need to drive.

Then there’s the MASSIVELY huge yard sale next weekend, and I do mean massively huge, not like those yard sales that say they’re huge and then you show up all excited only to find seven old shoes and a stinky leather purse spread out on a blanket covered in dog hair and mashed carrot stains. You know you’ve been there.

This yard sale will be one for the record books, it’s a multifamily sale, and the other family is also in the midst of a big life change.

In case you didn’t know, life changes make for damn good yard sales.

There’s also career changes on the horizon, I’m not sure how those will play out yet, but I do know they’re coming.

Oh, and hopefully a really-cool-slightly-crazy trip coming up. It might be cross country. I can’t say for sure.

One thing at a time, we’re setting em up and knocking em down. Some days that seems so much easier than others, but we’ve come so far in just a few months. I think sometimes I expect big things to happen every day. I forget to look at where we’ve come from, and we’re we are, and instead I obsess over where I want to be.

That’s not how deliberate change works, I can tell you from experience it’s not a get rich quick scheme or an overnight success story. You take one thing at a time, decide how it needs to change, and then break that down into manageable steps. You chip away at it, day by day, until all of a sudden it’s changed. It’s not instant, and it’s not easy, but you eventually look up and realize how far you’ve wandered down the path.

At first it’s hard, you feel like you’ll never get anywhere, you’ll get frustrated and wonder why you’re even trying so hard. You might cry a little and drink more flavored coffee than you should. Just sayin’.

Then one day you realize that you’re so much farther along then you were a month ago, and that those little things you’ve been doing every day, consistently, are actually working. Note: This realization might require that your very patient husband point it out to you several times, but it still counts.

Suddenly you’re able to run longer then you could a week ago, your able to write a thousand words more easily than last time, you make your first sale, and things start looking up.

That’s not every day, and the next day might not be as good, but you have to keep remembering the progress. It’s all about the journey, you won’t get anywhere without it.

Disclaimer: This post was partly written for myself, on one of my better days, to remind myself where we were a few months ago, and how far we’ve come. I hope maybe it helps you too.

Will you follow me?

No, we’re not setting off to travel the country. Unfortunately.

Actually I’m moving the blog… that may seem like an odd move so early on in it’s little life, but I have my reasons. They’re approximately 50% selfish and 50% altruistic.

If I am to be totally honest with you, and I always intended to be, I would like to connect my online world in such a way that all roads lead to the same place. So if you found my blog, and you happen to need a website or some really cool business cards designed, you might see my website and think “Well, I’ll be, what a lucky day I’ve had” and then you would ask me about those business cards and we would engage in some sort of transaction, the result of which would be a win-win situation. I have a website where my graphic design business lives, and I would like for it to be my ‘home base’ of sorts online. I’ve mentioned the fact that I’m trying to build my business, partly to facilitate us being able to travel, and I think having everything together instead of spread out across the interwebs will help me do that. Doing business online is just like the ‘real world’ in so many ways, and the more foot traffic you have the better your chances are of someone needing your services.

Alternately, visitors to my business website might not realize that I have a blog, and when they see it they might then have the chance to get to know me just a little more, and we might even become friends. And everyone knows there’s nothing wrong with more friends, because more friends sometimes result in coffee meetings and mutually beneficial networking, and I do like coffee.

I could drag you through several different scenarios, in which I connect my Facebook page, Etsy shop, Pinterest account, and eventually have tea with Leo Babauto, but that’s not really why I wrote this.

I have other motivations as well, I want to protect the content here as I grow my site, and sometimes things happen and sites are lost on public domains. I also would like to have more control over the types of plugins and content that I can use.

It’s all very geeky when you get right down to it. But I really hope you’ll come with me, because I’m starting to get so many great readers here, I don’t want to lose you over semantics!

With all that rambling out of the way, I have set up a sub-domain on my site, and I’m going to move the blog there in a couple of weeks. It’s not live yet, but when it is I will set up a redirect, so anyone coming to this address should automatically be taken there. I’m also going to export all of my current posts, so really nothing should change. I’m not even sure if you’ll have to do anything if you already follow me here, but if you do I’ll let you know, because I’ve grown very attached to you guys in such a short amount of time!

The new site will should be up by the end of April, I’ll let you know for sure before I make the switch! Until then, if you need any business cards, or would like to meet me for coffee (I mentioned I like coffee, right?) I’ll throw in a little shameless self promotion – www.snazzyturtle.com 

p.s. Don’t worry… I don’t intend to become cheesy, or pushy, or only write content to attract traffic, or anything of that nature. I may add a few affiliate links to the blog at some point, but you will never be pressured to click on anything you don’t want to click on, and I will only occasionally promote a product or service that I use or truly believe in. Other than that I plan to keep writing about simplicity, RV living, and some day life on the road!

5 Ways Living In An RV Has Improved Our Lives So Far

VeggieBasket

Yesterday was the end of our second week living full-time in The Turtle. Which I think pretty clearly makes us experts on the subject. Or at least more knowledgeable than we were two weeks ago!

There are definitely some clearly defined benefits already though and I thought I would share them here, in case you’re sitting there on the fence thinking about making the leap.

First a disclaimer, it’s not all going to be perfect. I promise not to sugar coat anything here to make it seem like we live in a fairy tale with deer wandering around outside the window and robins landing on our fingers. Although on my walk Friday I did see 9 deer, 25 turkeys, and one rabbit… just sayin’.

Here are a few of the improvements I’ve noticed in our short time here…

More Exercise

You might not start running 5ks, but you will probably get more exercise just by default. In my case there were several changes. At the house I could just let the dogs out without a leash or going outside myself, now we take them on walks twice a day around the campground.

We also opted not to buy the tiny washer/dryer unit that you can install in an RV, even though we have the hookups for it, so once a week we pack our clothes up in a big blue laundry bag and walk to the campground office where the washer and dryer are. We pay $3 a load and do between 2 and 3 loads a week, depending on what linens need washing. It gets me some fresh air, a nice walk, and I generally stop and talk to a few people in the process which is nice.

Also, because of the location of our campground and the fairly isolated road that runs beside it I’m able to take two-mile walks on a regular basis on a mostly flat paved road. It’s quiet, giving me time to think, and I’m working on training to run a 5k this year.

More Socializing

This probably doesn’t apply to you if you live in an apartment complex or subdivision right now… but then again, maybe it does.

People tend to be more sociable for the most part in a campground than out in ‘the real world’. I’m not sure why that is, but something about the atmosphere will find you having conversations with people you’ve never met before on a regular basis. It’s great!

We’ve made a handful of new friends already, and met several interesting people who were just passing through. We’ve also gotten great advice from people who have been there before us, which is always comforting.

Less Housework

It might be the lack of a house that causes this one.

I spend a few minutes every night washing dishes and putting them away, I vacuum a couple of times a week (around 5 minutes), dust (5 minutes), and straighten up as I walk through. That and laundry are about the extent of the weekly cleaning. I wipe the bathroom counter down with a rag every night after we use it, and wipe the kitchen counter after I wash dishes.

I honestly didn’t think this would equate to a lot more time to do other things, because I didn’t feel like I spent that many hours cleaning at the house… but I suppose bigger floors, bigger counters, more laundry, more surfaces to dust, and more dishes all add up.

I really do have more time to work on my graphic design, go for a run, or just sit around. That’s pretty damn cool.

Less Stress

This is a combination of the other benefits mixed with lots of little things, and I’m sure your mileage may vary. Heck, my mileage varies from day-to-day… this is a campground, not a Disney movie! But the overall tone is less stressful.

We have fewer bills, as a result of eliminating some services that we no longer needed and paying off debt with the profits from the house. We are able to save money more easily as a result of having less outgo.

I have more time to try to build my business, I get more exercise, and we spend more ‘quality’ time together. Just for the record, I only use air quotes around quality because it seems a bit cheesy, but the time we are spending together does seem to be more fun. We walk every night and talk, sit around outside, and even sitting inside watching tv feels cozier and more intimate.

We Eat Better

No, not all the time. There is currently a whole box of deliciously awesome cinnamon rolls from the Wal-Mart deli sitting in the microwave waiting for me, and that’s okay.

But we do grill out a lot for dinner, probably 60% of the time right now and more when baseball season is over and Marty isn’t at practice most nights. Dinner usually involves a meat and a couple of veggies. Pork medallions, sweet potato, corn on the cob, and salad last night… mmm!

Side note: The grill Marty bought before we moved makes the best baked potatoes I’ve ever had, and the same for pork chops. It keeps all the moisture in, you don’t really even need butter because everything is so marvelously juicy.

But I digress. The point was that grilling out more causes us to eat more veggies, and eating more veggies makes me want more veggies. It’s a lovely vicious cycle.

I have so much more to talk about just from the first two weeks here, and an updated Project 333 post coming soon, I’m going to try to come up with and stick to a regular posting schedule. I want this blog to be a resource and provide encouragement for people looking to make a change in their lives, whatever it might be.

We still have a lot of changes to go, myself especially. I have a business to build and the label of ‘full time graphic designer’ to grow into! I’ve struggled a lot lately with the fact that I’m still at my day job and not making it on my own yet, but I have to be patient. Marty reminds me on a regular basis how quickly all of this has happened, and that I can’t expect everything to happen the same way. I also have to remember how far we’ve come in just a few months.

I’ll talk more about all that later though, it’s almost time to go for a run!

Danielle LaPorte on Dream Shrinkage

This little article just popped up on my Facebook news feed and I thought I would share.

I think it applies nicely to those of us who have questioned why we have to work so hard our whole lives with the vague promise of being able to enjoy this thing called retirement. We want to enjoy it now, we want to make it happen so that we can do what we love now instead of later, but we’re afraid if we stop going so hard the results will stop too.

She puts it in a little different perspective… maybe there’s a happy medium, maybe doing what I love will provide different or even better results than plugging away at something that’s slowly draining me.

What do you think?

The Dangerous Terrain of Unnecessary Dream Shrinkage