A Life Changing Event Led Us To RVing
A Life Changing Event Led Us To RVing
"This is for you. The curious, the naysayers, and the ones that need to know that it can be done before spreading their own wings. James Adams once said "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live". Well, through the wins and fails of our path, we hope to educate those who come to learn through our experiences of how to live and how making a living doesn't need to be high so it can accompany the extravagant life the tabloids you scroll through every day tell you it should be. And through this adventure, we're hoping to learn and teach that you can be happy with each other, a dog, a teacup, a seed, and a garden hoe next to a lump of dirt.
This is the past that led us to our now:
Before February of 2012, we were a very common couple. We did the ins and outs of the typical American individual. The goods’ and the bads’ combined of each category. We were wasteful without much thought, our idea of a good time was a 30 case and a few friends that some of which were only around for the case bought from our wallet. We were out of touch with ourselves and the natural world around us. It was almost as if we were going down a tunnel with only what we could see around us, what was being shown to us, and our constant view of such a little mental space became our normality.
I (Sharayah) was in my second to last day of my clinicals for my C.N.A. (Certified Nursing Assistant) certification when I received a call from Mike’s brother’s girlfriend; Mike was in the hospital from a traumatic fall off a 22 ft high ladder. After not knowing the results and a shaky hour drive I finally arrived to the hospital and to the awful news that Mike was about to go in for surgery on his head (and his arms were crushed and needed reconstructive surgery), there was too much blood collecting between his skull and his brain, and every second longer it took the brain surgeon to get to the OR, the more dramatic his lessening chances of survival were.
It was a heart-wrenching hour after hour he was in surgery, but what a beautiful sight of him it was when part of the family and I were finally invited back to ICU to see him. He had tubes coming out of each cast that covered each arm, tubes that were blood colored coming from the hole still in his skull slightly wrapped in white gauze and stained with red, beeping coming from 3, 4, maybe 5 separate sides of the room and wires leading up to each sound from him, and his face had a look of inconsiderable happiness and much confusion upon us walking in. He was still under the effects of what-ever drug he was administered after he woke up to keep the pain down.
The sight of the surrounding area was indeed scary, but his breathing chest seemed like the most beautiful sight I could have seen. And then he said to me as we all walked in, "Hello Beautiful". I still tear every time I think about it, and as I'm typing this now my eyes are watering. Words were hard to understand from his mouth, it took him about two days to almost normally speak, but longer to have full ability to understand where each word goes. I remember the first night, every time he was thirsty he would tell me, "I need thirsty". I was only able to feed him ice chips for the first few days. What was supposed to be a month-long stay at the hospital turned into a 9 day (he continued to baffle his doctors with his progress even after). I was there every night except the first night, which was the hardest, but I had to go home with his mother and make sure everything was set up for her at our place.
After two nights of staying with him, the nurses began making me up a bed before I came back every night (I was still working at the time). My love goes out to every Nurse and Doctor by his side through the whole experience. After day 9 I was able to take him home! And ironically I had just finished obtaining my CNA and was able to stay at home and take care of him on my own without another coming in to do it, because really, I wasn’t going to have another woman in my house cooking for him, feeding him, and wiping my boyfriend’s butt too. No no. BTW, if that's not listed under Love, then I don't know what is.
This was the beginning life-changing event that led us to who we are and where we are today. Then Mikes brother stumbled upon a video on YouTube called "Soul Travelers". And with nothing but time, watching a 5-hour long video seemed like 'whatever, sure'. That was the next step into our future. That video literally opened our minds to the 'What If" in life. Should we continue down the path we were on fighting for space with the majority of clones and drones? Is there another way? A better way? So many 'What If's'. This led us to a spiritual awakening. I can easily say that his brother has been a, in a sort, wind lifting us up into the more positive way of thinking and living. Whenever he comes over to visit with Mike, their conversations are always so interesting and deep. One thing that has stuck and seems the most perpetual to live by is through the acts of Love, Forgiveness, and Gratitude. I like to add faith to that as well, because without faith even in those words how can they become more than words?
June came around and the casts we're completely off. His once burley Army created arms were covered in weak hairs and slim muscles (In which I can truly say after much hard work, dedication, and time they are now kissable Roman demigod material). And after much more therapy he was able to return to work before the years' end. Again, surprising since doctors were telling him months he should have been in the hospital and more than a year for all over recovery (they say minimum two years to heal from brain injuries). His family and I's little big miracle kept pulling miracles out of his ears.
More time passed and our reading and researching for a 'better way' came to us: Sustainable and organic living. Because what is more important than that of our Earths' and our own body, mind, and spiritual health? Confucius said, "If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people". Well, in order to teach those around us, we must teach ourselves first. So what is not only a better way but a happier way, and cheaper way of living that doesn't require so many 'resources' and dependence on chain stores, and etc,.? This led us to the Earthship idea. A completely sustainable home built from recycled and natural items. Well, living where we were/are at in Michigan, it seemed a bit of a move just to get an apartment in New Mexico where the training for these homes is only at certain times of the year. Which led us to our next idea! >> With Mike's surgery taking him away from work, and the workmen’s comp being such a poor excuse to live on (It didn't help that I only got paid for my CNA work 4 months after Mike had his casts taken off), paying the mortgage wasn't able to happen sadly, and his house soon fell into foreclosure. I got another CNA job in the next town over to help more, but it still didn't benefit the situation any, it was too far gone. The only way would have been to shut off our electric, phones, water, propane, and eat grass for the next year to make up for it. So... This next idea I was promising; living in a converted van. After a week of looking up other peoples stories, it seemed great until we fell upon Skoolie living. We obviously couldn't stay in our home much longer and we didn’t feel like paying for an apartment where the money we were putting into it every month was just below a mortgage payment and didn’t put us any closer to owning it. Skoolie's are converted, usually retired, school buses. With all of the amenities of home in a travel package, this seemed like the perfect idea in-between everything and finally building our own Earthship. Then the research process for this began. Weeks and weeks of learning about how much of a difficult process this was going to be from the constructing to the insuring it. It just sounded like such a grand idea, but many said that their Skoolie process took a year and over. We just didn’t have that kind of time. So here we sat day after day trying to fabricate our next step. It took us a total of two weeks to come up with the RV idea, find one, and drive it home. Now, with as little time as we had in that house, we didn't have to worry so much about where we're going to go next. For the price of 4 months average rent in the United States in a two bedroom apartment, we found 'Gus Gus'. A home we can take with us, a home that can settle anywhere we want. Also, a home that can be constructed still into a sustainable traveling home.
Our plans for Gus Gus include solar panels, RO water system, a lounge/art studio in back, small wood stove, and a few other un-decided nicks and nacks that we're still working the kinks out of.
I'll tell you what though; my family thinks we're CRAZY. I capitalized that for a reason. His family gets the not so capitalized version, but alas. Both of our families have followed the standard intended route for so long that when we came to them and said 'We're going to live in a bus and travel', most of their mouths dropped and my family got together with me for a secret intervention. I get it, they all love us and just don't want to see us go, but we'll be back down the road. Here's hoping anyways. Our ultimate goal is to settle back in Michigan when our 'white man walk-about' is finished and we have the tools and knowledge to build our Earthship. By the way, yeah, I know... Earthship, funny. I had my mom and aunt laughing hysterically at me the other day when I was talking about it. "You gonna fly off to space with the aliens, kid?"... Haha... Funny guys."
(Excerpt from my blog about our RVing experience @ http://monstersoffgrid.blogspot.com/)