Space Awareness

  When we first bought our motorhome and told friends and family our plans to move into it full-time we inevitably received this response:

Is that enough room? How will you fit everything in there? Won’t you get tired of each other?

This was not a spurious decision on our part, we had carefully considered this before our purchase and came to the conclusion that smaller would be better for us, for a variety of reasons.

We didn’t use most of our space anyway

After living in a variety of apartments over the years, gradually working our way up from a small one-bedroom to a roomy two-bed/two-bath with attached garage, we have noticed that we just don’t use that much space. Oh, we are able to fill as much space as we have available, but actually spending time in and utilizing space? Not so much and in predictable patterns.

No matter what grand ideas that we had for a spare room: office, art studio, guest bedroom, or neatly organized workshop/garage – it just became a storage space for unused items. We gravitate toward each other, so if one of us is in the living room doing something, the other can generally be found there as well.

Ultimately, we realized that we spend the majority of our time in the kitchen, dining area, living room (couch/laptop/TV), asleep in the bed, and of course the bathroom.

After living in a variety of apartments with differing floor plans, we also noticed that we prefer openness. We want the ability to interact from the kitchen to the dining area to the living area. The bedroom can be separate, as we primarily use it to sleep and store clothes.

An RV meets all of these requirements

It has a full kitchen, dining booth, and a couch-sized window seat in the main living area. There is a bedroom in the back, with a full-sized bed (which is what we’ve always had, no adjustment for us) and in-between there is a full bathroom.

The bathroom can be closed off from either or both the bathroom or living area, providing private spaces as desired.

Above the cab is additional storage and a pull-out twin bed. We keep our books on the shelves up there. There are privacy curtains available, so if we so desired, one of us can go and barricade ourselves in “the Library” for a bit of privacy.

All of the spaces that we actually use are available and open to each other – though they can be partitioned off so that we can have various spaces as we desire.

But what about when you get tired of each other?

Since we tend to gravitate toward each other anyway, we don’t seem to get tired of each other’s company. If we happen to, we will just plan a day separate from each other, or one of us will stay inside and the other will go out.

What did you do with all of your stuff?

We did put some things in storage. Most of my tools, a select few pieces of furniture, and some mementos. Fortunately, family kindly offered space so that we didn’t have to find a storage unit.

Between Goodwill, two yard-sales, family, and friends we dispensed with the rest of our possessions. (A process which Ashley had no trouble with while I struggled mightily. Though I appreciate and flirt with minimalism: I am still a natural saver and hoarder.)

In short, everything we own is being carried with us, or could be condensed down to a single storage shed.

So far we haven’t missed anything that we got rid of, and more than half of the things that we did bring along haven’t yet been touched.

How will we make do in such a small space?

Splendidly! We are minimizing material possessions in order to maximize our experiences and the relationships in our lives.


Minimalism Can Help Your Marriage

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Lori Lowe, who blogs at and is the author of FIRST KISS TO LASTING BLISS: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage which has been released today at

First Kiss to Lasting Bliss

Materialism is Inconsistent with Strong Marriages

Those of you who are choosing to live a more simple life may be heartened to know your decision bodes well for your marriage. Recent research has shown no matter what your income levels, a high level of materialism is correlated with marriages that struggle more, and that marriages with lower levels of materialism have higher levels of satisfaction. If both spouses are materialistic, the marriage has further struggles. Read more about this study on materialism and marital happiness.

Margaret and Phil are an example of a couple who choose to live in a counter-cultural way. Early in their marriage, they made a conscious decision not to accumulate too many possessions, and not to change their lifestyle as their incomes rose. Since Phil’s parents grew up in the Great Depression, he adopted some of their frugal ways, for example fixing what breaks instead of automatically buying new. They maintain an uncluttered, organized home.

I interviewed Phil and Margaret for my book, First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage, which profiles couples who overcame various challenges from drug addiction to infertility, child loss, infidelity, financial crises, military separation, depression, brain injury, stranger rape, opposing religions, disruptive families and much more. But this couple was an example for more of what they did right than for the obstacles that tripped them up. They made conscious lifestyle decisions early in their marriage that has guided them for decades.

When Phil was in medical school and Margaret was a teacher, it was easy to not accumulate too much, because they had very little money. As their incomes increased, they earmarked funds for charity, for mission trips, or long-term goals, such as the education of their two children. Their lifestyle choices allowed them to keep their priorities in check. For instance, Phil chose to provide medical care for indigent patients and doesn’t work overly long hours to advance his career. They have both been very satisfied in the ways they contribute to society and are satisfied with what they have materially.

Making mission trips with their young children also contributed to their view that they didn’t need more materialistic goods to be happy. They found many of the very poor people they met in travels were exceedingly happy despite their financial poverty. Phil and Margaret also have a strong faith that leads them to be generous with what they have.

More than 30 years into their marriage, they have no financial conflict in their marriage and are satisfied with what they have. They enjoy their four grandchildren. While Phil still works, Margaret is retired and has time for volunteer work that she finds fulfilling.

It’s so natural in our society to long for a bigger house, a nicer car, or finer clothes. This is not only because of ubiquitous advertising images, but also because we see friends and neighbors obtaining these goods regularly, whether they can afford to or not. But what do we trade those things for?

My husband and I made a conscious decision early in our marriage to not accumulate any credit card debt and to be wise with our spending. That includes the holiday season, which can be very difficult to manage without overbuying. However, I can also say that being in synch financially has allowed us to avoid virtually all financial conflict in our marriage. The freedom gained from living within our means far exceeds the joy we would obtain from accumulating more.

Experts say materialism often leads to poor financial decisions, resulting in debt and higher stress levels. They add that materialistic individuals spend less time nurturing their relationships with people and more time acquiring things, while non-materialistic people place a higher priority on relationships.

Don’t be afraid to make your own decisions about your lifestyle, even if it’s different from the culture that surrounds you. Invest in your marriage, and it will pay big dividends.

To learn about the other couples featured in the book, visit For more information about Lori or to purchase the book, visit

First Kiss to Lasting Bliss

Thank you so much for the opportunity to join you today on!

Internet Sabbatical

I recently realized that I spend too much time online (this isn’t a new thing, I’ve noticed it before.) Those previous attempts don’t seem to have worked, however. So, this time I’m making more drastic changes.

I’m getting offline. Homework and communication with friends/family will still take place, so the internet will be utilized. However, the time spent online needs to reflect its priority in my life. Wife, art, motorcycle… no where in there is a computer mentioned.

I’m not the only one

I recently read this article by Ev Bogue. In it he talks about his relationship with the internet and the services found there. He recently took a month-long sabbatical from the internet. Though he was scared to do so, it revitalized his life. His new goal is to set up his internet business so that it doesn’t need him in order to run. Then he can get offline for as long as he might desire.

The future of this site

I love writing. I love working on this site. However, I don’t seem to be any good at writing and keeping a healthy focus on the things that are most important to me.

And so, I’m taking a sabbatical. During that time I’ll plan out what the future of Adventure-Some looks like. There are already ideas for new articles, a new layout, and (perhaps most importantly) a new posting schedule.

Let me know what you would like to see in Adventure-Some two-point-oh!

Taking a Vacation

One of my favorite things about being a full-time student is the vacations. It’s hard to find a job that gives you nearly 3 months of vacation time.

Going Adventuring

It’s spring break, and I am stoked. My wife and I are going on some much-needed adventuring.

Break Time

One of the goals for this week is to simply take a break and unplug. My laptop will be sitting untouched. Homework will be ignored. Non-fun books are bookmarked and closed.

That includes Adventure-Some. There won’t be any new articles this week. In the mean-time, feel free to browse the categories (like Travel) or see how to get more adventure in your life.

Have a great week!

Financial Short List

Nowt that I have a Spending Plan, it’s time to trim the fat from my expenses. Similar to the Short List that helps me free up my time, this will allow me to spend more money on the things that I really enjoy.


By determining what you really want to spend money on, and what doesn’t matter to you, it is possible to save money while getting to spend more on what you love. This is not more frugality advice: “Stop getting a daily coffee and save $4 a day (approx. $100 a month).” Instead, this process will help focus on the actions that have the greatest impact: “If you don’t care where you live and only use your apartment for storage and sleeping, move to a smaller place and save $300 a month. Then you can spend $200 more a month in your guilt-free category while still investing $100 more.”

The key is to cut ruthlessly from any category that you don’t care about so you can spend extravagantly on things that truly interest you.

Finding your focus

There are two main approaches to figuring out where to cut and where you should spend.

  • List areas that you love and don’t mind spending on.
  • List areas you don’t care about and prefer not to spend money on.

I find that a combination of these two work best. While it is easy to list things that you enjoy doing and things that you will never spend money on, the middle ground is often where you can have the greatest impact.

Paying attention to your reactions will help you identify areas where you can cut back. It’s easy to fall into keeping up with the Joneses and spending money on things you otherwise wouldn’t. Here are some areas you may wish to examine:

  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Clothes
  • Dining Out
  • Partying
  • Entertainment
  • Traveling
  • Hobbies

My favorite way to look at these is with the help of a friend. I pretend that they are telling me about a new purchase they are making in each of the categories and note my reaction. If it is negative, then I can generally cut my spending in that category. Positive? I have found one of my focus areas.

Some Examples

  • My eyes glaze over when fashion and the latest shopping spree are discussed. I buy timeless clothing that will last so that I can spend a minimum on my wardrobe.
  • I will talk to anyone about any motorcycle, enthusiastically. However, while I love Ms. Peeps, I love the experience of motorcycling, no matter what brand. Thus, I need any motorcycle that is reliable and within my budget. Newest, fanciest, and fastes doesn’t interest me.
  • Whenever a friend tells me of a trip they are going on, I wish that i could go. Travel is definitely a focus for me.
  • I always wonder what people do with all the room they have in big houses. My two bedroom apartment sometimes seems extravagant to me. As long as my basic shelter requirements are met, I am happy.
  • Any time a friend discusses a new restaurant I make sure to find out where it is. I love the experience of dining out.

The results

I only buy new clothes when I absolutely need them, intentionally keep my rent as low as possible, and don’t spend on accessories for my vehicles. This allows me to travel and go out to eat more often.

Recently, I have begun paying more attention to my reactions to spending. As I gain a better understanding of my financial reactions I will be able to create my Financial Short List. With this focus I will be able to spend more money on the things that I love and live a fuller life because of that freedom.

What are some items on your Financial Short List?

Doing Stuff

I’m an information junkie who loves to research and read. I dive headfirst into whatever the new topic that catches my attention is, reading everything that I can about it: subscribing to blogs, reading books, checking out magazines, and talking to people about it.

What does all that information do?

Unfortunately, as good as I am about gathering information, I’m not nearly as good at acting on it. Knowing how to use it, yes. Creating plans of what and when to take the next step, certainly. Getting things done, not so much. So, for all the time I spend collecting information and learning what to do, I don’t actually get anything done.

Stop learning, start acting!

In order to combat this, I’m going to slow my learning. I don’t need to research, learn, or discover more. While I certainly don’t know everything, I know enough to get started. Progress will fuel my desire to learn more, but it will also help me to focus better, as I will then have more specific questions to find answers for.

What about you?

Are you an information gatherer or someone who takes action? Will you join me as I begin focusing on results instead of information?

Share what project you have been researching in the comments.

Cutting the Digital Cord

I spend way too much time on my computer. (Which I’ve mentioned before, more than once.) And I’m getting tired of it.

Recently, I’ve noticed that I have to “entertain” myself with my computer. Bored? I waste time playing a game. Supposed to be doing homework? I put it off reading blogs. Working on my business? I’m “researching” what others have done.

Basically, when I’m home I have the computer in front of me.

I have other things to do

Cutting Back

And so, it’s time to cut back. I don’t need to check my email more than once a day. The internet will not clog up if I don’t read every post in my feed reader. Nothing bad will happen if I don’t keep up with everything that happens on FaceBook.

I will still be on my computer quite a bit. With a web-design class, I face a requirement of being online at least sometimes. However, I can do most of this while at school, and for the homework I don’t need to be online. Likewise, part of my French homework is online, so I won’t be neglecting it.

The Plan

Part of my morning routine includes my online world. I get up, read through some online comics, check the weather, catch up on my blog feeds, and see what some friends have to say.

To start with, I am going to stick with this routine (because it seems to work). However, that will be my computer time for the day, unless I have specific tasks to complete: ie, homework, specific email to send, or specific research to undertake.

Of course, I will have computer access more than just this once a day. My web design class consists of two 3-hour sessions in a computer lab. There I will be able to “catch up” with online things. Or I will just focus on the projects a bit more.

Similarly, at work I sit in front of a computer. Of course, I can easily carry a book to read or take the time to get ahead on homework (I literally sit in front of a computer, but I don’t actually have to do anything on it). This time can be spent doing stuff online, such as working on Adventure-Some!

And so, that’s the plan. I’m cutting back. Less computer time. More real life. Fortunately, the rest of the world doesn’t have to pause for a bit while I do other stuff. I can unplug and take a breather without causing any sort of hiccup in the space/time continuum.

Why don’t you join me? Spend less time with your gadgets.

Sometimes Simple is Better

My wife and I currently live in a 2-bedroom apartment. That second bedroom? Designated as an office/art studio.

The office part is true. It houses our school books, a massive desk that is used on a daily basis, and other sundry items.

It also works wonderfully as an art-supply storage room. Most of my materials are carefully tucked away in corners and the closet. Unfortunately, storage was not at all the goal; action was.

The Problem

I came to realize that even though I never worked on any of my projects, I had a lot of great ideas. I even had the energy and a few minutes to spare to work on them. Unfortunately, the prospect of having to clear a workspace, drag everything out of storage, and then set it all up. After working, it’d be time to clean back up again.

Out of those twenty minutes I had to work on a project, about 5 of them would be spent painting. The rest would be set up and clean up.

And so, my projects never moved past the idea stage.

The Solution

As with so many problems, the answer to mine was quite simple. I needed to greatly reduce or completely remove the amount of prep and clean-up time required for each session.

I needed a dedicated art-space. Fortunately for artist me, painting and drawing don’t require a lot of horizontal space. Vertical is the way to go. This means that I didn’t need another desk, but a place to put my canvas or paper. An easel!

Egads! Easels are expensive. They range from $40 for a weak, wobbly thing to tens of thousands for easels that move on their own. I didn’t want anything fancy. Functional, sturdy, and easy on the wallet. While I’m at it, I also want it to be small and light-weight as well.

Fortunately, such a contraption is surprisingly easy to make. An easel is nothing more than a capital “A” that is leaned up against a surface. Two pieces of $1.45 lumber, one piece of scrap wood, 6 screws, a 3 cuts… and I’m done. Total cost was about $3, and it took less than an hour. If I had power tools, it could be done again in about 10 minutes.

Einstein said it best:

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

My easel is a simple affair, but it fulfills my requirements, and means that I’m ready to pick up work on my current project with only a minute or two of preparation.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go get some painting done! (You should check out some of my portraiture over at

No Soap or Poo Update

Even though I haven’t mentioned it for a few months, I’m still not using soap or shampoo in my daily shower. I haven’t received any complaints about smell, or made any about feeling dirty. However, I have received some feedback because of my earlier post about the no soap or poo experiment and wanted to share.

(Note: Names have been omitted for privacy reasons.)

Gave it a try

One of my loyal readers decided to try a no ‘poo experiment for herself. After about a week, though, she decided to return to her beloved shampoo. There seem to have been two reasons for this return:

  • She didn’t try long enough to get past the normalization period. The more chemicals you use in your hair, the longer it will take for it to return to feeling normal without them.
  • She likes how the shampoo smells and wanted that back. I can certainly appreciate this, and see no other way to achieve the same results.

Hair stylist gives compliments

Another friend decided to test the no ‘poo experiment as well. After about a month, she thought that her hair still hadn’t normalized but was willing to continue on. A month later, she was still going. When she went to her stylist for a trim she received compliments on her hair. After explaining the experiment, the stylist remarked that the reader had exactly the results that so many people pay a lot of money to achieve.

Loves the results!

After reading about my experiment, a friend of mine decided to give it a try. I didn’t hear about it until after a few weeks of no soap. Like me, he hadn’t received any complaints and decided that he liked it just as well, if not better, than having to use soap. Since no soap seemed to be working for him, he decided to try no ‘poo as well.

He waited until after he got his hair trimmed (which is still about twice as long as mine) and gave it a go. A week later he told me that he loved the results! He didn’t need to use any gel in his hair any longer, which he had been doing for years.

Deodorant makes you stink?

A couple of friends read about the experiment and both decided to test it out. He had never given such an experiment any consideration and was quite pleased with the results. She has always had sensitive skin and struggled to find soap and shampoo that wouldn’t irritate her. No soap has proven to work out wonderfully for her! She isn’t quite comfortable testing out no ‘poo, though, and was still looking for a shampoo that works for her the last I heard.

The most interesting thing that I learned from their experiences came from testing out no deodorant as well. He hasn’t ever been a huge user and skipping that daily step didn’t bother him in the least. She was a heavy user, however, and was amazed to find that she smelled better when she quit using it. Needless to say, she was quite annoyed to find out that Dove had been making her stink!

What about you?

Have you tested out either no soap or no ‘poo? I’d love to hear how it went, either in the comments or via email.