In the pursuit of happiness and knowledge there are times when we all do something that seems without purpose or reason. If you’re lucky, you will trust yourself, and though the reason may not be clear, you will enjoy the fruit of intention. Thus is the story of building a camper on my truck and moving into it.
Meet Kitty and the Rocket, Kitty is the Ford and The Rocket is the metal and wood thing on it.
It’s hard to say what exactly invites me or any person to be enamored with the camper but certainly both young and old find a quality of freedom they can’t look away from. It’s the best fort I ever made and I guess it has a childlike quality; you feel like a kid in it, it’s both playful and mysterious, and feels like a secret place when you enter.
For starters it’s all wood interior is fragrant, and adds a certain richness that makes it a home. It has ambiance and character. It’s rough a bit, like a well used and loved wooden box, and the things it in are well selected for such a worthy space. To be in it is enchanting like a hiding spot with all one’s beloved things.
Because I built the camper without really knowing what it was going to be like to live in it I make a lot of revisions and customize as my needs change. I have remodeled more than once, and certainly not all for sane reasons. Once I had an infestation of sugar ants during a stay in Eugene, Oregon. I thought I might go crazy with so many uninvited guests. I tore out the counter on one side and “buttoned up” any openings I could find before replacing the newly sanded pieces. I guess it needed refinishing anyway and no more ants!
But overall the structure is in good health and when I am in it I am filled with love for it.
When you’re inside the camper it feels pretty big, with more than 6 feet of headroom and no overhead cabinets it has more of a wide open feel than you may think.
What I keep inside my camper is always changing. My motto is if it’s not artistically aesthetic, a useful tool, or something I really need then I can’t have it. Once in a while I will come across an item that I have to have in which case I will have to give something up in exchange. Needless to say, things rotate. Often people want to give me stuff, or give me something they think I need, and they don’t understand; I don’t have room for it!
It’s hard for most people to grasp the scope of a camper life. Some, including my friends, have asked such questions as, “Do you have blankets?”, “Do you need a coat?” Some will make suggestions as though it has not occurred to me, like, ” what you need is a little propane stove”, “I have a toaster oven if you want it.”
Now where in the world would I put a toaster oven?
There are times when I have been parked for an extended stay either working, visiting, or house sitting and people will ask me, “Why are you sleeping in there?”, meaning my camper. Does it not seem clear that this is my house, containing my bed, not to mention my couch, my books, my coffee cup, my pillows, my art supplies, living room, library, peace zone, resting spot…….this is a very difficult concept for almost everyone.
Recently I was house sitting and spent some time watching TV inside and cooking in the kitchen when I looked around to see a huge mess that I had made. There were places to leave dishes, set papers, and spread out in such a way that I could almost hide from the mess! What to do with all this space? And heating? How much heat was wasted while I sat on a chair in the living room taking up all of about 25 sq. feet while the room around me with it’s square corners was vying for my warmth. It takes practice to live in a big house just like it takes practice to live in a small house. Yet, for some reason, the tiny house seems a harder concept for people to manage.
People often ask, “So….you just travel around?”
Well yes I do but it’s not quite as romantic as that. There are times when traveling around means around a strange city looking for a cool place to park for me and my dogs….not exactly romantic. But the times I drive in remote areas where there is not another sole for miles and it is perfectly fine to sleep with my door open make up for all others.
I want people to know that it is not difficult to manage a small space such as this in fact having less is more and the benefits to this compact lifestyle are extraordinary……..Please read along and find out for yourself.
Parking the Camper
Parking a truck and camper is a problem for the most part. It is the single biggest issue I have. I have parked in cemeteries, church parking lots, car wash bays, truck stops, and alley ways. I have slept on Hollywood Blvd, the Vegas Strip, and Wal-marts across the country. It’s a restless night sleep worried that you are at risk of any number of mishaps; I would freak out if my camper was tagged! I have been woken up by police, the fire department, by a skateboarder who ran into me in the night, and woken by a car that backed into me. I woke up once to find a group of people rubbing the outside of my camper enthralled with it’s exterior, I stopped a fireman with a running chainsaw from cutting through my door in the nick of time………. It’s against the law, you know, to leave your dog in your camper while in Las Vegas. It can be tough out there and I like to sleep comfortably.
On the city streets It’s not always fun getting in and out of your front door in a public place! It’s like having an instant neighbor wherever I park. Often I am on the streets of my home town Portland, where, fortunately, the neighborhood knows me and doesn’t mind my presence or the oddity of watching me get up in the morning and roll out my front door to go get coffee. This is why I bought land, so I could parade around with no one but the dogs and antelope to watch my moves!
While on the road I find refuge in rest areas, vista points, truck stops, and church parking lots. Depending on the State I am in, there a a lot of places that one can find to hide out in if you aren’t afraid to go exploring. I have definitely found some great places to hang out!
And then there are times when I travel to work somewhere, and usually, with a little charm I am able to customize my spot…those are the BEST of times!