Small House Big World

What if we Just Keep Going?

Anna Edgren • February 25, 2015

Kelly and I happened upon the idea of full time RV living while on a camping trip one weekend in April 2014. I grew up going on camping trips with my family, mostly in Michigan. Kelly had never gone camping and it was high on my list of things to do to take him. I knew he would like it. The opportunity to optimize a packing list and bring only essentials for survival for a few days is exactly the kind of thing he likes to think about.

Since it was April in Chicago, surprise surprise, we were completely fed up with predictable old winter. We were dying to get out of the house, see something new, and stir up some fun for ourselves. We decided we would drive as far south as possible. We didn’t have a destination in mind, we just wanted to drive as long as we felt like driving, and then park and camp overnight wherever we happened to be. We took back roads from Chicago all the way down to Southern Illinois. I had never been through Illinois outside of Chicago, and it was eye-opening. I only wish I had taken more photos. Lots of flat, empty farmland as far as the eye could see. So much empty land. 

southern illinois farmland

It looked like this, mostly.

Every half hour or so, we would happen upon a small town. I’m using the term “town” loosely here – it was usually a patch of 15-20 houses, a graveyard, and a mom and pop restaurant of some sort. One of the houses would invariably look like they were having a yard sale, but they weren’t having a yard sale. You know the type. Rusted out cars, bikes, dishwashers, and other personal effects scattered on the lawn. It was FASCINATING to me, to see the way people live their lives. Who are these people? Why do they live here? Are they happy? Are they happier than me? What do they care about? What do they do for a living? So many questions.

We camped overnight at a small state park. Then we took off further south for Shawnee National Forest, which is a beautiful and rocky area. We had a great time exploring. 

shawnee national forest



We found a pretty lizard

Long story short – we had a blast.  It was only a 2-day road trip, but neither of us wanted to go back to Chicago, to the familiar, to the same old life. 

This is when the idea was born.  

Why go home? Even better – What if we could bring our home with us? What if we could just go somewhere else and do this all again? A beautiful dream! I laughed and dismissed it, but the idea remained planted in my mind, sparking up while I rode the train to work day after day, and as I walked Max around the same block every morning. The idea began to grow, and the craziness of it faded away as we realized that we actually could make it work, and that other people were doing the same thing too. And here we are now, getting ready to set off. I am reveling in how good it feels to do something that I truly want to do, that I am proud of doing. It feels even even better than I imagined it would. 

Anna Edgren • February 25, 2015

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