When I Grow Up

Posted by Rebecca

I’m pretty sure there is no child alive who has ever uttered the words, “When I grow up I want to live in a trailer in the Nevada desert.”  It’s just not done.  I grew up in Canada with both my parents, in a regular house with a couple of pets.  It was what I knew.  But sometimes life takes unexpected paths, and you end up in a strange location with a life you had never imagined.

Of the many turns my life took in 2010, the move to the trailer was one of the big ones.  I felt like such a loser to have ended up there.  Funny thing was, though, I never viewed Tanille and her husband, James, that way.  I was so proud of them for simplifying and making their life work.  And I loved their place, and wished it was me there.  However, when it really was me, I was a little horrified by my decision.  In theory, a great idea, in reality, pretty hard to swallow.

I remember before I moved into the trailer, Tanille told me, “You have to be strong to do this.”  I had no idea what she meant, and thought she was being completely mellow-dramatic.  But after a few weeks of the trailer thing, I got it.  I knew what she meant.  How you had to force yourself to not cringe when you had to tell someone you lived in a trailer park.  How you couldn’t (and still don’t really) understand why USPS insists on your address being Trlr 21 instead of #21.  How you had to verify your mailing address several times (“yes, really, it’s Trlr 21”) to your brokerage firm before they believed you.

And I know that so many really great people live in trailers, and no disrespect to them.  But I had never once, while I was growing up, been led to believe that anyone ever chose to live in a trailer.  Especially an old, tiny one.  It was more, where you ended up.

So one Saturday afternoon, during my hundreds of trips to Home Depot, I was schlepping around the store feeling especially sorry for myself.  I was standing in the middle of one of the aisles, when it suddenly dawned on me that the distance between the merchandise shelves was precisely the width of my new home.  10 feet.  A flood of emotion swept over me – I felt like a total failure.  This was not what I wanted to be at 36.  I had never once told myself, my mom, my teacher or my friends that when I grow up I want to be divorced twice, on the verge of bankruptcy and living in a single-wide trailer.  What had gone so wrong??

And then, as I raised my head, my tear-stained cheeks burning, I noticed a large slobbering Golden Retriever dragging his owner towards me.  He planted a dead stop in the aisle and released a mountain-sized steamy dump right there in the middle of the store.  The reality of the moment snapped me out of my pitiful state.  I smiled to myself and looked down at my Cassi, who wasn’t relieving herself.  And as we walked hand in leash out of the store I thought to myself, “You know what?  Things could be worse.  We are going to be ok.”


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About trailerchic

Somehow I ended up in a single-wide trailer, in Reno, Nevada. And somehow I love it. Here is where I tell my story about my trailer, and my passion for small space living, photography, travelling, and running.

8 thoughts on “When I Grow Up

  1. I find what you did very admirable. When you drive by large houses and see people with fancy cars you can be sure that they are likely stressing like crazy about paying the bills. You have made a great little space your home! Be proud and if anyone judges you…CLEARLY, they are not worth your time! Check out Apartment Therapy’s Big Book of Small, Cool Places. You are doing what’s cool!!! Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks, Stacy! I had a rough start at my pad, but now I LOVE my little place. Wouldn’t trade it for any extra square footage. I’ll have to check out that Apt Therapy book. Tanille and I are big fans of the Apt Therapy 8 Step Home Cure. Perfect for a tiny home.

  2. I totally understand the “what happened to me?” ……..”how did I end up here?” type-feelings. It feels so “behind” everyone else.

    Listen up. You’re doing awesome. Eden and I were just saying how amazing we think you are! Always, happy, always witty and you seem so positive.

    Your little trailer may not have started out as your choice, but it has BECOME your choice. Just remember that.


    • Aw, thanks Raquel! And you’re right, I’m happy with the way things have turned out. I love my place and my life right now. And I think my positivity comes from having so many amazing people in my life, like you and Eden.

  3. Hi Rebecca,
    I recently became the proud owner of a mobile home as well. Maybe I shouldn’t say proud since I don’t often tell people where I live either. People are funny, you mention you live in a park and they look at you like a third eyeball popped out of your face and they are simply trying to hide their horror and disgust with it. We downsized so we could survive. I went to college but became a mom and let my career drift away to be with the kids since daycare is outrageous. Our tiny business is just enough to stay afloat–barely. So moving to a mobile home “community” became essential for our survival. I have to keep from comparing myself to others and try to banish the “if onlys”–if only I had stayed in my career as a nurse, if only we hadn’t bought a house and ended up upside-down in our mortgage, if only we had money!! I am 39 and believe me if someone told me I’d be living in a trailer park with a loud, obnoxious, soon-to-be-evicted next door neighbor who is less than 20 feet away, I would have slapped them silly. I have to remind myself we chose this home. We chose to downsize rather than fall apart financially. We chose to have me stay home with the kids rather than have a career (I don’t have a problem with career moms at all but we agreed I needed to be home). I had to laugh at how you found humor in realizing life can have worse moments. I also had to remind myself as well as anyone else who chose to downsize that we are NOT failures. If our life’s worth is merely a collection of things then perhaps I have failed but my life is a collection of memories that I wouldn’t trade (ok maybe some haha) with friends and family, of trial and triumphs. I have plenty of “things” inside my dwelling but those “things” failed to have ever had great conversation, provided a shoulder to cry on, or made me laugh uncontrollably. It’s just stuff (mostly acquired off Craigslist freebie section–oh yeah resourceful mama here!). My van has rust from upstate NY road salt, my house needs new siding badly, and my kitchen could use a coat of fresh paint but all in all we are well fed, we are clothed, we have shelter, and we have each other. And if I didn’t have my family I’d have great friends. And if I didn’t have my friends I’d have my boxer dog Violet. I am so thankful to have stumbled upon your blog and I am so glad someone in cyberville shares my angst and elation with choosing to slowly become debt free. I am so glad you openly said what I feel inwardly. Sorry for the novel but I feel a sense of relief that another “trailer person” gets how I feel and said it so well!
    ps Your little home is absolutely gorgeous and you should be proud of it!! It looks like a beautiful show home 🙂

    • Thanks, Cynthia! You are so sweet! We have both made choices that aren’t “normal” for our culture – one that is driven by an aquisition of stuff (mostly crap!). It’s an on-going process to maintain a positive view of my so-called ‘trailer trash’ lifestyle, but, honestly, right now I wouldn’t change it for the world. Thanks for your thoughts and support, and keep living simple! It’s definitely the only way to go. 🙂

    • Cynthia,

      Thank you for your comments. I’m so glad that our blog and Rebecca’s posts have been inspiring to you. You have so much to be proud of and mostly it’s your attitude. It’s regrettable that most people today have missed what’s really important – taking care of their families, spending time with them and living a full life. You seem to “get it” and should always be proud of that. Kudos to you for making your dreams come true despite how they may “look”. – Tanille – tanilleleal@gmail.com

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