Living in a small rural town, opportunities to grow professionally are rare. I know many entrepreneurs enjoy making their businesses thrive, but the rest of us who are seeking to climb the corporate ladder are dependent on the few largest employers in our area. Inevitably, we plateau, either in position or income, and sometimes the missions we were excited about grow stale.
For months, Matt listened to me rage against the ladder- the inequity, the boredom, the timeline.
I was doing the right things to succeed, but "aging" into a position where my superior was less than a decade my senior. It was a recipe for frustration and resentment. Things needed to change. I needed to make a choice. I spoke with my boss about my concerns and was met with surprising support and understanding -and a proposition. A new location and a new opportunity to demonstrate my strengths and accelerate my growth...
...with a 87 mile commute, each way.
Expectations of eleven hour shifts seemed grueling and insurmountable to me and my intention to "have it all." To Matt and me, moving wasn't a serious option. We love our home in the forest as well as the small and familiar community we are a part of. My nine-year-old daughter's father shares custody and lives close by. Taking her away from him and her school wasn't right. The idea of putting money into an apartment chafed at every level. One night over our traditional "Porchwine," Matt joked that it was too bad that I couldn't just live in my truck part-time. It struck us, that in today's world, I could.
We went into full research mode (as a professor and novelist, Matt can be very resourceful). By the end of the week we had made countless inquiries, read hundreds of reviews, doom scrolled through countless social media hashtags, and littered our home with miles and miles of pro and con lists. With all this, we committed to purchasing a custom-built Kimbo 6 slide-in truck camper that would be my home away from home.
And so begins my autonomous adventure.
I am a mother and a partner. A daughter and a sister. A friend. But now, I embark on an adventure all my own (but so supported). Read along for the good days and the miserable ones. Learn what's working and about my epic fails. Doodle with me, cook with me, sort through emotions with me. Check out gear reviews on the equipment that Matt and I are loving. Geek out over my favorite organizational psychologists. Get inspired to have your own Autonomous Adventure.
See ya out there, Ren
Meet the Family
Ren Ren embarked on a new adventure in 2021 in order to continue to grow in her career. Never one to follow the traditional route, she is living half her week away from home, housesitting until the arrival of the family's Kimbo 6 truck camper in July. Ren enjoys cooking, slow jogging, and exploring the outdoors.
Matt Always patient and ever-supportive of Ren's half-baked ideas, Matt is often the catalyst of action. A writer, a professor, outdoor enthusiast, and practical gearhead, Matt has been published in many magazines and is currently shopping his first novel. Matt is responsible for most of the Autonomous Ren Gear Reviews, meticulously testing and sharing his results.
Fun Fact: Matt does ALL the dishes in the household, including Ren's meal prep boxes. This may or may not be due to Ren's terrible dish-doing.
Ace Adventurous and creative, Ace is Ren's daughter and Matt's buddy. She'll make occasional appearances in stories and reviews, but we want to do all we can to protect her privacy until she is ready to wade into the worldwide web independently. If she wishes, you might see some of her own doodles and creations, or hear her own reviews of the gear we use in the field! Fun Fact: Ace can sing all the words to the Broadway musical Hamilton and is a self-proclaimed expert on all things Harry Potter and is a student of the Marvel cinematic universe.
Salmon P. Wiggles Canine companion and ever present shadow, Salmon is always up for a hike or a car ride, and is slowly learning to love kayaking. Salmon is the resident canine gear tester and has impeccable taste. Despite what Matt may say, Salmon loves a good bandana and is especially fond of coconut-banana treats. Fun Fact: Salmon gets his name from his unique full body wiggle that makes him look like a giant fish out of water, full of folds and bending.
The Ladies (Plus Malcom) 28 hens and a rooster named Dr. Ian Malcom make their roost at the homestead. They do not go on many adventures, content to fuel Ren, Matt, Ace & Salmon with their delicious eggs!
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