trailers

"Wife After Death: Navigating Grief, One Campfire at a Time" Guest Post by Ginny McKinney

 "Wife After Death: Navigating Grief, One Campfire at a Time" Guest Post by Ginny McKinney

Today I'm excited to share a guest post with you by Ginny McKinney. Ginny completed the Tiny Transition + Downsizing E-Course a few months ago (which is now open for registration for the session beginning on March 1st!) and I've asked her to share her story because it is downright brave, inspiring and fearless. When Ginny sent me an email update about where she's at now - I just knew I had to share her inspiring story with you.

If you want to join my 8-week downsizing bootcamp and join a lifetime group of friends and comrades on a similar journey towards simple living (either in a tiny house, camper, cabin, or even downsizing in place) - you should join us for the March 1st session of Tiny Transition + Downsizing.

I want to thank Ginny for taking the time to share her story with you today. I hope you find it as incredible as I do. Please note, this guest post does involve grief, death, and recovery.

I'll let Ginny take it from here.

The morning dawned with the typical bluebird skies of Colorado. Mr. Virgo and I had been knee deep in negotiations as to how we were going to spend our looming retirement years. We finally settled on getting a travel trailer and to start practicing early. Why wait for retirement to have some fun, right?

We had a leisurely breakfast then headed out to go trailer shopping. It was a lovely drive. We discussed the merits of different size campers and floor plans. We definitely wanted something big enough to take the kids and grandkids with us. We held hands and planned. It was a perfect day. 

Until... We were standing in the fourth trailer, trying to decide which one we liked best, when my sweetheart suffered a massive heart attack and died. He was 62. In a moment, the life I knew, the life we had planned, was just...gone. The next few days...ok, the next YEAR, was a blur. I went to stay with my kids for a few weeks. It was spring break and my older daughter said, "Mom, we're all yours today. What do you want to do?" There was only one thing TO do. We went out and bought a travel trailer!

How to Stay Warm in Winter When You Live in a Van or Trailer (plus: alternatives for toughing out the cold weather)

How to Stay Warm in Winter When You Live in a Van or Trailer (plus: alternatives for toughing out the cold weather)

Ah yes, winter in the Comet Camper. Many people have asked how we stay warm and how we deal with our 3 season abode!

I recently received a question from a reader about what I do in the winter since living in the COMET. 

I figured some of you probably have the same question, so I’m going to talk a little bit about how we’ve lived the past 3 winters. If you’re thinking about living in a trailer or a van - I’ve got some good tips for you.

First off - our primary “home-base” area is Massachusetts and the New England area - yeah, it gets COLD. As I write this it is 0 degrees! (I’m inside - I’ll tell you more about why in a minute)...

Vintage Trailer Hotel: Visiting El Cosmico in Marfa TX

Vintage Trailer Hotel: Visiting El Cosmico in Marfa TX

One of the awesome places we got to stop and stay at as part of our Tiny House Road Trip 2014 (Part 2) was El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas.

Marfa is a weird town. Matt and I were kind of not cool or hip enough to "get" it, it was a very ironic place. The pizza place on the corner (there's one corner, if you've ever been through Marfa you know what I mean) has a "CLOSED" sign perpetually posted in the window, even when they're open.

You can tell that behind the main street facade of hipster art galleries and $15-a-glass juice bars there was a real town that was probably pretty awesome at one point. We ate breakfast at a place called Buns and Roses, a flower shop combined with a donut place.

Our night spent at El Cosmico was pretty magical. It was my very first foray into any type of desert landscape. We ate grilled cheeses at the only affordable restaurant we could find, then went down the highway a bit to catch the Marfa Lights.

Replacing a Window in a Vintage Trailer: Thank You Fletcher's Trailer Sales!

As the weather get's colder and fall is in full swing, it is safe to say that work on the construction of COMET is winding down for now. It's a little too cold to paint the exterior outside, so until I find an indoor workspace I'll have much more time to post about the progress of the last few months. I'm glad for the change of pace!Lots of exciting things happened for us in the last few weeks. We brought the COMET to Deek Diedricksen's tiny house workshop in Stoughton, MA. It was an awesome weekend of talking tiny, building a super teeny house on a trailer, and lots of time around the campfire. We got to hang out in the Whittled Down Caravan with Tristan and Libby, which was great. At the workshop we were interviewed for an NPR show coming up (I'll definitely let you know when I find out the air date), which was unexpected and totally awesome. We also did a video with Deek for Tiny Yellow House (his youtube video channel), which will be out soon I hope! Even though the COMET remains a work in progress, it is really shaping up into something lovely, and people seemed excited about the future of the project. After the tiny house workshop, we did a video shoot for a Spaces.TV "Offbeat Spaces" webseries episode, which was really neat and a new experience for me. The COMET is such a technical project for me, and talking about the aesthetics and interior design choices for the Offbeat Spaces video was a welcome change!Anyway, lots of re-capping and catching up to do as always (I think the only solution to this would be a clone...anyone?)...but I promise now that the weather has made working outside less feasible, I will be spending more time with the blog!

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Now, to the rest of this post!

Bedford and Ole Bill

As promised, here are some pictures of the wonderful vehicles I saw in London last week. None of them are campers per se, but still totally awesome and would make great camper conversions I think!  

Here's a blue and white vintage Bedford that's been turned into a food truck. Bedford also made awesome campers/motorhomes. Only in Europe!

 

Also outside of the British Museum, right near the blue Bedford, was this awesome green vehicle. In the wonderful camper eye-candy, super inspiring book "My Cool Caravan" (by Jane Field-Lewis, available from Amazon here), which features photos and stories of European campers, my favorite camper in the whole book is built from one of these vehicles. It's so industrial looking, totally unique. I'll have to look up what kind of vehicle it is and let you know.

 

And here's me with Ole Bill at the Imperial War Museum. It's a double decker bus. But if you for some reason could get your hands on one, it would make an amazing camper conversion vehicle with a deck on top!

 

There it is! The cool vehicles I saw in London. I saw some neat campers too, while on the train outside of the city, but unfortunately couldn't get any pictures :(  My dad says that I just love European campers because they aren't what I'm used to, but I have a feeling they might just be more wonderful than the campers we have in the States. The exception being Airstreams! They don't have Airstreams in Europe, and they are a hot commodity over there. I know this because an older couple that lives down the street from my parent's house in rural Massachusetts were selling their old Airstream trailer out in their front yard, and someone from Sweden found out about it, flew over here to look at it, had it put in a shipping container and brought back to Sweden with him so that he could restore it and re-sell it. Apparently the cost of flying over here and shipping a 25 foot trailer to Sweden was worth it, which makes me think I should be restoring campers across the pond....

XOXO

Mariah