Full time gypsy living full time in a car, a car dweller, digital nomad.. a nomad lifestyle.. I am the owner/founder of Say It Display It - 30 day decks of inspiration cards to fuel your day-fuel your month.. integrating Serene and Simple Life with a channel and blog.. Changing lives one person, one saying at a time.
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.
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.
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. ￼
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😊
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
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
I also enjoy shopping at Walmart after 7pm (usually) for their ready to eat, mark down salads.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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
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!
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?
travels.. so much to go, see and dotime- in my nest, out of my nest- Serenity Sedantidbits 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😀
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.￼
My wish is for you to find blessings in your day and joy in the journey!
Where oh where has this last year gone since I took off to experience life as a gypsy-nomad; living full time in my car? It disappeared in a flash! All I know is I have saved $7200.00 that otherwise would have been ‘rent down the drain.’ One year in and now headed east. Acura Sedan is still serene.
I have seen more and done more in the last 12 months than I’ve done in the last 12 years combined.. visited 11 states, 14 National parks, 4 national monuments, completed easy and moderate hikes providing great exercise,
experienced breathtaking views all the while taking in fresh air and God’s masterpiece to feed my heart and soul.
When not checking out new sights I’ve dropped in many city parks,
libraries and stopped in adorable small towns across the west.
Throughout my solo journey I’ve chit chatted with people from all over the country and world. I’ve shared my journey, received their ‘in awe’ .. good vibes.. ‘you go girl’ thoughts on what I’m doing. It is very rewarding to learn about and hear other’s stories as well.
It has been a year full of unexpected blessings and rewards.
Serenity Sedan and I along with my co-pilot Andy bear
are on our way to the far north east tip of the USA.. 2700 miles from Utah to Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. God willing; with Him as my navigator perhaps we will stop in Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan along the way.
I don’t know for sure but I have this gut feeling this may be my last extended trip with Serenity. Not because she is nearing her lifespan but that God has a new vehicle in mind for me as I continue this nomad journey. She is climbing close to 200,000 miles; putting on 14,000 new miles since our launch September 15, 2018.
I’m still asking God for direction and a decision as I consider the purchase of an SUV to head out into year two. Serenity has been good to me; no mechanical challenges or repairs thus far. Super comfortable and reliant.. I want to have her to call ‘home’ for just a little longer.
God knows! We’ll see where and how we go into the great unknown 2020.
Wishing you new experiences.. people, places, memories to call your own in your upcoming year!☀️💛
Asleep in my car; awakened at 2am to the sound of scratching. What the heck?; I said to myself. Figured it had to be outside Serenity; tried to ignore it and headed back to la la land.. At 5am I was at my wits end and just couldn’t take it anymore! Popped open my trunk and went outside to take a look; hoping to ‘rule out’ the noise was coming from inside my home.. oh no!.. one lone mouse, looking so innocent was sitting on top of my dressing room tent in my packed full trunk. The mouse or ‘mice’ had moved in and at my home in WA 6 weeks after I had started a new seasonal job as a camp host .
Carefully I grabbed the folded up circular tent to try to remove him (or her🤔) without disrupting his morning serenity with no avail. This smart (or dumb) critter ran deeper into my garage (trunk) to fend for his life. Good idea as this would be the beginning of my waging war on the unwelcome guests.
I then opened the hood of my home and sure enough him or his brother had made their way from the back to the front. My new camping friends came over and started poking him with a stick. Round and round throughout the maze of wires he ran.
Next I emptied my garage so that should he or his family appear I would have better sight to conquer and of course there would be less hiding places for them! Yes; that same evening I came to learn there was a family but how many still remained unknown. There were 2 or 3 scurrying around; seeming to be lost! Their home was a deep enclosed hole not the wide open forest they were more accustomed to. No food, no wate; what was their plan?!
I researched getting rid of mice for hours. bounce dryer sheets, peppermint oil on cotton balls, a couple rodent botanical packs I still had from my launch to AZ.. for this moment in time?? Traps were set; given to me by my manager. In addition I was loaned a National Forest trap to wage war. You can search on you tube to see exactly what I’m referring to and how to make one yourself if ever you need to! My wonderful neighbor also plugged up the vent inside the trunk (where they most likely entered) with foil. Not a tasty product for critters to gnaw through!😳
The first night of the invasion I slept in a tent that had been given to me by the company I was working for as part of my home set up for the season. It was definitely a ‘God send’ as I was very squeamish to be inside ‘Serenity Sedan’.. no serenity!
The next morning I awoke early to pop open the trunk again and see what I could see. OMG.. a beautifully constructed nest from twigs, leaves and blue threads built on the floor of the garage (trunk😊) the size of a big serving platter! That was their plan.. procreation! Yes; and some of the family in plain sight. Instinctively I grabbed my ‘picker’ that I use for tidying up the campsites that was leaning up against a huge tree. Got em! Got 2! How many more?
Over the course of the next day and a half.. 6 captured.. dead or alive! I slept in my tent one night, Serenity the next.. then tent then Serenity.. back and forth between 2 homes to sleep (or not). Finally no noise, no more unwelcome tenants! Praise God.
I located an Acura dealer about 60 miles away. It was important for my sanity (or what was left of it) to have a professional access the damage and find out where the ‘blue threads’ in their home had come from. The manager of sales was shocked to hear they had set up home in my trunk. In his 20 years of work he had known them to get under the hood but not the trunk. He reassured me that he had never experienced people dealing with them in their cab. No damage done! The manager thought the blue threads had most likely had come from inside the seats. I’m still not convinced as the day my neighbor found the vent in the trunk he dismantled all the soundproof wall backing and found no evidence of mice destruction. Oh well; to this day the mystery remains.
Mr Acura manager commented if I could just stick it out for another week or 2 that WA was coming up on their finest weather of the entire year. The rain would cease (maybe a condition prone to mice?) 70 daytime, 50’s at night.. Heavenly temps for a car dweller for sure.
I really was looking forward to ‘perfect weather’. With a lot of prayers and contemplation I decided to arm Serenity with every weapon I knew possible and see how things would look in a week. I purchased solar lights to encase Serenity, set her wheels on huge black trash bags (apparently they don’t like the feel of plastic) along with the above mentioned items.. I was ready for any and all attacks! Watch video here to grasp the set up I did.. https://youtu.be/ZhajyP7yhF4
Unfortunately, throughout the next week and a half war broke out.. 40+ pesties no longer with us. Each morning I woke up to what I called a ‘war zone’. The first job of the day was mouse clean up and re establishing the traps for the next go round. My serene and simple life was diminishing rapidly. With no end in sight I asked God- ‘what now?.. what next’?
On the following consecutive days off I went to the quaint town of Leavenworth to contemplate and rest in God’s peace. https://youtu.be/MusKxBfOv3Q
I also visited another campground where there was a camp host position open to see if it might be a more desirable location.. away from water like I currently was stationed. It didn’t feel any less invasive. After all..the forest are these crazy critters home and us humans are the true invaders😩.
God revealed to me it was time to pack it up and leave. It’s hard to explain but I felt the ‘peace that passes all understanding’.
Off to Utah I headed for another job after a 2 week sabbatical to regroup and refresh my soul.. Although there are mice to be found wherever you roam I had not dealt with any intrusion in 10 months on the road prior to WA.
This story ends with no mice in the 8 weeks at my second seasonal job.
Thank you Jesus! Praising Him from whom all blessings flow.
As kids wrapped up school the 2nd and 3rd week of June I decided it was time to stay put at my campsite home on my days off.
One of the guests here at the campground said the crowds would be massive at the hot spots in WA; like the National parks.
Until then I had been taking off for extended road trips.. utilizing every moment I had till I needed to be back on the job. Sometimes I would take off Tuesday evening after a short day of work and return early am on Friday to gear up for a busy weekend. I enjoyed the memories made and now I am savoring the quickly passing summer months as I moved on to Utah for another seasonal job.
The days got long outdoors when staying put. They definitely were long when I lived the house or apartment life. When boredom or loneliness creeps in I find errands to run. I’m constantly needing to fill my business orders in a timely manner. Here in Utah I work inside a store so the outdoors is a new treat!
I had a routine of sorts to while away the passing hours while in WA. I took smaller over nite day trips to fill time. Google voice is my friend to find local ‘parks near me’. I love a store bought salad at a picnic table!
In addition I have been working on crocheting afghans for Christmas gifts and keeping up with crocheting a couple beanies per week to give to some homeless shelters at Christmas time. I love sitting on my camp chair or at the picnic table to work at my new hobby.
Staying put in one location with the closest internet and cell connection over 17 miles away had its challenges as well as its perks. At my job now in Utah I have WiFi and cell! Like anything in life; you choose how you want it to turn out; good or bad; barring unexpected circumstances.
I asked God to ‘slow down the train’ in my life with what I feel I need to do and accomplish. Staying put at the camp host job has definitely helped me to let go of the need to always feel like I should be going somewhere or doing something. Long time coming! I’m grateful for these days of doing nothing or at least ‘next to nothing’😊
My wish for you is that you too can enjoy the ‘doing nothing’ parts of life and be content in nature and in the quiet moments of life.
A resurfacing question amongst nomads is – Do you have a sticks and bricks (permanent home) to go back to if you need a break or this lifestyle doesn’t work out over the long run? I really don’t have any proven statistics on how many of the 1000’s of full timers do or don’t have another home but my best guess is at least half don’t if not more. After all full time is full time in my mind with no other place to call home besides your home on wheels. I am full time, no sticks and bricks to head back home to. My 2003 Acura TL ‘Serenity Sedan’ is my home.
I’m renting a 7 X 10 storage unit which is primarily housing the product I sell, along with some memorabilia I couldn’t seem to part with, an heirloom rocker that I nursed and rocked my babies in.. now in their 30’s, a couple shelf units, a tv that I tried to sell along with a couple bins of holiday decorations.
Besides what is with me; this is all I own.
It feels wonderful! The thoughts of leaving very little work for someone to discard of my belongings coupled with being a true minimalist is also a rewarding feeling at this stage of my life.
The thought crosses my mind to consider having a tiny unit like the new ‘She Sheds’ being built if I needed a break from the road, a place to regroup, have my grand kids and children come to visit me in a stationery place. One never knows about our health either and I realize things can change on a dime.
I’m just not sure at this early stage of ‘New Beginnings’ what the future holds. God knows. I ask Him daily to lead me and even to slow down this train on occassion. That He has done. No one knows what tomorrow will bring but for today; with no other place to call home but my nest ‘Serenity Sedan’ it feels right and I am perfectly content.
I wish for you contentment in whatever the place you call ‘home’ looks like.
As the temperatures started to climb in AZ I began making plans where to head next. A few people along this journey have asked me if I had ever been to Lake Mead; that it was stunning. Well the answer was ‘no’. I don’t particularly like that word.. I think It has something to do with having a negative connotation to me and somehow not getting my way😄. I was was ready to say ‘Yes’ to Lake Mead. It was through an unlikely moment at the laundromat bumping into a new buddy I met while hiking who recommended Six Mile Cove in Lake Mead National recreation area. Sounded to me like a new home to renew, refresh and rejuvenate.
As part of this new rejuvenate journey I have been writing a lot, working my you tube channel answering lots of questions! I’ve also been staying happily busy making new friends, learning about them and sharing stories of life with one another. Now it was just going to be me, myself and I experiencing a different kind of ‘refresh and rejuvenate’.
I had just purchased a ‘America the Beautiful ‘ the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. I was stoked! It would be my first time using it. Wahoo.. drive in through.. no fees! My kind of sight seeing!
Recently I have been talking to a friend who has shared with me what she calls ‘God winks’. Running into my new friend Monty at the laundromat, us chattering about where we had all been and where to go next was what I would call a God wink!
I spent 3 glorious days at Six Mile Cove. I read a 200 page novel in a day and a half. A reading record for me! I practiced some new crochet stitches and stared out on the lake being entertained by kite and wind surfing. Free shows, fresh air and a freedom I presented myself to ‘do nothing’. A hard one for me!
I took off down the road for another beauty about 60 miles away. As I was packing up a new friend walked by. I casually mentioned I was heading on down the road but not sure where. He told me about the ‘Overton Arm’ and they like to go to Stewart’s Landing. I truly have no clue about these places; even if I looked at a map or knew how to read one! OMG! Could this be another God wink? 2 in one week? I set up home for another 3 days.. basking in the Nevada sun, listening to the still of the lake, reading and staring out on the massive lake and magnificent mountains lining the exterior. Once again I felt the warmth of God’s love, providing me yet another opportunity to renew, refresh and rejuvenate.
On to St George, Utah next.
Along the way I drove through Hoover Dam, Red Rock Picnic area and a couple magnificent over looks. The kind that draw you in like a magnet.
After all the beauty and serenity of the prior week I decided to spend a few nights just hanging out at Pilots with Burger King connected..
no setting up my dressing room or fighting with the fiercely blowing winds that were upon us. It was a re-group time. I hunkered down in my nest and worked on my crochet skills. The rumbling of 18 Wheelers trucks coming and going was calming to me.. like white noise. I rested peacefully enjoying the coming and going of vehicles. I spent a half day in Burger king using their free wi-fi to back up my phone while finishing up my first crochet beanie hat!
Quite a contrast; but nevertheless I found complete joy as I focused on a new hobby. My plan is to crochet beanies while working my seasonal jobs in Washington and Utah to give away in the fall to some homeless shelters.
Where do you go to renew, refresh and rejuvenate? Do you experience God wink moments? My wish for you is that you have those ‘places’ and you do.☀️❤️
smiles and joy,
From the ‘I’ themed collection of Say It Display It®️
It has been an amazing time of experiencing new places on my days off while working 25 hours a week as a camp host. Two days a week I leave my camphost site and head out into the great unknown to explore, see new sites and be filled with new memories.
Travels while working provides me time to experience places I would never see in my lifetime if it weren’t for choosing to live life as a nomad full time in my car. I know I repeat this statement often. I’m just so unbelievably grateful for these opportunities I’ve been blessed with. Joy in the journey has taken on a much more significant meaning!
Over the course of 4 weeks.. 8 days 2 days off each week) I have traveled 1000’s of miles to enjoy and embrace this beautiful country.. the USA.
Week two.. Olympic National Park.. gorgeous scenery, magnificent deer grazing out in the open, snow capped mountain peaks.. oh the joy in the journey!
Week three.. Mt St. Helens.. learning about what transpired and seeing the ‘comeback’ of nature is beyond words.. I have gained a whole new appreciation for National forests and the work that is done to sustain us and nature..
Week four.. North Cascades National Park.. Even though I can find beauty everywhere I look I can see why people would claim Washington as the most beautiful state in the country. The massive old Cedars, Douglas Firs and so many other standing tall trees; lining beautiful lakes, mountains and glaciers is a sight like no other.
What can I say? I am beyond grateful to live in this wonderful country and to be able to travel while working a dream job by a beautiful river is an opportunity of a lifetime.
I hope you too are able to travel, sight see and experience all of God’s masterpiece while working or retired!
No WiFi, no cell service, no calendar, no clocks.. just the chirping of birds, the sound of the running river, and an occasional vehicle rolling by.. What day of the week is it? On most days I’m really not sure unless it’s time to leave my campsite and hit the road for new exploring and experiences.
They say you are doing this lifestyle right if you don’t have a clue what day of the week it is or even the time of day for that matter! Hmm.. I think I have fulfilled the necessary requirements for doing this gypsy nomad life right!
As a camphost I am required to keep track of my work time, list reservations and complete a spreadsheet each week of money brought in. So I guess you could say In a business sense I am mostly aware of the day of the week. Time not so much.. the days fly by and before I know it the month is gone. This happens in a conventional lifestyle as well but the feeling of paying attention to time seems less important.
The campers are always coming and going here.. it’s a full house most of the summer. One group leaves and another appears. Before I know it the weekend is here or gone and the cycle continues..
I am truly digging the lack of pressure that comes with going with the flow.. one day runs into the next.. from cold to warm to semi hot weather car dwelling. Like nature.. in and out of the seasons.. spending the majority of my days outdoors and the evenings tucked comfortably in my nest- ‘Serenity Sedan’.
How does your time and days look? Does it move like the sun and the moon in a free flowing, running together way or are your days organized and structured?
They say that time is our most precious commodity and of course none of us know how much time or how many days we have. My wish for you is that the movement of your days and time is fulfilling and meaningful. It is truly to be savored and enjoyed however it moves for you.