• sparkfireswan

A&A Challenges of Mobile Living (60 Days)

Updated: Jan 13, 2020

End of Week #8


Location: Sturgeon Lake, MN > transitioning to > Lake Elmo, MN


We have spent the last week in Edelweiss Campground where my Dad and step mom Carrie have a seasonal trailer. [Apparently pronounced AIDE-uhl-VICE, but it will always be EDEL-WEESE to us, ha!] It sure has been a wild week for us, with lots of shenanigans, but we are extremely grateful for the opportunity to hang out and enjoy the hot summer weather with so many awesome people. A bunch of my Dad and Carrie’s friends all took this week off with them, and they sure did a wonderful job of showing us a good time. We hung out at the beach, went boating, indulged in daily community dinners, had a ‘meatball day’ bar hopping, and spent some quality time in the Shot Shack and other bar sheds of Edelweiss.


As we knew would likely happen, our plans have changed like 3 times since we got here last Saturday, on my 30th birthday. We had decided we would just extend our original stay here through the 26th as we are scheduled to close on our house on the 25th. But then halfway through the week we had a new idea come up, to move to Lake Elmo Park Reserve, as it would be closer to all of the last loose ends we have to tie up. This new idea will cost us relatively the same amount of money, and will allow us to spend some more time with loved ones we haven’t seen as much, and run all the last errands we have to do before departing out west to South Dakota. Hell, I might even get to finish up the rest of my new tattoo!


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Tuesday July 23rd marks 60 DAYS since we moved into a travel trailer. 60 DAYS and 3 different locations across Wisconsin and Minnesota. 60 DAYS of living in a smaller, mobile space. 60 DAYS without all of the stuff, the clutter, the junk, that we used to fill our townhome with. 60 (++) DAYS without getting up in the morning and going to jobs that didn’t light us up inside, and 60 DAYS living lives that felt lethal with routine.


The time continues to fly by, and we continue to learn more and more about this life (& ourselves) as we go. It’s hard to really say that we have experienced many ‘challenges’, as for the most part things have gone relatively well so far, but more so there have been new things for us to learn to adjust to.


Challenges of Mobile Living – 60 Days


If I’m being completely honest with you, this really hasn’t been that big of an adjustment on either of us. I feel like I really had to reach for something personal and specific to describe to you what the change has been like. I consider us both pretty flexible and adaptable people, and in my opinion we have been handling all of the change of moving into a small mobile space with grace and ease. (I was asking Adam tonight what his thoughts would be on the biggest challenges and he couldn’t even come up with anything at all!)


I grew up in the outdoors – going to camps, going camping on the weekends in the summer, and going up north to family cabins. I did outdoor activities, I played outdoor sports, and I loved summer (and to travel) more than anything else! Sure, I hate bugs, and I don’t always like to get dirty (time and place for everything!) but I love a good challenge and I love to push myself out of my own comfort zone.


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Kitty boi sleeping in my wardrobe tower next to the bed.


Traveling with Cats


Easily the biggest challenge of them all – traveling with pets, and 2 of them at that! I feel like I really wouldn’t have much to bring up in the challenge department if it wasn’t for them. But at the same time nothing about this travel trailer life would be complete without the pitter patter of their tiny feet and the sassy meows of their part wild asian leopard nature.


I spend a LOT of time and energy worrying about Roscoe, especially all that we have already dealt with for him since we left our house in Woodbury. He has been recovering well from his tooth extraction surgery a few weeks ago, but his anxiety continues to be a battle for me to figure out what to do. I almost consider it my own personal mission to conquer this anxiety with him and continue to research and try new things to help make him his most comfortable self.


Rahja seems to be adjusting really well, and doesn’t even run and hide anymore when people come in the trailer (which she used to run and hide under our bed when people came over at our townhome).


The ultimate challenges though, in traveling with pets, is all the work that goes into it. Always cleaning up after them – I swear that cleaning up litter particles everywhere is going to be the death of me. Plus I have to clean their litter box and their water fountain more often. In our ‘old life’ I used to be the owner who cleaned the cat box like every 3-5 days (we had a HUGE box), and now I’m the owner who cleans every other day on the dot.


Not to mention all the prep that goes into the transition from one location to another. We always prep the van and spray travel pheromone sprays, and today I’m also trying to trick them with drugs in their wet treats. In a little bit I will also put a calming collar on Roscoe to try out. And then in the van while we are traveling I have had to be on major cat sitting duty and entertain them and make sure they aren’t climbing on the dash or onto Adam while he is driving. (Moving forward I am going to pursue a large metal crate for them, as this is a trial and error process!) I know this whole thing will get easier on everyone as time goes by, and I know that cats hate change and adjustment, but I’m doing my absolute best to remain positive that we ARE going to find a way to make all of this work. WE ARE.


Other traveling with cat challenges:

  1. Odors – both in the van and in the trailer

  2. Cat hair – both in the van and in the trailer, and especially when you have guests come over who are allergic

  3. Their energy levels – and getting them outside every few days to stretch their legs. Bengal cats have far higher energy levels than domesticated cats and they need the mental stimulation or they go crazy!

  4. Anxieties and them being afraid of noises and everyone we meet

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The Intermediate Anxiety pack for Roscoe!


Mosquitoes


This is something that is more an annoyance than anything else. I could really do without mosquitoes entirely, and I find it beyond frustrating that they are basically the mascot bird of Minnesota and Wisconsin. But what can you do! Learn new ways to repel them I suppose. I’m about to get all up in essential oils and find some superb concoctions to send those pesky buzzing blood sucking vampires far away from me.  I don’t think I’ve ever had so many mosquito bites in my entire life, and I’m definitely over scratching them to oblivion. But at least the mosquitoes in Minnesota aren’t the size of half dollars like they are in Wisconsin!


Sense of Routine


I thrive on routine, but within reason. Too much routine can be lethal, and make you too comfortable with your everyday life. I guess a better way to put it would be that I like a decent amount of structure to at least half of my day, and that’s been something I’ve struggled to grasp in the first 60 days out here. I think part of the reason I’ve struggled is from not having a solid internet connection, as it became quite a task in Wisconsin to go in search of 4G each day. Ideally I would like to get up early morning  each day, work for a few hours, and spend the afternoon spontaneously taking in whatever adventure comes my way. (Or vice versa one or two times a week too!) I am a classic over organized type A (but only sometimes), and I like to plan out the week, make my lists, use my post it notes, and ‘slightly control’ what’s coming my way. Which is also something I have to learn to be more flexible and adaptable to in this lifestyle.


I’m not going to lie though, there have been a handful of days we wake up and are like, “WTF day is it today???” That’s both enjoyable and pathetic at the same time.


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Sturgeon Lake, MN


Grocery Shopping Options


I think I’ve talked about this before, but it’s been a bit of a scavenger hunt to find high quality affordable food, and I know this will only continue to be more challenging as we go. We ate pretty well in our ‘old life’ and always did our best to eat organic and clean. These days it can be hard to find affordable conventional food, let alone affordable organic food, and I’ve been pretty fortunate to be able to deliver Whole Foods to family member’s houses and have them bring it to us on the weekends.


Moving forward we hope to utilize as many farmers markets as possible and do our best to eat well on a budget. Once we feel more confident in our ability to do so I’m sure we will start to share some of our favorite recipes too!


Water Hookup/Monitoring Tank Levels


Here in Edelweiss has been our first time having actual water hookup to our trailer, and being able to use our sinks and shower. The 7 weeks we were in Stone Lake we utilized my mom’s cabin for anything involving water. In Edelweiss we had direct hookup and were able to clean our lines, fill our tanks, and fully utilize our travel trailer.


With that luxury comes more responsibility too though! Having water hookup means more diligently monitoring tank levels and making sure you don’t need to dump your black or grey tanks! This is something we will have to continue to practice and master, as this week we filled our tanks twice and it used to take at least 2 weeks for us to fill our black tank when we were in Wisconsin.