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10 Reasons A Simpler Life Can Equal A Fuller Life

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When I started this blog back in 2013 for the purpose of documenting our journey with full time RV life, I made the decision right then that I never wanted sharing our lives with others to get in the way of living our lives with each other. There have been seasons in which it was more practical to write regularly, and post articles that many of you have found helpful and informational. But over the course of this past year, the momentum of our lives changed quite a bit and it just hasn’t lent itself to writing much. And so needless to say, I haven’t posted on The Light Life Blog lately and I really can’t apologize because we’ve been, well…LIVING the light life!

Our 2014/2015 school year is coming to a close and I’ve been looking back over the last 10 months or so of our lives realizing just how fast it’s gone by and just how full our lives have been! We’ve been busy roadschooling, taking trips, enjoying the outdoors, hiking, running 1/2 marathons, participating in a homeschool co-op, spending LOTS of time with family as we are currently just 5 hours from our hometown of Wilmington, NC, and I started back to school full-time as well…which is where a great chunk of my time and brain space has disappeared to.   😉

Looking back is always a treat. It reminds me again why we made the decision to scale back our lives two years ago. And how much that decision to live this lighter, simpler life has not detracted from the fullness of our lives one tiny bit. In fact, quite the opposite.

So what have these past two years of full-time RV life taught us? Here’s just 10 things for starters.

  1. Things can be bought with money, time cannot.
  2. Life doesn’t have to be complex or expensive to be full and good.
  3. Quality trumps quantity. Every. single. time.
  4. Kids would rather have your time than your things.
  5. Education means a whole lot more than textbooks and the 3 Rs.
  6. Freeing up your time allows you to educate the WHOLE child. Mind, body, and spirit.
  7. We should spend less time building retirement accounts and more time building relationships. Because in the end, we don’t get to keep the stuff anyways.
  8. That whole American dream thing? Doesn’t necessarily have to rule our lives, or be our dream at all.
  9. And when you don’t love the direction your life is taking, it’s okay to reinvent yourself and re-write your story.
  10. Not everyone will understand your journey, and that’s OK. It’s YOUR journey, not theirs.

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Comments { 7 }

Sex On Wheels

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{Disclaimer: This post is intended to be a humorous, light post written tastefully on the challenges of RV married life. Enjoy!}

When we first decided we were really going to ditch the house {along with our wonderfully large master bedroom attached to a large bathroom with a jacuzzi tub and closet bigger than our entire RV!!!!} I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I had a small panic attack the first time it occurred to me that we would have to learn how to manage {ahem!} married life activities within the confines of less than 300 sq. feet with two young kids sleeping just footsteps away at the other end of the RV.

 I began imagining random nights of silent lovemaking involving violent shaking of our entire home, things falling off of walls and out of shelves! Something resembling a scene from a silent love horror movie! Or worst! The END of our love life as we knew it!

Maybe this isn’t even an issue for everyone. And if you don’t have children, I can’t think of any reasons why this would be much of an issue at all even for RV life. But for my husband and I, RV life or not, all we knew was this was a part of our marriage in which we were NOT willing to negotiate possibilities of it slowly dwindling away into oblivion for lack of a good plan.

But for those who might also be facing this issue like we were, I can assure you that after six months of full-time RV life on the road with two young children in tow, my husband and I have yet to become forced into living the celibate lives of nuns & monks.

No, our bedroom is not soundproofed and no we do NOT wait for weekend getaways without the kids to have a love life! But there have been a few necessary adjustments we’ve made to continue to make our love life a priority, to keep it alive and well all while ensuring that our children are not scarred for life!

Number One. Stability – STABILIZERS. Yes, yes and amen.  Although most campers have their own stabilizers, my husband bought additional stabilizers to, um, well….keep the trailer from rocking’.

Two. Privacy – Real doors. Many if not most RVs don’t have real doors with real locks on them. We were not interested in those for the most obvious of reasons. I am quite sure you could make it work with less, this was simply a personal safety preference issue for our family.

Three. I guess this one could also fall under “privacy.” Having a bathroom directly off the master bedroom. In our search for an RV we toured one that we absolutely loved. We did not however buy that one based solely on the fact that the bathroom was at the other end of the camper next to the bunk house. (kids’ room) And since naked midnight streaks through the camper with children in tow are NOT on our list of things to do for fun, we opted for one with a bathroom right off the master bedroom.

Four. Boundaries –  Just because we live in an RV doesn’t mean we are irresponsible, nudist hippies who have no value for decency and modesty. Since we do live in a small space together, setting clear boundaries between the two of us and the two of them is something we’ve made important. The kids know that after we’ve spent time together as a family at night and they are put to bed, when mom and dad retreat to their room that is our space and our time. Alone. Therefore at that time they know it becomes our, “no kids aloud zone/ mommy & daddy time.” 

Now that doesn’t mean things can’t get a bit tricky at times. Such as when the little taps at the locked bathroom door that connects to our room and a “But I’ve got to go to the bathroom REAL bad” happens. And when it does, we adjust.

Five. Bedroom Noise. Well, um…. let’s see there’s always turning the tv up real loud and duct tape! {kidding about the last one} Other than that, this is the one part that we do happen to reserve for our weekends away. So if any of you other RVers have discovered or created the solution to this one, for the love of Pete please let us know!!!!!

Six. Space limitations – Well, that’s a whole other post for a whole other day. Let’s just say, I’ve had my share of head trauma for a lifetime.  😉

In all seriousness, we have discovered that this topic, as with most other things in life, is exactly what you make of it. I can think of plenty of marriages that have crappy love lives that have nothing to do with living in under 300 sq. feet of space. I can also think of some really great marriages with healthy love lives that are not dependent upon the circumstances around them.

I always think back to how it was in the beginning. You know, when love was fresh and new and exciting and no person or difficult circumstance could have kept us from each other. Why should the quality or intensity of a love life have to change just because we’ve been married for twelve years, have two children and live in a tiny home on wheels?

I can’t think of one single reason it should.

Two thumbs up for rockin’ the fine art of “sex on wheels!”

Tiny home, big life. Live light!

Please feel free to leave me your own funny or serious stories, thoughts & experiences on this topic below!

Comments { 41 }

January Light Life Adventures!

Well, we’ve been in northern VA for just about a month now. While it was super strange to go from Florida weather to “the frozen tundra” we are in now, we have been making the very best of the change. Being from a beach town on the coast of NC, our little family isn’t used to 9 degree temps and snow, and so we are enjoying the new experience of it all.

After all, that’s a huge part of what makes life on the road the fun and unique it is – experiencing different places, climates and ways of life!

I thought it would be fun to give you a small picture recap of our January.

Cold! Lots of fun snow days with daddy and cozy nights in, cooking dinner together, school days at the coffee shop, library trips, exercise classes, a family project of sewing our first quilt together, trip to explore underground Caverns (not pictured) first metro ride, Washington, DC trip, Olivia began guitar lessons and turned 9!

all images in order of actual events

Whew! What a month! But it has been wonderful. We’ve weathered the absolute coldest it should get here and no frozen water pipes! So thumbs up for that. Honestly, it was hands down the best month since we hit the road five months ago. Can hardly believe it’s almost been half a year on the road!

The homesickness of leaving our old home is beginning to subside and we are truly settling into our new life. We are careful to ask the kids frequently how they are feeling about life on the road and they both say they miss a few friends and family back home as is to be expected, but they wouldn’t trade life on the road for our old one.

Their number one reason as of yesterday: “We get to spend A LOT more time with you and daddy and we get to do a lot of things.”

I wouldn’t trade this time in our lives and these experiences for a million houses on a hill.

Be courageous, live fully, travel light.

p.s. If you enjoy this website, please connect with us via The Light Life Blog Facebook page stop by and say hi!                                                                       Also, we have a private group for the sole purpose of “connecting” individuals and families together who travel. Here you are free to share your own adventures, tips, questions, blogs, ect. with everyone! Click here.

Comments { 3 }

14 Signs You Live In A Travel Park

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This is the primary mode of transportation where you live.

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Your laundry room likely looks something like this and you’ve become OBSESSED with collecting quarters.

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This is how you find out what there is to do around you.

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You’ve traded in an annoying, overpriced HOA for neighborhood movie nights, potlucks and pancakes.

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Rent includes a picnic table and a hook-up.

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You don’t have to go back in time to the 1960s to see this everywhere.

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This is considered a step up “home addition.”

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It isn’t odd for the boss to also be your neighbor.

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What to the modern world would be considered completely outdated and tacky, is now the acceptable norm.

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“Keeping up with the Jones” consists of who has the most slide outs. 

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RV rigs and yard welcome signs come completed with exact replica paintings of the RV….as if people can’t clearly see what it looks like otherwise.

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This is just as much of a life necessity as bread, water and air.

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How to hide this is an unsolved mystery.

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It isn’t considered odd to wash your kid’s hair in your back yard.

Feel free to leave some of your own “Signs you live in a travel park” in the comments section below!   🙂

Own less, live fully, travel light.

Comments { 2 }

Pioneering A Light Life: Week 1

20130903-152507.jpgWell, we did it! The day our family thought would never get here, finally arrived! We finished selling off what was left of our belongings in yet another huge yardsale just the day before, said our goodbyes to friends and family and on a perfect Sunday afternoon in late August we watched the only place on earth we’ve ever known to be home fade away into our rearview mirror.

We left everything familiar and comfortable behind, to head out on a brand new journey in which little is sure, except that we are together and our hearts are wide open!

Our life literally changed overnight. I knew that it would, except that there was no way of understanding how much this would truly be the reality until we….well, until we did it!

Not that we are the first to ever make an extreme change like this, yet still I sort of feel like a pioneer of sorts, forging our way through an unchartered and unfamiliar way of life.

Or maybe it isn’t unfamiliar and we aren’t really pioneers at all except to the culture of today. In any case, it’s as if the four of us have gone back in time a bit and reclaimed so much of the good that has been lost for our very own again.

For that, I am grateful.

It’s been 10 days since we said “hello” to our new life and to be honest, I haven’t written sooner simply because I’m finding it a bit overwhelming to try to put into words all that we’ve experienced over the past week and a half. I’m really not sure it is possible, so for this post at least, I’m not going to try.

I will let just a few of the snapshots of our first week say what I cannot express.

I hope you enjoy them! I will be writing much more in the days to come but lately I’ve honestly just been intentionally slowing down and taking it all in – adjusting, making a new home, and getting the kids started back to school.

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These pictures are all so carefree and beautiful, but don’t think it’s all fun and games…as we have already discovered, there will be more than our fair share of hilarious stories to tell….especially since tomorrow I get a lesson on how to empty out the black tank (sewage) from our little home on wheels. I’ll let ya know how that one goes! 😉

If there’s one thing this life is already teaching me, we are all capable of being WAY stronger and daring than we ever dared to believe we could be.

Here’s to the first leg of pioneering reclaiming a much lighter kind of life!

Comments { 19 }

How To Make More Room In Your Life By Lightening Up

I have come to the conclusion that one of the most pointless things one can do with their life is spend most of it working just to accumulate more stuff.

Stuff doesn’t make us who we are, and it never fulfills us.

However, I sort of need to go ahead and own up to the fact that even I have a few “stuff” obsessions. A few of which happen to come with a pretty steep price tag. BUT, I do find them to be worth every penny!

Someone once said that money can’t buy happiness. The person who said almost got it right…except they had apparently never owned an Apple product. 😉

These are the few material items that really do make my life better. So therefore, I have chosen not feel guilty for indulging in these few little pleasures.

apple mac & starbucks

1. Anything Apple  – I’m a total Mac addict. When I get to Heaven, I will find Steve Jobs and give him a huge hug.

2. Starbucks  – It’s my drug of choice. I also truly, truly enjoy it. I’ve had the best conversations with people sitting in a coffee shop, sipping a cup of the dark stuff. It connects people and that makes me happy!

bed head

3. Salon trips / professional hair products   – My sister has the kind of hair that requires nothing to be beautiful. She doesn’t need to color or highlight it, never blows drys or fixes it, and barely bothers with getting it trimmed and still it always looks so luscious and gorgeous. I do not. So not fair! Therefore, I do not  and will not skimp on my hair. Period. The end.

organic

4. FoodI don’t care what anybody says, whole, healthy, organic food doesn’t come cheap. It just doesn’t. If I could find a way around this I would, trust me. But so far I haven’t figured it out.

However, there are a myriad of other tangible things that spending wads of money on does not appeal to me. I have been known to shop for hours only to unload my cart of all that I was about to buy, put it back on the shelves and walk out of the store.

I honestly can’t think of a single time that I’ve regretted doing that.

I’d rather save our money to buy experiences, not just more stuff that we don’t really even need.

So, here’s my list of things I will not splurge on, many of which I don’t even bother to buy new.

1. Shoes  –  Yes, I am a girly girl, no I do not have a love affair with shoes. The end. I do buy them when absolutely necessary, but most important to me is to purchase 1 pair of rainbow flip flops every few years and wear them 80% of the time and do not buy a new pair until I wear them out….or someone steals them from off of the beach.

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2. Clothes – I do not go around looking like a bum (at least not most of the time) but you wouldn’t believe how little money I put into clothing purchases. Here’s how I do it.

Thrift shopping. I LOVE a good thrift store and could spend hours rummaging through the racks for pretty clothes at steals.

Children’s resale stores.  My kids are still at the ages in which we have to buy them an entire new wardrobe for each new season. SO, every season I take all their clothes from the previous season and trade them in at the resale store for money or store credit. Sometimes this means I have to take their clothes around to more than one resale store to get rid of at least most of it, but it always pays off. Last season I spend a total of $300 out of pocket for both of the kids clothes, bathing suits and shoes for the entire season. (I have a few tips for being successful with getting the most $ back for this. If you’re curious, comment below with your question and I’ll be happy to share them with you!)

children's resale stores

3. Organic meat & milk – I’ve set the cows free! Recently I’ve come to the point in which I will not buy meat unless it is free of all the crap that most conventional animal products have. So, in order to go organic in other important areas (mainly produce) we have almost completely eliminated meat & dairy (milk) from our household diet in order to save us the $ and the added hormones.

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4. Underwear – ……… Just kidding. I DO NOT buy used under ware. 🙂

It is OK to have little indulgences in life! The problem becomes when your entire life becomes one big pursuit of indulgence.

When we choose to cut back or even cut out expenses in the non-essential areas, we free ourselves up to stop and buy a coffee when we want to, or take a trip with the kids to see places we’ve never been….and not have to go in debt to do it!

In that, we are gaining priceless life experiences, not just buying more things. 

THOSE are the few simple pleasures of life that money can buy….that is it we haven’t wasted  it on stupid stuff that will go out with next week’s trash.

It’s up to you to figure out what you value and find a way to tailor your spending in other areas so that you can actually afford what means most to you.

There’s so much more I could list but I’ll stop for now and share more in later posts!

As a family, we are excited about discovering even more ways to cut back and simplify our life and we take this new journey!

Are there any little indulges you have or tips on ways to cut back? Share them with us in the comments below!  

Here’s to living the light life!

Comments { 6 }

First Light Trip!

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Well, here she is! She is really ours now! We took her out of town to the ocean this 4th of July weekend to “get our feet wet” a bit with this whole camping life thing.

Anthony and I both love to camp (in tents and such for a couple days at a time) but neither or us have experience when it comes to campgrounds, RV’s and actually living this way of life so needless to say we’ve been reading up, you tubing, and informing ourselves so that we aren’t both wondering around in the dark when we actually pull out for good.

I’ll have to say, our first trip was pretty amazing! There were NO major bumps in the road (knocking on wood.) Luckily we were able to buy a new camper rather than a used one, so there are no issues as of yet and it is super easy to set up and use! We of course have a bathroom, air conditioning/heat, water and all of the appliance luxuries we are used to having at home with the exception of washer/dryer and a dishwasher. And yes that will take some getting used to, but I’m pretty positive I won’t die.

So I have to say, although going from 2500 sq. ft of living space to 300 will be very different, we will NOT be suffering. 🙂

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Here we are, hooking everything up for the first time! I followed my husband around as much as I could, taking it all in so I’d know how to operate all these hookups and gadgets when he isn’t around….and PRAYING I won’t need any experience with the dreaded sewage line EVER.

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Jackson had a little issue getting all the beach sand out of this head so daddy fixed him up!

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If there is one thing we’ve already realized first hand about this new little space is that time to just be together is something we will gain a whole lot of…and something we don’t get a lot of these days, so we welcome it with open arms! There isn’t room of course to spread out all over the house in our own spaces doing our own things like we’ve used to, so our mornings (and a lot of our time) were spent just being together.

I like that.

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Afternoons were spent hanging out at the beach or pool….We even found two crazies there!

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LOTS of outside time and playing games together rather than traveling all around, spending money on expensive activities/entertainment and buying more stuff we don’t need…

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                                     and grilling out on the outdoor kitchen for the first time!

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Olivia

 Do you see the happy faces? 🙂

We had the best time on our very first Light travels!

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So, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that a lot of people we know (and some we don’t) have been asking about the details of our new journey. Why are we doing this, what made us decide to live the way we are instead of renting or buying a house, when are we leaving, where are going, what are we doing with all our stuff, will I become a wondering nomad hippie & stop shaving my armpits and grow my hair out in dreads?

So I thought I’d share a little bit of the whats and whys with you in my next post!

Live lightly!

*feel free to comment or ask ANY question you’d like in the comment box below and I’ll be sure to answer it in my next post!

Comments { 19 }
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