A year ago this month my family made a very bold decision to shift our life. I was a stay at home mom and working on Chick + Mum, my husband a guy of all trades who worked whenever, wherever to keep us going. We were struggling to pay the rent and for preschool and for the activities that small mountain towns present to you. We were feeling stagnant and often stood with our hands in the air muttering "what now?" We were approaching the end of our lease, with no leads on new housing, wondering if we were headed into the world of moving back in with our parents.
How the hell did we get to this point?
This was not comfortable for me or my hubs and we knew that in order to keep my dreams of herbal education and Chick + Mum alive we would have to make a huge sacrifice one way or the other. I spent days whirling in anxiety and doubt but knew that there would somehow be a silver lining, I had that gut feeling. I got on the phone with my mom and started to spew all of my ideas and frustrations and by the end of our conversation I had an idea. I had a crazy, wtf, kind of idea but I brought it to my other half.
"Hey babe, what if we took our bit of savings, buy an airstream and travel the country all while spreading the love of Chick + Mum? We could explore and adventure, finding our next home first hand. We could spend a ton of time with our kids and each other, giving ourselves an experience that is far more rich and lovely than where is looks like we may be headed. I can meet midwives and mothers first hand, making my way into the community of natural birth workers in a direct way. What do you think?"
Well, he went for it.
We knew nothing about RV living. We had no idea what we were looking for or how we might begin. We spent a week, yes one week, reading everything we could get our hands on pertaining to buying an RV. We spent that week looking at a rough budget and planning how we would transition from life in a standard home to 200 square feet on wheels. It wasn't glamorous and it was terribly frightening, but we were excited and interested and we kept planning.
We ended up finding a 31 ft 1976 Airstream in Los Angeles, 100% original, 100% vintage. She's charming. She has her quirks and we love her. We updated her solar (two new panels), changed out the toilet to a composting variety (this way we can boondock longer), forfeited our shower for more storage, eliminated the hot water heater to save energy and made due with all of the original furnishings. We literally just made sure that it could house us, providing us room to live and sleep. Oh yeah, and house my business!
The first weekend of May last year we had a huge yard sale and sold everything! We didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars every month to hold on to things we didn't even know we would want when we came out on the other side of this, so it all went. We all had a hard time parting with special things, seeing what an 11 year relationship really brought into our lives. We really missed our "things" in the beginning, but we rarely talk about them now. The first couple of months were brutal. We had many intense discussions and tons of tears and emotional struggle, but again, those struggles are getting a whole lot easier.
We were constantly looking for a way out of what we had gotten ourselves into, and now we can't seem to see things any other way.
We are still at it 6 months in! Today we are totally used to boiling water everytime we need the warm stuff, or hitting the local gym we've gotten a membership at to take a shower, or haul in our own fresh water every couple of days. It's incredible how active we have to be everyday just to maintain our machine. We are conscious of energy usage when the sun is not out. We make choices to eat less meat because we don't use a refrigerator but a kick-ass cooler. We solar shower when we are camping in the wilderness where we can bathe in the nude.
We have been extremely lucky to take on this adventure. We have also been really strong. As a family unit we are thriving. We struggle like all families do, but we are so happy to spend so much time with each other in an age where most parents have to hold down jobs to maintain a lifestyle. We have been blown away, not only by our own abilities to change, but by the generosity of others and their willingness to share insights and space.
I have been able to make some amazing connections for Chick + Mum and can't wait to keep spreading the love. I have a beautiful apothecary space on board our home and use it daily. It's definitely not easy to build a business while we explore life in a new way, but I am so happy that I keep plugging away.
After two months on a gorgeous property in San Luis Obispo we are gearing up for the next chapter...moving east toward the Midsouth Women's Herbal Conference at Lookout Mountain Alabama. We will make stops in New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky, and the list grows daily.
It's been a thrill for me to gain more education and meet the natural birthing community throughout the US. I am looking forward to all that this next six months brings. If you have questions about our transition into Airstream living or how we manage a family of 4 and a dog in a tiny space, or anything herbalism related, please let me know,