Home is a funny word. It can mean so many different things and can invoke so many feelings depending on experience.
For me, it’s something I’ve spent most of my life looking for. Home, and a family to go with it.
I’ve always been the outcast, the black sheep. The one who defied convention and what little raising they had and went their own way. I have to admit, it hasn’t made “family” very easy for me. It’s made it that elusive feeling I sought my whole life.
I think I finally figured out where home was and how it feels to be there.
I’ve not said a whole lot on this blog about life prior to the last 6 months. I’ve talked about our hopes for finding a place to homestead in the future but I didn’t say much about where we were before.
In truth, part of me was trying to forget because I so desperately wanted the life we were trying to live to work. Not for me, or for us even really, but because I let myself become convinced by someone else that my life was lacking something somehow.
In March of this year (2014), I bought a run-down camper that sat in my best friend’s front yard. It’s around 30 years old and hasn’t really been cared for since it was being used for storage. We cleaned it up, began the extensive repairs and remodeling it needed and moved in.
I won’t lie, it needed a lot of work. It still does.
The county we live in is pretty rural. When I was growing up, it was referred to as “Kudzu County” because it’s everywhere here. Most people that live here hunt and fish. Country music is often blasted from mud-crusted pick-up trucks with gun racks in the windows and blue jeans and cowboy boots (or work boots) are the universal dress code. Again, it’s pretty rural.
My best friend’s (we’ll call her CB) property sits in a place that seems to be at top and bottom of hills at the same time. The view from the front door of the camper is often amazing if you like to watch the weather because you can see it rolling in from the mountains (I live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains).
When we left, there was a garden growing practically in our front yard. I hand-washed most of our clothes and hung them on the line to dry. I’d planned to plant an herb garden (CB’s hubby planted the main garden) but I let a lot of things get to me, including the temptation of trying my hand at people-pleasing yet again, and planting season got away from me.
We left the life we’d been trying to build these last six months, and headed back home a few weeks ago.
We weren’t really certain what we wanted to do, so we stayed with the kids a few days and then decided to come look at the camper and try to sort out the mess if nothing else (it’s been storage again the last six months) and see what was what.
There were some things that were damaged and lost due to a top vent that was left open that we didn’t catch, but that’s ok since we’d decided to get rid of a lot of stuff anyway.
Somewhere along the way, we finalized our tentative decision about coming home to the camper and we’ve been here since the Sunday night following our move back.
We’ve worked our butts off for weeks now and we’re still not done (the first week we were both still recovering from the tail-end of the flu, so things have gone a little slower than we’d have liked), but that first Monday evening reminded us both why we chose this life to start with. Here are a few pictures from how we ended the day:
After we came inside, we sat at the table and played cards for a while. No TV (we don’t have cable or a converter box), no internet (I write at home now but have to go out to get wi-fi to post them so when I talk about days and they don’t match up to the time things are posted, that’s why). We were totally unplugged. I didn’t even look at the clock to check the time till the sun went down and we got hungry.
As anyone who’s tried their hand at living this way, or with less (we have water on a hose right outside the door but the indoor plumbing needs work and power is off of a drop cord in CB’s window), you know it’s not an easy life. Six months ago, I wasn’t even sure I wanted it myself, but three months of living with family and three months of living in a hotel room later, and I was actually glad to come back.
We accept that to some, the life we’ve chosen seems wrong, or less than, the life we might could have had.
Some might feel that we’re even avoiding the responsibilities of being adults or simply just not understand at all. That’s ok, and again, we accept that.
What everyone else needs to accept is that for better or worse, and regardless of their opinions, this is the life we’ve chosen. Come live one day the way we do and you’ll find that while our responsibilities to the outside world are less, our responsibilities to our home, our lifestyle and each other, is considerably more than average.
This life is far from the “easy way out” of anything.
Regardless of how much extra work it may be some days, we’ve found it to be extremely satisfying in a way that living the average “hustle and bustle, keeping up with Joneses” life never was and never would be for us.
Our home is tiny compared to the average, 25 feet total in length.
Right now, it looks a little run down, especially on the outside, but we have big plans for taxes as well as for the spring and it won’t look run down long.
We spend a lot of time outside now, which drove my sinuses crazy for a few days, but they’re starting to settle down finally.
At the end of the day, when I lay my head on my pillow, I know I’ve done things that matter. I have a sense of accomplishment and a peace I’d forgotten even existed. I’m not so overcome with stress that I’m wracked with constant anxiety attacks like before.
This isn’t just the life I’ve chosen, the is the life that has chosen me as well, and I’m happy to be living it.
When I left, I thought home and family was somewhere out there in the world waiting for me to come find it but in coming back, I realize I am home and my family and the acceptance I thought I was searching for was right here all along.