Time To Make Something Beautiful!

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I’ve been doing some rearranging of the space in our little apartment and I do believe I have figured out a way to carve a little studio space out of the place. Phew!!! Hopefully now some inspiration can come back into these four walls like an approaching morning right after the darkest part of the night….

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I love those little pink flowers…I think Joel gave them to me last year. I’m kind of a flower hoarder ;) not sorry!

How A $500 Summer Project Got Us To Iceland and Beyond

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Well, I think a lot of great stories start with a healthy dose of desperation and wall-hitting, and that seems to be the way of life… I just feel like I didn’t properly wrap up our story last fall before we left, and I know that’s kind of a blog-killer, but since I’m not really writing for numbers these days, I thought I’d just jump right back in- even if a little abruptly.

We had an incredible summer living mostly outside last year. We had been living in a very romantic cabin all winter, complete with woodstove and old barnwood floors…. Romantic from the inside…aaand until the snow melted. Ok, the truth about our little cabin was that it was actually an add-on to an old barn. In a horse pasture. In a gopher slum. And there were definitely horses. And the gophers definitely snuck into the house whenever they had the opportunity. And I think our cat, Banjo, was generally discouraged, for he did nothing about it… The drier the Montana summer got, the dustier my dishes became (and by ‘dustier’ I really mean covered in horse manure), until we were pretty much over it. And after a couple months, things started getting desperate.

“Babe, we have to get out of this rental.”

“Agreed”

“Also, I think we should go to Europe.”

“That sounds amazing.”

“I think if we get a camper, we can go to Europe.”

“…please connect those two ideas for me.”

So here it is- our {almost} fail-proof plan on one way you can get to Iceland:

Become homeless for the summer if you are currently renting. Epic, right? But seriously, if you have not yet taken on a mortgage, you’re fairly flexible. So if your little wanderlusty heart is as desperate as ours was last summer, here’s how you can make it happen.

Collect a ton of stuff and sell it on Craigslist. You have to start making surplus money somewhere, right? The whole point is to not spiral gloriously into debt. (Though you still might have a little. Europe is expensive, but with better planning, I think we could have done the whole thing debt-free. Next time.)

Then plan the dates of your travels and start hitting up couchsurfing.comĀ There is absolutely no reason why you should spend hundreds of dollars on hostels and hotels when the whole point is to BE where you are traveling. Instead, find a nice older lady in Amiens, France who is an amazing tour guide, buy her some bread and wine, share a drink, and sleep on her guest bed, and be oh-so-thankful that you aren’t paying anyone to let you sleep off your jet lag.20130915-133802.jpg

Buy a $500 old moldy camper off of Craigslist. (We love Craigslist) So here’s how we did it. We found an old camper in Idaho Falls, a few hours away from us. We made a weekend camping trip out of the journey, so if we didn’t buy it, it wouldn’t be a huge disappointment. Who am I to ever turn down a chance to glimpse the Grand Tetons? K, so maybe if we had seen just how nasty this camper was when we bought it, maybe we would have hesitated. All the mold was still covered by the siding… But I’m glad we didn’t. We drug ‘ol Baxter home behind our Subaru Impreza (right?!) and then asked each other, “What did we just do?” Well, what we did was renovate that old thing nearly completely over the course of a month and a half. And then we put all of our stuff in a storage unit and lived a life of utter, unplugged simplicity for the rest of the summer. Yes, our cat lived happily with us. Luckily we lived in an area where there was lots of State Land close to our work places so we didn’t have to pay ANYTHING for part of the time, and then the rest of the time we just chose to camp at some of the most epic camp spots we could find… By the end of September, I was truly sad to leave those campfire-lit Montana nights and get ready for our big vacation-we felt like we had been on one all summer!

IMG_1076Oh yes, sell said renovated camper for a hilarious amount of money. (Like I said, we love Craigslist.) And before anyone starts thinking, “And THAT’S why you don’t buy anything on Craigslist.” Let me just say, don’t screw anyone over on Craigslist. It’s mean and selfish. We told the buyer everything about the camper and even did a mold test with him to make SURE we were selling him a renovation that we were proud of. And we were proud. So there you go- what’s your talent? What little crafty crafty frugal business idea can you come up with to make your little dream come true? Not only did we make money off of that camper, but we also saved almost a $1000 in rent during that time. And we had an amazingly aesthetic summer…

Then do more scrimping and scrounging and saving and selling and.just.go. The timing will never be perfect for a trip like that. You really do just have to risk a little and live some life… IMG_1593 IMG_1726

We chose to backpack and camp as much as we could to offset costs. For example, the one place we decided to spend money was to rent a car in Iceland. It wasn’t that crazy expensive, but renting and paying for lodging would have been out of our means. So we drove and cold-camped! Did you know that you can camp just about anywhere in Iceland as long as it’s out of the view of someone’s home and you don’t light a fire? Public land or private- as if Iceland couldn’t get any better… But when we were traveling from Paris to Toulouse…IMG_3006 IMG_2057

We also decided to hitchhike and meet some people- thus saving hundreds in rail tickets… I wouldn’t recommend hitching just anywhere in Europe, but France is considered one of the safest places to hitch and also one of the most culturally acceptable places. We only had to wait more than a few minutes once on our trip, and we had the fantastic opportunity to get picked up by an older Belgian couple in a European RV (hilarious) making their way over to Portugal. She was a lacemaker (classic) and he didn’t like listening to the GPS and following directions (also classic). We may possibly have ended up a dirt road slightly high-centered.

So that’s kind of the quick version of how we got to Europe. I will admit it really helps to know people over there or have family over there. Don’t be afraid to email that person you met on a plane once, or that exchange student you haven’t talked to in years. Or look up those long lost relatives you know you have somewhere. The opportunity is fun both ways and most people love sharing a bit of their national pride with other travelers…just pay it forward. Maybe become a couchsurfing host in your own city…

What are some other innovative ways you’ve managed to jump the pond?

 

Last days in our camper

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Well, we are wrapping up our last days in our camper before leaving for Europe. What a great summer! Now we are headed back to the North Country for a new season. Looking forward to spending some time with our families! I’m sorting through photos here, so there is some camperlove coming! Until then, know that there is some homemade, garden fresh salsa being made at this very moment here in a little cabin somewhere in the big woods!

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Little House on the Prairie {deux}

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Well, I had to haul my iMac to a local coffee shop to edit engagement photos anyway, so that gave me a chance to play around with my little photo shoot from yesterday. I’m loving my new camera upgrade and after a busy early shift yesterday, i decided to go play around with the polarizer I just bought. Living in the camper this summer has been epic, but I’ve missed editing. I used to go on drives and have little impromptu shoots all the time, but somewhere during the last couple years I lost a little of that spontaneity which is actually pretty structural in the life of a photographer/artist. And why do we allow this? To be more “responsible” and “productive” with our time? Hm, just exactly how are we metering that, anyway? Soulcheck. So Joel told me after work that I was feeling needlessly guilty about being recreational after work, (wow. I must really need this Europe trip, haha!) and to go do something seemingly unproductive. I literally wandered; driving for ten minutes before my heart remembered how to be playful for the day…

I remembered this house I saw driving to our campspot the other day and realized just exactly what it was that I needed! Impromptu photoshoot! Oh joy! Don’t you just want to know the story of this house? How the evenings were spent by those dwelling here? How they spent their leisure time after they labored?

I bet they moved a lot slower during those moments than we do…

Hello, little house on the prairie….

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A peek inside our camper

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We have been making some sweet memories in our camper this summer. Living on a plain, migrating our way down the Madison River… Long commutes to work, haha! And leaving for Iceland draws closer… Guh! Did you know that you can freely car camp in Iceland? Even on private property for one nite? It will be so worth renting a car for two days there to take advantage of this fact. The hard part is deciding where to go… But before we get to all that, I promised a few images of the inside of our camper… Baxter, you’ve come a long way….
We took the whole back end off and part of the side panels to repair water damage…

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All done and ready to be enjoyed!

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We rebuilt a better bed that pulls out into a full… We also put in a closet and a small pantry…

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I hope these are inspiring for anyone who wants to try out the same plan!

Under the {big} sky

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Summer afternoons go by like a little girl gathering found feathers…by the end of this short, yearly walkabout, you realize you have gathered up a colorful singing bird, and as fall approaches, little is left but to listen back to the storysong of those fluttering days… And so here we are, traveling about, gathering up both moments and found feathers-quite literally, actually! I’ve had feathers come across my path nearly daily the last couple weeks… It’s been sweet- God, what are you saying to me? :)

So here we are settling down under a big almost Indian summer sky. Settling for the remaining weeks before we fly off to our next destination (Iceland). I’m so glad we did this.

You want to be free and travel? Cut the cords! Rent-free for the summer and lining up photography jobs made this happen. I’m getting super excited to start blogging again to record this lovely summer. And obviously to show off how hot we are living in our camper, haha! Oh just kidding. It’s been a rough season, but this has been quite the highlight. So here’s us headed out to our spot.

Come back to see how this nest got feathered!!!

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Also, I will share our itinerary for Europe and my lament for missing the harvest back home in the Pacific Northwest. Check us out on Instagram @sageandscarlet, and of course, on Pinterest. …I like how my iPhone just autocorrected Pinterest as a proper noun.

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Life in the camper…

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Well it’s official! We bought our tickets to Europe and I am a terribly faithless blogger when I don’t have Internet… I forgot what I wrote last time (and I have no idea how to look at it on my phone without losing this post, so…forgive.) After a very silly spring in the horse rental as we came to call it, we decided to take a break from the rental and spend a summer in our camper we bought for $500 and renovated and finished during the storm of the century… K sorta- but that storm caused millions of dollars in crop damage here in Montana and we were declared a disaster area. Crazy, huh? So here we are being nomads. It’s amazing how simple life can be when your space is small. …yet not simple when you live in a studio, as we found out this spring. The woodstove was nice, though.

So at the end of September, we will be heading over the pond for a month! Okay, honestly, I’m on Instagram pretty much every day with Montana moments, trips, camper life and random pictures of feathers and tepees, so you should probably just start following me @sageandscarlet, ok? One of these days I will add an Instagram button. Probably around the same time I get a personal assistant…

I will really miss the wind here. Especially how it sounds when we are in our camper and the candles are lit and we are drinking tea… I am blessed- I know this. The path here was just hard… Xoxo!

-{e}

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The spotted horse cafe…

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So it’s happening! Like I said, much to catch up on, but the middle of moving simply isn’t the time… However, I want to give a nutshell update this morning while I’m waiting for my coffee… So we are cleaning and moving out of our little cabin off the on ramp today and moving into our camper for the summer! Yay! Oh the horrors of that rental I neglected to write about…

We are living In the camper for a very specific purpose this summer, but I will wait for a lawn chair and iced tea post-chaos to cover all that. Wish us luck today as we wrap things up! Oh!! Also, I just got a new camera so I can start taking pics again (phew!).

Don’t worry. The above pic was not with my new camera. That would be sad…

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