ONE precious life to live &
ONE big decision to live a natural minimalistic life!
May 2014 in a rented RV we drove away from a large house, large yard, community where everyone knew us, literally sold box truck sized loads of stuff, and for my husband he left a 21-yr high paying career with all the perks…Why? For a lifestyle we believed was best for our family. Presently, our RV journey took a U-turn and we’re now in a phase of life we call Homestead Happiness. I hope you will follow along as we journey through this life finally answering our question of, “RV There Yet?” and answering the call, the echoes we heard in our daily conversations, “Nonetheless, I just want to homestead.”
We began the journey of minimalism trying to free ourselves of the burden of our “stuff.” Initially, at that time my husband worked 60-80 hour weeks and I left an 8 year career to raise our infant sons. We never saw each other except at night when we were up with our very ill infants. We felt tied down and wanted to create more space and time for our new family of four. As a new family we simply did not feel like a family. We were merely existing at that time on a daily basis. We knew this was not how we wanted to raise our children. We did not know what to do about it. Minimalism made sense to us and it matched our values of quality time versus ownership of stuff. My husband’s job took us from East coast to West thus beginning the greatest journey of our lives in ways we had not yet imagined while giving us more incentive to purge physical items. As moving across the country does that to you. After selling three large box trucks full of “stuff” and packing in 25% of a semi-trailer; we rented an RV to drive our kids and pets across the country to California. Along the way we met work campers and that idea was a topic for conversation for the next 6 months. With no work camp experience and no internet design skills (the top two professions of work campers we’ve met) we like many others wondered what the great appeal was of this type of tiny house living where most people had no 401k and stock options and the big question, “where/how do we begin?”
After a great deal of research and YouTube viewing about full time RV living we took the plunge. My husband left a 21-year career in retail management. “Done with that life,” he took a job with a land management company contracted by the government to manage public lands such as parks and National Forest Service land. We had a few months to purchase an RV, sell/donate everything we couldn’t take with us (remember that was 25% of a semi-trailer…that’s a lot of stuff), remodel our RV, and move in. A few months! I’d love to say the transition was seamless. But we’re adventurers and we believe life brings you bumps and adversity as part of the adventure. All you can do is adventure on! It’s storm before the calm and calm before the storm stuff. To us that is better than all the materialistic stuff.
The plan: Full time RV for 10 years then settle down and off-grid homestead
God’s plan: Full time RV for 2 years then settle down and off-grid homestead
We are grateful for what the full time RV life has provided us as part of our life’s journey. So what happened? We purchased a 2007 31 ft. Fleetwood Tioga Jamboree. My husband worked 20-30 hours less a week and often from home. We had more and better quality family time. We “vacationed” at least once a week! Living like we were on vacation. Exploring the new areas around us by hiking, backpacking, camping, kayaking, and driving. We didn’t spend our spare time cleaning a 2,200 sq. ft. house or working on 5 acres of lawn and gardens. We did watch meteor showers; have frequent date nights sitting around a roaring fire with a glass of wine; watched herds of elk stroll through meadows; watched as deer run up a hillside; sat quietly watching flocks
of turkey drink from a lake; listened to song birds and crickets; took
our kids adventuring to museums, parks, and natural wonders; shopped for, meal planned, prepared, and ate dinner together every day as a family; and practiced living the life values we wanted for our children. It took us 1 hour to clean our home from top to bottom. I had ample time to balance the check book and do laundry. Everyday life experiences and adventure were great educational opportunities for our children.
Along the way we had major speed bumps and rocky roads. RV life taught us to live in the present despite those adversities and those adversities forever changed our journey. We bought a lemon RV and found ourselves in a lawsuit against the dealer. We had to move in and out of our RV for repairs and inspections and into rentals, once for almost three months. Eventually we had to buy a smaller 25 ft Fleetwood Mallard travel trailer to live in. And the greatest adversity and life changing U-turn, autism and sensory processing disorder times two. Our two precious boys need consistent therapy and while they have the same sense of adventure their parents have, it’s better to return to the same home base versus moving that home base to a new location or moving in/out of our home for repairs, etc. They both have had extensive health issues since birth and I was a desperate new mom who made all my own organic baby foods. That in itself was a rabbit hole leading to a new world beyond that of nourishment. Fresh, organic, homegrown, fermented, etc., which led to the talk and research of homesteading and a life off grid. But as none of this happens overnight, our careers and becoming minimalist was the first step. RV life was the medium to get us there. We continued practicing homestead skills, albeit difficultly from an RV; nonetheless we dehydrated, fermented, made our own soap and deodorant, composted, and more.
In September 2016, we began searching for our homestead land in the Inland Pacific Northwest. We wanted a place to build a tiny house or yurt, grow our own food, raise chickens for eggs and meat, live free of the electrical grid, have a place our children could have outdoor nature therapy, clean fresh mountain air, a place where we could have a rhythm of life in seasons, a foundation for our family where we have like-minded community, and a place to travel from and return HOME to.
In December 2016, we moved onto our 10-acres homestead where we envision building that dream into a reality. While we were not anticipating a property with a building, ours came with a small (under 400 sq ft) hunting cabin, which we now live in. And you’re all caught up. The homestead chapter is just starting.
We are happy to share our story in hopes of raising awareness of the minimalistic lifestyle and homestead happiness while maybe saving others from some of our mishaps and craziness. We also want to document this time of our life for our small babes who may be too young to remember. And for our family and friends trying to understand our societal deviation, perhaps this will help. Nonetheless, we hope you enjoy our journey!
Charlisina “Charlie” Newport
NE Ohio born and raised Charlisina (Charlie) Newport, first discovered a love for the mountains by traveling in her teens on cross country trips with her grandparents. Later she discovered a love for permaculture in college, minimalism and traditional nourishment in motherhood, and homesteading while living the full-time RV life with her family in the western U.S. Charlie was never fulfilled by her entrepreneurial career or career by employer endeavors; rather found creating a healthier lifestyle alongside her husband to be a more natural calling to her hearth and home instincts. When she’s not traveling, or working on off-grid homesteading research; Charlie is creating a daily photograph journal of her family’s adventures backpacking, hiking, kayaking, homesteading, and living life to its fullest.
NE Ohio born and raised Tom Newport grew up in the quiet suburbs of Canton/Massillon where he was always drawn to the outdoors. His natural knack for management and merchandising led him to a successful 20+ year career in retail management. Most his career he moved around northern Ohio opening and managing big box stores. His career later took he and his family to California. Burning out on the rat race that left him no family time and unethical corporate practices he changed careers to land management. This took his family on a full time RV adventure stretching from the California coast to the high Rockies of Colorado. During this time, he renewed his childhood connection and love of the land. There was much talk and plans of homesteading in the future. As life is unpredictable (see why we chose to homestead) the homestead timeline was moved up. Tom now finds himself learning new skill sets in homesteading, applying his land management to his own land. His days no longer end in ethical torment and stress induced physical exhaustion. Now he finds his body and soul nourished by the homestead lifestyle and is living a successful life in fatherhood, as he says, “the real wealth of this lifestyle change is time with my family that the retail world would never allow me.” Now long days of rewarding work are capped with reading his two boys to sleep, and fireside chats with his wife Charlie.