The Challenges of a “Radical Sabbatical”


After a very long hiatus we are back on the blog tonight. The truth is the last two to three weeks have not been as interesting as, say, a trip to Alaska or a dry camping evening at Muncho Lake, British Columbia.  Either way, we are glad you all are still along for our ride.

We are presently in Colorado and will be here until this Sunday (9/12/10). More on the next stop in a moment (read down!).We have been staying in two local state parks since the last post: Chatfield State Park for five nights and, currently, Cherry Creek State Park, where we have been for nearly 11 nights. Both of these parks are in the Denver area. We would have liked to have stayed in Chatfield the whole time but they were sold out after our first five days there, so it was on to Cherry Creek, which has been good but much more buggy than Chatfield.

We have had the opportunity to have campfires each night here and do a ton of reflecting on our journey thus far. We know we are truly fortunate to do what we are doing. In addition, we have also done a ton of cleaning and organizing in our TrailManor and Honda Ridgeline truck as well as getting our broken windshield replaced for free ($0 deductibles are a must for any Colorado resident, even if we did not crack it here!).

We will be heading down to Cheyenne Mountain State Park in Colorado Springs this Thursday for three nights while I assist in teaching a weekend intensive at the University of the Rockies. We would highly encourage you all to check out the incredible state park system here in Colorado (especially Cheyenne Mountain…by far the best place we have stayed on our journey thus far).

During our time at Chatfield, I had an opportunity to make a trip down to Austin, Texas for the first three days of school at the Regents School of Austin, the school he will be coaching at this winter. I had a great experience and have some great young people to work with this year, as well as some very supportive parents and staff! We will be heading down to Austin in the first week of October and will be living in the Lake Travis area, which is just west of Austin.

Our plan is to head to the Land of 10,000 Lakes (Minnesota) for the next two to three weeks before we head to Texas. Many of you know that Candy is a Minnesota native and we will be staying much of the time at her mother’s home in Fergus Falls, a Minnesota town just 45 minutes southeast of Fargo, North Dakota. Her mom has a RV spot set-up beside her home complete with sewer, water, and electric hookups.

By the way, our 15th wedding anniversary is coming up on September 16th. We are still trying to figure out where to go in Minnesota for this time. If you can suggest any good resorts, please let us know!

Many of you have been following us for the entire journey and to you we say “thanks!” There are some things that should be noted so you understand how we are doing this trip and the challenges that come with this lifestyle.

One of the big misnomers about how we can do this trip is that we are independently wealthy people and that it is all just one big vacation. Both of these statements would be false.

We are certainly not wealthy people (at least not in terms of money :)). We both have careers that give us the flexibility to work from anywhere so we came up with this idea to purchase an RV after going to an RV expo in Denver in January at the Colorado Convention Center downtown. That was when we saw the TrailManor 3124 KS for the first time. We just felt that if we could own our first home, it might as well be an RV (especially with our lifestyle the way it has been for nearly 15 years)!

One of the big reasons we have not been able to post more often is that we have been working hard. Candy (along with business partner Cassie Bair) has been very busy with a lot of great opportunities with The Collective Savvy. I have had the busiest six-week period of my online teaching career recently. So, as much as many people would think all we do is have a good time that is not the case (okay, we have a good time; it just isn’t a vacation). We are still working professionals; we just choose to have a different view out our window most days!

When you live in 240 square feet of living space, it can be quite challenging to get around without running into one another. Candy and I have become much better communicators since we got the camper and took off on our journey; it is hard not to. We basically live in a hallway!

In addition, we have a small bathroom with a small shower and, finally, a small gray water holding tank (only 30 gallons). By the way, gray water is all of the wastewater that comes from your sink and shower. We have to empty the Thetford re-circulating toilet every week or so and the gray water tank every three days or so.

We have issues from time to time with the Internet. Many camp grounds may say they have Internet but we have not been impressed most times. Internet is a must for what we do…I can say that the only place that had good Internet was the Big Bear RV Park in Wasilla, Alaska.

The other thing that can be challenging is television. We can get cable television when we are at many RV parks. However, it can be hard to pick up stations with just the antenna (at least in our short experience). We sure miss seeing “Mad Men” on AMC right now! Luckily, when we get to Austin we will have cable and cable Internet through the local cable provider. Many RVer’s get a satellite dish for their TV…we have decided against this at the present time.

It is hard to keep the RV clean since we are carrying it behind the truck most of the time. It is a “folding trailer”, according to the TrailManor web page, so some dirt and dust will get in from time to time.

Another interesting adjustment is the amount of storage space we have for clothing and other items. We have a decent amount of space for most of our stuff but only have three drawers for our clothes (one for our socks and underwear, one for Candy’s things, and one for my things). We also have long containers in our truck bed of the Ridgeline for other items (cold weather clothing, books, etc.). This is covered by a nice tonneau cover.

Since we do not have a washer and dryer for our clothes we have to go to local laundromats. We typically do this every 10 days. We also have a small refrigerator so we have to put some items in a Coleman cooler with ice in it outside the camper. Keeping the ice in there is the biggest challenge for us.

You might think that I am complaining here…not the case! It is just challenging at times. We would not change what we are doing and know that some of the memories we have made will last us for many years to come. We continue to make new adjustments to our living arrangements (such as new storage shelving for the countertops). In the next move, we will do our part to show you how this camper is brought down and stored for the next move down the road.

We do not know when this “radical sabbatical” will end; the plan is for one full year but we hope it goes on for a long time! We really like the RV lifestyle…it is a simple life and one we are growing to love every day!

Even Chase has grown accustomed to living in an RV. He has his own sleeping area under our bed area. When he is dreaming during the middle of the night, he will shake the camper…that is how light this thing is!

This has been a long post but hopefully you have gotten another view into our life as it stands today. Keep following along and let’s hope for more exciting times…we will make sure to share them with you all!

by tim

show hide 3 comments

09.08.2010 - 6:42 am

Joy Good to hear from you guys again! Sure looking forward to having you here in Minnesota!

09.08.2010 - 8:00 am

Belinda Walker Glad yall are still having fun. Bobby and I are heading to Colorado on Sept. 24 with 7 other campers from our church. I will have to check out the state parks there. Be careful, have fun, and keep us posted of your travels.

09.08.2010 - 10:35 am

candy Joy,

We will be there very soon…how ’bout those Twins 🙂


Please make sure to check them out…they are very well maintained and affordable. If you get down to the Colorado Springs area make sure to take a look at Cheyenne Mountain!

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