We’ve been staying in the Toaster on a farm in Candler, NC (just outside of Asheville city limits) for the past 2+ months. During this time, we’ve realized we don’t want to own a farm one day.
And that is one of the greatest gifts road life has given us: finding out these lifestyles we’ve romanticized aren’t really for us before we commit to them.
Don’t get me wrong, Whistlepig Farm is on 7 acres of beautiful land surrounded by mountains, fields, fireflies, a creek, and a view of Mt. Pisgah. It’s a wonderful place to stay (you can too, by booking the house through Airbnb), and we’re thrilled to have been able to call this place home.
But Jerud and I have realized we don’t want the responsibilities that come with owning a piece of land like this: the large vegetable garden, chickens, goats, and fields to mow.
It’s too easy to idealize other lifestyles without acknowledging the reality and hard work that comes with them. This can and should be said for RV and van life, too.
The truth is, oftentimes it’s just the ideas we love. Jerud and I get excited about growing our own food, but neither of us have a green thumb and there’s a lot of weeding involved. Goats are entertaining to watch but more work and money than we’d want to put into them, even if it’s for milk and meat. Then there’s the intangible cost to having all that - freedom. They need to be cared for daily – you can’t just up and leave for a week without making some serious arrangements. It comes down to priorities: traveling will always be part of our lives even when we’re no longer living on the road and we will always choose mountain biking over mowing.
But the Toaster has allowed us to slip into different lives for short periods of time and immerse ourselves in them. It’s different than booking an Airbnb for vacation and more similar to a long-term house-sitting gig. We get to experience the whole package.
Yes, I think donkeys are adorable and I got to take care of two for several weeks on separate occasions in Montana. But then I was able to get in the truck and drive away. Sharing a piece of land with friends seems idyllic, until the realization of potential conflicts surface. I love the eeriness of isolated desert landscape, but come summer time I’m headed north.
Boondocking and moochdocking (boondocking on private land) have given me bite-size tastes of many living styles without strings attached, and that’s something invaluable. It’s simple to visit a place and imagine yourself there without any of the chores and responsibilities. But when we stay somewhere for longer periods of time, we get to see what actually goes into living a certain kind of life. At this point I still don’t know what kind of lifestyle or place I would chose when it is time to settle down. But there’s a lot to be said for figuring it out through learning what I don’t want first. I’m not in a hurry for answers. I’m eager for experiences and road life keeps delivering.