Adventure-Life Part 1: Origins
3 years ago, in February of 2015, Joel took his first contract job as a PTA. We had been married for not quite 5 months, figuring out living together, functioning together, what it meant to be the new “us” but still be “ourselves.” Ya’ll, marriage wasn’t (still isn’t) the easiest thing. And amongst the frustrations of this HUGE new transition for us, barely paying our bills, me gaining weight (I hadn’t learned yet that I’m the one that has to make us eat even remotely healthy, any time you say to Joel “maybe we should just get pizza tonight” he WILL say yes!), we decided to move 1,000 + miles away from everyone we knew, to a place we’d never been to (and had only heard of on “Heros” and “Friday Night Lights”) with whatever fit into (and on to) our Ford Escape.
Now, this isn’t something we just decided on a whim obviously, we had known about these travel opportunities for Joel’s line of work for a few years, and it had always been something we wanted to do once we were married and living together. I’d left my full time teaching position (a little begrudgingly) at the end of the school year before we were married because we had every intention of actually doing this “travel thing”. I started working from home for my Dad’s company and could virtually work anywhere that had cell service and wifi, so there was nothing holding us back at this point! Yet months had gone by, and I was starting to wonder if I was a complete idiot for quitting the great job I had. (in a great school with other great teachers) Frankly I was feeling a little embarrassed that I had told everyone at said school what our intentions were, and then here we were, middle of the school year, and the only place we’d been was our honeymoon, and obviously Donatos/Lee’s Chicken down the road from the house we rented.
Below: Married Joel & Alix -------- Honeymooning in CA
But finally, 5 months into this marriage adventure, it all came into place. Joel accepted his first contract job in Odessa, Texas. We went through all of our stuff, stored totes of what we wanted to keep with family, (Thanks guys! (: ) hugged our loved ones goodbye, and off we went. We were so excited, SO NERVOUS, and so ready for this adventure to start.
Below: Adventuring in West TX & New Mexico while on Joel's first assignment:
That first assignment was the only assignment that we let Joel’s contract company find us living accomodations. The furnished apartment they found for us wasn’t bad (once I cleaned all the rouge rice and fingernail clippings out of the drawers *insert creeped-out-shudder here*) but our neighbors were jerks, we lived next door to a hospital (weird? Yes, but the hospital did have a Starbucks in it soooo…) and WOAH was it expensive. From then until last spring, I was in charge of finding our living arrangements. I was pretty successful at it for a while. Until last Spring. Near Abilene TX. Joel’s new contract was in this small town off of the highway, and there was just NOTHING nearby that we could find. We found a POSSIBLE place on Craigslist, that seemed roomie enough, was near to stores, etc, only 5 minutes from Joel’s new facility, and the deciding factor: had a fenced yard for the dogs. We got into town late, checked into a hotel, and met the landlady at the property. It was dark, raining, and she was in a rush. We looked around briefly, and yea it was kinda dirty, but nothing (I thought) a little elbow grease couldn’t fix (the yard had us transfixed!) So we texted her after we left and said we’d like to rent it.
We arrived the next day, sun shining, opened some windows, and wondered how we missed the smoke smell the night before… Upon closer inspection, we found the place had a slight (haaaaaaaaaa) mouse problem, and how did we miss those mouse turds on the end tables and coffee tables last night? Or were they new…. Drawers and cabinets were filled with more mouse poop than I could handle. We realized the floor was SLANTED (wtf) and the mouse poop also was in all of the kitchen cabinets and on all of the “provided kitchen utensils.” I won’t lie guys, this place was the place that defeated me. We had NOWHERE else to stay within our budget, and I couldn’t even sit on this couch let alone LIVE here for 3 months. I cried. I SEARCHED and SEARCHED for somewhere else. When we came up empty handed, I finally forced myself to acknowledge that this is where we were going to live. I bleached every bleachable surface (and if I’m being honest, probably some surfaces that shouldn't have been bleached but I did it anyways). We rented a carpet shampooer. Bought one pan, a spatula, paper plates/plastic silverware, and kept all of that and our food inside a sealed tote in the kitchen. I even bought a little tub to set inside the sink so I could wash our one pan/spatula in it instead of the sink. The bed was the hardest part. I bleached and bleached the mattress cover, shampooed what I could, and stuffed the “provided” sheets into a drawer (that had mouse poop in it.) (we traveled with our own sheets since day one, thank goodness) All “infected” furniture and furniture etc that couldn't be properly cleaned then went into the “dining room” which was then completely sealed off. I’m talking duct tape on the doors sealed off. No joke. I bought a cheap plastic shelf to keep our clothes on in the bedroom. The railroad tracks across the street that the lady had told us were only used “once a day” kept me up all.night. most nights, and I cried myself to sleep on several of those awful nights there. I won’t get into the rest, I think you get the point here.
We had talked about getting an RV after the first time we moved. We talked about how much easier it would make the whole process, how nice it would be to have our own bed, not have to DEEP clean somewhere every 3-6 months just to LIVE in it briefly, etc etc etc. We brought it up almost every time we moved for the next two years, and we would kinda-sorta look around. But then we’d find somewhere decent (or even really nice!) to live and wouldn’t bring it up again until the next move. It wasn’t until the mouse-house that we realized our streak had ended. We needed to get serious about looking for an RV. So we did.
A week later, we found George. He was older, and needed a little love, but when we first saw him we KNEW. We had to hold ourselves back from agreeing to purchase him right then and there. We told ourselves that if we woke up the next morning, just as excited about Georgie Boy as we were that night, we would do it. And, as you can guess, we were just as excited, if not more, by the next morning! Georgie Boy had low miles for his age, was in pretty good condition, but also had been sitting for a while when we found him. We took him to a Ford dealership to get a Texas “vehicle inspection”, to have the oil changed, and just a general look at the engine. Everything went a-okay, and we took Georgie Boy back to the mouse-house for a the quickest deep clean we’d ever done. We moved in just a few short days later, without a glance back at the mouse-house and it’s slanted floors and duct-tape-sealed dining room.
-Next week I'll be answering some QUESTIONS from you all!! Have a question you want me to add to the post? Leave it in a comment below, or message me (email, Instagram, or Facebook works great!)
-After that, I'll post the follow up post to this one, Travel-Life Part 2: How traveling has changed our lives!