Tango practice, hiking, and cooking.

These are a few of the things I’ve been able to start getting back into lately, which I am really happy about.  One of my goals for myself was to start reinvesting in the activities I enjoy.  Ideally, this would also give me some time for introspection to determine what I deem important, or a direction I’d like to go next, as well as to decompress from my last adventure in the workforce.

Today is one of the days where I am feeling really good about my decision to take a little bit of time in between jobs to experience more.

While in Portland, I met up with a number of friends, ate some good food, and went walking on Sauvie Island with my mom.  I got brunch with a dear friend who I met while working at an art camp a few years ago, tea with two friends from my graduating anthropology class (one tea place was in an old train carriage and another in a converted double decker bus), and spent some time with my sister as well.

After driving back to Southern Oregon, I’ve shuffled some items around between the truck, storage unit, and my partner’s family’s house, working toward a semi-final organization for the tiny living space.  I’ll leave it open to rearranging as needed, especially if I don’t use all the items I pack.

Above are some pictures of home brewed coffee, hiking in Ashland, and Toby enjoying having a mellow afternoon.

I’m able to spend more time with my dog, walking him around town or on short hikes to start with, and taking him to dog group so he can socialize with other small dogs.  I know he enjoys being out with me rather than in his crate while I am at work – admittedly I was starting to look into dog daycare possibilities for him if needed.  Now, I can spend more time with him and put those funds toward other priorities.

And, rather than eating out for many meals which happened when I was working a lot, my partner and I went grocery shopping after tango practice today, then made a tasty salad and burritos for dinner, after which we walked the dog around the neighborhood.

I have had more time to read, both books and articles, and came across an article today, titled The Art of Enough, which has given me some ideas for personal goals I would like to work towards in the near future.

Overall, I’m appreciating the time I am able to spend with people and doing activities I enjoy more, now that I have the time.

Why I’m Doing It

Some folks might wonder why I would want to live in a camper, especially right after college.

I have been interested in small houses for a couple of years now (thanks to my dad, who introduced me to the idea) and because a tiny house is too expensive for me right now, I started looking at alternatives.  Ideas ranged from van dwelling, to a teardrop camper, to RVing.  As you can see, I leaned more towards a mobile dwelling because I want the ability to travel with ease.

Camping at Lost Lake

In the end, I decided on a truck and camper.  This seemed like a viable option because if something goes wrong with either the truck or camper, one or the other can be replaced without losing your entire rig.  I liked the layout of the truck campers and the potential for a 4WD truck if one got into some sticky situations.  Truck campers are by no means stealthy, but they have standing room and other amenities often built right in.

I was lucky enough to find a truck and camper for sale together on Craigslist of the kinds I wanted.  The truck turned out to be a diesel which meant that it gets about 17 miles to the gallon even with the camper fully loaded on the back.  To me, this was a good compromise between comfort and miles per gallon – not as high as a camper van, but not as low as a big RV.

The challenge of getting rid of enough things to fit only the necessary items in my camper is ongoing, yet refreshing to realize what I actually need and use.  This culture runs rampant with consumerism and materialism; ideologies encourage us to define ourselves by what we buy.  Small living offers an exercise in defining ourselves more by what we do and with whom than by what we own.  With a small space, I am forced to minimize and save money by not buying extraneous items.

Overall, at a young age I now own my own home (even if the home is a truck camper), have the ability to travel, a low cost of living, and potentially no landlord.  Even with the work still to do on the camper, that sounds like a decent setup to me.