Saying goodbye to my first* love

I have never been a particularly outdoorsy person. Correction: I am not an outdoorsy person. At all. 

Photo source: www.someecards.com

Photo source: www.someecards.com

I used to call walking on trails - and they had to be paved! - with one of my best girlfriends "nature walks" because hiking seemed too stressful. The thought of camping would cause heart palpitations and heavy stress sweat. So it shocked my family and friends, and me most of all, when I agreed to get a camper with my husband. Sometimes when you love someone you decide to support, instead of crushing, their dreams. 

We have since decided to let my husband follow another dream and refinish a vintage glamper. We don't need two campers, so we've decided to let our first one go and I'm going to share our love story...

How we met

We took our time researching campers by going on tours and attending a camper show. At this point in time, to be honest, I wasn't 100% convinced yet. My husband spent what probably amounted to days looking online for something that was well built with a solid shell and lightweight.  . ⃪ I'm talking about the camper, not me, gutter brain! 

After a lot of thought and research and discussion - and probably a disagreement or two - we settled on a Sonic Venture and headed out on our first trip. And boy, what a doozy that started out to be! We were heading to Nehalem from the Portland area, and took 53 from Highway 26 instead of the 101. DO NOT DO THAT if you enjoy keeping your lunch down! After what felt like hours of driving around narrow, curvy roads we made it to our campsite at dusk. It seemed like a bad omen and it made me question our sanity over buying this contraption.

Nehalem Bay

But, like many things, give it enough time and it will wear you down grow on you.

My top five favorite things about owning a camper:

  1. Your bathroom is always with you! You will never have to hit up a gas station germ fest ever again.

  2. You will save a ton of money, which means that you can take more trips! A not-so-great hotel will typically run you at least $100 a night. A fancy pants campsite will cost around $40, but you can certainly stay at places for less and even free. On top of that, you have a rolling kitchen with you. Even when you consider the cost of purchasing your camper and gas money to get from A to B, you will likely save a ton of money on your trips which means you can travel more often!

  3. It's pet friendly! Have you ever tried taking a road trip with your four-legged babies? It's not always easy finding pet friendly hotels, and when you do you typically have to pay more for your room and you're relegated to the stinky dog rooms. Yuck! We've never had issues with bringing our pets with us, which makes traveling less stressful and more fun.

  4. You can make it yours! We made a few tiny changes in our camper that made it much more comfortable for us for very little money. As simple as this sounds, installing a paper towel rod made it super easy for clean up/eating and this made trips much more enjoyable. You can't do this with a hotel room. Or, at least, I don't think you can.

  5. You will get to bond with your fam and get to see cool stuff! I saved the best for last. Seriously, this camper has allowed us to take multiple weeklong trips as well as short weekend jaunts, and we have been able to see some beautiful places. It also allows us to get away from our usual routine and sources of frustration, and it gives us a chance to chat and catch up with each other. Who knew?

While that first trip had a rough start, we ended up falling in love with Nehalem and I discovered that I could try out this camping thing because it allows me to see some cool places. Over the past two plus years we've been able to go on some fantastic trips in our little trailer.

Tumalo State Park and Smith Rock

Astoria

Redwoods Trip

Pinnacles National Park Trip

We'll miss our first little trailer, but are on the search for new owners who will treat her well and take her on some fun adventures. 

Glamper Shots

Frugal foodie

In my ideal food fantasy world, every meal that my husband and I consume would be homemade, nutritious and plated beautifully. But after I make it home with a trunk full of (some) organic goodies from Costco, reality sets in. I'm too exhausted from shopping to make food.

So then we order Thai food and $40 magically goes down the drain on top of the ungodly amount of money we just spent on spoiling-by-the-moment produce. Please tell me that I'm not the only person with this problem!

One food that we've found to be a lifesaver in moments like these is the Kirkland's brand of frozen pizzas. I believe that they're four for $9.99, making them just under $2.50 apiece. I usually pick up a box or two every month. 

Costco Pizza
Fancy Costco Pizza

While they're good (and cheap!) on their own, they really shine as a base pizza. For a tasty treat, I like to load them up with whatever veggies and cheeses that we have hanging out in our fridge and freezer. This one was topped with spinach, red onion, kalamata olives (from Costco!), frozen bell peppers, and goat cheese. 

Just because it comes from a box doesn't mean that you can't add a little pizazz! With the base pizza cost at $2.50 and maybe $1-$2 worth of topping add ons, you're still coming in under the cost of other store brand pizzas when they're on sale! 

The Year of Less

Guys, it's been a week. Of coughing and sneezing and coughing some more and then tissues and some light crying. I'm a wimp. I sent my darling husband over to the apothecary earlier and she gave him something (presumably legal - I kid! this lady is my natural hero) that will help me to get better. And I feel, maybe not healed, but better than I have in a week so I wanted to share with you the magic of Cait Flanders' book The Year of Less. 

I have to admit that I was not a fan when I first started the book. The writing was lovely, but it made me feel uncomfortable as the author bared her soul about her past issues with alcohol and drugs. I just wanted to read a book about finances! Please teach me how to stop overshopping. 

This was Cait's incredibly gracious and wise reply on Instagram to my initial reaction to her book. #girlcrush

This was Cait's incredibly gracious and wise reply on Instagram to my initial reaction to her book. #girlcrush

But as I got further and further into the book, I realized that I felt uncomfortable because I could see myself reflected in some of the author's choices. While drugs have never been my coping method of choice, I haven't always had the healthiest relationship with alcohol (hi, youth filled with too much drinking) and credit cards. 

One of the greatest lessons I learned during these years is that whenever you're thinking of binging, it's usually because some part of you or your life feels like it's lacking -- and nothing you drink, eat, or buy can fix it. I know, because I've tried it all and none of it worked. Instead, you have to simplify, strip things away, and figure out what's really going on. Falling into the cycle of wanting more, consuming more, and needing even more won't help.
- Cait Flanders, The Year of Less

While there's so much wisdom in this book, one thing I could really related to is that, like Cait, I often shop for the person that I wish I were or could be, instead of the person that I am now. When I look at some of the recent purchases that I regret, one of the most obvious one is the bread machine that's sitting in our attic that I have used twice. Both times, I somehow managed to ruin the bread and it filled my house with the scent of failure. How many other things have I spent good money on over the years that I would realistically never use or enjoy? 

Verdict? Worth a read.