The Wanderful Life as a Professor

I’ve neglected my blog site. But I have good reason! The head of the environmental studies department at the University of Cincinnati asked if I could teach a class in the fall, then asked if I could teach two other classes in the spring and offered an annual position that comes with a lot more departmental responsibilities than simply teaching. I accepted! 🙂

I will develop 2 of the 3 classes. In the fall, I’ll teach an advanced topics course on food. I had discretion on the topic, so I chose food security and the future of farming. I’m very passionate about food and agriculture, especially those approaches that protect both food security, farmers, and especially the environment. Without healthy soils and adequate water, we will lose our ability to grow food. Rich biodiversity is important for our wellbeing, including our economy, as much as it is for natural landscapes. We need a variety in our diets too. So the traditional monoculture agriculture needs a revolution. 🙂 I’m still creating the lectures (2 more) and need to find scientific articles and videos for a few of the lectures.

It’s time consuming, and I’m actually teaching my Endangered Earth course now (online). I have 40+ students and 4 written assignments to grade each week. So you understand why I have been absent.

But I have hiked some. Not as much as I’d like. Too much rain and too many mosquitoes. My herbal armor insect spray works, but the swarms find the few spots you missed. And you can’t spray your eyeballs so…buzz buzz in your eyes!!! I swear they’re bigger this year too. Anyone else notice they’re turning into something Godzilla will fight???

We’re also growing some vegetables in containers. My squash and zucchini are doing awesome with all the rain! We did lose peas and spinach though. See diversity is important when growing food.

My chamomile has gone nutball too. 🙂 I’ve harvested flowers for tea!!!

Sunflowers have bloomed beneath the bird feeder and already attract the finches.

Even the fatties (aka mourning doves) think they can perch.

We had new arrivals to the feeder. A red-winged blackbird ((not pictured) and a red-bellied woodpecker.

As you can see, I spend a lot of time looking out the window while I work. Lol

I don’t know if the video will load, but I recorded a mama downy woodpecker feeding her offspring at the feeder!! ❤

After I finish working on my food course, I need to develop the natural resources and sustainability class. The other class is already established, and I just have to follow the textbook. Fir Wright State University, I need to develop a world geography course. It’ll be my first human geography course. I’m an environmental/physical geographer. Sounds like a lot right? But I love creating courses!! 🙂 I love teaching. So it’s still the Wanderful Life. 🙂

I’ll miss living in the camper in the winter, despite issues with the cold. See my older posts! 🙂 I’ll especially miss not being with Shane every day. He’s the wonderful in my Wanderful Life. ❤

We’ve visited the Pittsburgh Zoo, the science center, the Living Treasures (petting zoo), a couple putt putt places, and picked up a fun new hobby activity. Disc golf. They have lots of disc golf courses here!!

I’ll write again soon. Just know I’m still loving living in the camper and enjoying nature!! But I have to grade endangered species blogs now.

Wonderful Wanderful Life!!!

Spring has sprung! 🙂 Living fulltime in a tiny camper in the middle of nowhere is some of the best living I’ve ever done. ❤ All day I hear my favorite songs.

I hope the video of the Baltimore oriole singing plays for you. They say listening to birdsong is the antidote to stress, and I agree. Nature’s AntidoteIf you listen closely, you’ll hear structure in the choral cacophony. Such as two orioles communicating with each other. Last night it was either a female or juvenile male in “our” tree, and in the background you hear another. We’ve seen the mature male in “our” tree as well. Possible pairing? Or possible competitor? But, so many different birds, so many different songs. ❤ All day I see painted masterpieces.For all my hiking years, I longed to glimpse the blooming of the woods. I finally enjoyed the opening of the vernal gallery. I cannot describe the awe, and my camera could not truly capture the beauty of pastel and primary colored landscapes in shade and sun. Having the ability to observe the subtle differences in hue and texture as the days of spring march toward summer, I feel such gratitude and grace. I’ve been to the Louvre, but its art pales in comparison to Mother Nature’s. Her art breathes life into itself and into me.We’ve had a lot of visitors to our feeder. Golden finches. House finches. Tufted titmouse (last image of it dive bombing for seeds!). Nuthatches. Chickadees. Downy woodpecker. Cardinals. Sparrows. Morning doves. Brown-heased cowbirds.Robins and grackles hunt for worms and nesting material in “our yard”. The grackles like apple core cut up for them. 😉 The oriole sings in our tree. I saw an Eastern bluebird sitting on our fire pit this morning. 🙂 I watch the feeder often. Even my camper neighbors watch our feeder. 🙂 It’s such a trill! 😛 Yes, a bad pun. As I write this outside, I’m watching the birds peck at the ground for fallen seed. 4 morning doves and 4 male cowbirds. My “pet” oriole below.All day I feel peace, joy, and harmony. Even if I spend my days indoors because of rain or work (preparing for my summer class and developing a class for the fall), I’m loving this wonderful Wanderful Life. You know how you feel losing yourself in a book? Yeah, I’m lost in my own adventures, and it feels like a fantasy. I don’t doubt I will see real faeries soon. (My friend warned me to stay social or I’d get weird. Oops) The North Country trail passes along the campground, and 1.1 miles from the trailhead up the road (literally a steep up) Indian Rock sits face up. 🙂I predict I’ll spend most of my time along the NCT. I don’t need to drive and I can increase my distance. I’m not worried about the time. I belong to the Sloth Hiking Club. “We’ll get there when we get there.” 🙂 I have a lot of hiking days ahead of me. Not today though. Storms. Until then, I’m going to watch the birds and research journal articles for the best ones to assign my students. Enjoy your day and your world!!! ❤

Winter Camping Problem #800000000: Pyramid of Poo and Paper

If it can go wrong, we’ve probably experienced it. Check out my other blogs on the trials of winter camper living.

We’re very new to camper living, so we were bound to make newbie mistakes, despite doing research on how to survive winter in a small camper.

The latest issue: The toilet wouldn’t flush away the waste. Turns out after a bit of googling a pyramid of poo and paper had built up in the black water tank because Shane kept the valve open. Ewwwww. Hence, the liquid ran out, and the solids stayed behind. We needed to close the valve, allow liquids and solids to pool. Then open the valve when it got 2/3 full, and all the waste would flow out the sewer hose. Dilution is the solution. #chemistrynerd 🙂

But closing the valves had its own problems. The grey water tank overflowed into the shower basin and soaked the laundry bag filled with dirty clothes. Doing laundry ended up on the to do list early.

We also feared the liquids in the tanks would freeze since we don’t have a heater. That’s why we kept the valve open.

We’ll have to do a balancing act of closing and opening the valves, and hope it’ll work out. We have a few weeks of winter remaining. However, we technically only have one more week in the camper before we take it in for 2-week service on the hot water heater. We’d like hot water thank you very much. It’s annoying to boil water to do dishes. Sometimes I clean the dishes with cold. Means they’re clean but not sanitized.

If a pyramid of poo and paper doesn’t sound gross enough, know we had to use a stick to stir the poo pot. We had to tear down the pyramid. Nasty, right?

Yet, we’ve managed all our winter camping problems successfully and with aplomb. No yelling, no cursing, not even an exasperated sigh. As the saying goes, shit happens. Literally sometimes, especially in a camper with a toilet. And to be punny, you should just go with the flow.

That’s the secret to handling chaos without feeling out of control. Understand problems are merely opportunities for solutions, and Shane and I work very well as a problem-solving team. I think that bodes well for our future marriage. If we can deal with all the crap that’s happened our first winter in a 15-foot camper–more than most couples deal with in 10 years–then we can probably deal with anything not associated with our deal breakers. 🙂

And to enlighten anyone who wonders how we can do this, live like this, because so many have asked us, know being together through the “thick and thin” is better than being apart. We have each other to rely on. Not to mention, it’s clear we don’t need anything else to make us happy as a couple.

Though it would be nice if we had a break from the camper problems. 🙂 Next we’ll complain about living in a hotel for a couple weeks. 😛

I feel like I’m being watched while I pee.

The Great High Chilly-Willy Winds and the Poo-Pee Slushie

I shouldn’t jest about high winds. High winds can topple weak trees and power lines, hurl anything as projectile missiles, tear anything loose from structures, and shake the walls, windows, and your fears. Loss of power means loss of heat, and without heat during a winter night, the potential exists for loss of life. Our only friend in this area left the campground for home, and encountered a power outage. Luckily they had a fireplace to keep warm since power didn’t get restored until 3 AM.

Our area experienced strong winds around 35 mph and gusts up to 60 mph. The latter are considered “whole gale” on the Beaufort scale. At this scale, damage can include “trees uprooted and considerable damage to buildings.”

And, I’m sitting in a tiny 15ft camper, listening to the wind angry-charge my way. The air rumbled in the distance and roared in to a crescendo as it buffeted the camper. Sticks struck the top and the sides. The camper shook and rattled. To be honest, I feared the camper would roll. Or a limb from the large tree beside us would snap off and crush us.

Twice, the wind snatched a container with shoes (we don’t have enough storage space to keep extra shoes inside; Shane put his in the bin, and I have mine in my car). It scattered his shoes, the lid, and bin every which way. The shoes and lid we found quickly. But, we hunted for the bin, searching where we believed the wind might take it. The winds varied in direction though. So we didn’t find it right away but didn’t quit because we didn’t want it blowing into the river. Eventually a gust guided us in the direction of the bin, and we found it outside of the campground, across the street, and resting in a ditch at the edge of the woods. It looked war-beaten.

The winds still have not stopped, but they come less frequently and without as much energy.

We did sustain minor damage: The wind unskirted part of the camper.

The wind also pushed the sewer hose off its support. While this doesn’t seem like an issue, consider the fact it rested upon the frozen ground and lost its downward angle. What do you imagine happened to the contents inside the sewer hose overnight? Yep, this morning when I went to the bathroom I couldn’t flush the toilet. *gross out face* At least I had a solution. When I repositioned the sewer hose on the support the contents inside flowed…like a poo-pee slushy. I could hear the icy slurry dump into the drain. If we didn’t reset the sewer hose (or couldn’t because the wind continued to unseat it from its support), we’d end up with a poo-pee-sicle. The toilet would eventually overflow into the camper because of the poo-pee ice-dam. But, the toilet flushed, and the poo-pee slushie moved down the hose as smoothly as my bowels had earlier. Disaster averted!!

The camprground looked a little wind-battered too. Trash, signs, and even the lattice screen in front of the women’s bathroom. No doubt more was amiss and a mess.

Since the winds have downed the internet (I have written this offline), I plan on going to the movies to see How to Train Your Dragon (3)! 🙂 I ❤ Toothless. And dragons, and even whole gale winds. This girl loves a thrill. 🙂

Mold in Our Not-So Stronghold!

Yet, another problem with full-time camper living in a travel trailer not built for all seasons. #cursing

I just cleaned all the mold off the cushions around the bed. I’m guessing this is why we’re feeling so poorly. Shane’s having nighttime asthma attacks; I’m dealing with allergies and terrible headaches (but then it’s raining, so I have more triggers than I can handle).

I used my homemade cleaner–1 part vinegar, 1 part water, orange-oil infused by soaking orange peels in the mixture for a day. It’s a non-toxic, cheap, natural bacteria, germ, and MOLD killer. I highly recommend you ditch store cleaners and make your own effective cleaner. Simply save an old empty spray bottle and refill as needed. However, I need a new sprayer. Seems those old ones only last 4 years. 🙂

I have removed all the side cushions but can’t remove the bottom cushions because of the mattress. At the moment, I’m drying out the cushions and the walls. We have a very small space heater for this purpose.

I hope I killed all the mold. Cleaning has got me sneezing. I am literally allergic to cleaning. 🙂

I hope now we’ll feel better. And since running the electric heater and the dehumidifier didn’t keep mold from growing in the hidey places, I’m going to remove the cushions every day, preferably at night so air circulates and moisture can evaporate. But if not night, then definitely morning. It just means I probably have to dry or clean the cushions again. We’ll see what we do. This Wanderful Life is all an experiment anyway! Just don’t really want the camper to be the test tube.

Our Tale of Sub-Zero Living in a Travel Trailer and the Abominable Snowman

The Abominable Snowman came to our camper door.

His frosty breath battered our door, our vent, our windows day and night as he sought his way in.

Try as he might, he couldn’t quite reach us. We had armored ourselves just enough, and fought his frigid grasp.

He bellowed outside our door.

As if trembling in fear of his anger, our camper shook.

The Abominable Snowman spit and frothed, encasing us in ice, trapping us inside.

Until he wearied of his tantrum and turned his cold gaze toward another prize, we waited in the warmth of our tiny castle. It wasn’t the strongest fortress clearly, but it withstood the worst we would most likely experience this winter.

Except what we encountered on the Oregon Trail…

We spent our time playing games with/against each other, such as The Oregon Trail card games and Quiddler, playing games on our phones (me: Bejeweled Stars, Toy Blast, Toon Blast, and Words Against Friends; Shane: Last Day on Earth), watching Avengers Infinity War (again) off Netflix, and simply enjoying each other’s company.

With plenty of food and flowing fresh water (we combated frozen pipes previously and learned from our battle loss Camper Living in the Winter: Frozen (Water Pipes)….Let it Go!), we could wait out this siege without concern. I made zucchini corn chowder to counter the ice and sub-zero temperature invasion. Soon I will share my kettle secrets.

The Polar Vortex accompanied his friend the Abominable Snowman. With a weakened, wavering jet stream from global warming, a part of the Polar Vortex legion escaped the North Pole and headed south for prey. A fierce freezing force not all could defend against, a dozen lost their lives thus far.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/polar-vortex-map-live-us-weather-updates-forecast-cold-temperature-snow-midwest-chicago-travel-a8757166.html

Strong winds and wind chills, the fists of the Polar Vortex, pummeled temperatures dangerously low, -50*F in some places, -21*F where we temporarily call home. While not foolproof against the Abominable Snowman, our planning helped us prevail against the odds. It’s a Wanderful LIfe!

We escaped eventually. Though, the Abominable Snowman lurks nearby still. But we have armed ourselves with new knowledge and will experiment with other fortifications.

With you, my winter camper comrades, I’ll share what I consider the best wisdom of others who have survived the Abominable Snowman too.

RV Winter Camping Tips

RV in the Winter

What Not to Do When Winter RVing

Do’s and Don’t’s of Cold Weather RVing

Yeti, the Abominable Snowman

Telltale Heart of the Matter: What Traits Make Full-Time Camper Living Work for a Couple?

Shane and I embarked on the wanderful life without researching whether we had the personality traits to live full-time in a camper. For a very long time, he dreamed of a nomadic life, where he could work and travel at the same time. He knew he could live in a tiny space and could adapt to any situation. His life experiences taught him such. But, when he asked me to join him, he had to dangle the most delicious carrot (“you can write your novel and hike”–ummm, yes please!) for me to consider this as a lifestyle. Living full-time in a camper was the polar opposite of my desire to settle down as a homesteader. I wanted to buy land, build my off-grid sustainable house, plant a garden, raise chickens and bees, and maybe have kids, the kind that bleat and devour grass, hats, and anything they can chew. 🙂 OMG I ❤ this baby goat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWvefaN8USk

Why did I agree then? The carrot and the person holding the stick.

The person holding the stick. 🙂 Steampunk Assassins for friends’ Halloween party.

Home is where the heart is, and Shane has my heart. ❤ Not to mention, my heart sings in nature, while hiking and exploring new places, while writing. He simply had found a way for our dreams to collide.

On Halloween 2020, I plan on getting Mauied with him (aka married in Maui). I’ll definitely find out if we’re truly meant for each other, as my friend Missy pointed out. My friend Alex posted this funny meme on my Facebook page:

Even people who don’t live full-time in a camper recognized the challenge. But, as individuals can we overcome the challenges? What about as a couple?

I found an internet guru on the topic.

Nikki Cleveland (http://www.doityourselfrv.com/personality-traits/ )  listed the top ten traits for a full-time RVer:

  1. Adventurous (—we backpack, kayak, and snorkel. He skydives, while I hang-glide.)
  2. Adaptable (√—the fact we’ve both not only lived through potentially life-shattering situations but thrived regardless attests to our adaptability. We have good coping strategies, albeit I’ve needed to enlist new ones when I lost my tried and true ones.)
  3. Independent (√—we’re both very happy on our own, doing our own thing)
  4. Resourceful (√—we’re absolutely handy and ingenious. We’re good monkeys! Have you seen what we did to our toy trailer? https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/thewanderfullife.home.blog/14)
  5. Self-sufficient (√—off-grid is the dream! Our Geo Pro has solar panels and batteries, fresh/grey/black water tanks, and propane tanks. It also has an off-road package.)
  6. Patient (√—this attribute may not perfectly describe us, but we’re managing. We’ve handled a few difficulties already: broken water heater, frozen water pipes. https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/thewanderfullife.home.blog/143).
  7. Organized (√—the first blog illustrated this. Now, we deal with getting in each other’s way with humor. Case in point: he told me to get my sh*t out his way. I told him his way was in my sh*t. We had a good laugh.)
  8. Dedicated (√—I’m so dedicated I started a blog to chronicle this wanderful life!)
  9. Open-minded (√—we’re willing to go anywhere)
  10. Frugal (√—this is why he chose to do this. We’ll save money! We certainly can’t buy anything because nothing else will fit. LOL In the end, our goal is to save enough money to buy a larger plot of land or more goats.).
Adventuring in the Florida Keys
Paddling Duckies on the Lower Yough in Ohiopyle, PA. Shane’s so adventurous he’s going backwards down the rapids. 😛

Those personality traits will bring two people together on the full-time camper/RV path, but they may not keep them together. Living in a small, cramped space alone has its frustrations; living in a small cramped space with another person always invading your space will double frustrations and might cause division in ways other than “the cabinets on this side are mine, the other yours.”

We agree with It’s a Necessity (http://www.itsanecessity.net/2017/01/relationships-in-small-spaces-how-to-survive-cramped-living). To succeed in a long-term committed relationship, whether in a small space or not, couples need healthy ongoing communication, respect, praise, gratitude, laughter, and a life outside the small space. All the wide open spaces are yours when you live in a camper!! That’s why it’s the WANDERful life. 🙂

To all the above, we would add three other significant characteristics you cannot do without:

  1. Cooperation—couples who work as a team will accomplish more, and their camper will run like a much larger efficient house. Settle into a routine; assign specific responsibilities between the two of you (or to everyone in the family); tackle problems and brainstorm solutions together; do what needs to be done for the other person, for the team.
  2. Goofiness—life’s too serious to take seriously. Couples who play together stay together, and we fully intend on goofing off. Pretty sure our camper neighbors think we’re nutball. LOL We expect things to go wrong; we expect to butt heads (like goats) and step on toes (probably more literally than figuratively). However, we expect the fun times to outweigh the un-fun times. We love this wanderful life thus far and feel eager about where we will wander into wonder.
My mom’s embarrassed to call me her grown daughter, I’m sure. LOL
So pretty. 😀 ❤ *snicker snort* The things he’ll do for me!!! His mom will be shocked, but probably not surprised. He’s her wild child. ❤

3. Most importantly…When I asked Shane what traits you need as a couple, all he simply said was “Love.”

Backpacking Tinker Cliffs in VA.

Camper Living in the Winter: Frozen (water pipes)…Let it go!!

Despite using a heated water hose, heat tape, and skirting around the camper, we’ve unfortunately succumbed to a very common problem for RVs and campers in frigid temperatures: The water pipes froze. It occurs when temperatures drop into the teens and below. Over the weekend, we received 7 inches of snow, and the temperatures dropped below zero. No doubt our water pipes froze. I’m surprised my blood didn’t freeze inside my veins when we ventured outside.

We thought we had prepared and would prevent this from happening. However, our neighbor informed us that no amount of insulating would hinder water pipe freezing in a camper not built for all-seasons (like his, like ours we discovered recently), or those without Arctic packages (I’ve since learned about this after the fact). He encountered the same problem his first winter and discovered only one thing that works: Keeping the water running at a trickle when he knows temperatures will drop into the teens.

This won’t help us now, though. We’ve got to figure out how to thaw the water pipes. As a hopeful solution, we’ve added foam insulation to the pipes we have access to and installed a very small ceramic heater in the compartment where the water heater and those pipes exist. We’ve positioned the electric space heater to heat underneath the sink and in the shower periodically. Thus far, I’ve only seen a few water drops from the faucet. Perhaps a sign the water pipes are thawing, albeit at such a rate I fear we won’t have water until spring. Or maybe Wednesday when the outside temperatures rise to 45*.

We’ve learned very valuable lessons from this, and I want to pass the wisdom (which we lacked) onto others who read this post and plan on buying an RV or camper they hope to use in all seasons.

The most important tip is to RESEARCH!!! Research which campers are all-season.

Try these sites:
https://camperreport.com/best-cold-weather-rvs-extreme-cold/


https://camperreport.com/arctic-packages-rvs-7-things-check-buying/

Don’t rely on the “expert” salesman to help you. The sales manager at Camping World neglected to inform us our Geo Pro was NOT an all-season camper, even though he knew our intent to live full-time in a camper and knew we would live in a cold-clime area. We didn’t discover this fact until I called Forest River about the water heater issue (which they have quickly resolved by agreeing to send us the required part to fix the water heater). In the future, we may find our walls (made of fiberglass, which may become brittle in the cold) may buckle because of the cold and moisture. The insides of my clothes cabinets have iced up on the inside! Frost has accumulated alongside the mattress and the camper’s seat cushions. Eventually we’ll have to scrub off mildew and mold, even though we’re using electric heat and a dehumidifier. We can only hope to truly weather winter in our toy trailer meant for spring, summer, and fall.

In the meantime, I will definitely call Camping World Headquarters to complain about their lack of due diligence and ethics. 😡

Watch all the YouTube videos you can find that guide you on your new journey living on the road, in campgrounds, boon-docking, etc. While we did this, we seemed to have missed the information on all-season campers and didn’t know about such a thing to even think to research it. Even if we did it over again, unless we had this foresight, we’d have made the same mistake. We wouldn’t have looked for the right camper for the living conditions beyond comfort, price, hauling weight, and off-grid options (e.g., we have a solar panel and batteries).

But, you’re forewarned! Know where you’ll park your camper or RV; know if you plan to “snowbird” (aka “pack up for the winter and head south, if you’re northern”) or plan to rough it through unkind winters. If you’ll adopt a snowbird life, then you can relax standards for your camper or RV. If you’re going to be a snowy owl, like we are, check out this site that will help you determine your needs and how to go about finding your perfect home no matter where you park it: https://rvshare.com/blog/want-to-buy-a-four-season-rv/

Frozen!
Let it snow! Let it snow! But let our water pipes go!

Update: Water runs again! The pipes have thawed! Yay!

It’s a Wanderful Life!

Our Forest River Rockwood Geo Pro 15-ft Travel Trailer
http://www.forestriverinc.com/travel-trailers/rockwood-geo-pro

When I graduated in August 2017 with a Ph.D. in environmental geography and specialization in conservation biogeography, I never expected I would live full-time in a 15-foot travel trailer and not have a full-time career in 2019. I had different aspirations: nature conservation education. I didn’t want the tenure path at the university so I was/am content to teach as an adjunct professor. What I really wanted was to educate the public about the “wonders of [] life and the importance of conservation” (to borrow from WAVE Foundation’s mission statement, a non-profit organization at Newport Aquarium where I had volunteered, interned, written the interactive storybooks about their ambassador animals, and finally obtained a paid position as a conservation educator). However, the Universe had a different path for me.

It seems my path will be literal–hiking trails. 🙂

Granted, I will not hike 24-7, nor could I even if I wanted to. However, we’ve found a temporary home for us and our travel trailer at a campground nearby Moraine and McConnells Mill State Parks, where I will wander into wonder as often as possible. We lucked into finding an available campground (with facilities and WiFi, even) within an hour drive of Shane’s work. The majority of campgrounds close from the end of October until the beginning of April. As the owner told me over the phone when I booked the reservation (we pay monthly rates), camping in the winter is rough. Our first adventure as full-time campers started in December, though I didn’t join him until after the New Year. We’ve already had to make adjustments for warmth and surviving winter.

1) Shane insulated around the bottom of the camper.

2) Shane insulated the inside of the camper by hanging grey wool blankets over the 3 windows. Otherwise, you felt the cold seep into your bones.

3) We use a small electric space heater instead of relying on the propane furnace. Water vapor is a by-product of burning propane as fuel, and, with the frigid outside air, condensation would build inside the camper. However, the space heater eliminates that potential problem and keeps us toasty warm. 🙂 Sometimes a little too toasty. Something I never thought I’d say in the winter.

As you may note in the image above, we have a full sized mattress. We opted to redesign the living space so we didn’t have to make a bed every night and unmake it every morning. Shane works long hours nearly every day; I have physical limitations and would end up dislocating my shoulder no doubt moving everything every day (I partially dislocated my shoulder dancing by myself, soooo…). Not to mention, I would end up hurting myself on that uncomfortable-to-me pad. However, a full-time mattress means less moving around space. We’re left with ~20 inches exposed of the original seat/mattress pad to sit on for meals. I’ve added a gel foam cushion and the decorative pillow for support (not pictured: my daypack and knee pillow for side sleeping behind decorative pillow that fill the space).

We modified the kitchen as well. Since I love to cook and Shane loves to tinker with things, he built shelves for me to store spices and teas. He also added a magnetic strip to the wall near sink for knives, and I put up sticky hooks for my cooking utensils. In a 15-ft. travel trailer, space is very, very limited. I’m actually not sure some of my friends can even fit inside. They’re giants; I’m a Hobbit, as evidenced by the fact I have second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, and afternoon tea/snack. 🙂
https://moteefe.com/the-second-breakfast-club

Finished Project!

You’ll find lots of tips on Pinterest for small space storage–the magnetic strip for knives stemmed from such a search. I’d actually created a “The Wanderful Life” board that inspired the name of this blog site. I’ll eventually figure out how to pin my blog and associated images. 🙂 Find my board here: https://www.pinterest.com/teriajacobs/the-wanderful-life/

My first week in the camper has mostly been settling in, organizing all the things I brought that made Shane laugh the second he saw my packed car. He knew the struggle it would be to fit things. I actually still have pantry items in my car, as well as two pair of hiking boots, two hiking hats (one for sunny hiking, the other rainy hiking), and my trekking poles (godsends to those who have bad knees, hips, etc.). But, I did store most of the things. We have one undersink cabinet and two drawers in kitchen. Under the bed, we have storage space on one side. Additionally we store things under the mattress.

The Instant Pot wouldn’t fit inside the door. Like some of my friends wouldn’t fit inside the camper. And I need a step stool to reach some things still. But, Walmart carried a collapsible one that stores well and serves as my foot stool too. Not pictured in this: my protein powder. You can see it in the image above, but clearly I had to make myself a protein drink after working so hard to organize and store everything. Note the plywood Shane used to construct a bedframe for mattress support. He’s so handy. ❤

It must be noted I’ve bumped my head multiple times every day as I get things out. I may be concussed. So if this is a rambling blog, I blame the brain bruises. Speaking of bruises, I bruise easily since I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). I swear you can look at me, and I’ll bruise. 🙂 But, last night the bathroom door shut on my leg, and I have a purplish love bite from the door and shower edge on my ankle.

I had one other bathroom problem: I…ummm…pooped (all animals poop! LOL) and couldn’t find the toilet paper. At first. And then…

This occurred because, even though we have a shower, we haven’t used it. The water heater never worked (on a brand new camper. Grrr! We’re not sure where the fault lies, but I’m guessing since Camping World, where we purchased the Geo Pro, closed down, and the technicians who would be unemployed didn’t care about the last camper sold.). Until we have it repaired under warranty, we’ve been carting our toiletries to the campground facilities. The building is chilly, and you can shower with only hot water and not boil yourself at all. Roughing it, for sure. If I pretend I’m camping though, this is a luxury since we backpack and never have a shower. I’d carried dirty dishes to their bathrooms as well but have since used my kettle to boil water for washing dishes in our sink. We have wills and ways. 😉

My plans for this blog will be weekly updates on full-time camper living, including posts about camper cooking and wandering into wonder. I will create a separate post with photos from the few hikes I have done. I believe this may be too long as it is. But, you tell me! What would you like to know?? I am rather isolated in the campground. Only 7 other campers here and I’m the only one present during the day since I don’t work outside the camper. Please leave comments or start a discussion because I might need some company other than…