Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity…
A few years ago I was working for Pyranha Kayaks down in Asheville, NC. Cristi and I were renting a little house in Woodfin from a friend. When Jason decided to sell the house we figured we wouldn’t have too much trouble finding another affordable rental. That didn’t happen.
We had a couple months to search and kept coming up empty. Anything that we found that seemed affordable turned out to be in a pretty sketchy part of town. And the spots that were nice were roughly double what we’d been paying. With time running short we signed a lease on an apartment in a big complex south of town off Long Shoals Rd. 400 Units. Seemed like it would be OK. Not so much.
When we moved up to Wisconsin we sublet a nice apartment on the west side of town and started looking for a house to buy. Turned out we hit the Madison market on a historic upswing. Cute little houses that should have gone for $130K were listing at $150K and selling for $180K with two dozen offers. We were effectively priced out of the market.
I don’t think we’re special when it comes to this problem. Cristi and I make a decent living, but not enough to buy into this market. The more we talked about it, the more we realized that we really had a couple options: earn way more money, or move someplace with a more affordable cost of living.
But then a third option came to mind. What if we were to skip the lease, skip the mortgage and move into a van. Or a camper.
Neither Cristi or I wanted to sign onto another year-long lease. The more we talked about it, the more we convinced ourselves that we needed to make a change. We decided to trade in our two cars on a truck that would pull a light travel trailer, and then we went looking for a Casita.
I used a Casita trailer for travel when I repped for Pyranha and I knew the camper inside and out. It’s small. Like a sailboat. It’s fiberglass and fully waterproof. It’s light and easy to maneuver. And it’s pretty hard to find one at an affordable price.
Casitas would pop up on Craigslist and disappear a day later. Nothing was available near Wisconsin. We finally found one in Maine, not too far from our friend John Carmody. John offered to give the trailer a good looking over for us and handle payment. A few phone calls and a wire transfer later we were the proud owners of a Spirit Deluxe 17.
We were looking at upwards of $2000 to have the trailer shipped to us, and Cristi had a long weekend off, so we decided to drive out to Maine to pick up the trailer ourselves. We stopped the first night in Rochester, NY to stay with our friends Dave and Morgan from Bay Creek Paddling Center. Then on to Boothbay to spend a day with John and Mary Beth. We connected with our friends Mike and Mandy for a quick dinner in Freeport and spent the night in the LL Bean RV lot before pulling for home.
So this is us. Our lease is up at the end of June. We’re putting our gear into storage in Green Bay and loading up the truck with canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, tenkara rods, backpacks and whatever else we need for a summer of adventure on the road. We’ll be blogging and posting to Instagram along the way.
See you on the road!
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