September 25, 2018

Captains log: City to Gritty

What would change about your life if you started working on your dreams?

Lately, I’ve been noticing the changes between suburban life and off-grid life.

One thing is, I realized I haven’t watched TV in 8 weeks. No Netflix, no binge watching, no comedy channel—nothing. And I DON’T MISS IT. ?

Right now, all my time is taken up settling in our camper, renovating it, designing our cabin and learning to survive off-grid.

If I want to use an outlet, I need to go outside and turn on the generator. If the generator is out, I need to refill it with fuel. If I want to use water from the sink, I need to check our fresh water levels and turn on the water pump. If I want hot water, I turn on the water heater and wait 30 min.

Basic things I took for granted in suburbia take time in the wilderness. And the shift of using my time in these new ways takes getting used to.

I’ve always heard that when you want something you’ve never had, you have to do things you’ve never done. HOW TRUE THIS IS!!

To own 35 acres of mountain property took selling our house for top dollar. Selling our house at the top of the market took renovating it. Renovating it took a MASSIVE amount of work and time since we literally DIY’d it to maximize profits.

And then adding in building a custom home on top of that goal…Well, that took massive change as well. Construction loans are harder to get approved for. So, getting approved took completely changing how we spent money.

All our spending habits were thrown out the window. We got a financial advisor that told us how to spend our money. That’s right—he told us how to spend our own money. And we listened and did as he suggested.

Once our home sold (in less than 48 hours), we had to get our trailer ready to live in for us to move in 48 days. We decided on living in our trailer because it would help us tremendously not to have a rent or utilities payment in our home build approval process.

Though I’ve never lived or even camped ever in my life in a trailer, I was down for it because it meant we would have our new home faster.

We were gifted a trailer over a year ago that unfortunately had black mold and tons of water damage. So, we gutted it, rebuilt the floor, walls, sink, toilet and more-and rearranged the layout for 3 sleeping areas.

Todd spent almost 200 man hours alone, after working full days at work and all weekends, and I did about 20 hours before we were out of time and had to move in. Why only 20 hours? I was simultaneously writing and completing my first book determined to hit the deadline from my editor. And watching the kids. And managing the move.

This move was tricky because we needed to decide what would go into storage and what we’d keep to live with for anywhere between 8 months to 2 years time. And here’s the kicker—with military storage, there is zero access to your stuff. It’s all locked in wooden crates until you are ready for ALL of it. So, if you forgot to set something aside, it was gone to storage “forever” practically. Which was also new for me. Never in my 48 moves have I not had access to my storage.

All of this had to happen for us to pull this off. So many things I’ve never done. So many things outside of my comfort zone. And so many moments that have tested me as a mother, wife and just student of life.

But, at the end of the day—we are here. We are living on 35 acres in Broadmoor, our dream neighborhood to raise our kids. We are building our first custom home-an incredible a-frame glass cabin marrying nature to architecture.

And we are DOING THIS! It’s happening! So much has changed I feel I have a new identity. But it hasn’t happened without changing how we spend our time, changing how we spend our money and changing how we think.

For anyone else dream building, go after it! Match who you’d need to be to live in that dream now and watch how fast everything shifts to make it happen. ✨


  • Christion Sadler Never stop posting these. I love watching this journey
  • Michael T Hoover I love following you and your familie’s journey~Your telling of your story is a great read. I can feel the emotion as you express it…
    I’m excited for you guys… You sure put in the work and the sacrifice to get where you want to be… Your genuine honesty through the fun and the struggle, that you share with your friends, is inspiring! Wishing you blessings and joy!