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How do I spend my time?

How do I spend my time?

I admit that I can have whole days where I don’t have any chores to do. However, living in a small space loses its appeal when it becomes cluttered up. I try not to buy things, but sometimes I do find things I can’t live without. When I see things I want, I have to ask myself if there’s anything in the RV I can live without so that I can replace it with this new thing. The answer is usually yes. The stuff I thought I couldn’t live without when I first started this have not all turned out to be a good fit for this life. This month is one of those times when I go through my stuff and see what can be given away or donated. There are things that I have bought and indeed used, but the need for it has passed.

My RV isn’t brimming over with stuff. I just don’t want to get carried away with buying things. I like it simple.

Because I have a dog and that dog likes routine, there is a bit of routine in my life. Einstein does let me sleep in. He tries whining a bit when he thinks I should get up, but I’m a pretty sound sleeper, so it doesn’t always work. He isn’t whimpering because he wants out desperately. He just wants me to get up. So. Eventually I acknowledge his request and we have a bonding time. He wiggles and wags and I pet and talk to him in my happiest voice. Mostly. I get dressed and he always has to come over and sniff what I pick out to wear, as if he needs to give it his approval.

I make my bed. I have to do this because the extra pillows (I need them for nap time!) are laying on the seat at the table. Once the bed is made, I put a mug full of water into my little Keurig machine and press the button so it makes a cup of coffee for me. Next I give Einstein his thyroid medicine and get out his leash for a walk. He loves this part.

Glen Ayr Resort and Campground, Washington

After a nice walk, its back inside. Einstein knows our RV and no matter where we are, when we get close to it, he goes right to the door and puts his front paws up on the bottom step. When I open the door, he has to duck his head. Every time. Back inside, he gets a drink. So I have to make sure I put fresh water in his bowl, because I KNOW he’s going to get a drink after his walk. Predictable!!!

The RV now smells like freshly brewed coffee…I love THAT part. My cup of coffee is ready for consumption. I make sure the table is cleaned up a bit. It may have the laptop on it or some art supplies. I put a scoop of food into Einstein’s dish and then I eat. He seems to be happiest if we eat at the same time. I don’t always accommodate his preferences, but life together is a give and take, right?

Since the table is also my art studio, just sitting there to eat a bowl of cereal gets my creative juices going and pretty soon I’m munching and sketching. I check my phone, because during the night I sometimes (often) wake up with ideas for drawings. I put them into the NOTES app on my phone. The drawing of the RV pulling the printer behind it was a wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night idea. However, the dog on top of the printer…that was actually a daytime idea.

I don’t do dishes after every meal. Sometimes I could. Sometimes I can’t. So I usually just go somewhere in the middle and just do them when the left side sink is full. If I’m dry-camping (no hookups, so no water, electric, or septic) I try not to make many dirty dishes. If I do have hookups and its an travel day, I wash things right away, because I leave after breakfast. If I am staying somewhere for a while, I let it go until the little basin is full.

Wow! I just noticed most of my washed dishes are COFFEE MUGS!

If I have any chores, it works best if I do them in the morning (or whenever I get up). I might have to sweep the floor. If I didn’t have Einstein, I probably would rarely have to sweep. He sheds year round. Once every other week, when I’m stationary somewhere, I have to empty my grey tank (water from the dishwater/shower/washing machine) and black tank (you know…the toilet! Yikes!). Right now I’m in Robert’s driveway and he has 50 amp electric, water, and septic for me. Its wonderful. I let my tanks get to 2/3 full and then empty them both. I empty the black tank first and then the grey. The water from the grey tank flows up into the black water tank and helps wash it out. Then I close them both up again.

From time to time I have to sharpen pencils. I use a lot of watercolor pencils, oil based colored pencils, and wax based colored pencils. I like them to be very sharp, so the point gets down into the pores of the paper. So I use my Homepod, telling it “Hey, Siri, play some pop music” so I can sharpen pencils to music. And sometimes I just like to dance around the RV. If I’m a little down, it lifts me up. If I’m happy, it makes me happier and I burn some calories.

Every once in a while I look through my belongings to see if I can give anything away or donate it. If I haven’t used something ever or in a long time…it goes to a new home somewhere.

I have no yard work. I keep my bathrooms clean and tidy, but that doesn’t take much time at all. I love to tuck little pieces of art, postcards, artistic business cards, or photos into the edges of my mirror. Surprisingly, they stay put when I’m bumping along on the highway.

I’d say that I spend most of my time doing what I want. I take naps, bake something, cook meals, go for walks, take Einstein to a dog park, go to a store where I can buy art supplies, and I spend a LOT of time doing art. I like to draw things on paper and then take them into my iPad and do more art with them in the Procreate app, using my Apple Pencil. I’ve written about that in an earlier post.

To earn money, I draw things and sell them. In the past, I owned a film company and made documentaries, commercials and videos for corporations. I also filmed and edited a plethora of weddings. I have been an artist for most of my life. Doing the film work seemed to be a great way to combine all the other types of creative things I enjoy doing. I call myself a Digital Nomad now. I do whatever I can do from this little table in my RV.

I have never ever been so happy and so productive. I have learned, at last to live in the moment.

The new printer…is a keeper!!!

The new printer…is a keeper!!!

Wow! I’m so very impressed. I printed a couple of things and had to tweak the settings from within Photoshop a bit. I am so excited. Yes, the printer is still way too big for RV life, but I must find a way to keep it. I’ve had lots of printers. Some did fantastic printing, but had limitations and didn’t last very long. Others lasted a LONG time, but did mediocre prints. This one is so awesome. I’m so relieved that it has managed to convince me to let it stay.

I took some art I did on paper and put that into my Procreate app on my iPad. With my Apple Pencil, I added some trees and some hints of people. I had painted some travel trailers on paper to put on my Christmas tree this year. I took photos of those and added them in to the app. The trees are ones I made on the iPad with the same app, but done separately. I love how you can bring in different elements and blend them all together. I read in the Art Journaling for Beginners where one person said she uses the same app and loves to create the black and white side of art and then print it out and color it by hand on paper. That’s awesome. I have been doing the opposite…taking my black and white designs done on paper and bringing them into Procreate to color them there. I hadn’t thought to try it the other way around. But then I didn’t have a printer before so couldn’t even try that. NOW I CAN!!!

Anyways, I feel great. RV life has lots of ups and downs. It takes both to keep life sweet. The printer is an UP.

Meet Rocinante II

Meet Rocinante II

I chose the name Rocinante because of two reasons.  For one, John Steinbeck chose that name for his truck top camper in 1960.  His main reason for chosing the name and my second reason is that Don Quixote’s horse was named Rocinante and this horse, in many ways, was not only his horse, but his double.  Like Don Quixote, his horse was awkward, past his prime, and engaged in a task beyond his capacities (taken from Wikipedia).

My Airstream was Rocinante, but the name fits my life as it did Don Quixote’s, so I want to keep the name.  Even though, officially, the new RV is Rocinante II, I will refer to him as just Rocinante. 

I feel like I have enough skills that I can earn an income from the inside of an RV as well as from an office.

Buying the Airstream was a leap of faith.  I was hungry for travel and adventure.  My eyes longed to see new vistas and long missed friends (and to have my own bed with me at all times AND a place to charge my personal batteries – I’m an introvert).  I chose the Airstream because it seemed a good size for myself and two dogs (Einstein and Emma).  By myself, I was able to hitch, unhitch, set up and take down camp, search for diesel gas amidst the vastness of the desert lands of the Southwest, with their great distances between exits, and to be content with the simple life I encountered within the cozy curved space of Rocinante I.  None of those tasks came easy.  I had to do lots of research, watch many videos, and prepare myself mentally for the upcoming challenges.  When my adventure concluded, I felt stronger and a whole lot happier than ever before.  I felt knowledgeable, capable, and full of joy at all the opportunities I’d embraced.  Sure, I made some mistakes.  I figured out, on my own, how to overcome them.  It was good for me.

In January I bought a Winnebago Vista LX 35F.  Its ten feet longer than the Airstream, but I got to thinking about it.  The Airstream plus the truck were actually fifty feet long…so now I’m in a smaller rig really.  Right?

I know many full time RVers tend to downsize.  At this point in my life, that’s probably not going to happen for me.  I have lived full time in the new Winnebago since the second day after purchasing it.  I was afraid that I wouldn’t come to love it as much as I had the Airstream.   Two months have passed and I find that I love it even more.  Even though the weather has been very cold, the RV has stayed quite comfortable using the electric fireplace and, on especially cold nights, the small Broan heater I  bought while traveling in the Airstream.

I use my Verizon JetPack for internet.  I have 15 GB of 4G speed.  With the work that I do, that lasts me anywhere from three to five days out of each month.  The rest of the month I have 3G.  I’m able to do most of the things I need to, but sometimes must go to a friend’s house to do some of the more intense tasks, such as patches for software and downloads of large items.  I get by okay though. 

Even though I do filming and editing, I’m not accustomed to being on the front side of a camera.  The videos I watch on YouTube, made by other Full Timers, have inspired and taught me.  Some of the folks who make them seem like long time friends now, even though we have never met.  I don’t know why, but I love the videos that are tours of their rig.  I love seeing how they store things, what gadgets they use, the layout, and changes they make to accommodate their lives better.  My favorite part is seeing them so excited about it all.  I’ve watched many HGTV house hunter shows where the people searching for a new home want closets bigger than my whole RV.  In the YouTube videos I love that the people are so very excited about having a closet at all.  Having a cover for the kitchen sink to give them more space for food prep makes them giddy with joy.  I have covers for my sinks, but I seldom use them.  I’m happy with the space I have for making meals.  Knee room in the bathroom is a thing to be coveted.  My particular RV has two slide outs – one for the bed and one where the dinette and couch are.  I’ve seen humongous RVs with slideouts the length of the entire rig.  It makes the interior look like an apartment.  I’d love to have something that awesome one day.  Until then, I’m finding that the one slide out makes the living area very cozy and comfortable.  I have just the right amount of space and closets and storage.  Some of the features I’m especially fond of are the extra bathroom (half bath), the washer/dryer combo, and the residential refrigerator.  I like having space under the RV for a few things, like tools and lawn chairs and such.  What I’m trying to get to is that I would like to make some videos about my life as a full timer in a motor home.  My rig is a little different than many others, so perhaps there would be a use for videos about life in this Rocinante.

I am very excited that the couch and my favorite side of the dinette face the TV and electric fireplace.  I’m glad that I have a gas oven.  The Airstream had a convection/microwave oven and it was very difficult to figure out.  Every time I used it to actually bake something, it seemed to work differently.  I found no manual with operating instructions.  Trying the same things twice in a row didn’t usually work.  It was also down where an oven would be, so I had to sit on the floor to read the words on the buttons.  I’ve gotten quite good at lighting my little gas oven.  I’ve made many delicious meals in it already. 

When I had the Airstream (which had a wonderful memory foam mattress, although it was a short queen), I bought a very nice mattress topper that is 4 inches and made of Gel/Memory Foam.  It’s especially made for people with joint problems, arthritis, or painful hips.  I have periodic joint pain.  I had to cut off the bottom of it and round the corners.  When we bought the Winnebago, I feared my topper would be no use anymore.  It turns out that it works better than it would have it I’d have left it full length.  When the slide out is in, the bed slides up under the cabinets on the opposite wall.  If the topper was full length, the bed would not fit up under the cabinets and I would have to manually roll the topper up so the bed would slide under.  However!  With the end cut off, the bed slides under the cabinets to exactly the right place.  Having the topper shorter doesn’t cause any problems for sleeping either.  I’m glad for such a happy coincidence.

I used the comforter that came with the RV to make a room darkening curtain to hang down behind the driver’s and passenger’s seats.  If I’m driving at night and I have a passenger who is back sitting at the dinette table with a light on, the glare from the light makes glare on the windshield.  The curtain eliminates that issue altogether.  It also insulates the living area from a few degrees of colder air from the cab area.  When not in use, I lower the bed that is over the cab area, flip the curtain up over it, raise the bed back up, and the curtain looks like trim work.

So what adventures do I have planned?  For the near future I have a weekend trip planned to a local area, a trip to Japan (without RV), a trip to Ohio, and another trip to Florida (just returned from there recently – great first trip with the new RV).    I haven’t thought past that yet.  I apologize for the length of this post.  As soon as I make a video tour, I’ll replace the written post with the video.  Until, happy trails!