The cold has finally broken me. I just went out to the trunk of the car, where our ski gear is stowed, opened up the bag, and grabbed my wool cap. Back inside the camper that we have been living in for almost three weeks, the oven door is open after dinner to help get whatever residual heat we can from it while the propane heater kicks on and off. When I thought of living in a camper on an island for a summer assignment, I tricked myself into thinking it was already summer in New England – just a couple more weeks and maybe it will be.
It feels like I’ve been waiting forever to write anything of substance about the camper we’re living in. I guess, in reality, we’ve only been living in this camper for less than three weeks. I’d like to wait a few more weeks to write anything so that I have some firm conclusions on what life in a camper is really like, but it’s going to be a long process of adjustment. There’s another 5 months ahead to share all the other things that come up, so why wait… this is the first installation of a series of posts on camper life that I will be putting out this summer and into the fall.
Kate and I have lived in close quarters before. On my very first travel assignment, before we were married, I had a studio in Boston that is still the smallest place I have ever seen – at less than 6 feet in width, you could not lay down on the floor cross-ways without bending your knees. The length of the room wasn’t much longer. Just a twin bed, a shelf, and a very, very small attached bathroom. Later, we would live together in far Northern Maine on a travel assignment in a small one-room cabin. I think this was the first time we became aware of “tiny-living” through some blogs like tinyhousetalk.com. The tiny living movement has really caught since then and shows about tiny living appear nightly on HGTV, DIY Network, and the like – or so I’ve heard, since we’re living without TV.
Let’s address the no TV thing. I love it, I just absolutely love not having a TV. Last summer in Hawaii was the first time we went without TV, or at least without cable. The only thing I truly missed was sports. Last summer/fall we would go out for football games or sometimes miss them if the Pats weren’t being televised. For now, since we’re in New England, we’re able to catch our precious Red Sox on the radio nightly, and if we’re out some where, it’s always on TV. Last summer, without TV, completely ruined us for our return to Colorado during winter where we rent an apartment pre-supplied with cable. At first, TV was hard to watch. Having to tolerate multiple minutes of advertisements between brief segments of the actual show was infuriating, but, with passing weeks, the time the TV was on during the day began to grow and my tolerance for ads returned. I don’t think I ever fully got back to my pre-Hawaii TV routine, which I’m proud of, but I did continue to watch far more than I needed to. I’m really glad to be back to no TV. I’m getting more done in my life, relaxing with a book more often, and the radio is usually all that’s needed for a little entertainment, although the Sox need to pick up some slack if that’s going to continue to be the preferred programming. Occasionally, once or twice a week, we’ll treat ourselves to a movie or show on Netflix – a sensible amount of mindless TV.
That assignment in Hawaii last summer plays another interesting role in getting us into the camper this year. The Hawaiian Island of Moloka’i, where we were without the TV, was a very rural and uncomplicated place with a very straight forward life. After work, there was little that “needed” to be done. Life was simplified to working, getting some exercise, and relaxing. Relaxing usually came in the forms of going to the beach, reading a book, or watching the sun sink into the Pacific ocean from a lounge chair on the driveway. I think last summer was the first time I came to truly appreciate a more simplified life, with less going on, and more relaxation – this is the first thing I most appreciate about living in a camper at a campground. We frequently have camp fires and once the day’s work is done, nights can be pretty lazy, or least I expect them to become more lazy once we have settled in and have finished more of the projects that need to be done around the camper.
For now, I’m going to leave the camper talk at that. I realize I really haven’t said much about how living in a camper is going so far, but that will develop over the next couple weeks. As far a life in a camper to this point? I’m having flashbacks to episodes of Tiny House Nation and people talking about consolidating their belongings, coming up with inventive storage solutions, becoming more conscious of their water and electric usage, and having to be more organized on a regular basis to prevent living in total squalor. That’s all you get for now, but I’ll post more soon.
Today, I’ll leave you with the first video I have ever done for this site – a tour of our camper. Enjoy!