In the spirit of catching you up to date, I suppose I need to tell you a few things that have gone down in my personal life. If you don’t follow me on Instagram you are probably unaware of some bigger changes that have taken place over the last couple years.
After over a year of dating long distance, Jeffrey and I called it quits. I always hoped the “distance” in our relationship would be temporary but it appeared there was no end in sight. Like any couple, we had our fair share of problems, but they became much harder to manage with the added strain of distance. If you know me at all, you know I don’t give up easily. Especially if it’s something I care deeply about. But we had been swimming upstream for quite some time and I was ready to let go and float. I still have love for him, harbor no ill will and wish him all the happiness in the world. He truly deserves it.
For the first time since living on the road, I was single! I had never thought about dating in this lifestyle and how that would work. Luckily, I’m the type of girl that does pretty well on her own, so I wasn’t feeling like I needed to find a man asap or anything. I started frequenting a coffee shop in Terrebone, Oregon to work on Vanlife: Your Guide to Becoming a Modern Nomad and noticed a cute boy that happen to notice me too. Eventually, we started talking and not only did we get along great, he was a vanlifer as well! He was working temporarily at the coffee shop and lived out of his van to travel to different places for climbing, biking and surfing.
We traveled together and had a relationship for a few months before deciding it wasn’t working out. We made some beautiful memories though!
Once again, I was single and doing my own thing when I pulled into a gas station to fuel up my motorcycle. There was a man on the other side of the pump putting gas into his bike too. We exchanged some pleasantries before he realized that he recognized me from the Tiny Home Tours YouTube video that he had recently watched. “Oh! You’re that Commander girl, aren’t you?” We chatted a bit longer and went our separate ways with plans to reach out over Instagram.
Listen, I meet a lot of people living on the road. Whether it be people I’m camping next to, people that are admiring my old rig or people on the trail, I seem to cross paths with a lot of friendly folks. Almost everyone I meet I enjoy talking to but this guy left me…buzzing. It wasn’t excitement that I had met a cute boy, even though he was undeniably handsome, he wasn’t the type I usually go for. It was more of an energetic type thing. I didn’t understand why a brief encounter had such an effect on me, but I was very pleased to see that he had messaged me later that evening.
His name was Jason and through a series of unfortunate events (braking his pelvis and Covid) he was living with his parents in Sun Valley, ID. He had lived in a van previously and now that his pelvis was healed, he was headed into vanlife again (what are the chances!?) We started hanging out and enjoying each other’s company late into the night, talking over tea. I was still unsure if it was a romantic connection but I felt so grateful to have met this man regardless of how things evolved.
Surprise, surprise – things took a romantic turn! I was enjoying my time in Idaho with Jason so much that I overstayed my 16 day limit in the National Forest, got a $130 ticket (worth it) and the boot! BUT Since the universe was conspiring in our favor, Jason’s van was ready right about the same time I needed to leave. We started traveling together and 4 months later, we still are!
Dating while living on the road together is extremely challenging. It’s full on and very little mystery survives. No one leaves for work, “going home” is usually just a handful of feet away and you are basically living and traveling with someone you just met. Add on the complications of navigating a new relationship and you find out pretty quickly if it’s gonna work or not. I’m happy to say that things with Jason are refreshingly different. Dare I say this is the first emotionally mature relationship I’ve ever been in!?! We are different in ways that challenge us but during conflict we both decidedly put love and the health of our relationship first. Maybe dating someone that wasn’t my type is just what I needed! 😉
Well, that may have seemed like a parade of men but may I remind you that this recap is over an almost 2 year period of time. Hopefully, I won’t have anything new to report anytime soon in the dating category!
On a much sadder note, I had to say goodbye to Atreyu in December 2019. He developed kidney disease but I decided to treat him at home with sub Q fluids twice a week. His quality of life was still up there for a while, in fact, I was able to improve his kidneys a bit!
Unfortunately, he started having seizures, the vet found a mass in his stomach and slowly, he went downhill. I was extremely lucky to be staying with friends when this happened and was able to bury him on their property.
We had 15 years together and I’m grateful for every one of them. I still miss him and my heart still aches but it gets a little better every day. Moonchi has flourished as a single cat and picked up the cuddling slack Atreyu left behind (thank god!). Oh and Moonchi gives Jason 2 furry thumbs up – which we all know would be a deal breaker if she didn’t.
That should conclude the catch up/wrap up posts! There is definitely some things I haven’t made you privy to that will probably pop up in future posts, but I feel pretty confident that you now know all the major bullet points of the last 2 years. Thanks for sticking around for my slow blogging ass. Here’s hoping a new blogging style will be a better fit for productivity!
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Until next time, much love and Mander on!
I think you might be pregnant!!
Lol! Not sure why you think that but I’m not.
Because you said there are some things we didn’t know.
I would consider that a major bullet point. Hahah.
Thanks for the catchup.You look more relaxed than I have ever seen you.I hope that is a good sign, and that your happiness will continue. Best wishes, Neale (in Spain)
Thanks for reading Neale! I am pretty relaxed and happy these days indeed. 🙂
Happy for you and Jason and continued success in the relationship journey. 🙂 It’s always nice to share your life with someone that is compatible but not necessarily the same. So sorry to hear about Atreyu, it’s never easy losing a fur baby. Stay well and happy on livin’ the life. Oh and Merry Christmas!!!
Thanks for the well wishes Soozy! Happy holidays to you as well!
Life is chock full of surprises and anytime we can transition with peace and goodwill there’s no regret. Ironically, it is those we meet after bumps and bruises that benefit from those who provide our growth. se la vie
We’re all just riding the ride the best we can!
I call my ’77 Dodge Champion, “The Bus.” We left Tampa in 2014 bound for Sitka, AK. But landed first in Silver City, NM. Even NM was too cold for my Florida blood, (6″ of snow!!), so we headed for Tucson. We’re now in Bisbee, AZ and pretty happy. I’m in an apartment now, and have listed The Bus on C’list twice, (w/many offers each time), but can’t seem to let her go. It’s a special relationship. Mander obviously has your heart also. Your rehab has so many homey aspects I can’t count. Great job! The bus has been through a few changes. The loft bed over the cockpit, (I’m 5’11” and it quickly became known as the headbanger), had to come out. I pulled all the panelling and cut “doorskin” for the walls all around.
Anyway…great job and happy trails. My blog started in 2009 with
and continues at
Jesse, Atreyu was such a regal cat and you gave him the most adventuresome life imaginable. It really made me smile to see his picture again. Best wishes to you and Jason. Enjoy the journey.
Aimee! Thank you so much for the care you gave him. I know he wasn’t always the easiest cat. You are a wonderful doctor and we were lucky to have found you! You really helped us through some tough times!
Nice to see life’s mostly treating you pretty good right now instead of the usual mechanical problems.
Hi, I’m one of those readers with no insta. Thanks for the update! Glad to see you’re finding happiness.
My cat, Oscar, died four days before Christmas. We were together for 8 years. He was 15 years like Atreyu and had the exact same kidney disease and then a mass in his stomach. I’m so sorry for your loss.
I’m so sorry to hear that. Kidney disease seems to be far too common in cats. I hope your heart is mending a little more everyday.
Do you think starting this type of life as a middle aged chronically ill woman is even possible?
Yes! This lifestyle can be shaped to fit anyone’s special needs. I know of a man who is in a wheelchair and traveled overseas in his sprinter van. I also know of someone with chronic illness that moved into his van to better control his environment. Age isn’t really a factor so if you can figure out how to navigate your illness, you can do!
Hey, It sounds like life is good for you and I’m happy for you. I wish you the best of luck in your travels and new romance. You did, however, make me cry reading about your kitty. That makes me so sad. 🙁 I have a 1978 31′ airstream and have thought about pursuing a similar lifestyle to yours. I was just unable to see it working out very well with my 3 Kittys and me all living in that trailer. IKD… I suppose you are living proof that it is actually possible. I will try to keep an open mind on that subject and not completely rule it out.
You be safe out there!
I have a 1978 GMC grand royale. I travel with 4 cats and 3.25 dogs. Cutie Pie the Chihuahua is only 11 lbs so she gets the .25 call.
I just watched a Utube vid where you explained your rehab and restor for the Mander. Had a crush up until the shower bucket talk, and the litter box caginess; full blown infatuation now. Then i google girl and her mander and read about Atreyu’s passing and start tearing up. I’m reaching out, because you took me on a journey; One that was fun and exciting. Not only do i want to make some cat upgrades in my rig. I’m gonna find that faucet end for my kitchen sink.
I’m not a full timer. And I’m not so infatuated that I’m gonna become one, just to get a chance at gassing up next to you. Smart man that Jason.
But i do feel i made a friend.
Keep rollin’ out
Mander is awesome! I caught you on a youtube channel a year or so ago & really liked the build out. I have a Truman to match your Moochi–they are real snugglers.
Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners. Respect your efforts, respect yourself.
Choose a path with heart.
Anything to keep you away from the truth and keep your soul, mind and body attached to the system !!
To seek freedom is the only driving force I know.
Take full responsibility for your life.
What that means is You need to recognize that you have a choice. And you recognize that you can act, in this very moment at anyway that you want!
And whatever the outcome of that might be take responsibility for that!
Forget the self and you will fear nothing, in whatever level or awareness you find yourself to be.
Only as a warrior can one withstand the path of knowledge.
A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad.
Challenges are simply challenges.
The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to infinity !!
You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.
Stay Positive during global nightmare and Focus on the good things.
Bless You Beautiful Soul♥️
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