Friday, November 20, 2009

I have my reasons

It dawned on me that we haven't had a chance yet to explain how we got the crazy idea to sell all of our belongings and move into a small rv. We ALL have our reasons, right? Riki and I both were born and raised here in Florida. Riki has done a little traveling and I have done very little. I've never seen New England, the midwest, or the west coast. That's pretty pathetic I suppose if you consider that I'm 33 years old. Considering that it seems natural that we would have a sense of wanderlust. I have family in Florida who have traveled and of course swear that there isn't any better place to live. Maybe they are right. Heck, everybody else wants to come here. We have mild weather if you can stand the hot humid summers, beautiful beaches, and no snow. Well I've never seen snow before and for once in my life I'd really like to be able to see it. Plus, all of the folks coming down here in droves has made it a little harder for us natives to afford to live here.
The second reason is because our ultimate goal someday is to live in a small ecofriendly type of dwelling. This requires a piece of land and very lax building codes which Florida does not have either of. We wanted to buy a yurt but even with borrowed land couldn't find a way that we could legally have one. We've been renting here indefinitely because we really don't want to be tied down to a mortgage. We would rather build something cheap like a small cabin or maybe a little cob hobbit house. I love those.

We were going to take the plunge to leave the state a couple of years ago to at least look for more affordable land and country. Then I fell in love with the waldorf school here and with hard contemplation decided to stay here because my son would have a full paid scholarship to go there. We moved closer to the school and strived for a sort of urban homesteading angle instead. We focused most of the spring and early summer on growing our own vegetables and made great strides at it.

Seven months ago though my husband was laid off because of the poor economy. In his field of civil engineering the jobs are almost obsolete right now despite his 22 years of solid engineering experience. We've continued to downsize our lifestyle and came up with the idea to buy an rv.  I looked at job ads around the country and still didn't see much for what he does for a living. It is like we are starting from ground zero. We don't want to renew a lease when we don't know what the future brings or what happens when unemployment runs out. I entertained the idea a year or so of doing the rv thing but let a lot of naysayers talk me out of it. This time we really have nothing to lose. Without jobs or ties here (aside from the wonderful school) there is no longer anything keeping us here. I really feel it is time to explore and see what else is out there.

The other thing that has nagged at me for years is the lack of progressive thinking here in the south. I love the south because it is where I was born. I love the laid backness of it, the trees, the mountains in the upper south. I will always feel a kinship to it. On the same token it can be hard to never fit in because of your progressive ideas about the environment or permaculture or parenting. I'm not necessarily expecting the grass to be greener on the other side but I would sure like to see for myself. Over the years I've had too many people tell me how much I would love the west coast and the people there. They seem to be into the same things we are over there. Plus, if we do want to eventually build something alternative that will require a permit that region may be the best place to try and do it....or at least a place out in the country where people don't care what you build on your own land.

I don't know what will happen. It is a scary feeling sometimes but I feel like everything we have here is dead at this point and if we don't do this I will always wonder what opportunities we may have missed out on. Maybe the rv will break down and we'll be stuck. Maybe we'll run out of money. Maybe a lot of things. The one thing I feel secure about though is that we have shelter that is paid for. No mortgage. No house the bank can take away kind of situation. That is a real freedom and gift to us, no matter how little or modest our home might be.

Homeschooling or roadschooling as it is called is scary. I've never done it before. Doing it in the waldorf tradition is even more demanding because you don't just throw a workbook in front of your child or a video. You are creating living experiences through art and music and memorizing stories to tell instead of reading them from a book. I've already been spending the last few months going over curriculum and preparing but it is still scary.

The unknown is scary and will continue to be. This is one of the fears I would like to overcome. The fear that not having everything planned out will cause a bad outcome. You can plan and still have a bad outcome. Sometimes just flowing with the universe can be freeing I imagine...and right now it seems that we have no better opportunity to do it.

I don't know how long we will be on the road. We are hoping to eventually fall in love with a place and find another place to rent until we have the opportunity to find affordable land and build a house. I'm often torn between wanting to live in the country and wanting to live in a hip urban walkable type of city where you can ride your bike to fresh markets and take public transit everywhere. I feel confident that exploring the country will expose me to all of these things and help point us in the right direction.

We're starting our journey in Murphy, NC at  campground called Peace Valley. I'm already loving the sound of it. Many will ask why North Carolina? Well, we were looking for a mild place to spend the winter. We don't know a thing about driving in snow and would feel safer away from it as we fumble through the beginning. We may have stayed in Florida but the campgrounds are far too expensive since everybody comes here for winter. We are the crazy people leaving, haha! This campground was super cheap and appears to have some very lovely views of the smokey mountains. We also won't have the means to travel constantly like many rv'ers. It costs too much in gas. Plus, I don't necessarily think it is good for kids to be constantly dragged here and there. They need some breathing space too. So we'll stay there up to three months and then make a gradual trek out west. Driving out west from Florida is incredibly expensive so it can't be a quick journey for us like it is for some but I can't wait.

Then we are hoping that Riki might land a temporary job through the dept of forestry. They have all sorts of engineering tech jobs he can do. The only downside is that he is probably overqualified for all of them. I said that even if he could get one on a volunteer basis he could maybe get his foot in the door and go from there.

There are all sorts of scenarios that could happen and right now we're trying not to overplan since we don't know what kind of opportunites await. This is the time to ease into the experience and see some of the world we haven't before. That enough will be a pure treat for us.

And if we end up coming back to Florida, well, that's alright too but if I don't go out there and get my feet wet I'll always feel like I'm missing something. If I come back with my belly full of it I will be contented. And that's all any of us really want. Contentment.


Wendi said...

Such a scary and exciting place to be! This is something that I would love to do too. My husband is from Oregon and all I hear is how that area of the country is designed for people like You'll be great with the roadschooling. Don't forget that it's the richness of living that is most important with Steiner's philosophy. I'm the first to admit that I don't know enough about it but I have learned that much.:o) It's a lot easier to do than it seems too. Good Luck!!

Elaine Blodgett said...

Dear Amy! Don't be scared! The only thing that should scare you is NOT trying. Everything will be perfect...You will see.
And by the way, you should write a book, I love the way you put words together. Best wishes!

Little House On Wheels said...

Thanks Elaine and Wendi. Yes, I have been told many times about the writing thing too.

The Staffords said...

You'll enjoy your travels! It's an exciting journey and our country is beautiful!!

Rob & Jane
Stafford's on the Road

Tara said...

Loving your blog mama! This post really sums up how we feel (we live in Florida too!) I found your blog through FOTR...we seem to be in similar mind-spaces :) I wish you well on your journey!