The last few items lay on the floor by the door of the little gray cottage at the edge of the Maine woods. The rooms echo in their emptiness. I walk through each room doing a final check and saying goodbye.
This is the room where I slept for seven years of my life. This is where my good dog slept, always close to her human and feline pack. This is where my husband hung his clothes, in the closet that once was mine. This room was our office, first mine and then ours. We climbed these stairs each night, scuffed now where our shoes wore a path. This living room is where we learned to be a family and where we dreamed of a new life.
What if you could trade your life of quiet desperation for a life of quiet inspiration?
If you could sell everything you own and take to the open road in an RV, would you do it? Vegan author Caroline Grimm and her husband, Mike Corthell did just that.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
In 2018, Grimm was grieving and exhausted, and longing to find more time for what mattered. Together, the couple hatched a plan to leave behind a life that left them feeling overwhelmed and unfulfilled. They sold their house and most of their possessions, bought a travel trailer, and headed out to explore the country.
Grimm, a nearly lifelong student of Walden, Henry David Thoreau’s masterpiece, drew inspiration and courage from Thoreau’s enduring lessons. She insight-fully strikes at the heart of the problems of modern life that leave so many feeling a sense of quiet desperation.
In Echoes of Walden, she asks (and often answers) the questions that lay behind the modern day problems that plague so many of us. Confronting economic inequality, social ills, the American health care crisis and our individual roles in it, the illnesses caused by a lifestyle that fuels a life of fatigue and misery, and the environmental and social disaster of factory farming, she explores the underlying causes of our sense of desperation and despair.
As you follow the couple’s journey from “sticks and bricks” living to full-time RV living, you’ll get a taste for what it’s like to downsize, minimize, and economize belongings to find a way to fit two humans, two cats, and a dog into 240 square feet of mobile living space. You’ll catch a glimpse of the emotional toll our lives take on us through the constant work and worry and day-to-day just getting by.
This is a book about “What ifs.” What if we walked away from a life that isn’t working for us? What if we worked towards a creating a life of purpose and meaning? What if we questioned everything we’ve ever been taught about what life is? What if we had the courage and the dogged determination to create a life of peace, joy, adventure, and travel?
From the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain in Maine to the desert of New Mexico to the splendor of the Grand Canyon, she searches for her own healing and a new sense of “quiet inspiration.” This is the story of their journey so far and the essential truths they discovered along the way.
From the Author
The last few items lay on the floor by the door of the little gray cottage at the edge of the Maine woods. The rooms echo in their emptiness. I walk through each room doing a final check and saying goodbye.This is the room where I slept for seven years of my life. This is where my good dog slept, always close to her human and feline pack. This is where my husband hung his clothes, in the closet that once was mine. This room was our office, first mine and then ours. We climbed these stairs each night, scuffed now where our shoes wore a path. This living room is where we learned to be a family and where we dreamed of a new life.Here was the table where we ate our meals and shared our day. This is where my writing desk stood. How many hours and days and weeks and years I spent there, the words flowing through me. Here is the door I opened hundreds of times, going out into the world and coming home each day. Every room holds the stories. So much life lived. All the laughter and joy. All the sorrow and tears. All the hopes and dreams.Gathering up the last few things, I look around one more time. Goodbye. Goodbye.I pull the front door closed and lock it for the last time. The closing is at ten o’clock. Time for a new family to love this house, to make their own memories. Our future lies in another direction. Any direction we choose.
I smile at my husband as he makes last minute adjustments to our new home. Our dog and our cats are inside, not knowing what the future holds, nervous, but trusting us. Together we stow the last few items in the truck. We open the door to our new home and climb in. The dog dances around us. I gather up my paperwork. Time to go. Time to go.
We sit around the table in our real estate agent’s office. The closing documents are neatly stacked, binder clips holding each batch, ready for signing. The new homeowner is nervous. It’s his first house. He’s excited, too. I remember that feeling. I once sat where he sat. I am calm. A little sad. I catch my husband’s eye. We grin. The paperwork is signed. I hand over the keys. And I am free. Free from the grind that was stealing my life, crushing my spirit.
We drive back to the house. My husband hooks up the travel trailer while I get the pets settled in the truck. The cats in their carrier, the dog in her nest on the seat. We wave to the new homeowner, and slowly we pull our new home down the driveway. We don’t know what happens next. And that is what makes the very best of stories.