My name is Terez and I'm a 25 year old college graduate traveling the western United States with my two cats in a '92 Winnebago Brave RV! I quit my two jobs and decided to live life to the full by downsizing to life on the road. Below is my story...

I'll give you the short, which for me is incredible difficult to do, and I warn you might not be all that short because to me the details are the foundation for my adventure--and let's be honest--this girl can talk. I was born and raised in Eagle River, Alaska. When I was 17 I moved to Reno, Nevada to attend the University of Nevada, Reno. After a few difficult semesters of pulling out my hair wondering "WHAT DO I DOOOOO?" my family friend (thanks for that, Chris!) suggested I take an introduction to elementary education course because she thought it fit the bill after working with me that summer at the Golden Nugget RV Park in Anchorage. When I returned to school in the fall, I took her advice, had a few great teachers, wonderful classmates...the rest is history!

After 5 years at UNR, I graduated in May 2014 with my bestfriends sitting next to me, the day before I turned 23. Talk about a brilliant day; I obtained my bachelors of science in integrated elementary teaching with an emphasis in special education. I went on to long term substitute at Roger Corbett Elementary School, and ended up being asked to stay thru the whole year in various positions. I was at the school from end of October through mid-June. I was often asked to step into any class whenever a teacher needed to miss a day or a sub cancelled last minute, and I quickly became well loved by all k-6 students as Miss Neel.

While working at Roger Corbett, I also worked at a busy restaurant as a server 3ish nights a week as well as Sat/Sun. Needless to say, life got crazy for me. Since I'm a workaholic at heart I actually really loved this! Until I realized one day how hyper-stressed my body was that it was so energetic ALL DAY LONG and I virtually had no off-switch. No surprise from being with kiddos all day then trying to please mostly rude adults at night; I credit my coworkers/team for getting thru life during this time, they are such beautiful and supportive people. I think my body was in fight or flight and telling me to slow down and stop working from 8amish-10pmish (or later). Did I listen to my wonderful vessel of life?? You'd think! However I actually continued this for another year at different schools, while continuing to serve...because you guys, I am a warrior woman and can just do everything all the time!! PSH. Trying to do this while sustaining a relationship and friendships, and just general well being for myself, does. not. work. Period.

Which then brings me to October 2015. I'm tired. I'm single-ish? (another story for another time). I have a few loyal friends that have held on during my crazy work schedule and 'literally no time for anyone' stage--you guys rock by the way. I'm generally exhausted and wondering why my money is stacking yet I have no end goal or reason for the stacking. So I get to thinking, what do I, Terez, AKA 'say yes to everyone, help everyone, generally be there for everyone except yourself,' want to do? I landed on traveling and just living light for a while. You know, really slooow down and find myself, as the hippy in me wanted to say at the time. In the month I've been on the road I have actually discovered much greater things about life, but I'm getting ahead of myself... Since I had two sweet cats that were of course joining the party, I wanted something bigger than a van (although one day you better believe we are coming for you vanlife!!) and started looking up RVs. Endless time passed, ... wait, it was only five or six days and a brief conversation with my dad HAHA, oh man. In hindsight, I am kind of crazy. I had looked at one RV, that's right -ONE- decided it was love, and purchased and held the keys to my '92 Winnebago Brave. Again, in hindsight I was SO excited and I probably could have looked around more, but when you know you got it good, why move on? This baby had just gotten a brand new transmission and tires, and only over 49,000 miles on the engine. WOAH.

The next sixish months I got to know my Brave Lady really well. The ins and outs, the hidden and the exposed, the rickety and the loose, and the broken--OH the broken! I grew so fond of spending time in the RV during this time of fixin-up, and would venture over to where it was parked (shout out to the REAL MVPs Denise and Emily, and their roommate Lilly, where I was able to park the Brave Lady in their backyard!) to hang out and work on her as much as I could. Fast forward to March. I could hardly contain myself as the journey was getting so close! I talked to my school about leaving, gave notice with my landlord to move out of my home of the last two plus years, and would shortly give my two weeks notice at the restaurant (which was groovy as well!).

My dad ended up flying down from Alaska four times (five including the time he met me in Phoenix just to hang out in a junkyard and SAVE THE DAY...more on that in another post). Also thanks to my amazing mama for working so hard with Alaska Airlines; he was able to travel so much.

My dad is my ultimate hero in this whole thing, everyone. Let it be known, that I am so proud to be the daughter of Tyrone Neel, and to have watched and learned from him while he worked CRAZY hard on a motorhome that isn't even his. Talk about a labor of love for me. I've watched him work hard my whole life, but this was up close and personal for me. It was healing for me to spend so much time with him on something that meant so much to me. When I last saw him in Phoenix, I finally asked him where he learned everything he knows, or if someone had showed him these things; He is like watching a well oiled machine, and I was sure it had to be taught. For example he read up for a few minutes, and then straight rewired an entire air conditioning system into something that already existed, just by looking at it and figuring it out, and IT WORKED THE FIRST TRY. Mind you, it took time and such patience on his end, but he got 'er done. To me, he's genius! To my question he answered, "Nobody. Everything I know is from life experience. From looking at things and getting so stuck at times that I just have to take the whole thing apart or make my own way. I look at something and think 'what am I trying to do, where is the source, and how does this all work together?' I hope you will be at that point in your life one day too." I hope to be half as creative at problem solving as my dad by the time I am his age. Back to the story though...

My parents came to Reno a few days before I moved out of my house. My dad to work on the RV, and my mom to help me meal prep and condense the last of my things to move. I held two garage sales and took three carloads of things to donation centers and goodwill. Finally, on April 15th of this year I moved out of my house and into the RV completely with my cats. To be honest this process took more like a month and a half of slowly organizing everything into it's perfect little space, where the true OCD in me really got to shine! My neighbors really loved the brave as their eye candy during this time also... but I digress. So here I am, living Brave!!

 

Did I mention this is the short version of my story? Read more specifics about different places I go and people I meet at my blog at terezonwheels.wordpress.com.