Life without the luxuries.. back to where it all began..

It has been 14 months since I left a life of luxuries to pursue a ‘God calling’..living life in a car as my only home. Today I am back to where it all began.

Serenity Sedan in familiarity

I’m sitting in Serenity Sedan now in complete serenity after enjoying a salad I picked up at Walmart. Stationery at a familiar park where before leaving Texas December 25, 2018 I would hang out to journal, work, have instant coffee and lunch or dinner.

a life of luxury with fresh air in the park

Sometimes I would just drift off into never never land for a few to contemplate what was ahead. Truly a life without what I now call ‘luxuries’.. tv, microwave, regular showers, and a bathroom all my own.

simple picnic fun!

There are exciting times ahead. I feel it in my soul. God is healing my spirit; revealing new truths, strengthening my soul and pruning me for the next season to come as a full time gypsy nomad living in a vehicle. I am humbled to be able to be used by Him and offer my help to others looking for a ‘new beginnings’.

Over the course of the next few weeks I will be visiting my son and his family (daughter-in-law and grand sweet pea) as well as my daughter and 2 grand sweet peas. I’m looking forward to fun reunions and making new memories to store in my heart when the time gets too long before seeing them again. I’m grateful for this new day and this precious opportunity.

I’m very busy with craft show season. 3 shows behind me now and 2, perhaps 3 to go.

show time!

gift giving time!

During the week I will be hanging out at the library working on my Say It Display It®️business, blogging and producing new videos for Serene and Simple Life

A preview of up and coming productions on https://YouTube.com/sereneandsimplelife- ‘Sit and Share Sunday’ is returning ..

  • Storage show and tell.. everything I own in one 7 X 10 metal box
  • sharing my thoughts and opinion about home ownership
  • show business season with the who, what, where of it all
  • 40 days and 7500 miles after leaving Utah.. what I did and where I went
  • A Surprise! God’s perfect timing
  • A new permanent address!

I hope you will continue to join me on this journey. As always I will be blogging my video productions as I post them on my Serene and Simple Life channel. My heart’s desire is that I would empower, encourage and inspire you to live your best life and live life large no matter the luxuries you may or may not have.. today or down the road on your journey.

Blessings in your day..

smiles and joy,

Linda

living life large.. one day at a time

Hygiene.. Is it possible to stay fresh and clean without access to a shower?🤔

One of my biggest concerns in choosing to live full time in my car was how would I stay clean and where would I be able to indulge in a hot shower? Over the course of the last year I think I have figured it out! I have found that it is possible to stay and feel fresh and clean even when I have no access to a shower!

I have named the 3 ways I stay ‘hygentically clean’ GOOD~ BETTER ~ BEST

1. Good- baby wipes.. quick and easy.. daily wash

2. Better- large spray bottle and basin

Shower bag, simple essentials
  • 3. Best- showers.. Here are my ‘go tos’ while traveling..
    • Recreation Centers
      YMCA
      Hostel
    A favorite in Moab
    Lovely city.. St George, Utah
    In many cities.. very nice!
    • I ask Google- ‘showers near me’
    • I’ve always been of the philosophy- anything is possible if you want it bad enough. I was bound and determined to let go if a life of mortgages and rent that kept me in ‘the poor house’ as my dad use to say.. I have found a way to be clean, feel clean and stay clean without showers on a regular basis. I don’t miss showers; I’m just very grateful when I find one as it turns into a big blessing for the day! It’s the little things.. when you are without then you tend to appreciate things even more when you do receive them.
    • Here is the 4th and 5th videos from Serene and Simple Life on ‘hygiene and makeup’ in the series ‘Short and Sweet Saturday’ – food- power- clothing- hygiene- makeup

      make-up- https://youtu.be/ODVACFm-NOY

      I wish you that feeling of gratitude you experience when good things come your way that may easily be taken for granted.. like a shower!😀

    • smiles and joy,
    • Linda
    • This about sums it up!

      Clothes ~ clothes and less clothes

      How is it even possible to downsize from a full size closet to just enough clothing for all 4 seasons; all the while living full time in a car? It took some detaching and ‘letting go’ of many pieces as well as time to be able to figure out what I needed vs what I wanted to go with me. Eventually I was able to go through my wardrobe and go from clothes clothes and more clothes to way less clothes!

      When I first decided to hit the road full time and live in my car I had to first process what was a must to go with me.. for instance a winter coat and gloves.. just in case! I made 4 piles.. absolute needs, let go and give away, maybes, stuff to store till next year.. A month before hitting the road I got busy sorting so I could take my time with all of it. I visited the piles often to further eliminate pieces I no longer needed or wanted.

      7 mesh bags called ‘Amazon basic bags’, an heirloom Vera Bradley bag, (1) collapsible fabric box and one extra large Ikea bag houses all my clothing in ‘Serenity Sedan’.

      Amazon basic bags

      collapsible fabric boxes

      1. (4) medium size Amazon basic mesh bags:

      1. (10) short sleeve tops

      2. (14) tank tops

      3. (4) capris (2) long stretch pants

      4. (3) knit shorts (3) Jean type shorts

      (3) assorted size mesh bags:

      1. Casual Dresses for church, craft show participation

      2. Undergarments

      3. Long sleeve tops

      2. Vera Bradley bag- Shoes- 1 dressy sandal with heels, 3 casual flat sandals, 1 dressy flat sandal, 1 casual dress slip on shoes

      3. Fabric box- 2 jeans, 2 hoodies, sweatshirt, light weight jacket

      4. Big blue ikea bag- Winter wear! 2 scarves, 1 shoe booties for cold weather, winter coat, warm ph bottoms, 2 sweat pants, 2 sets of long johns, 2 wool sock sets, gloves, puffy vest

      I am an Amazon affiliate where they compensate us financially if you use the links in our store to purchase items.. even if not the same items. The fabric boxes are currently out of stock though the super Amazon basic bags and IKEA bags I use are available. Here is the link if interested- https://Amazon.com/shop/sereneandsimplelife Thank you in advance!

      Here is the link to my recent video showing you my clothing and organization https://youtu.be/5Y8P0K0Cmx4

      So there you have it.. downsized from 1 large wardrobe closet filled to the brim to 4 storage systems to house everything I need in Serenity Sedan. Everything is organized, easy to find and simple. No more staring at a closet full of clothes with what should I wear? Well I still ask myself that question but I don’t spend as much time pondering the answer! A serene and simple life it is.. one I wish for you as well!

      smiles and joy,

      Linda

      Power.. How do I keep it all juiced up and ready to go?

      How does one manage as a full time car dweller without buried, covered and grounded wires; that wonderful Thomas Edison invention called electricity? The thoughts of full time car dwelling without having wall outlets was definitely daunting when I made the decision to hit the road full time in my car. Lap top, I pad, kindle, I phone, fan, light.. oh my! How would I keep it all juiced up with power and ready to go?

      I researched a lot! You tube and asking questions in the various face book groups I am part of were my first attempt to figure it all out. The answers came one by one as I considered space in Serenity (my Acura Sedan) finances and ease of use.

      You can watch my video on Serene and Simple Life channel if you like https://youtu.be/Nxs6iktMwVM

      There are 3 main items I purchased and one gift to be able to maintain sufficient power for my devices mentioned above.

      All my assorted items that require or give power!

      1. Jackery- Lithium battery bank.. referred to as an ‘All in One’ plug and play.. 2 USB ports, an AC plug, 12 Volt, DC

      Jackery ‘all in one’ plug and play

      2. Jackery solar panel to go hand in hand with the Jackery.. a gift from my son.. Oh for the love of sunny days! It is a 50 watt panel. Over the course of 8 hours in full sunlight the Jackery battery bank can be fully charged. It also has a USB port built in. There are times I utilize a sunny day to not only charge my battery bank back up but to charge my I phone or portable battery bank as well. Voila! The sun does its thing and I have fully charged devices. I could never have imagined I’d be living in a time of solar energy let alone relying on and using it!

      Powering up Jackery!

      3. Anker brand battery bank.. consists of 2 USBs to be able to charge my phone 6-8 times. It’s very cool as there are 4 light up dots to see the level of charge capacity.

      Anker battery bank

      4. Best Tek brand inverter.. 300 Watt.. when on a long road trip I plug the inverter into my cigarette lighter.. then plug whatever needs charging into the inverter.. be it phone, battery bank, lap top, I pad, kindle or even Jackery. The inverter has one AC outlet for the lap top or Jackery and two USB ports.

      Bestek 300 watt inverter

      That’s it! Simple and easy to understand, space savers and ready in an instant to use anytime. It wasn’t always this simple. I had days when I would get twisted up on what’s what. Over all I have found that the more you use something the more accustomed and easier it gets. Life 101!

      If you like; I’m an amazon influencer and receive a small percentage of what you purchase just by clicking on any one of the links or just shop here: https://amazon.com/shop/sereneandsimplelife You don’t even have to purchase the exact item(s). As long as you use one link Amazon will give us a reward for sharing. Thank you in advance too!

      I encourage you to start with the bare minimums like I did if thoughts of power intimidates you. You can always add more power or solar to your rig as you go. We are in a fascinating era of many different options to meet your power needs. Go forth! Blessings in your day and power on!

      smiles,

      Linda

      Food! Full time car dwelling.. How do I manage?

      Are you able to imagine a life without modern appliances? A Gas One brand stove, soft side lunch bag, and 12V hot water pot have been my handy dandy ‘go to’s’ to replace the conveniences of a refrigerator, microwave, four burner stove with an oven.

      The ‘Gas One’ two burner propane or butane stove is my ‘go to’ lifesaver when I’m settled in one location for more than a day. I’ve also cracked it open during an overnight stop at a rest area.

      rest area cooking up some breakfast!
      scrambled eggs with cheese and toast.. Yum!

      The handy dandy compact lunch box sits in the coolest part of my ‘Serenity Sedan’; which is the front passenger seat floor. I’ve stored salad, eggs, cheese sticks and even my candy treats which of course would easily melt in the heat of the day.

      handy and dandy!

      I use the 12 V water pot for my instant coffee when I get up early to start traveling to my next destination. When it was a bit nippy out I would warm up Serenity for 10 minutes and heat up the water. 

      handy and dandy 12 V hot water pot

      I am an ‘Amazon Influencer’ if would like to take a look at my ‘go tos’. Amazon shares a portion of their proceeds with us who share products with you! Serene and Simple Life store link – https://amazon.com/shop/sereneandsimplelife

      McDonalds has also been a go to for hot water. I hold on to one of their coffee cups and visit them for hot water or a refill when stealthing in the city.

      What and how much food do I carry? Here are my fast, faster and fastest meals

      1. Fast- noodle and rice packs where I add a can vegetable, tuna or chicken can to make a fast casserole of sorts😊

      sampling of my pantry

      2. Faster- CANS! Heat and eat- soups, Chef Boyardee, Stew, hash

      3. Fastest- no refrigeration needed!- tuna, salmon packs (add lettuce) devil ham or chicken in a can, cheez whiz and crackers, peanut butter, Nutella

      Quick and easy.. no refrigeration or stove required

      I carry anywhere between 1-2 weeks of food with me. I also have lots of snacks to sustain me. Walnuts, granola, assorted crackers, raisins, power bars, fruit cups, beef sticks, and chips are some of my favorites. I definitely do not go hungry! Link to my you tube video ‘Short and Sweet Sat.- FOOD- https://youtu.be/j77rh3pOXD4

      tasty drinks

      I also enjoy shopping at Walmart after 7pm (usually) for their ready to eat, mark down salads.

      SCORE!

      I hit up fast food places when I’m traveling many miles in a day to reach my next destination. Burger King, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Chic Fil A.. I love em all and find it hard to decide where to go! I definitely like to switch it up.. As they say- variety is the spice of life..

      Hope this ‘share’ has given you a taste of how you can survive and thrive living full time on the road or just simply anywhere!

      smiles and joy,

      Linda

      Seasonal work camper.. 2 jobs.. 2 different experiences

      It has been a whirlwind of activity; both work and play since mid May. I parked my home at Red Bridge campground on May 15 to work as a camp host on the Mt. loop in the Mt Baker- Snoqualmie National Forest. Little did I know this job that I had been anticipating and looking forward to would be short lived; 7 weeks to be exact. As a work camper I would have 2 jobs for the season and 2 way different experiences.

      I landed the camp host job in January 2019 at ‘The big tent’ where 100’s of vendors from all over the country to sell their wares and many employers come to recruit people for summer jobs. Fun! California land management hired me to manage 14 campsites. https://www.clm-services.com/

      My beautiful home was situated next to a beautiful crystal clear river.. Free! No rent! My kind of home. Way before May rolled around I visualized and got excited thinking about my surroundings.

      million dollar view for free!

      25 hours a week, $12 an hour.. my responsibilities included checking in guests who had reserved on line, collecting camp fees for the (4) walk-in sites, selling firewood, sprucing up the campsites once campers pulled out, reconciling the money collected each week with the manager and least favorite job.. cleaning 2 pit toilets 2-3 times a day. Check out the 5 week camp host series in the playlists of Serene and Simple life channel if you like.. Day ll – Sat. and wrapping up the weekend https://YouTu.be/f83V3YVhRfk

      It was an exhilarating, fun and serene job. Definitely something I had never done before! I managed my own time clock (without the clock!), felt independent of bosses and free.. unlike most side jobs I’ve experienced in my life.. no one micromanaging me, telling me what to do or when.

      I’d most likely do it all over again except after 7 short weeks the mice took over and ran me out of town.

      God provided me a ‘back up’ plan back in January. I had met with HR from Ruby’s Inn In Bryce Canyon City. They offered me a job as their first car camper after convincing the board that this was the wave of the future.

      Though it sounded great; my sense of loyalty kicked in as I had already accepted a job with California land management. Kara from HR told me to call her if it didn’t work out. Okay great; but I couldn’t imagine it not ‘working out!’

      1150 miles away.. on my way to Utah! Though not so fast.. the manager of Ruby’s Inn General store where I would be working told me I could take my time and whenever I chose to arrive was cool by her!

      With a much needed ‘regrouping’ time after the mouse escapade I decided to add 5 more National parks to my growing list of already visited. Mt Rainer was my first park as I exited Washington, next Glacier National Park in Montana, Grand Tetons, Wyoming; finishing off my 2 week vacation in Colorado; visiting Rocky Mountain and Mesa Verde National parks. Definitely a whirlwind of activity and sightseeing!

      the contemporary sideways shot😊

      I arrived in Bryce Canyon city on July 15.. a significant date.. 10 months full time on the road as a car dweller. 9am Monday morning I met with HR and filled out my paperwork. Tuesday morning started training for the ‘retail clerk’ position. Easy and fun.. retail and food service being my back up ‘make ends meet’ job for 45 years.

      This second of the seasonal jobs was 40 hours a week, beautiful back drop with friendly, happy guests from all over the world. No mice.. awe.. very nice!

      Here are the ‘Pros and Cons’ of 2 way different ‘seasonal jobs’ (on Serene and Simple life channel as well) https://YouTu.be/ADvrOJ-5Dj8

      Camp host outside Granite Falls on the loop in the Snoqualmie National Forest and Retail Clerk at Ruby’s Inn Bryce Canyon National Park

      PROS and Cons of both combined .. (reference camp host job first then retail clerk job second in bullets)

      • beautiful site.. next to a river.. serenity at it’s finest.. second job -nice site near restrooms and showers though not private
        $12 an hour with a free site as opposed to Ruby’s- $8 an hour with $100 a month taken out of paycheck for a site at Ruby’s Inn
        No WiFi or cell.. had to drive 17 miles for a signal.. rough on business as a digital nomad! Ruby’s- good WiFi and signal as well as places to hangout indoors (common area near pool) to do work
        My own boss, 25 hours a week scheduled however I chose, 40 hours a week at Ruby’s to make up for the loss in pay!
        Lots of responsibilities with money handling of guests, needed to answer ?’s and police vehicles coming in even if ‘off duty’ sign up.. Ruby’s- work 6:45am – 2:45pm – 8 hours then done for day!
        Rain rain and more rain first few weeks of both jobs.. difference was I was indoors working at Ruby’s
        Isolated.. made friends with campers then by myself majority of time vs new friends at Ruby’s could connect with socially a bit
        No showers.. $6 for 5 minutes, 17 miles away.. Ruby’s- 1 minute walk and free!
        Bathroom duty with 2 vault toilets 3 times a day.. gross! Ruby’s- easy salesperson job!
        Uniform that was men cut pants and tuck in dreary polo shirt vs Ruby’s- colorful t shirt and any bottoms (including jeans or shorts) of our choice
        Mice vs no mice!
    • The winner.. Ruby’s Inn
    • Moral of the story of ‘pros and cons’ list? Money isn’t everything!
    • Wishing you a ‘no money needed’ blessings and joy in your day😊
    • smiles and joy,
    • Linda
    • You tube channel ‘Serene and Simple Life’ mission and hope

      Millions are flocking to you tube.. both as subscribers and creators. It’s a platform to be heard, entertained, share knowledge, stay in touch and voice opinions. Serene and Simple life’s channel has a mission and hope.

      History- launched in September 2018, picked up momentum in early 2019 and took off in July 2019’when Bob Wells of cheap rv living interviewed me.. watch here https://youtu.be/EAep9J-U2IE

      Early on I contemplated what my message would be, what would I share and more importantly in how could God possibly use me to make a difference in other people’s lives living full time in my car. I knew I liked to talk to so I definitely had that going for me.https://youtube.com/sereneandsimplelife

      I gave it all to Him and He receives all the glory. To me nothing else really matters that to be of service to Him.

      At first the thoughts of a creating a channel made me very anxious. Opening up my car dwelling life for the world to see felt like a pressure to perform. Of course the devil is in the details as they say and certainly would not want me to build something for God’s kingdom.

      After a lot of thought and prayer I decided to ‘go for it’. I recognized through watching other car dwellers videos that there was a huge opportunity to make a difference. The challenges of negative and cruel comments would be real but I knew God would help me to forge ahead.. 140+ videos later.. that He has done!

      Serene and simple life birthed with very humble beginnings.. 1 subscriber then 2 then 10 then 100’s and now 1000’s. It was encouragement from a friend at Women’s Rubber Tramp Rendevous that I decided to keep going. Now 140+ videos later I feel God using me more each day.

      So what is my purpose and what am I trying to accomplish? My mission statement has 2 parts with 3 points in each – knowledge and fun – Watch here on you tube https://youtu.be/Ab26PmMtt8w

      Knowledge

      1. Empower you- get moving, baby steps, short walks, hikes, drives, unknown destinations.. however ‘get moving’ looks for you. Plugging in to the playlist – Travel Thursday’s is a good place to start.. I also want to empower you with facts- the how to’s, the Whys, the what’s.. topics I share in Sit and Share Sunday’s are relevant to the facts of living full time in my car as a gypsy nomad, traveling the country and living life with purpose and meaning. I desire to share my knowledge as I apply it- sharing with you how you can experience a life of serenity and simplicity as a minimalist.. full time mobile or living in ‘sticks and bricks’. You can actually take just about anything I share and apply it to your needs, wants; your life!
      2. Encourage you with positivity! The videos- Monday meaningful messages is a good place to start https://youtu.be/kTBHb_67sQI
      3. Excite you with the possibilities.. expressing to you- a. Life is short b. live in the moment c. today is all we have d. God is good
    • FUN! How do I want to accomplish that on my channel?
      1. travels.. so much to go, see and do
        time- in my nest, out of my nest- Serenity Sedan
        tidbits and trivia- life moments.. things I call a ‘SCORE’! new friends, unexpected blessings in my day for starters
    • ‘Trivia Tuesday’ videos (see playlists) is a good place to start for the sheer ‘FUN’ of Serene and Simple Life channel
    • Life is way to short to not have fun. In my past life I tended to be overly serious and needed to ‘lighten up’. I think my channel is giving me new opportunities to do that and perhaps ‘make up for lost time’ as they say😀
    • makeshift bowl with names for the one year anniversary drawing😀

      In closing, I know that not everything I say or post is going to enlighten or resonate with you. I do hope perhaps you will subscribe to Serene and Simple Life if you haven’t already. With the variety of topics I share I believe there is something helpful to empower ~ encourage ~ and excite you.

      just another one of my crazy storytelling moments😊

      My wish is for you to find blessings in your day and joy in the journey!

    • smiles and joy,
    • Linda