Updated: May 9, 2019
It’s hard to believe we started out with nothing but an idea and a basic layout (…a layout that I may or may not have changed on Trevor 8 times…)
Most people are under the impression that Trevor and I bought an already constructed frame and began the work on the inside of the truck. (Well alright, no one is under the impression that “WE worked” on the building process. Though I’ll have you know I picked up a power tool here and there to hand to Trevor…) But thats not the case. The process. The WHOLE process was a long, difficult, painful and crazy ride.
I remember dancing around the topic of a gypsies life style, or simplified living, (always ready to travel), when Trevor and I first started dating. In fact I think one of the things that initially drew me to him was that wanderlust soul. His hunger for adventure and his willingness to put things into motion. Those first couple months of life together were heaven on earth.
He made me feel reborn. As if the world was ours to conquer. For a time, Nothing else mattered.
In early 2016 Trevor worked on a Skoolie/RV project with
Pictures just don’t do the work justice. What they did (In less than 2 weeks, I might add) was nothing short of incredible. Needless to say, I fell in love all over again. I had to have it.
We spent many a night “netflix and chilling” binge watching “Tiny House Living” toying around the idea for ourselves. I started to put money aside (shout out to the “envelope system”! You know it if you know it) and Pinterest ALLLL day “tiny living.” It’s possible I became a tad bit obsessed with the idea. Food began to lose flavor, colors seemed dull…..just kidding, i wasn’t that bad. But dreaming with Trevor about the whole idea, did became a daily dinner topic.
In August 2017 we were given the amazing opportunity to photograph a Non-profit in Entebbe, Uganda for a wonderful ministry called:
(For those of you who know me, this was big. I immediately began to ask God what this meant. “Should we move to Uganda?” “Are we long term partners?” “Should we adopt?” “Can I full time photograph for ministry/humanitarian work?!”) I basically jumped the gun and tried to uproot our lives off of a single email.
Trevor (forever willing to say ‘yes’ to God and a new challenge), was very open to everything listed above, among other very long lists I was starting to create every day, revolving around plans in a third world country.
(As much as I love photographing weddings, my heart is always back in Haiti. I’m always open to getting back to that kind of work.)
Well God works in mysterious ways. The trip ended up being a much needed (hard) look in the mirror (while also being such an incredible experience. It was Trevors first time to a country in Africa and man was he popular. Everywhere we went kids and adults pointed and ran up to him. When they weren’t pulling down his arm to inquire about his sleeve tattoo. They are were calling him “Crazy white man” in Ugandan.) I didn’t know it then, but this was the last time I felt truly at peace.
Though it’s hard for me, even now, to write about, I felt as though the trip really made us realize that we needed to focus on ourselves and fixing some (long overdue) issues, we had both sort of pushed aside. Thats thing about marriage (and your 20’s, I guess) you can only hide for so long before they both call you out. (And yes, I am abundantly clear that this is the theme ((or anthem rather)) for our generation, focusing on ourselves and being selfish. The whole, “poor me, I’m broken movement”. But hear me out cause we’re just getting started.)
It was this time away, while praying about our role in a different life and country, that a special vehicle, that had a rough past herself, became available in auction.
A few days after we got back from Uganda we received an email saying that truck was ours.
…Wait what? Now what….
I’d be lying if I said everything fell into place after that. When we purchased our retired Stewart and Stevenson M1078, in August of 2017, it was on nothing but a complete wing and a prayer. Honestly, I never thought we’d get it. What the hell were we thinking?!
No clue but extremely optimistic, we made plans for Tiny living.
As fate would have it, 2018 ended up slapping me straight across the face and running away before I had time to react.
We started out the year with a health scare when my doctor called me in for an emergency scan after some funny blood work.
Tumor was benign, but it came with some not so terrific side effects and a hormone imbalance that left Trevor married to Jackal Friday through Sunday and Hide the rest of the week…
This was Terrible timing. We had 43 weddings on the books, 20 hours at my part-time job a week, several movie and commercial projects lined up, firework shows and far-far too many travel dates scheduled….
We quickly became busier (in the worst way) and more distracted than ever before.
In all the fuss of health, work, normal life, purchasing the truck and dreams to go out west, we kinda, sorta didn’t pay attention to the that fact that we had started advertising and accepting work in other states not too long after purchasing the truck…. So…come hell or high water, we were leaving the end of the year regardless.
“Regardless” turned out to be a tricky word.
2018 continued to remind me what a horrible business woman I was, how much lack of self care takes a toll on your mental and physical health, how years of sexual abuse trauma is not a “time healing” wound and that “regardless” of appearances, I had no idea what I was doing or who I was anymore.
Total fish out of water. Was losing direction and focus on everything that use to be so important. “Fake it until you make it” mentality. Moving through the motions.
Crashing hard at the end of each day. Totally defeated.
All the while, Trev feeling like he was losing control, losing his wife and struggling with demons of his own.
Most nights I’d sit in the tub soaking in bath salts and self-pity while Trevor sat outside the door asking “how he could help?”
So many demons came out of the wood work.
‘Its hard to dance with the Devil on your back” and you can only do it for so long.
People started to notice and the mask started to slowly come off. I was unraveling. I was getting questions about the scratches and scars on my arms, not so subtle comments about my “intensity” were being made and my doctor was starting to subscribe depression medication on top of my (already ridiculous amount of) daily pills and was suggesting psychiatrists.
If you’re reading this surprised, thank God I was able to fool a few of you.
As the year was coming to close (thankfully) and things started to slow down, we realized….”oh yeah, We have to be out west in two months for a full work schedule and the military truck is parked in the same place we placed it a year ago. “Oops.” Enter complete survival mode.
6 (VERY) long weeks later. He did it.
Somehow Trevor managed all my mess, normal life bills and responsibilities, working on a budget, 16 hour work days/ 7 days a week and still made time to focus on me and new years resolutions. It was full of sleepless and frustrating nights. Everything seemed to fight us every step of the way. Complete honesty here, not one thing on the project came easy.
When Trevor wasn’t breaking his hands putting something (back) together, he was draining his bloodshot eyes with research.
Exhausted, but full of hope, off (almost) all my medication, a very sweet and extremely important time of prayer with my parents, a quick goodbye party and SO MUCH love and support from our wonderful community. We hit the road on February 2nd.
Looking back, it was shit. I never want to go through 2018 again.
But I’m not mad it happened like that. If it didn’t we might not have made everything happen for another year or so…or maybe never. We probably would not have grown in the ways we did or learned some tough lessons that I whole heartedly believe are preparing us for something bigger.
There is so much more to unpack but the internet is probably not the best place for (all) of it.
Whenever I talk to my best friends, I always comment, “yeah its been tough, but I didn’t want an easy life. I wanted passion and experience. I wanted deep love and adventures. I want my life to have meaning and purpose. I want to grow.”
And as history has taught us, there are no good stories without great adversity.
This year, 2019, I’m looking forward to NOT looking forward. I plan on not making as many plans. I want to recenter my focus on things that should have always been in focus; God, community, health, love for others and self-love.
We are both looking forward to pursuing purpose in each day and finding out what our overall goals, dreams and future look like.
I’m looking forward to rediscovering Trevor. All the millions of layers there are to peel back. The complex creature he conintues to evolve into.
I think, for me, leaving Richmond was big part of this healing process. I’ve always had a struggle with boundaries and I just couldn’t create them, in a healthy way, in that environment.
I’m typically an open book kinda gal, but I really lost myself this past year.
I want to dive into healing so far, that I can discuss my history in a way that inspires others and holds nothing back.
There are still things to overcome. My ongoing health, Trevors ongoing battle with personal demons, a family members serious battle with health, small cracks in our marriage, (that we ignored for too long,) the guilt of leaving, my abusers place (which seems to be forever present) in our lives and some lessons still not fully learned. I’m learning that being healthy doesn’t mean you are “over” something. It just means you are dealing with it in a healthy way, when it comes up. Even if that means it comes up ever day for a little while.
Life lessons learned
First, find yourself a GOOD community and love them hard. Give give give. So that one day when you just don’t have anything left to give, you can receive from those same people.
Second, Don’t ignore the problem or talk yourself out of it like you’re crazy, or there is something wrong with you. There is, so Deal with it now, so that later is less painful.
Third, self pity is okay, for a time, its important to feel everything so that you can process. but don’t stay in the self pity state. For the love of God don’t do that to yourself or your family. Put in the work to get through it.
And last, never give up on people. Everyone is looking for someone who will stick by them no matter what. Someone who will never give-up on them. But most people aren’t willing to be that person for someone. In a ever changing world and an ever changing ‘Kourtney’, I’m thankful for Trevor.
Every. Single. Day.
I love that man. So F*cking much. ( <– Sorry mom, I just feel really strongly about it and couldn’t find a better word.)
And I know he is just as thankful for me sticking by him this past year too
(…Yeah I did some good stuff for him, he had a rough go of it as well, but that side of the story isn’t mine to tell.)
We’re on the road. We’ve got fire in our bellies, a hunger in our souls, and lots and lots of love in our hearts to give and receive.
Oh yeah, “Wazimu” is what they shouted at Trevor in Uganda. It means “crazy”.
…which I’m pretty sure is what we are.
Special thanks/Shout out to
Chic-fil-A, Lowes, Starbucks,WaWa’s late night coffee counter, Gepetto Millworks (specifically Matt and Brian), each of our parents Rob + Debbi Hetrick who kept a roof over our head, kept me sane and spoiled us with way too much.
Carol Smithson who made sure Trevor was eating and was always a phone call away with anything we needed,
Ian Smithson for helping with the skin of the truck and being a small light during a defeating moment, Roderick and Queta Smithson who asked on a daily basis how they could help and Kelley Blanchard (whom without I would still be laying on the bathroom floor of our old house wondering where to start).
And of course, EVER SINGLE PERSON, who prayed, sent good vibes, gave gifts, reached out and cared. You didn’t know what you were doing, but you were getting me through it.
You all are the REAL MVP’s