Two days after leaving home, I finally made it to Newport, TN. I pulled off of Interstate 81 at the Morristown exit and drove about 12 miles through progressively increasing isolation. With every click of the odometer, I panicked a little more. My thoughts along the lines of, “How am i going to eat? I’m no good at planning my meals. I put off grocery shopping like I put off going to the ATM. I take comfort in the fact that if I forget something, I can walk around the corner. No big deal. Now if I forget something, i wont be able to get it until the next time I feel like driving half an hour each way.” I hated giving up my apartment with a secret pathway right to Market Basket. This was going to make that even harder to take. When a saw the cow swimming across the creek I screamed out loud, certain I was being put on and this was done for special effect.
When I found the address on the GPS I was certain there had to be a mistake. This was a broken down abandoned lot, and yet there was my host smiling wide to greet me at the gate. He closed the rusty old gate behind him and securing it with a huge lock, This would be the first of two gates that I would learn would need to be opened and closed each time I wanted to leave the property. “This is the dream!” He announced proudly as he got back in the White Chevy Pickup he had me climb into so he could show me around the freshly purchased, undeveloped 32 acre lot.
“Wow. This is really rough.” I thought to myself as he gleefully explained where the other tiny homes would go, and the lovely options for spots people would have. Unfortunately, I am not a visionary and could only silently pray that living here wouldn’t be so bad.
This was what I signed up for. I would be the first inhabitant of the community, a pioneer! How exciting! I would learn about off grid living. Solar and water collection, and waste disposal without sewer. These would be valuable to understand if and. when I decided to purchase my own tiny home someday. I was up for the challenge.
We drove through the second gate. “It’s a good thing you’ve got four wheel drive!” My host observed. There’s a muddy spot there where you could get stuck. The pavement had ended. “Those are your solar panels over there.” My host pointed to the ground our the drivers side of the truck. I saw six huge panels on the ground. This was the real deal. I could only assume he would tell me what to do with them at some point.
We drove deeper into the woods down a path you could tell had only been troden by trucks a couple of times in the past, and then we came upon a little clearing. There it was! My new home.
When I crossed the Massachusetts border yesterday, I could have sworn I could physically feel the personal growth happen.
I was so proud to be facing so many fears. Wondering if I actually could pare my belongings down to fit in my beloved “RAM Man” (Dodge Nitro). The fear of selecting the wrong bike rack/cargo rack. The fear of not knowing how to use rachet straps…worrying if I was in a safe spot to stop on the road….worrying if the airbnb I chose would be all right.
You know what? Everything worked. Exactly as it should have, according to plan. Do you know how awesome that is? Do you know WHY its so awesome? Because I’m learning through experience. Today I learned that things you think can go right, do go right. No matter how many other people try to instill fear and worry with their warnings.
The airbnb I stayed in last night would have made most of the people I know uncomfortable. I took a chance and found it so empowering. A $25 twin bed room (came to $32 with tax) in a neighborhood that looked just okay. When the host opened the door he had an accent that wasn’t the easiest to understand. I was uncomfortable. However, it turned out to be such a great learning experience.
I talked to the host. Asked him if my stuff would be safe on the street, He let me back into his driveway, which had me terrified about hitting something, but I did it just fine.
I commented on their choice of television program; the Cosby show. I think this created a bond and put me at ease to a point where I felt comfortable staying with them in such close quarters. I’m sitting in my room at their house while I write this.
This positive experience has given me the confidence to try it again tonight. I just booked a room at another persons house and I’m headed there when I wrap this up. He was kind enough to offer early check in because I asked.
One of my goals on this “journey” is to learn to be more independent and traveling alone is going to force me to have to speak up to get my needs met. So thanks, Mr. Shenkute for opening your home, taking a chance on me, and helping me get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
“Start where you stand, with whatever tools you have at your command. Better tools will be found as you go along.” – Napoleon Hill
I found that quote several years ago while assigned to a telemarketing pilot program. I had zero experience and was tasked to create something new to both me and our organization. That venture was cut short. However, during that time, I was happier than I’d ever been in my career. That telemarketing project was the beginning of my realization that I needed something of my own to create. Something that no one else could tell me how to do. Sure the project was frustrating at times, but mostly, I felt invigorated and excited about going to work every day. I realized then that new experiences were critical to my happiness.
Plenty of people quit their jobs. Plenty of people liquidate their possessions and move into tiny houses. Plenty of people teach English overseas. The appeal is that this is brand new to me and to the people in my circle. It’s different enough that when I tell people, they don’t immediately respond with “Well, when I did that…….” or “This is what I’ve found happens when you try to do that.” The people in my current life can’t have an opinion because they’ve never tried to do it. The experience can be uniquely mine to share!
Sharing experience is what bonds us as human beings. I love people and want nothing more than to listen to their experience and combine it with mine to build and create things together. I want my life experience to bring something new to the table, not just another version of what everyone around me has done. The goal here is to be interesting. Life is about what we create with others. I’m ready to go out and gain some experience so I can start sharing and creating!
So here you have it. My first attempt at creating something new. A blog. Again, plenty of people blog. It’s exciting because it’s new to me, and to most of the people in my inner circle. Its something that I get to figure out as I go along. Start where I stand and grow and improve as I go along. What’s important is that I just do it, and trust the process.
I cannot wait to experience things I get to share with my family and friends through this blog. Let’s hope it brings us closer and that future posts get much more interesting.