One of the most rewarding things about our full-time travel lifestyle is the ability to change our mode of living quickly and experience life in a different way. Being mobile and without the baggage of a house we can go from being urban dwellers to suburban to urban within the space of a week.
We have experienced big cities like San Francisco and Washington DC, relying mainly on pubic transportation and spending lots of time in the big and busy city environments.
We have spent months in a government-owned park that included an archery range, hiking trails, and a campground with a constant stream of local and non-resident visitors crossing our path.
Our latest phase has us living on a private 80-acre Texas ranch. There are more deer than people, decent groceries are over an hour away, and we have gone a week without even starting the truck.
We have several weeks left in this phase but I wanted to capture some of the things I have noted about living out here so far.
It’s a bit odd - we are in groves of trees yet the sound out here carries like it does across small Michigan lakes.
Although it would take me 15 minutes to walk down the hill and across the street to the closest neighbor’s house we can sometimes hear them talking, their rooster crowing, and their sheep calling out. It’s not as if we can make out every word, but we are aware of them.
Even though sound carries the overall experience is still one of quiet. I mean, really quiet. Quiet to the point that when you hear a vehicle on the road in the distance you wonder who it is.
I have sat outside and actually heard the flutter of the wings of the birds feeding on the feeders that we placed. When the owner’s horses gallop by we can hear it inside the trailer.
I have an ongoing issue with RV parks and our culture in general.
We are addicted to light.
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I’ve grown to love the dark. I can sleep better. I can see the stars better. And the stars in our current spot are amazing - I’ve actually seen color in them that I have not seen with the naked eye before.
We can see the Milky Way and we have seen a shooting star.
There is Trust
People leave their homes unlocked here. And sometimes? The keys are dangling in the locks (“Otherwise we’d lose them”).
Neighbors will come to purchase something and just step in to leave the money on the kitchen table.
The local ranch store has a knife sharpener mounted on the checkout counter.
Think about what that says. They assume you:
- Will have a knife
- Need to sharpen the knife because you’ll have been using it
- Will not use the knife to hold them up
- Will not cut yourself with your own knife and sue them
Not every curve in the road is marked because there is trust that you can see where it goes for yourself.
People are Further Apart but Closer
You can’t aways see your neighbors - but we have witnessed a closeness between people that doesn’t always exist in the suburbs.
We’ve experienced an informal bartering/favor economy that the distance from major retail encourages. When our hosts had company for Christmas and realized (ON Christmas) they were out of beer a neighbor was called and a case showed up.
When someone is planning a trip into town it’s good form to ask others if they need anything.
Could We Settle Here?
Our trip isn’t about finding the perfect place to settle down again, but we certainly run that question through our minds with each place we visit. We know we are not big city people - choosing to opt out of the stress and noise that experience can bring.
As a family I think we are split on being country folk.
I could definitely see the appeal of buying a few remote acres and continuing to enjoy the quiet and reduced “nanny state” feel so long as I can stay connected to the Internet.
MsBoyink would like to be about 1/2 hour closer to amenities like groceries.
Miranda would be right at home in a place like this so long as there are animals to care for.
Harrison has goals that involve bigger groups of people so probably won’t be found living in a place like this on his own.
Our stay has been - and continues to be - a valuable experience. The cold winter has reduced our ‘active outdoor time’.
We also didn’t end up near other teens which I know has been a disappointment to our kids.
But we are learning lots and building some friendships that I hope will last longer than our experiment lasts.