Is living tiny all that it’s cracked up to be?
We can’t believe it. We did it. We’re here. We’ve been living on the road full-time, in a tear drop camper. We’ve been hiking, rowing, fishing and banging our head on the camper’s ceiling in 9 states with 16 more to go.
So what’s it REALLY like living tiny and on the road? Currently it’s 10% painful, 10% ridiculously stressful, and 80% breathtakingly mind-blowing.
1. It’s Painful
When we say it’s painful, we mean literally painful. Three days ago, Valerie tripped and nearly flew headfirst through our plastic shower door. Luckily she didn’t break the “glass,” but had to practice ninja skills not to land on the dog. Jessi hits her head, on average, 4 times a day. At least once a week she wonders if that day’s whack to the brain constitutes another concussion. She recently discovered that wearing a hoodie or thick knitted hat works well as a bumper guard. Also, after a long day in Colorado, Jessi accidentally put glasses cleaner in her contact case resulting in temporary blindness and an emergency room visit. No bueno.
And she’s not the only one with bruises to show for our travels. Sadie, our border collie, loves to jump and often bumps her nose along the way. The first month living on the road, she tore her paw while running in the desert. We guess the dry climate had caused “cracking” resulting in a few days with a paw wrap. And poor poor Maxwell. Our little man jumped down from the bed and got his dewclaw caught causing a tear in his knee. The poor fellow has been on bed rest for two weeks now with 4 weeks remaining. And bed rest in a very small camper has been less than pleasant for everyone involved.
So far we’ve been to the vet five times and the doctor twice.
Let’s just say there has been a very steep learning curve involving many bumps and bruises along the way.
2. It’s Stressful
We don’t know where we are going
As much fun as it is to travel, it can also be stressful. We love road-tripping in general, but sometimes the drive takes longer than expected and is tiresome.
We have made the mistake of not planning ahead for the night. While driving from Colorado to Utah, we didn’t make reservations for one of the nights because we saw a number of campgrounds on the map. When we arrived at our chosen camp, we quickly realized it was very small, had no late check-in, and did NOT like strangers. We tried to to get out of there quickly but ended up getting stuck wedged in a cul de sac between two big-rigs. We couldn’t drive through or turn around so we had to unhitch the camper from the truck and turn the camper around manually and reattached it. Meanwhile, after 45 minutes of attempting to turn around an angry inhabitant came out to shout at us for trespassing. Awkward.
Even when we do our research to pick the best campground, we do not really know what we’ll get until we get there. Recently, we were expecting a peaceful campground on the beach only to arrive and realize it was right next to a highly active train track. Every few hours throughout the night and day a screechy, horn-zealous train barrels down the track.
We also don’t know who our neighbors will be. A few days ago our neighbors were having an argument and we had to intervene. When a female is in trouble, we feel it is our duty to show up. We often don’t say a word, we simply let them know we are there, we are watching, and if you hit her we will get involved. Strength in numbers, ladies.
Anyway, said couple screamed for a few hours, then the next day three cop cars were gathered outside our campsite. You can pick your location, but unfortunately weirdos are everywhere and you just have to stay aware and stay calm.
Not knowing where we are going is stressful, but it’s also part of the adventure.
Because we’re so Small, It’s sometimes scary
Adapting to life in a tiny camper can feel scary at times. In Zion, a storm came through and the desert wind was so strong we thought our little camper was going to roll away with us in it. As each gust threw itself at us, we held tight and hoped we ate a large enough dinner to weigh it down. Needless to say we didn’t blow away and all was well but it was a rough night.
Also, people driving behind campers are jerks. We’ve been passed on the right median so many times! We’re driving an old pick-up truck that goes approximately 30mph up mountain passes while locals whiz past us at 90mph. Or at least it feels that way.
Living on the road things are bound to go wrong and we’ve accepted that sometimes you just have to roll (hopefully NEVER literally) with the punches.
Living tiny has it’s downfalls, of course, but there is also the upside.
3. It’s the best decision we’ve ever made
This is the best damn adventure one could ask for. You have to mix in a little pain and stress to keep it interesting! Overall we couldn’t ask for a more beautiful, awarding, inspiring, and intimate journey. We’ve grown as a couple because we spend more time together and fall asleep to the waves crashing on the beach or the coyotes howling in the desert. You can’t help but be inspired. Waking up to a new scenery every few weeks is invigorating. Just yesterday we watched dolphins and sea lions jump, play, feast, and gather for an amazing show.
This stuff we’ll remember forever. We’re living life by experiencing it instead of reading about it, watching it, or hearing others relive their favorite memories. WE are actually doing it! And we remind ourselves every day how grateful we are. Everyday we say “can you believe this is real?” And everyday we couldn’t be happier of our choice to live simply and adventurously.
Some people warned us it may not be what we were hoping for. And they were right. This journey is so much more. We’ve become closer, we feel freer, happier, and most importantly we feel we have a purpose in this world. It is so inspiring to hear from other travelers, other want-to-be-travelers, and other LGBT individuals living out their passions.
We love hearing from you. We love your inspiring stories and questions. Please keep them coming.
Wondering where to start your next epic road trip? Check out 10 Breathtaking Road Trips of the American West for some inspirations.