Life changed as I knew it on July 1, 2018. I left go of the security (or not) of sticks and bricks and decided I would move into a vehicle full time, continue my business as a digital nomad and travel the country. No more moving around and chasing down lower rent payments to help make ends meet. My story has evolved into living in the moment, joy in the journey and exploring he great unknown. I am sticking to it and experiencing the good life like never before.
I grew up in small town USA in Irwin, Pennsylvania; 30 miles east of Pittsburgh. Mom was a hard working stay at home mom till we were teenagers and dad was a hard working father who retired at 62. We were what society would deem a ‘normal family’. We stayed put in the same home from the time I was born and I attended the same school district through twelfth grade. Once a year we would pack up our one and only 4 door sedan and head to a nearby beach for a week.
What I call ‘moving blood’ was warming up in me. I couldn’t wait to be out of the house and leave small town USA. My first stop at 18 was to the big city of Pittsburgh to attend a business school. Two years later an associates in fashion merchandising. I skipped pursuing a career in my field; chose marriage to a military man and becoming an entrepreneur instead to help supplement our income. 9 years later and intense counseling on my part the marriage died. Yes; it does take 2 willing people to keep a marriage working. As a heavy drinker; choosing to drink to fit in then ultimately out of loneliness and depression I definitely played a role in the collapse. I became a single mom of 2 small children… Happy to say a sober single mom since September 1990.. 29 years as I write this.
Now what? Back to small town USA; we moved to a neighboring town from my parents.
I made a conscious decision to give them the roots that I knew growing up and stay put until my youngest turned 18. Oh but the gypsy soul blood was boiling! Two years prior to my daughter graduating I made a two year timeline poster to fulfill my rebellious dream at age 16 when I told my dad I was moving to CA and not coming back.
This time I chose not to relocate to a neighboring city but 3000 miles away; to fulfill that rebellious desire to move to the golden state of California… warm weather, beaches, fast pace life.. all of it!
My daughter and I packed up the house (son stayed behind with father) I had purchased 7 years prior. The closing of the sale of our home was in the am, graduation in the evening.. next morning off we drove to the land of sunshine.
Still an entrepreneur; I got my real estate license (which everyone does in CA) The market was crashing before my eyes so I picked up a side job and recycled plastic and tin cans to stay afloat. Within 5 years of fulfilling that dream, I decided I needed to move on to cheaper ground.
Delaware was my next stop. We had vacationed there growing up so how cool I thought it would be to live 20 minutes from the beach at a fraction of the cost of CA. Friends definitely thought I had truly lost my mind.. their response to my news was del- a – where??
Once again I hired professional movers and back to the east coast I went. I purchased a beautiful manufactured home with 3 bedrooms. It was another dream come true to once again be a home owner though I did have a substantial ‘land rent’ to pay.
I found a cute little mobile home on an Indian reservation to buy and fix up.
The land rent was minimal. I thought “this is it!” HA! The jokes on me. This time it was the 8 months of high temperatures and the very expensive AC repairs that got the best of me. Only in Arizona a couple months over 2 years; the extreme heat had fried my last creative brain cell. Oh my; now what?
I went back to my first love.. California! This time it only took 2 years to realize I could no longer afford to live there. I was done paying for sunshine and feeling the pain at the pump on a regular basis. Again; I started out renting an apartment but quickly realized the health of my bank account would not sustain it. I found a cute little 3 room addition to a large home to rent for $875.. a bit more manageable than $1475 apartment rent in Oceanside, CA. The 8 month itch to move was brewing. I was working another side job and really longed to be next to my favorite city in Southern CA.; San Clemente. So I packed up the tiny addition; still chasing rent I found a single room to rent in a million dollar mansion for $850.
All this money for so little and nothing to call my own was really starting to get to me. I just didn’t realize to what extent or how much. I needed to get out of CA for the same reasons I left the first time! I finally got CA out of my system.. or so I think 🤔. Of course they say ‘never say never’.
The lone star state; Texas was calling me! After all my son was born in San Antonio and it was where we owned a beautiful home. 32 years later.. I felt like God had brought me full circle. Still experiencing mounting credit card debt and dumping large amounts of money into my fairly new business; renting a room was my only option at $600 a month.
Debt, the distance between my children, grandchildren and myself , working side jobs just to make ends meet took its final toll on me.
From the time I was 18 till the age of 60 I have moved 24 times. That is an average of every 1.75 years. Lonely, lost, disconnected and feeling like I was losing my purpose here on earth was my catalyst for change.
It was a beautiful Sunday in July 1, 2019 God spoke to me in the depths of my soul. I had just returned from church and my daily walk. Sitting on my little love seat He planted a new seed in my heart and opened the door for me to pursue a full time nomad life. It was time for a real change; not just the bandaid kind.
I grabbed my phone and start researching van dwellers, RV living etc. on you tube and Facebook; joining all kinds of like minded groups who have chosen life full time in the road.
As I believe God is in all the details and cares about every aspect of our life He directed me to https://cheaprvliving.com As the saying goes; that was the beginning of the end for me. I was going to get off the treadmill of rent and get out from under living in others surroundings and find my own way in an affordable and very exciting way; a mini van!
Awe not so fast.. after weeks of looking and 2 different vans that were literally bought out from under me; God spoke again. He lovingly told me that He wanted me to be happy and content using what He had already given me.. my beloved Acura that I had purchased brand new 16 years prior.
Serenity Sedan started out at 184,000 miles.. over the course of the last 9 months we are pushing 194,000 miles.
Here are 3 things I’m over
- Side jobs since becoming a single mom in 1990.. 11 of them to be exact alongside my direct sales business I made a career of for 23 years and the business I launched in 2015.. great product.. no cash flow is my current challenge
- Living in someone else’s home with a 3 car garage and their massive amount of stuff.. so much that I had to park in the driveway or even the street
3. Paying rent only to work most of the day and come home to a very quiet four walls except for the TV noise. **$190,000 in rent over the course of 10 years.
What have I gained? Priceless and precious memories including new friends,
experiences, travels and an opportunity to make a difference. I am embracing life to the fullest with a new beginning.. off the treadmill and into the great unknown (as the introduction in my you tube channel expresses.
Today I am cheerful, content and curious. Watch here if you’d like to listen to my 6 months on the road synopsis and detail my 3 ‘C’s.https://youtu.be/otTolYrznZ0
I have visited 6 states, hung out working in beautiful libraries
9 National parks, met countless kind and interesting people from all over the country, Canada and Belgium. I am experiencing a new purpose and my life is becoming more meaningful as each day passes.
God is using me to make a difference is putting me in the paths of wonderful people and new platforms to share my story.. I am sticking with it. 😊 By the end of the year I hope to have my second book written.. perhaps title It ‘Granny takes flight‘.. a sequel to my autobiography from 18 years ago titled- Rising from the Ruins; a single mom takes flight.😀
We all have a story. What is your story? Share it with others.. make a difference! My wish for you is that you are overflowing with the joys that life has to offer and you too are sticking with it!
smiles and joy,