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  • Writer's pictureCasey Girard

Now or Never

I don't mean to toot our own horn, but the amount of 'self discovery' this family has done since March is unreal. The stress started to accumulate at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis. I'm sure households all over the world felt the same sensation. Every day tasks piling up, and a sense of overwhelm that rarely subsided. My husband, Jake worked for Walmart at the time (yes, I said worked, hint hint), so as their sales went up, as well as demand for product, his hours increased. His work load increased while his resources and leadership were stretched thin. We quickly found our family in an exhausting and unfulfilling routine. We were struggling to fit in quality family time. An exhausted evening on the couch watching a movie does not qualify as solid family time. The good was no longer outweighing the bad, and it was time to make a change. Jake and I decided our time is what we value most, and it was time to make time work for us, hehe. Not the other way around. No amount of money is worth selling our souls to Walmart. And to be honest if we were selling our souls, they'd be worth a lot more than Jake's salary. We know what we bring to the table.

I can say this all looking back of course, now that it is November, and we are sitting pretty in our new home on wheels, with an income secured, and our first adventure planned. However, at first we kept our tiny living dreams quiet. We told our immediate family and friends who we consider family, but we told everyone else, "We are moving to Georgia". People have absurd reactions when you tell them you're doing something outside of the norm. And these same people believe you MUST hear THEIR take on YOUR life choices. I love our people, but damn. Some of ya'll are are energy sucking, dream crushing, bumps on a log. And I say that with love. People have a hard time understanding things outside of their comfort zone, and we didn't need negative energy during such a time of change, so we kept our lips zipped.

Our gyspy dreamin' started with designing a Skoolie (School bus transformed into tiny home) in 2017. We saw one on Pinterest and the rest was history. We went as far as to create an inspiration board on our livingroom wall. Eventually, we were distracted by the idea to have a third child, and our tiny living plans took a backseat. That is what happens when you get wrapped up in the rat race. People around us started telling us "You guys are crazy!" and "I could never!" or my favorite passive aggressive punch "our kids would need their own rooms". Another favorite negative comment was, "Don't you want your kids to have friends?" As if I haven't thought of that as their mother?! At the time our tiny living dreams felt more like a retirement pipe dream than a possible reality, but we kept watching tiny living documentaries. We kept watching other people live the lives we wanted while making excuses for why we could never do what they are doing.

Fast forward to July 2020. Jake and I are camping at one of our favorite spots. The big kids were on a boat ride with his parents, and the baby was asleep in the tent. I don't even know how the subject came up, but at some point we asked ourselves why? What were we waiting for? Why couldn't we downsize our three bedroom home into a travel trailer?

Instead of rambling off all the obstacles, as we had done in the years before, we started spitting solutions. The first obstacle was the Maine Winter. Do we stay put, pay rent, and twiddle our thumbs for another 8 months? Nope. We start this process now, and scoot south before the snow flies. The time between our decision date and the departure date has been a big blur. Painting, packing, cleaning, moving, and organizing on repeat. The subject of downsizing a family of five to fit into a travel trailer is a blog post of its very own (Information I promise to deliver).

In two hours Jake and I had worked out most of the kinks in a general "Operation Go Tiny" plan. Together, we decided he would quit his job, give our landlord our 30 day notice, pack up our kids and sell our belongings, to live in 250 square feet.. It is as easy as that, guys. Decide to take action. In that moment we did not have all the answers. The "how" was still a mystery, but we had multiple ideas and we knew where there is a will there is a way. Once we alerted the universe of our plans, it started providing answers.

I know how corny that sounds. When we took this leap of faith we had two vehicles that could not even pull a camper. The day we drove from Maine to Georgia we were technically homeless, as we waited until we arrived in Georgia to start shopping for campers (We had a list of possible models after scavenging YouTube for all of its Fulltime RV family videos.). We spent three nights in my Fathers guest-basement before our home was delivered to his property. Those three days were certainly the peak of my worry/anxiety during this entire process. We're a big, loud family, and it was important for us to have our own space quickly.

We left Maine on Monday October 26th, at approximately 3:30 pm.

Jake, Hendrix, and Douglas (our dog) rode in his tuck and they pulled our small boat.

Saylor, Ember, Bones (our cat), and I took the Nissan.

The Girard's sent it, y'all.

We arrived at my fathers house in Georgia Tuesday evening around 4:30.

Our home was delivered Friday around supper time.

We are the proud owners of a 2017 Forest River, Grey Wolf Limited 26DBH.

And immediately my heart was settled.

now that we had our home it was time to get a truck to pull it. An important piece of the puzzle, for sure. Jake and I traded our vehicles for one truck. Sharing a vehicle and driving so high off the ground are two adjustments for this mama. I am confident the Silverado will work well for us while we are living the nomad life style. There is even a seat for Douglas.

We decided to jump into our dream lifestyle in late August. It is now November, and we have been grinding hard for the past 2 months. Now the fun begins. We just landed our first family work-amping job in Colorado for the 2021 season! We head to the mountains early this spring, and we plan on exploring some states along the way. We will spend the upcoming holidays here in Georgia, with my father. This gives us time to remodel the interior of the camper, and time to plan our first road trip.

All along the way we will be homeschooling, and learning together. We decided to homeschool long before this 'home on wheels' dream became a reality. Thank you, Covid-19. Remote learning was just not for us, so when we learned that was the likely solution for public schooling we jumped ship. Homeschooling was the best decision we could have ever made, for the children's sanity, and my own. I realize we are extremely lucky to have the option to homeschool our children, and I do not take any of it for granted. I strongly believe taking my children out of school is what scared me the most about transitioning to this life style, and is what stalled us in our old life style for so long. Covid-19 and the universe took that concern off the table for me. By the time we moved from Maine to Georgia, and condensed our home from 1,800 square feet to 250 square feet they were already well adjusted to our new homeschool routine. School has been cozy and rewarding in our new space.

Our family is so excited to explore Georgia and visit with G-Pa and G-Ma while we are here in Conyers. We are also pumped to paint the interior of the camper (I am especially amped!) and make it ours. It feels home-like with all of our belongings, and family photos, but the paint will do wonders. I promise I'll share before and after pictures.

Any-who! This is us, and our adventure. We have successfully downscaled our bills, and ungraded our lives. I thought I'd share some of the fun, worry, and the process! We need a name for our rig, if you have any grand ideas?!

Peace and Love,


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