• sparkfireswan

A&A Challenges of Mobile Living (120 Days)

Updated: Jan 13

End of Week #17  


East Zion Thunderbird Lodge RV Park, Mount Carmel UT > Sunglow Campground, Fishlake National Forest, Bicknell UT > OK RV Park, Moab UT > Saddlehorn Campground, Colorado National Monument, Grand Junction CO


Miles traveled since last week’s post = 433


Total miles traveled to date = 3050 with trailer


More milestones this week you guys – we hit over 3K miles, and 120 days (officially 123 today)! We are also already at our 9TH spot for the month, a personal record compared to the 6 places we went last month. ALSO, we have officially left Utah and moved onto Colorado, our 5TH state (not counting our home state). Today is the first official day of Fall, the Autumn Equinox, it’s the first day of Libra zodiac season, and it’s our first day of a new chapter – if you couldn’t tell, I just love recognizing every single little change, and celebration along the way of this journey.


We are in a time of nearly equal parts lightness to darkness, perfectly suiting to Libra season – symbolized by scales and a constant state of balancing. Without balance in life we have no stability in life, and if you have no stability you can’t really experience pure harmony either. I am feeling this energy right now, as we just wrapped up a nice long weekend with our first visitors – a great time catching up with close friends, and now have moved on again on our own and are figuring out a whole new chapter. Life still gets super busy for us sometimes, and it can be hard to always remain in a state of balance, but it is something I am working on all the time. We have pretty much hiked and toured National Parks/State Parks/Monuments for the past week and a half straight, and although it was incredible in every single way, I need to pause now and catch my breath. I need some time without an agenda, some time to catch up on my writings, ground myself again, and make a plan for moving forward for this new season. #Balance


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Our campground today is surely still elevated, just like our entire tour through Utah, and we had to climb a handful of switchbacks to get up here. But from up here, we have some nice views of the surrounding Grand Junction area. I had reserved us a spot online but we moved to a new first come-first serve spot as the one I reserved was not all that level for our taste. In the distance I can hear others just arriving and setting up; wives outside telling husbands inside where to back up, guiding them over the block levelers and into a new camping spot. It feels good here, and I love being in a campground like this with space to breathe, and yet at the same time the ability to experience so many others on an adventurous journey just like us.


A couple months back I wrote about some of the challenges we have encountered at 60 days of mobile living. It seems only fitting to compare another 60 days into the journey with those challenges to see how they have changed, have been solved, or if they continue to persist. It’s weird to think back 2 months, and realize that we are now FOUR whole months into it. It feels like we have gone through so much in that short of a time!


If you missed my previous post about the challenges of mobile living at 60 days, you can check it out here.


Challenges of Mobile Living – 120 Days


Recycling!


This one just tears my heart wide open. I hate to admit that I have been struggling to be the environmentalist I truly am on the inside, but finding places to recycle has got to be one of my ultimate struggles at this point. I swear, some states we are in don’t seem to have recycling services ANYWHERE. We mostly stay at National Park campgrounds and RV parks where you think they would offer these services, but a lot of time I pile things up in bags and store them in the van for as long as possible before it either starts to smell, take up too much space, or become a problem with traveling with the cats and everything else. One time I had to look the other way so Adam could just get rid of the stuff because it was causing problems. It was the biggest relief in the world to be at our last campground in Moab where they DID have recycle bins finally. It just absolutely amazes me to be places and see that there are no options available to you to be environmentally conscious in that way. This was one of the easiest things for me to contribute to in our “old life” and is now one of the biggest struggles I have. I consider myself an amateur activist for this earth and I just want to do anything I can to help it thrive! (Especially considering everything going on in modern day life right now! #ClimateChange #Pollution #BanPlastic


Fun fact: Moab has also completely banned plastic bags! You won’t find them anywhere in the city, not in the gas station or the grocery store. Paper bags or reusable bags only, and it makes me so happy to see!


Sunglow Campground, near Capitol Reef National Park in Utah.


Constantly finding places to stay


And making sure they are level! In a way it’s fun to research and look at new places to stay all the time, but at the same time it can get cumbersome and exhausting to have to constantly be on the hunt for somewhere to go. There is so much to consider in relation to should we have hookups this time – or skip it, should we be close to this or close to that, what is the most cost effective option, how long should we stay, etc. I love to plan so this is one of those double edge swords, but at the same time it gives me some anxiety to not always have a plan in place. I am trying a new thing to tentatively plan out a state or a month at a time. I did that for Utah and it seemed to work pretty well. The only thing is that we are in Colorado already and I haven’t had a chance to make a plan for here yet. 🙂


Boondocking has been a challenge too! To find places we feel safe going to, that will be level, and to do the whole no hookups thing. It is hard for us to feel comfortable leaving our entire home someplace random and unattended in order to go explore things nearby. For this reason we have been “boondocking” but staying in a lot of National Parks, State Parks, and other types of more ‘primitive’ campgrounds that have a host. This allows us the comforts in knowing there are people watching and keeping track of things if we were to just leave for the day. We still have to do a lot of preparing ahead of time though, as we still need to have enough water for us and the cats and any anticipated rinse off showers. I also have to make sure to charge my MiFi Jetpack, Laptop and little vacuum before we start so I don’t have to do so much charging in the van – we already charge our cell phones there!


Deciding what to make for dinner, every night


LOL, honestly though! “Should we have chicken and vegetables, again?”…. We aren’t necessarily used to having to decide dinner together every. single. night. like this. In our “old life” we only had dinner together a few nights a week, or we would go out to eat all weekend. We are trying to mix things up and not always eat the same things, but it can be challenging to be more creative with less resources, less kitchen space, and more of a budget. I’m happy with leftovers and eating repeat items, but I miss some of our old creative cuisines that Adam would come up with.


The anxiety of trying to see it all


a big beautiful country out there, and I don’t’ want to miss a square inch of it! I’m notorious for trying to jam pack too much into a short period of time, especially when it comes to traveling. Now as we are full time traveling, I really don’t want to miss anything amazing I find out there to see, but I have to learn to accept that we really can’t always see it all and sometimes things will have to wait for ‘next time’. I already had to go through this lesson in Utah and I know it will continue as we venture on. As a solution, we have been planning to strategically go back to a few things on state borders, when we are in other states near those things. It will all work out like it is supposed to and I am insanely grateful for the things we ARE seeing and the things we ARE doing.


Navigating RV leaks, cracks & needed repairs


When you are living in an RV full time, just like when you are living in a house, things come up that need repair. As we are getting deeper into this journey more new things are coming up and we have to figure out how to navigate those with a sense of ingenuity and calmness. We have to analyze each thing that comes up and understand if this is something we can fix ourselves (& if that is the best idea), and if not what is the best way to go about having it professionally taken care of. We have dealt with screws coming out or breaking off and have fixed those on our own. We have re-glued trim and carpet that I accidentally ripped up. But we have also encountered a leak that Adam was thankfully able to fix himself once we bought a new part, and we have recently found cracks in our roof that give us concern. While we are here in Grand Junction we will actually be taking our rig into a Grand Design dealer to have a small list of things looked over, as they are covered by our warranty – to also ease our minds and help ensure we are as safe and secure as possible! I’m thankful we each have our own set of problem solving skills to help us get through each one of these experiences.


Trying to take the drawer out to see what is leaking water under there – issue we dealt with while at Yellowstone!


Other challenges we are learning how to work through:


The balance of budgeting and living in the moment. #CarpeDiem


Figuring out when & how to do laundry (especially if Roscoe peed his pants or I’m trying to keep a set of towels clean for showers, cleanups, dishes, etc.).


Preventing dishes from piling up – gosh I hate doing dishes!


Solutions to Some Previous 60 Day Challenges


“Wobbly Box Syndrome” – We will always have some sort of wobble to us, but with our recent x-chock stabilizer purchase, we are more steady than ever!


Network connection – Honestly it doesn’t seem as big of a deal anymore and more times than not we seem to have service in some way.


Everything takes longer – It doesn’t feel that way anymore, now it just feels more like the new normal. We are faster at teardowns and setups and have more routines that feel comfortable for us.


Mosquitoes – Get this, I have not seen ONE mosquito since we left South Dakota in August. HALLELUJAH.


Fan for white noise – We got a little fan from Walmart for under $10 and get to use it every time we have electrical hookups. I also have an app on my phone for white noise if I am desperate.


Workout routine – I’m starting to ease up on my stress and anxiety to ‘go hard’ EVERY day, but also we have been hiking so much (& so strenuously) that hiking has become the new workout! I’m trying to find more balance here and I think I’m getting there with some added yoga.


Things That ARE Still a Challenge From 60 Days


Missing family & friends


Traveling with cats – yup, still a problem. And for next week’s post I will write about this and give updates on what it’s been like for us!


Things That Are Still NOT a Challenge After Another 60 Days


Smaller Space


Less Clothes


Full Time Travel


New Places


“Traveling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.”

NEXT WEEK:


As mentioned above, and overdue to you – an update on traveling with cats! From constant meows in the van to constant cat hair and litter particles on the floor in the trailer, the battle never ends.


Future Updates:  Lots of travel reviews coming!! I will be posting travel reviews on off days, instead of for Monday updates – so make sure you follow the blog so you don’t miss any of them. We hit all 5 National Parks in Utah, a handful of State Parks, and a few National Monuments too. I’ll tell you where we stayed, how it was, what we did, and how you can fit them all into your travel plans too!


Become A Patron, Support Our Journey!


We plan to launch our Nomadic Newsletter ASAP, in September 2019, All delays are due to high amounts of adventuring and low amounts of a 4G connection. I swear I’m just still getting into my groove of things – this delay will not continue!


Sign up now! Subscribe to our Nomadic Newsletter through our Patreon page and in turn support our cause! By making a monthly contribution you will gain special inside access to photos, tips, tricks, and detailed updates on our progress, scheduled to begin soon! Here is the link to subscribe: A&A Destination Unknown


If you want to make a one time contribution, we also have a Go Fund Me page! Check it out here: Help us see the United States!


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For more reviews, content, and other adventures, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Spark Fire Swan.

xoxo









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About Me

Hi, I’m Amanda. Thanks for visiting my page!

I was born & raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. I lived there for 30 years of my life, and always dreamed of warmer winters, mountains & palm trees, and life outside of what I always knew. 

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