The Maiden Voyage

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

I am to be a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s wedding in Nashville, and so of course Andy and I decided to book a campground instead of a hotel and use that as motivation to sprint through the Roameo finish line. We made a timeline of checkpoints for the weeks leading up to the trip, and we hit every single one of them. The electricity works, the plumbing works, the exterior is all sealed up and waterproof, we put several interior walls up, some of our vinyl flooring laid down, and a clean coat of white paint on the outside. We hooked it up to our rad new-to-us 2004 Nissan Xterra that we purchased over the weekend, and after quite a bit of tinkering, got all the running and brake lights working. The horizon was looking bright, we threw a futon in the floor and hit the road singing and cheering.

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We only got about 30 minutes down the road before our new car overheated and our trip came to an anticlimactic end. My parents had to come out in the middle of the night and save us, thank God for them. My dad brought his truck and towed Roameo back home. My mom brought Andy’s car and switched us for the Xterra. We re-embarked on our journey in our trusted Honda Accord. For the record, this mishap was at least not Roameo’s fault. He totally would have made it. Our new car flew in from left field and popped all the air out of our balloon.

I think this was a very crucial moment for us. We sat in our car for a long time that night without speaking, before we called my parents for help, unable to roll any further, just staring out the windshield and silently individually struggling with the “why” of the situation. Why did this happen? Why did we work so hard for so long, only to get so close, only to fail? We thought the stars had aligned for our trip, but instead at the very last minute the rug was pulled out from under us. It took us a long time to shake off this overwhelming sense of failure, and find a way to look on the bright side, but we did it. It wasn’t our place to know the “why”, even if there was one. It was our place to lift our hearts up and thank God nothing worse had happened. Although we will never know it, there was a reason we weren’t able to pull that trailer this weekend. And anyway, this wasn’t the end of our grand Roameo journey, just the end of his literal one to Tennessee. Our trip was about our friend’s wedding, not Roameo, and the next day we arrived in Nashville safe and sound in one piece. And that’s what really mattered.

We have no idea what Roameo or our car’s future is at the moment, but for now, we will not let the uncertainty of it all cast a shadow over our trip. We have confidence and faith that we will figure out the next steps when we get back to Dallas, and not before. For now, we have a wedding to celebrate.

xo

Roameo, Oh Roameo

Once upon a time, in a world not unlike our own, two endearingly optimistic young folks purchased a ramshackle little travel trailer. Ramshackle is a cute word that otherwise means in a state of severe disrepair.  As they had no means to tow it, they borrowed a friend’s vehicle to transport their tin box full of dreams away from the questionable seller they met online and to its new home in their backyard. Having a tire blowout on the highway on that first journey did nothing but bolster their spirits that they were indeed in for a marvelous adventure.

They decided to name him Roameo, inspired by the Shakespearean Romeo, a classic symbol of romance (overlooking all the daggers and poison), and their plans to roam and wander the country. The couple envisioned taking a couple of months, giving Roameo a thorough cleanse, patching up a few spots here and there, and brushing on a new coat of paint before hitting the open road.

EXPECTATION:

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Flash forward eight months, and Roameo has finally begun to take the form of something other than a 4-wheeled pile of impending soul-crushing heartbreak. When we initially purchased and began working on his physical condition and all the legal paperwork, we were literally laughed at by professionals. Andy and I embarked on the mission of registering Roameo and getting his title transferred into our name with all the zeal you could imagine, only to be shutdown and discouraged and have the first seeds of doubt planted in our minds. One of the many steps of this process was to get our travel trailer appraised by a professional in order to assign value to it. The professional we went to laughed in our faces when we showed him Roameo, wrote down a value of $50 (“Because $0.00 isn’t technically an option”), and waved us on our way with a skeptical “good luck”. Andy and I laughed then, too. We’ll show you, hater. 

Truthfully, Mr. RV Professional wasn’t entirely wrong to doubt us, although condescendingly laughing at two young city dwelling adults taking on a large work-with-your-hands-and-learn-something-other-than-how-to-snapchat project is probably detrimental to society. Roameo needed much, much more work done than a bottle of 409 and paintbrush could handle. It wasn’t a facelift, it was a complete body reconstruction. We had read about it, heard it said before, and yet still we found ourselves repeating those words of those who had come before us.

“Renovating a travel trailer turned out to be much more work than I had initially anticipated.”            – Everyone who has ever tried

REALITY:

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Today, Andy and I feel as though we have seen everything there is to see when it comes to travel trailer renovation. Indeed, we feel pretty confident we could renovate a house at this point (more on that later). We replaced most of the floor, the entire ceiling and roof, all of the walls, all of the electricity, most of the plumbing, and all of the tires. We removed every appliance, cabinet, countertop, bench, and wall outlet. We cleaned and repaired what we could, and threw the rest away. We’ve redesigned the layout, repainted every surface, and rebuilt and reinstalled all the things that make Roameo what he is. We’ve learned how to drill a hole in wood before you put a screw through it, use a caulk gun, and a staple gun, how to properly sand a surface, stain a surface, paint a surface, seal a surface. How to trace and replace electrical wires, how to make a light switch flip on and off, what the heck a daisy chain is, what the heck pex piping is. And perhaps most importantly, how truly vital wet/dry shop vacc’s are.

The journey we have been on for the last 8 months is one that despite the late nights, the injuries, and the huge, exhausting learning curve, is one I wouldn’t trade for anything. I feel like for the first time in my life I truly appreciate and respect the idea of “one step forward, two steps back.” It is the most frustrating and sanity-testing experience. But, it is also the most rewarding. On multiple occasions we’ve had experienced RV’ers commend us for our persistence, saying “Wow, you guys are doing this as boyfriend/girlfriend? Well, if you can survive restoring a travel trailer together, than you will be able to survive most anything together.” That may sound a little dramatic, but as we near our journey’s end, I can really attest to that. Andy and I feel so empowered as a couple to have (almost) accomplished the biggest project either of us have taken on in our lives. And we did it together. As a team. We easily could have lost sight of our dream somewhere in between never-ending ants streaming out of the walls, water pouring out of the roof, and all of our celebrations of finally fixing something only to have it break it again, but we didn’t. We stayed true to it. We stayed true to each other.

In the end, the entire project will have taken us almost a solid year, which is far longer than we originally anticipated. But we have also learned and discovered so much more than we originally anticipated. Plus, our maiden road trip and those before-and-after pictures are gonna be so worth it.

More to come, cheers!

 

Begin

“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect”-Alan Cohen

Hello.

My name is Karissa. I am an artist, and like most have struggled with finding a creative outlet that feels fulfilling and worthwhile. I tend to jump from thing to thing and project to project and idea to idea, not really sure of what I am looking for and consequently not finding it. This blog will be my source of accountability and exploration documentation, a place for me to write down my thoughts and display my projects, successful or otherwise. A creative journal in a sense, to document my journey and progress, whether it be in design, music, travel, videography, fitness, or some other path I inexplicably start down.

My dear partner Andy will be joining me in this journey, as our paths, dreams, and goals are entwined. He is on a creative journey as well, and neither of us would get much of anywhere without the other.

I hope to create something wonderful here that I can look back on and find inspiration, and inspire others as well.

 

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