Well, folks, the time has come. The past several months of chaos need to be documented at some point, but the summary is that we’re getting ready to drive over 4,200 miles – from Central Pennsylvania to the Willamette Valley in Oregon – in a Honda Odyssey with two cats and two humans. Have I mentioned how much I love a good adventure?!

Honestly, I’m not even sure where to start – but I need to start somewhere, so here we go. I’ll try to document as much of this journey (and the planning and details involved) as possible – perhaps it will help someone along the way!

A Little Background

I’m originally a native Oregonian, but have been in Pennsylvania since 2015. My two teenage daughters and I met some fantastic people here and had some wonderful experiences. However, the family back home needs me now – there are a couple of health crises within the extended nuclear family, and when it comes down to it, family is pretty important to me. So I quit my job, shipped the youngest one out to Grandma, and my eldest daughter and I are packing and prepping as quickly as possible for a fantastic journey to the West Coast!

Now, I’m not a wealthy woman. I live paycheck-to-paycheck and have been dealing with my own substantial health issues for some time now, including stretches of time where I was unable to work. So, any suggestions I give will generally be budget-friendly and DIY! I am officially unemployed now and not entirely sure how we’re affording the journey home, but that’s something I literally don’t have the bandwidth to worry about, as strange as that may sound. I have faith that we’ll make it home, one way or another, and this feels like the beginning of a very interesting new chapter. I’m not sure what the future looks like, but I’m excited to see what new reality is being created. 🙂

That being said, if you have anything to spare and like what I have to share (stop that rhyming now, I mean it), please consider donating to my GoFundMe campaign or supporting me on Patreon. I’m also available for virtual assistant services and small website projects; I have large variety of professional experience and excellent soft skills, as well as an unlimited data plan and a very flexible schedule! LOL

Our Little Gypsy Wagon

A slightly dirty grey minivan
Meet Hlin – our spacious, reliable, newly-outfitted-with-snow-tires 2003 Honda Odyssey and soon to be temporary home!

I was hoping to have the time and resources for a proper minivan conversion, but it looks like this will be the super quick and dirty route. Caity and I will be sleeping in the van with the cats on the drive home, and bringing electronics and fragile items with us – so space is a significant consideration. The details are still being ironed out, but I can (and will) fit a full-sized mattress in there. I really have no idea what I’m doing, but it’s happening regardless, so we’ll see how awesome we can make it!! I’ll get some pictures of the process as we go along; right now it’s pretty empty and in need of a good vacuuming. The next step in that process is to pick up some Reflectix and make insulated window shades! Sleeping in one’s vehicle is apparently frowned upon in some places; go figure…

Preparing to Move, KonMari Style

Several china teacups and saucers
This random collection of teacups inherited from several elder women in my world brings me an irrational amount of joy.

Right now, my focus is on sorting/packing/cleaning, and figuring out how to make the money to get home. I have a couple potential gigs lined up later this week, cleaning houses and organization help and such, and somehow the money will come. The sorting and packing is a little more challenging for me! I came across an article raving about the KonMari method and the “Tidying Up” show on Netflix (which I haven’t seen); I am reading up on it a bit now and there’s a lovely missing piece from my own process that will hopefully simplify things a little:

Keep only the things that spark joy and speak to my heart.

Marie Kondo, KonMari founder

If you’re not familiar with it, the six basic rules of decluttering are thus:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
  3. Finish discarding first.
  4. Tidy by category, not location.
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

… And apparently the correct order (which funny enough, seems to be the order I naturally do things in) is:

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono (miscellaneous items)
  5. Sentimental items.

The general idea is put things into piles and go through them, keeping only the things who make it past the “Does it spark joy” test. Thank the items you no longer need for their service, and then let them go. I like the sound of that. For someone as practical as I sometimes am (at least in certain ways), it’s a whole new way of looking at the “things” in my life!

Here We Go!!

You don't always need a plan; sometimes you just need to trust and let go

Good advice from the universe…

… And on that note, it’s time for me to get sorting and packing! The clock is ticking, and I’ve got lots to do.

What in your life brings you joy? What can you let go of in order to focus on that and bring more peace and simplicity to your reality? Let me know in the comments below; I love hearing others’ perspectives on life, love and reality. 🙂

Love & light, and Happy New Year!

~ Briana