Most of you know that in December we began our life on the road. We sold nearly all of our belongings, put our house up for sale, and moved into our newly purchased 5th wheel RV with our two kids and two dogs. Life as we knew it would be changed and hopefully for the better.
The conversations that Tim and I had over the last 5 years had evolved greatly. Talks went from “material must-haves” to “how can we live a greener, simpler, more full-filled life.” Things got deep in the Hine household!
We did our part to lessen our carbon foot print with dreams of becoming more self-sustaining. Growing, canning, and freezing from our garden, recycling everything we could, upgrades to the house to make it more efficient, buying second hand. Working toward the “Laura Ingalls times,” but with 21st century perks of TV, Internet and cell phones, of course.
Even with these things and the conversations we had about simple living, we were surrounded by stuff, and time seemed to be a limited commodity. We both worked a combine of at least 70 hours a week outside the home, two kids, two dogs, a “too big for us” house that was filled with stuff, which all required time. Clearly not everything was getting sufficient attention. I believe they call this the “American Dream.”
Many people live this lifestyle and love it, we did for over 30 years. However, recent events in our lives (you can read about those in past blog posts), removed the blinders, so to speak. We were oblivious to how the rest of the world lives and how our first world problems were and are so, so very small.
So we embarked on a journey to follow a dream, see the country, embrace cultures, give back, live simply, and have quality family time while doing it!
First stop, Texas! We new this journey would make it difficult to achieve a self-sustaining lifestyle. However, Texas has made this far more challenging than we thought. Let’s face it, we end up in a grocery store about every three days. Our dependence on conventional food sources was not what we had in mind. We have found no farmer’s markets during this Texas winter and health food stores are scarce, let alone the two grocery store options we have within 30 miles. Mind you, we’ve only lived in rural Texas, so this may not apply everywhere.
We were fortunate to have resources available to us in Indiana that allowed us to recycle or donate everything we possibly could. This is not the case for the places we’ve stayed in Texas. Not only has it been hard to find places to recycle, it’s even more frustrating how many people don’t give a second thought to recycling, including the Texas State parks we’ve visited. Sorry for the rant, but I hate throwing away things that can be recycled.
However, what we have lost in green living, we have more than made up for in simple, clutter-free living and I’m not just referring to less stuff. I’m talking about the freedom that comes with literally disconnecting from technology.
This tech-free living was not exactly by choice, rural Texas had a hand in that one. The two different parks we’ve lived in, had little to no cell phone service, no wi-fi, no 4G hot spot capabilities and at best, 5 digital television channels.
While I was teetering on a tragedy to live without these things, my husband who was born without the “tech loving” gene thought it merely an occasional inconvenience. I went from having an iPhone where I had access to anything at my fingertips to a phone that could barely text or make phone calls. Fortunately, my work was located in a prime 4G location! Tim went from a flip phone he rarely used to a flip phone he was rarely able to use. We went from 15 digital TV channels in Indiana down to 5 channels, which were sadly not PBS.
Because of our lack of technology, we no longer had the TV on just because, I was no longer checking my phone for Facebook updates far too often, and the computer was rarely turned on. We were definitely not getting our money’s worth from our Verizon data plan!
It really is amazing how many books you can read, and thought-provoking conversations you can have with your husband, without all of the outside world distractions. We were living in a beautiful 3,000 acre State Park that aside from us and the park hosts, was nearly empty. We caught the most beautiful sunset at Cooper Lake during one of our evening walks. We have seen countless Texas wildlife and were able to “enjoy” the quiet beauty of the park following a heavy Texas snowfall.
Even though we had to drive to the highest point in the park to make a phone call, try four times to send a text, and not being able to catch my favorite show, the Blacklist, on NBC, we not only survived; we realized we can thrive in this environment once we changed our perception. Hopefully this new found mindset will carry over to other aspects of our journey.
P.S. My husband, Tim, was my chief editor on this post. Still talking him into a guest post on the blog about his adventures as Mr. Mom…stay tuned!