If you are considering ditching the suburbs you need a complete picture. It’s always easier to post the highlights, so I wanted to get real this week and talk about both the highs and lows.
Let’s start with the good.
We are in Boerne, Texas, parked on the private property of an animal rescue ranch. It’s a workcamping situation - the girls are earning our keep while I work.
The ranch has pigs, llamas, alpacas, horses, goats, sheep, miniature donkeys, dogs, and cats.
Miranda is helping with the animals (her interest in an animal-related career is what brought us here).
Crissa is helping with an on-site AirBnB rental - cleaning and prepping it for when it gets rented.
The people we have met on the stop have been a blessing to us.
When we were thinking about ditching the suburbs these were exactly the type of people I hoped we’d meet. They deserve more than a brief mention and we’ll do a better job of introducing you to them in a future post.
The ranch owners - Liz and Richard - have been generous and accommodating. Liz always has an encouraging word for people and animals. Richard is the analytical problem solver ready to get his hands dirty effecting a solution.
The ranch managers - Debbie and Carter - are a hoot. Debbie is enthusiastic, positive and always ready with a story. Carter is the quieter, cowboy type patiently teaching Miranda various farm tasks.
Miranda is Thriving
It’s only been two weeks, but Miranda has learned so much. She’s held newborn lambs, learned to drive a tractor, and independently problem-solved getting escaped goats back in their pens. I don’t think we could have found a better spot for her.
Crissa is Finding Purpose
As a homeschooling stay-at-home mom, what happens when the kids become adults and move onto their own independent lives?
Crissa is still figuring that out - but while here she’s been able to pitch in with more hands-on work with immediate results and that’s been good for her.
We’re Saving Money
The girls are working to save us money:
We aren’t paying campground fees
We are using the ranch laundry facilities
We are using the ranch wifi - so were able to put a pause on our aircard
We are hardly driving so are buying less fuel
We’ve had mostly sunny days here with highs in the 60’s and up. That helps our dispositions. Crissa especially tends to be affected by too much gray weather.
I’ve Had Time to Work
With the girls earning our keep and expenses low I’ve been able to spend time planning a major refocusing of our main income-generating business (I hope to launch it in the next week or so).
I’ve also had time to polish up my resume and apply to a few remote-friendly jobs.
Our home in the farmyard.
MsBoyink watching Miranda work with the animals.
Miranda on the farm tractor
It's amazing how much sanity a bunch of plastic pallets can bring to our world.
This is the walk to just about anywhere from the RV.
Kids in TX, MI, and CO exchanged gifts by mail and opened them on Skype
Miranda driving the farm tractor.
This season of life isn’t without challenges. I’m not whining - we made decisions that brought us to this place and take ownership of those. I just want to paint an accurate picture of a post-suburban life can look like.
You’ve probably seen news stories about the amount of rain Texas has had this year. The spot we are in has traditionally been dry. With the rains this year it’s muddy.
We got stuck getting into place. We’ve had to buy muck boots and wear them everywhere once we leave the trailer.
Going out for a run involves putting on boots and carrying shoes out to the road where I can sit on the truck tailgate to change into running shoes.
The sailing folks talk about their “cruising kittys” and what they do when the funds get low.
Our “RVing kitty” isn’t happy - the demand for the web development that I’ve specialized in for years has dropped (hence the need to save money, refocus the business, and apply for jobs).
Up until this point we had kept the health insurance we had before we hit the road. The costs were getting crazy (>$800/mo).
It was a stressful process (with a looming deadline) but Crissa finally enrolled us in Christian Healthcare Ministries at a savings of a few hundred dollars each month.
Holidays - Christmas especially - are hard even after 5 years on the road.
Our heads are into minimalism, valuing experiences over stuff, and authentic thoughts, feelings and worship over the contrived.
Our hearts are still tugged by traditions, family, and cultural expectations.
Also? It’s the first Christmas without our boy.
I’ve struggled with insomnia in the past and it’s returned. I haven’t had a solid night of sleep in at least two weeks, nor have I been able to fill in with naps.
Some of it is stress over refocusing the business. Some of it has been getting used to our situation here.
Our mattress is also an issue. The one we bought two years ago developed some flat uncomfortable spots.
We Are Optimistic
I can’t end on a low note. Even with the challenges we are experiencing I’m optimistic about our future.
I have a lead on new work. The field I’m moving into (Content Strategy) is growing and I’ve already made some great connections. I’ve had good feedback on the business model we’re rolling out.
We watched our kids and their ‘adopted siblings’ open gifts over a 3-state Skype session last night. The generosity and thoughtfulness they showed for each other was moving. I can’t help but believe this lifestyle brought them all closer.
There is talk of some heavy equipment coming in to improve drainage around our site.
I was also able to build us a nice deck using some plastic pallets the owners had laying around. Having a solid surface we can step out and a place to sit outside in a chair helps us not feel so trapped in the RV.
We purchased a new mattress topper yesterday. With it in place I had a great nap and I slept better last night.
Your Prayers Appreciated
Normally we try to ‘flip things around’ and write reader-centric posts. This one is all about us - but I hope by reading it you get an authentic view of what life can be like for a suburbia-ditcher.
We’d appreciate your prayers in both overcoming our challenges and appreciating the blessings God has put in our life.