• 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!


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.


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


The Intermediate Anxiety pack for Roscoe!


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.


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.

Taking a shower is a whole other process to master, from getting used to the water pressure difference, to having to turn the water off in between washing of body parts. This process is most drastic on me, as I would be the one that would have to shave and tackle the task of washing this frizzy mane of mine. But I’ve already taken a handful of showers this week, and washed my hair twice, and I’m confident that I will continue to find new ways to adjust and adapt to this lifestyle. I like to think I’m pretty resourceful in that way. We even have an outdoor shower that we can start utilizing too! 

[We used bleach to clean our tank lines before using them and I swear we each got a little bit of ‘color’ from our first shower. I feel like I am looking a little extra orange these days, and so is Adam’s beard!]

Everything Takes Longer

It’s just a different way of life, more savory and slow. You hand wash your dishes, and you clean your floor more, but overall you have less to clean in both aspects. Sure, tearing down, moving, and setting back up is quite the daunting process, but we are developing a strong routine with it all. We each have tasks that we know to do, and we run through our checklists outloud to make sure we aren’t missing anything. I am quite particular in decorating/organizing the inside, so the whole process from start to finish can take nearly 2 full hours, but that’s also because I clean both before and after too. Ha! I inherited those traits from my dad!

Thankfully, Adam has no problem letting me totally take over the inside of the trailer, in terms of putting things in their proper place, and I have no problem letting him take over the outside and all our under storage compartments.

I most definitely clean more than I ever used to, sometimes even several times a day, but from start to finish I can now give my whole home a decent clean in 30-45 minutes and in the past that would have taken me several long hours. I really don’t mind cleaning, and sometimes I’m known to even stress clean too. Once I get in the mood with it all I just keep going. And I just hate to have ‘mess’ or clutter! 


Our rig in front of my Dad & Carrie’s camper at Edelweiss in Sturgeon Lake, MN

Other challenges of mobile living include:

Waking up every time the TV is on or Adam crawls into bed.

Finding places to dump garbage and recycling (& cat poop!)

Working out – but outside, but really it isn’t that bad and I kind of enjoy it, it’s just a change!

Smaller Cooking Space, but now I’m reaching for something to say …

Network Connection, but we have already went over this before and it truly gets easier the longer we have to deal with it.

Less place to put things, but that’s the whole point – because you have less things!

‘Wobbly Box Syndrome’ – Yes it’s a real thing that I completely made up! But honestly I always feel like I’m rocking and wobbling!

I guess not having a fan on at night for white noise …

Maybe not having the big ole king size bed anymore, but I feel like that’s taking it into the high maintenance side of things. Because the 12 inch queen size bed that we have definitely works just fine! Some nights are more crowded than normal when both kitties want to sleep on the bed too, but we figure it out!

Make more memories. Go on more adventures. Have less stuff. The point is to have stories to tell, not stuff to show.

Regardless of what challenges we face now, in another 60 days, or in another 6 months, I know that we will get through it and continue to find solutions and resources to make those challenges manageable. It’s a journey, that we continue to take one day at a time!

Things that have NOT been a challenge, that you think would be a challenge …

  1. Having less space

  2. Having less stuff

  3. Having less clothes and outfits to choose from (who am I kidding, I still have a TON of clothes and work out gear)

  4. Finding stuff to do every day

  5. Spending SO much time together, Adam & I. It almost doesn’t even feel like that much time and I think it has brought us far closer together and already taught us a lot about each other!

Because the greatest part of the road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way!

This is how I roll!


Coming to you live from South Dakota?! Maybe by Mount Rushmore? Maybe from the Badlands?! The real journey will begin as we enter week #9 and set off completely on our own, with only one more stop with family for the near future! I will give more updates on where we are at with everything and touch base about what is to come for us in the month of August too!


Due to Mercury Retrograde, and all the chaos that is the month of July, I am pushing the launch of our Nomadic Newsletter to August. This will allow me more time to prepare, and less of a chance to encounter too many digital disruptions from the cosmos above. 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 in July! 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 all 48 states!


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


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