Ask Myself Questions

These plans of mine are ever evolving but the end goal is still IBCLC. The reasons and motivations for that are still the same but the steps to get there and what life will look like keep changing. Unlike in the past, I am making a point to ask myself questions to dig deeper along the way.

My plan as of Monday morning was to get out of my living situation sooner than later in order to take care of my mental health and independence. I was looking into roommates and apartments in Portland and trying to determine if the classes I need to take will be offered when I need them. Then a friend whispered in my ear and the image started changing again.

I am now looking at buying a used motorhome, getting rid of everything that doesn’t fit (storing just a little with my dad), and driving it out to Portland this winter. We would then live in it in an RV park near or in Portland while I go to school. That’s a huge change and yes I know there are lots of things that could go wrong.

At first, my reaction to my friend’s suggestion was along the lines of “that might work for you but I’m doubting it would work for me.” I was clinging very hard to the life I have known and to the things I have acquired. As I started mentally sorting through the things that I have, I went from panicky and guilty to relief and a feeling of freedom. I would not be a bad mom if I sold his kitchen set and made him a bin that stores some play food with a felt stove on the bottom. He would be gaining a lot of experiences and fresh air. The anxiety started turning to excitement as I imagined a simpler way of living and a lot less crap to haul around.

The more I began researching this, the more I started feeling this is the right thing for us to do. It also makes sense financially and logistically when looked at from those angles. The cost of renting a uhaul for that long of a trip is about $3,000 and it has to be done within a certain number of days. I would have to do the drive alone with a cat in the cab and a car seat in the front seat. I would then have costs of gas, food on the road (with the added challenge of gluten free), and staying in hotels, likely sneaking my cat in. The cost of the motorhome I am looking into is $3,600 and needs very minimal repairs and work. We wouldn’t have to worry about a place to stay every night or sneaking Nina in and could have the means to prepare our own food on the road. I would also be able to go as slowly as we needed to and be working on the timeframe of a rental company.

So, what if it breaks down? Well, it has a Chevy chasis and a Chevy 454 engine, which are easy to find replacement parts for. So, what if I end up hating the lifestyle? Well, I can sell it for close to what I paid and move our stuff into an apartment. I don’t have to commit to this long term but for the move and the years in Portland, it makes a lot of sense. I would then be able to move us wherever we needed to go if I decided to take a job elsewhere, or just on the other side of the city. That is one of my concerns about the school program and clinicals. If I were tied into a lease, I might not be able to accept the clinical position best for me but with a RV, I could move us to another park very easily.

I am so far in stealth mode and have only discussed this with a handful of friends. The reactions are mostly positive with some safety and mechanical concerns thrown in. I am easily affected by the views of my friends and it had me feeling a little discouraged. I have worked through that and come out more even in my plan. I know that my parents will both think I am crazy and my mom will punish me again for moving. I will probably have to blur the facts for my grandparents so they don’t get overly worried.

Financially, I would be spending less on the move and less on monthly expenses than I would with the uhaul/apartment plan. That is a good thing because we will be living on student loans to get me through school. I was hoping it would allow me instate tuition for PSU but they have a 12 months and not having moved for school requirement. Moving to Portland sooner would help us get set up during a less busy time and avoid the local move costs.

I had more thoughts on this but I am distracted now and drawing a blank. Today, I need to go to the credit union to see about student loans and to call PCC to see about classes. I told the guy who is selling the motorhome that I would call him back by the end of the week about whether I will be coming to check it out soon. I am open to your thoughts, encouragement, and constructive criticism. There are a lot more pieces to this and things I have researched than I have put in this post.

About JennP

Single mom by choice, lesbian, natural living, parenting, car free, Chicago.Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment!
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7 Responses to Ask Myself Questions

  1. For eight months of the year for the past few years, Di and I have lived in a ‘Park Model’ – not quite an RV, but about 350 square feet for two adults, a cat, and now a baby. And you know what? We love it. It really makes us aware of what we need and don’t need to be happy. It is bright, clean, and well organized. We remodelled it to make it ours, put in double glazed windows, and it is great. I like being there more than at our apartment, even though we have easily twice as much space at the apartment. The outdoors seems much more accessible, we have lots of green space around us, and it is close to family and work. I’m sure some people think we are crazy, but it doesn’t really matter. It works for us.

    Which is to say: you can do this. If it feels right to you, don’t worry too much about what others think. Living in an RV is pretty unconventional, but like all unconventional things, you’ve just got to own it as your own choice and one that works for you. It helps if you feel like it isn’t the ONLY choice.

    Are you looking at the RV privately or through a dealer? I would just be really careful about inspecting for leaks (especially in corners – you can usually see markings/feel soft spots) since they can lead to mold, and if possible having it looked over by a mechanic. Having a check of the propane lines is really important, too. If you’re able to get a warranty from a dealer that would be worthwhile, especially if it is an older RV – mostly because it is a sign that they think it is in good enough shape to warranty.

    Also – RVs and trailers are small, but they are designed well for storage, so your downsizing might not have to be as extensive as you think. Though of course, if you’re driving, there is weight and fuel economy to think of. And will you drive your RV to school, or have some other form of transportation?

  2. Yay, small living! I am hoping that I can get it looking more me inside before we head out. I can insulate windows and underbelly, and things like that for the cold months. I am really good at organizing and making things fit but I am so looking forward to hauling around cardboard boxes.

    I am looking at a privately owned one. Him and his dad bought it over a year ago and haven’t used it for much. He is a mechanic and they had planned to drive it to Colorado. I will definitely get it checked out by a mechanic, hopefully one who knows RVs before buying it. I’m also bringing a car and trailer knowledgeable friend with me to assist and possibly drive it home. I have driven a uhaul a few times in chicago but my large vehicle experience is lacking. He was very up front about what needs to get done and what is good.

    For local transportation we will use busses, trains, and bikes. I am ready to be done with having a car and ready to bike again.

  3. Sarah says:

    My husband, two kids, and two cats all spent about two months in his tractor trailer sleeper cab a few years ago, and had spent a week here or there with him over the years that he was on the road. As ridiculous as it was, we all miss it, lol. I don’t feel like I can claim “small living” bc we had a huge storage unit, (we were in between homes at the time) but it definitely showed us how little we needed to not just survive, but be pretty happy. It emphasized how much more children get out of experience, vs. stuff. I think my only concern (personally) would be learning the upkeep and handling mechanical malfunctions, (and I’m a former aircraft mechanic who likes to get her hands dirty!) but I wouldn’t let that stop me. (And i don’t think you should let it stop you!) You can learn so much from googling problems with vehicles online, seeing what’s common, how others have dealt with it. I think I might look into a AAA or similar type membership that could save you some money if things got crazy, or you needed to be towed, but again, that’s me. Overall, I’m a huge fan of the idea – for any family – of hitting the road and living a smaller, more mobile lifestyle, for whatever length of time suits your family. And it’s a great way to afford more expensive areas of the country!

  4. Wow that’s a small spot for all of you! I bet you spent a ton more time outside and enjoyed each others company in a different way. I will look into AAA. I don’t have a ton of car owner insurance, can you give me a basic idea of the benefits? I am nervous about learning the water tanks and propane and stuff but I am sure I can learn it and be fine.

  5. Sarah says:

    I can try, lol! We do a lot of road trips, and basically have a history of cars that are pretty good for local driving, but iffy for longer trips. Because our vehicles aren’t fancy, the insurance we get is always fairly basic, legal requirement, type stuff, with no roadside assistance. AAA calls themselves a travel club, I think, and they have “approved” businesses they work with, towing companies, mechanics, hotels, campgrounds, and in theory, these businesses have a certain level of amenities and service. As a member, you can get some discounts, but not usually on repairs. I think the idea with mechanics and whatnot is that they won’t try to overcharge you, treat you badly bc you’re a woman, whatever. You get a certain number of calls each year. I think it’s $80ish / year (upfront) for the “premium” membership, the biggest benefit to that being, I think, 100 miles of towing free (for each call they give you). I think it’s less complicated than I’m making it sound. I believe they have a cheaper option with 50 miles of towing, but towing is so expensive, and out west, it adds up fast. It has really helped us a few times. All that being said, in your situation, a) I would confirm that they offer services to an RV of whatever size you’re working with, and b) if you had no problems, that would be $80+ you’d be out, and for sure we’ve had some years where that mattered. They also do things like come give you a jump start, bring gas if you run out, send a lock smith if you lose your keys or lock yourself out of your vehicle, that would be considered service calls. And all *that* being said, I would for sure investigate whether or not your insurance company offers a good roadside assistance option, and if it would make more financial sense for you to use them vs another outside company. And I’m excited to see how this comes together for you. Thinking outside the box like this can really make a difference in your ability to get where you want in life!

  6. Caitlin says:

    One other thing to consider in your planning is RV insurance – I don’t know details, but I know it’s more than typical car insurance. Good luck!

  7. Yes that is definitely on my list! Also, AAA or the like for RVs. Michigan has really high insurance rates so I will be switching it once to Oregon as soon as we move.

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