travel

Living in a Tiny Trailer: By Terry Ann Bernhardt

My motto is “follow your heart but take your brain with you”.

My journey began with a dream to travel and explore leisurely, moving at approximately the same speed as an ancient turtle in my golden years. 

I began to collect a list of interesting places to visit from friends, co-workers, books, magazines, movies, and yes, Pinterest and YouTube.

I’m up to 91 places I’d like to visit ranging from Yellowstone Park to a little spot in the Appalachian Mountains where fiddles are still handmade.

I would be accompanied by my dog Emmy Lou, 56 lbs of fur-bearing love, so traveling via recreational vehicle seemed ideal.  Again I began collecting facts, people’s anecdotes, magazines, brochures and visiting RV lots to determine what suited my turtle traveling dreams.

Leavin' Home for the Open Road: Q + A with Stef and Jerimiah of American Frolic

I'm super excited to share Stef and Jerimiah's camper life story with you today. Stef and Jerimiah blog over at American Frolic.  Stef and I have been chatting over email for a while now and I wanted to ask her all about her decision to purchase and move into a vintage camper indefinitely.

Her story reminds me so much of Matt and I a few years ago. We didn't have a big plan or know exactly how we were going to make it work, but we did! If you take the leap, good things happen.

I asked Stef all about their decision to live mobile in the camper, what the biggest challenges have been as they transition into the camper life, and where they'll end up. I hope you enjoy this Q + A with these rad people!

 

COMET CAMPER: How did you guys decide that you wanted to live in a trailer? What other options did you consider? What motivated you - financial, wanderlust, ecological?

AMERICAN FROLIC: We had both decided we wanted to leave Chicago over a year ago.  We bounced around the idea of moving back to California or maybe to Colorado but knew we would have to put down a double deposit not matter where we went. 

Then we talked about maybe buying a camper to live out of and travel till we found a home wherever we went.  Then that turned into the idea of trying to see the country and find a place we would want to call home, broaden the search to everywhere we could hitch up and travel to...

"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!

Why We LOVE Van Life

Why We LOVE Van Life

Matt and I have been talking a lot lately about vans, and what we’d like in a vehicle if we ever “moved up” from our little tiny Honda Element micro-camper. 

For the past 2 years we’ve had the awesome experience of traveling around the country (41 states, baby!) in our customized-by-us Honda Element. It has been awesome!!

We lived in the van/Element for one month, and then two months, and then four months - plus smaller little one-month trips in between. We’ve spent about 50% of our time over the past 2 years in the Element micro-camper.

Graduation, Renovation, and The Next Phase

Graduation, Renovation, and The Next Phase

Hello friends!

This blog post is an update so that you know what Matt and I will be up to this month and next. I just wanted to let you know because we have a very busy 2 months lined up and we're excited to have a few new adventures lined up to share with you.

1. I'm graduating College, and my ceremony is THIS WEEK!

So, I technically finished school and graduated from college in June, but because my college only has "residency" (on campus time) twice a year, my actual ceremony isn't until this weekend. I will be graduating from Goddard College in Vermont on Sunday August 24th. It has been a wild ride. I fucking love Goddard and will miss the freedom, autonomy, faculty and friends I have made there. I never thought I would actually make it through college - I'm fundamentally opposed to the whole system - but Goddard was such a special exception. They helped me see the value of doing it your own way within a support system.

I will graduate with a degree in Sustainability, concentration on Ecological Design and Sustainable Business. And because I've been designing my own curriculum the entire time and have been studying tiny houses for the past 4 years, I believe I'm probably the first person to get a degree in tiny houses :)

Trailer Babes: Interview with Sarah Mueller of TowLola

I found Sarah’s blog TowLola recently and knew that I wanted to share a fellow female trailer babes’ story with you. I emailed Sarah about being camper pals and to tell her how rad she is, and we got to talking about rallies, vintage trailer life, the hassles of towing, trying to become writers, and what it’s like to be a woman nomad in America. She said she was inspired by my COMET to look for a vintage trailer as her adventure-mobile, and I was so flattered! I asked Sarah a few questions about her decision to travel in a vintage trailer and her life with Lola, her 1960’s Fan camper. You can read the interview below. I hope this badass, amazing lady inspires you to get out there and do something awesome, even if that means just saying”Fuck it!” and taking the leap!

 

ME: What inspired you to buy a camper and hit the road?

SARAH:    I'd been living in a 3-bedroom house for about 4 years, working full-time in a day job I hated while I struggled to write and make art in my spare time. I'd always had this fantasy of just being able to "pick up and go."  I saved money for a long time, thinking I'd need it, but having no real plans. When my long-time boyfriend and I decided it was time to sell the house, I sat down in front of him at a pub and blurted "I'm going to buy a BUS." He and I are both explorers by nature, so he just nodded and smiled and asked how he could help. The bus idea went through several iterations (bus, van, housetruck, camper) and I shopped around for a rig for about 4 months. I spent nearly all of my free time on Craigslist. Finally, after moving in with my parents and being generally miserable and thinking it would never happen, I stumbled upon Lola. She was cheap and ready to hit the road, and resided in Elkhart, IN. The idea of towing anything terrified me, but by this point I was so desperate that I drove up and bought her before anybody else could. It took another three months to gather supplies, outfit the Jeep, and sell all my belongings. It wasn't any one thing that led me to my adventure, I guess. Simply the realities of my life combined with a desire to "get out there."

Texas Trip - Finding the TINY in the "everything is bigger" state

Woah, what an amazing trip. We've been back for a few days, but are just getting some time to reflect/catch up now that we are snowed in for the next few days thanks to this "nemo" storm we're experiencing in MA right now (there's a driving ban, so we couldn't go anywhere even if we wanted to!).

TEXAS has more TINY going on than one might think, considering it's the state known for the slogan, "Everything is Bigger...". We had an incredible, inspiring time hanging out with the Engineering class at the Ann Richards School in Austin. Those girls are the coolest: they love math and science, the love engineering, and they were wise beyond their years. They were so engaged with their Project Ventura, they came in on Saturday and every day after school. I was super inspired by the work these girls were doing. We learned a lot from each other! You can all go check out their blog: http://projectventura.wordpress.com/. AND, you can help them out because their KICKSTARTER has just LAUNCHED! Please, please, please support these awesome girls by donating if you possibly can - they are the next generation of great innovators. I'll keep reminding you throughout their campaign, but why wait? Go to their project page now, and donate some $!

Exterior Paint Design Concept

Good morning!

I've been working on some paint schemes for the exterior of the COMET. I think that because I'll be towing it around so much in the next few months, going to Tiny House Summer Camp With Derek Diedricksen in July, and the KOA vintage trailer rally and sustainable weekend event in Brattleboro, VT, it's really important I have the outside looking nice and giving people some info about the project.

I love the little stripe details that reference a comet in the seafoam section. I'm also going to put a seafoam colored atomic-looking comet shape behind The COMET text, to tie it all together. I still need to figure out where to put the website and other info.

What do you think? Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!