It’s not so much that we’ve been keeping it a secret, but for a while now we’ve been sitting on certain details that make our trailer renovation seem a bit more urgent. Of course, omitting the stakes is bad practice for a couple of supposed storytellers – really kills the tension, you know? – but until we had everything figured out, we didn’t want to raise your comfortably low expectations. But then Autumn reared its orange, leafy head and Thanksgiving shook the gravy from its wattles and now, with December calling, there isn’t any time left to kick around the ole hypotheticals.
We’re moving all of our vitals into Elsie and spending one week in each of the lower 48 states.
Are we nervous? Completely. Are we excited? Duh. Are we totally batshit insane? Maybe.
Starting next month, we’ll be transitioning away from the Camper DIY updates (though we still have a few more to come) and moving into Field Notes from the road. In addition to working remotely part-time for her advertising and communications firm here in Lincoln, Mel plans to spend the year finally investing time and energy in her own online retail business, something she’s been slowly plugging away at since grad school. A year-long road trip gives Mel a great opportunity to find and meet with local vendors all across the country.
As for me, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing now: pitching and selling stories wherever I can, and as often as I can. In fact, writing stories from the road is what originally sparked the whole Local Color XC project. When I was still enrolled in my MFA program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, I mentioned to Mel several times – without considering all the planning it would take – that I thought it would be fun to file a story from every state. That idea stuck with us for years, and we’ve finally offered that dream a real platform to stand on. We searched Craigslist. We found an old trailer. We bought it, and from the wreckage emerged a tiny house on wheels we’ve since named Elsie.
As you can imagine, starting a 48-state road trip from the middle isn’t exactly the most efficient route, and weather is a continual concern. Elsie has been given a lot of love and reinforcement, but the water pipes are still liable to freeze if we’re stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time. Given the frustration we experienced installing new water lines to begin with (more coming up on a Camper DIY post), we’re not keen on the idea of starting over.
Come the first week of December, we’re heading south to Arizona. (Story tip? Email us the details at firstname.lastname@example.org). We plan to gradually work our way east along the southern border and Gulf coast. Then up, back around and eventually we will spiral our way back to Nebraska, where we’ll diagnose Elsie after a year of full-time habitation.
Until then, Mel and I are scrambling to empty our apartment. I’m writing this post in a mostly empty living room, all of the walls blank and bare, our favorite prints and posters packed away. We love this old apartment in the Near South Neighborhood, and we’ll be sad to say goodbye. (If you’re looking for a really great, cheap apartment in Lincoln, hit us up for details!). Our footprint is shrinking everyday, and though downsizing isn’t always fun, there’s a certain relief to be had when it’s gone. It’s a lot like editing my stories to fit the word count. At first, the cuts hurt. But then the story is published, and you look back at it days or weeks or months later, and you forgot all those excessive details you once deemed vital to the story.
So I guess that’s what we’re doing here: we’re making cuts to improve our story.