A tiny but livable space: the latest RV improvements

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There she is, in Banff National Park (Alberta, Canada) last spring.

We’re almost remodeling the RV. We’ve been slowly working on it for 5 years now, with the goal of living in it while on the Long Road still on the horizon somewhere, though clearly delayed. The most recent improvements were merely cosmetic, but aesthetics can play a huge role in one’s enjoyment of such a vehicle. With the help of my skilled aunt and uncle, I made the following improvements:

  • Replaced the old, non-insulated, rattly blinds with insulated custom black-out curtains that secure into place using industrial snaps, and can be removed and laundered.
  • Replaced the cheap-looking pressboard table with a new, larger table with oak trim and faux-granite laminate top.
  • Covered the front of the refrigerator and the backsplash behind the stove with laminate to match the table.
  • Bought new high-density foam for cushions and had them upholstered with new fabric (no more hideous pink!), and turned the old cushions into dog beds.
  • Painted the interior -walls, ceiling, beneath cupboards and around refrigerator.
  • Mounted the outlet above the refrigerator (was previously just dangling by a wire).
  • Covered the awkward joints between paneling in the cabover bed area that would not take standard trim using sewn fabric strips.

I’d say it’s looking pretty darn nice in here, which is great since we’ll be occupying it for the next couple months. I’m so proud of our work that I thought I’d share it in a regular post, since most readers probably don’t check the remodel page very often. Below are two galleries: finished “after” photos on top, and “before” photos on the bottom. There are more images on the vehicle remodel page, too. We’d love to hear your thoughts on our little RV’s new look! Continue reading

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Oh, the tangled webs we weave

Only 11 days until we leave for Vietnam and the Philippines.

Philippine Visayas
Salagdoong beach” by Patrick120603 at en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 

I’ve noticed that the older I get, the more preparation a trip like this requires. Ten years ago, when I left for South America on my first big solo trip abroad, there was little that needed attending to before I left. I simply saved up a thousand bucks, packed up my camera, and boarded the plane with a clear mind. But now…

Now there are dogs to recruit care for. There are bills to pay in advance. There are projects to wrap up at work. There is a yard to tidy before spring explodes in a forest of weeds while we’re away. There is insurance to verify, medications to refill, and gadgets to synchronize. Continue reading

On waiting and embracing: a somewhat apologetic return from a lengthy hiatus

At times it is folly to hasten; at other times, to delay. The wise do everything in its proper time.
– Ovid

Golden aspens near Buena Vista, CO.
Golden aspens near Buena Vista, CO.

More than six months have passed since we moved to Colorado and, regrettably, since I last wrote here. My extended silence has certainly not been for lack of inspiration; here we are surrounded by indescribable beauty, settled in the eastern shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Endless jagged peaks rise to the west as a seemingly impenetrable fortress of granite, snow, and ice. Aspen groves scatter like boneyards, their golden leaves long abandoned by the frigid night. Rivers, half frozen, wind tortuously through hidden valleys and intimidating gorges. From these mountains, the eastern landscape spills forth almost as an afterthought. Foothills kicking at flatlands. Waist-high grasses rolling in the wind like waves on a golden ocean. The eastern horizon interminably flat and unremarkable, save for a jumble of urban monoliths protesting the impending monotony. Beyond, innumerable fields of sunflowers, wheat, corn, and soy, waiting patiently for spring. The Great Plains, expansive and uninviting like the southwest deserts from whence we came. Continue reading

Good things come in threes

Here she is - our new home starting in 2014!
Here she is – our new home starting in 2014!

Sometimes things just fall into place without much effort. Not always, but sometimes.

It might sound cheesy or a little too new-age hippie, but I do believe we can manifest good things in our lives. My brief 30 years of experience on this planet has demonstrated that when we approach the world with kindness, positivity and gratitude, we are blessed with abundance. Granted, our definition of abundance and our expectations play a large role in that. If I expected to be a millionaire by now, I would be sorely disappointed and would not feel at all abundant. Fortunately, millionaire status is not my goal.

I’m not saying that bad things don’t happen to good people. I’ve had my share of bad luck for sure, and I know some very good people who have had some very bad things happen to them. But for myself, I find the negative events to be less memorable and less impactful than the good ones. And when I look at those good people around me who have had some serious bad luck, they come away from those things stronger, and good things inevitably come back around to them. They do not wallow in their misfortune, and their kindness, positivity and gratitude remain intact. That is the strength of the human spirit. 

All of this is to say that good fortune has come our way again. While I’m not surprised, I am very grateful. Continue reading