Gettin’ Cozy

When we bought our 5th wheel, we had purchased it with the intentions of renovating. The ‘bungalo’ as I like to call it is a 1996 model, so as anyone could imagine, it definitely could use some updating. We decided to start on the back of the camper, which is our room. So far Jeff has been able to pull up the 90’s teal carpet and replace it with pergo wood flooring and build us a really neat bed frame that allows for storage underneath, and the dog’s kennel built right in.  We then got side-tracked with the bathroom updates when the toilet was replaced. The flooring in the bathroom area was actually getting wet, so up came that carpet. (yes carpet in a twenty year old camper, yuk!) We found this really neat vinyl peel and stick that is grout-able, it looks fabulous. There are plans of course for making our walls a little less 90’s, but just one step at a time.

Winters here in Idaho can be pretty brutal, especially if your little casa is 5th wheel. Jeff spent several weeks trying to get us comfortable in our new mobile dwelling. The heater in the campér doesn’t work, so we bought space heaters and those little buggers run 24/7. At one point it was so cold in the bedroom before we had all the insulation and skirting up our dog’s bed actually froze to floor! However, after all of Jeff’s hard work we are now quite comfortable in here.

As were getting more settled into our new place, we’re finally able to start thinking about our big trip. We plan on heading out in June, so this gives us plenty of time to save up to our set goal of cash and find our vehicle. We’ve already decided that we won’t take the 5th wheel given the expense of gas, therefore we’re going to look for a van or maybe even a very small RV. We have a handful of national parks and forests we want to visit as well as family through out the U.S, so being able to save money on gas is definitely worth the cramped quarters. Traveling in a van or a tiny RV will force us to get outside of the vehicle more and explore. This is also one of the reasons why we chose to down-size and move into our 5th wheel. Our old home was so big, we sometimes didn’t see each other or we wouldn’t even use one half of the house for months. Now that we’re in the 5th wheel, we use every inch and every corner. I also think just in the few months we’ve been here, we’ve already grown closer.

Jeff hard at work.
Bathroom & Hallway area

The Big Move

After hours upon hours of craigslist searching, used and new lots, we finally found a 5th wheel and for a hell of a deal too! We started going through our things, deciding what we really needed and what wasn’t necessary to keep lugging around. The biggest and probably the hardest thing for us to do was to figure out what to do with the “micro farm”. Jeff and I both have a soft spot in our hearts for animals, and we had a handful of pets. With the array of animals, most of our friends called the house a zoo! We had 5 tortoises, a few fish tanks, a total of 6 chickens and ducks, a rabbit, a canary, a cat, a dog and a small parrot. We definitely knew the dog, cat and bird were staying with us. Our dog only weighs about 12lbs and she’s the princess, the cat and I had been buddies since before my husband I even started dating so there was no question there, and my parrot, well I just wasn’t going to let him go, he’s precious to me. We did find great homes for everyone. The tortoises even went to a local reptile rescue and that made us feel good knowing they went there. It was a bitter sweet feeling, but it was one step closer to new journey.

Downsizing our things was hard at first, trying to decide if something is really worth taking up space. The 5th wheel we bought was 31 feet in length and we estimated our total square footage with the slide was about 275sq feet. Big change for us coming from 1700sq foot! I think I went through my clothes alone three times before we actually moved into the 5th wheel. I am happy to say however, we both are able to fit our clothes into standard sized rubber-maid totes. Of course this isn’t bigger items like coats and jackets, but we did do a good job. (I had two closets of clothes in our old house) Since we did only have a short time to get the house ready for selling and to minimize our things, we ended up needing a storage unit. I’m sure we will be able to get rid of a lot of things in storage since by now we haven’t even noticed these things are gone.

So, we officially moved into the 5th wheel around the first of October 2015. We’re renting a lot in a really nice mobile home park which allows RV/campers. The neighborhood is in Boise, right in town and such a big difference for us being right in town. We had been living in the country for a few years and were quite use to the country living life style. Our first few days we were without power, leaving us to use a generator just so we could run the lights and maybe the tv but it wasn’t enough power to heat up a shower. We like camping, but this wasn’t what we were thinking of when we decided to move. Once we finally got power, we started to settle into our new lifestyle quite well. There have been few things we’ve had to get use since moving into a tiny ‘home’, but surprisigly the space hasn’t one of them. The space is actually nice, no stairs to climb, less to clean and once we start, it’ll be way easier and cheaper to remodel than a standard sized home. A couple of the things we’ve had to learn; cooking on a propane stove, mastering the water pressure in shower and how to not blow the breaker when the space heater is running at the same time while the toaster oven is going or even the blow dryer! The outside sound changes took some time getting use to. We were use to hearing chickens, donkeys braying and tractors plowing. Now, we hear sirens, motorcycles and the trucks bringing in new shipments for the stores we live right behind. But, I don’t jump up and look out the door at every loud crash and boom sound anymore. We were also quite surprised how dusty it gets in here and how long the smells from cooking simmer through out the place. But these are all things worth discovering as we move forward. I laid here one night after we first moved in and looked at my husband saying, “We’re really doing this!”

Our new ‘home’!!
The inside. We have a lot of work to do!
Look at all that teal…

How It All Started

So, our big idea started simmering in our heads last summer, but we really got serious about making plans and going forward after a late night conversation on life. Both of us had lost close loved ones recently and had been overwhelmed with sadness. My Papa, who helped raise me passed away in 2013, then Jeff lost his grandparents not long after. We were left grieving, but it also brought some perspective of how fragile life is. We never really know what tomorrow will bring. This got us thinking about how people make bucket lists or say they want to go here and there someday, but they never do or even if they do, they’re too old to really enjoy it by the time they get there. So, why wait?!

Jeff started pestering me as usual coming up with these crazy ideas about life on the road, living like gypsies and even moving to the mountains. Throwing out these plans he’s had building in his head for months, maybe evens years. After I had given it some thought and finally agreed, we decided we shoot for next year, that way we would have time to get all of our things in order and save up some money. Yeah, a year is a good time frame. We figured if we wanted to live life more simply, we should probably consider downsizing from our big beautiful home. A RV or camper seemed to be the smartest choice for a mobile dwelling. Downsizing our home would also mean we would need to think about what to do with the “micro farm” and our belongings, but we had given ourselves a year so we’d have plenty of time. After we felt good about our plan, we start sharing this with some of our close friends and family, some were a little hesitant but most very supportive.

The old house

Now, while we weren’t planning on leaving our home behind quite yet, Jeff was still was curious on how well we might do with selling it. He contacted our realtor mid-July just to look into it and cure the curiosity. Given the market was doing so well, our realtor suggested we actually try to sell the house then rather than waiting another year. This surprised us as you could imagine, but we had a pretty life changing decision to make. We gave this new information some thought over few days and decided to go for it! It took us a couple weeks to get the house looking sharp, slapping on a new coat of paint and finally finishing some small landscaping projects before we put the house up on the market. The house went up for sell by the end of August and sold within 10 days!! Our buyers wanted to close by the end of September, so that only gave us a few weeks to downsize and oh, find an RV!

Back view of the old house
My beautiful garden & chicken coop