“It’s all happening!” said in the sing-songy voice of Penny Lane from “Almost Famous” has been the most used phrase in our house the past two months.
- We sold my beloved Toyota RAV-4 and Curtiss’s dream truck
- We bought a flashy blue Ford F150 that can tow the trailer like a boss
- I finally completed my masters degree
- I officially ended my job
- Curtiss and his team of incredibly talented musician friends finalized the new Cousin Curtiss album, “Here and Now.”
- We hosted our first-ever show in a rented venue (with a cover charge)…AND PEOPLE LOVED IT!!!!!
- Curtiss has 2 days left of teaching
- Our rental house is nearly empty
- And to top it off…we finished our tiny house!
As I write this post we are 4 days away from leaving Juneau, leaving our careers, and leaving the stable, predictable, and safe “us” behind. It’s a very surreal feeling that after months of pouring our hearts (and brains) into building the tiny house, we are actually moving in. It went from being an adventurous, daring idea, to a scary reality. Being days away from leaving we can no longer talk about getting rid of our excess stuff…we actually have to get rid of it.
For months now we’ve been talking about what we planned to do and shared with friends and family the progress of the tiny house. As friends and even strangers learned about our plans, the reactions were always entertaining. They ranged from total silence, which we optimistically told ourselves meant they were so impressed with our adventurous spirits we left them speechless – but deep down inside we knew those people thought we were crazy.
We also got several “huh….” and “interesting…” which we interpreted as their mind was on the verge of being blown, but they weren’t ready to accept the awesomeness yet.
A few people snidely remarked, “Do you have enough money to do that?” which of course meant we took that as our cue to make it rain:
Just kidding. Instead, we politely clarified that we will be working while traveling in our tiny house and hope to generate enough money to live off of by marketing our lifestyle and playing music…which of course is contrary to their initial belief that we must have millions saved in an offshore account in order to follow through with such an outlandish idea.
However, I’d say roughly half the people we tell are excited, inspired, and intrigued by our plan. Our friends who are excited continually ask questions, progress updates and the countdown to departure. The most interesting question we get is, “So, when is your trip?” This always feels like an emotionally loaded question whenever I answer it because after I give them the departure date I question to myself…is this just a big adventure (aka a trip) or is this a lifestyle choice? Often I’m afraid to admit it’s the latter because it’s a dauntingly large commitment. I no longer have my car, I am selling most of my belongings, and for what we have put into building our tiny house we could have been close to putting a decent down payment down on a small (stationery) house.
Curtiss and I treat this decision like a new job. The anxiety and nervousness I feel now, are the same butterflies I felt before I moved to Alaska, before I started my job at the Tok Counseling Center and before I moved to Juneau and started a different new job. It’s funny though that prior to those moves, no one asked me, “So when is your trip?”
To Curtiss and I, building our tiny house and taking Cousin Curtiss to the road full-time is a new, very full-time job. Curtiss will likely work harder at creating and marketing his music than he ever had to teaching – and that’s including the first year teaching (any teacher reading this can relate to their first year and the hours pouring over lesson plans). It’s not the notion that we have to work hard that scares us…it’s the unknown that’s overwhelming. The beauty with teaching, or most other jobs, is that you know the endgame. For example, every English lesson is themed and has an objective, a goal and a way to assess whether the kids learned the material. With launching Cousin Curtiss full-time we are about to open ourselves up to a world where we don’t necessarily know the endgame. We of course hope the endgame is accepting a Grammy in front of millions of fans, but for now that may be a few chart-topping hit singles away.
Leaving Juneau will be bittersweet…especially since we are coming off of 15 days of sunshine, blue sky and 70 degree weather. There is a running joke that Juneau always does this to people – it gets beautiful right before you plan to move and it sucks you back in…only to then rain for the next 9 months. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t questioned staying. The school district has openings for next school year in the special education pre-school, or I could have continued my job working with kids on the autism spectrum – which I loved. I’ve made incredible connections in Juneau and there is opportunity to grow.
Staying though, would of course mean Curtiss sacrificing his music career, and for both of us – we’d be sacrificing the opportunity we have in front of us to see the world. Plus, we already promised Sawyer he’d get to strut his stuff on the California shores and Doug is pumped to connect with some distant relatives of a few friendly billy goats he played tag with on the top of Mt Roberts. (True story).
Aside from the opportunities to see the world and spread the music of Cousin Curtiss, we are longing to be reunited with our families and our friends. Having the opportunity to travel to see friends, be home for the holidays, and take a few vacation road trips without having to worry about whether or not we had enough personal leave from work fills us with vigor and excitement.
96 hours until ferry departure and….