Thursday , August 17 2017
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Roughing it in Virginia

Norm and I recently finished an 18-month stint of living in our RV while we were building a house in Wisconsin. We had gone through two stages of downsizing and realized that when we did get our items out of storage, we would be able to purge again.

We had learned what was important and what we could live without. We had a roof over our heads, enjoyed the luxury of electricity, heat and indoor plumbing. All of the comforts of a home. This time in our RV was good for us and our relationship. It was a very positive experience for us.

We have friends in Virginia that are doing something similar, but way different than we did. They recently moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia from Michigan. Their mountain hide-away is not that remote, just not developed.

They just completed the process of clearing enough trees and shrubbery to build the first of the couple of buildings they have planned. However, they don’t have the same modern comforts that we had available when we lived in the RV.

They have taken a small pull behind camper, gutted most of it to make room to store their stuff, and use it to sleep in. My friends have decided to totally rough it while they develop their property. They cook over an open fire usually but use a gas grill occasionally. They do not have electricity so they sparingly use a generator to supply power for tools and they use an outhouse as their bathroom.

They have made decisions about what they want to accomplish and how they would live until these goals are finished. They have made adjustments as they have had to such as what, and how they cook a meal when it’s raining. This lifestyle works for them!

I recently had the opportunity to visit their homestead on the mountain top and spent a glorious morning exploring it. I lounged in a chair and watched the men working on raising the barn, their first building.

Unfortunately, for them, it probably will not be complete in time for them to move in before winter. That wasn’t their schedule anyway, it was what we tried to convince them to do in order to be more comfortable. They aren’t interested in comfort. They have a plan and want to follow through with it.

Life is what you make of it. Just as Norm and I were very content in our RV for 18 months, our friends are content and thriving on their mountain top in Virginia. It is not how I would choose to live, but roughing it in Virginia appears to work for them.


About Cathy Duesterhoeft

Cathy and her husband, Norm, travel throughout the United States in their Brave Winnebago working for Mainly Marathons. When home in Westfield, Wis., their RV is parked on a gravel pad while they finish construction on their new home. Cathy documents their many adventures on her website at

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