The Happiness Lottery

The Journey to HappinessTalk to any ten people and they may have a different view on what happiness means.  Some need lots of money and lots of stuff to be happy while others tend to be happier when life is simple and they value the things that matter most.  Neither one of the view points is wrong, they are just different.  In our case we tend to focus on those things that matter the most to use and view money as that tool that allows us the opportunity to do the things that make us happy.  We determined that enough is good enough.
We are not gamblers when it comes to pretty much anything.  I like to go to the casino every now and again and play, but it is strictly for entertainment, I don’t count on winning at the casino to pay bills and put food on the table.  The same is with our lives, we don’t gamble when it comes to the tings that make us happy.  We look to the sure thing.  Playing the Happiness Lotto is not a way that we like to play the game of life.  Now that is not to say that we don’t take some risks, it is just that we try to mitigate the negative outcomes as much as we can.  You can’t eliminate it all so that is where staying the course on our plans come in.  Being disciplined in how we use our resources and treat the people and things in our lives.  We don’t play the Happiness Lottery.
We try not to worry about the little stuff, we plan for how we are going to live, and we stick to the plan.  Spinning the wheel and hoping never leads to happiness.  When I was in Iraq we used to say that Hope is not a plan.  We can hope things are going to go our way but unless you do something to make it happen, it won’t.  So it is with Happiness.  You need to make it happen!  And we do.
Life is Good Today!

Be Happy.

The DIY Option

DIY-bandeau-1This week we added another upgrade to our Keystone Passport Travel Trailer.  We seem to be in a mode of upgrading some of the little things and some that may seem a bit larger.  As discussed in a previous post I understand why the manufacturers tend to go with “cheaper options” when constructing an RV, it all comes down to cost and time.. so be it.  In talking with a Keystone rep at the last RV show he gave us the “insider scoop” that if you want everything perfect you need to go to the factory and get it made that way.  Well for most of us that is not an option and when it comes to cost I think doing the little upgrades a few at a time will ultimately save you money in the long run.  Besides, being new to RVing I really didn’t know what I wanted until about a year in the RV and seeing other trailers.  So it really is trial and error for a while and then you fall into the get what you want mode.
For us every upgrade we make now is a plus.  The RV is paid off so all the cost now is added value to us and it makes the trailer more suitable to how we use it and meets our needs.  The thing that we have learned in this process is just how much you can do yourself.  Now there are things that I won’t do like drill holes in the side of my rig to install a Slider Topper.. nope.. way out of my wheel house.  But I am finding that many things can be done by myself and at a tremendous cost savings.  The case in point, and it cost me too much for this lesson, is this weeks upgrade.  We had installed (there’s the mistake) a set of Morryde Step Above steps.   We saw them at the RV show and immediately knew we needed them on our trailer.  They replace the existing fold out steps on the rig.  I spoke with the Rep from MorRyde at the show and demo’d the steps and some of the other MorRyde products.  They are fantastic, solid, super stable steps and they are great on the trailer.  I took the brochure home and did all the measuring to find the set we needed to fit our rig and went to Camping World to buy them.  They are running a $59 “We install anything” deal right now…. which is not entirely true after you pay for the parts and labor.. not to mention the item itself.  But I had them install it and came to find out one of my doors is smaller than the other and so only one set could installed.  MorRyde does not make the small door option yet.. I sure hope it’s coming.  The install took a few hours, I’m sure it is because they are installing a ton of stuff with the $59 deal, but what it amounted to was putting the stairs in and mounting them with 6 screws.  Six screws that are easily accessible.  After looking at what took Camping World 2 hours to do I kicked myself in the rear for spending the money on the install.  I could have done it in 10 minutes.  Had I ordered the steps on Amazon

6Exm0vKKTYe50TdyCU7OIgand had them shipped to my house I could have saved about $200 in shipping, labor, and install fees.  Lesson learned, look into the DIY options before you buy.
I have done a lot of little improvements to the RV.  Today I installed a pole in the closet.  We converted our bedroom closets using inexpensive drawers we found at Target so we needed to make the lined closet usable to hang jackets and shirts that need to be hung on hangers.  Took me 5 minutes and it’s done the way I wanted it.  The point is that I am learning to do it myself.  As we take our trailer out more and more and see what upgrades or manufactures are doing with the newer trailers we see things that we like and want.  From now on we will be always be looking at how we can do it ourselves before we jump to the install.  Now if it is stuff that I just not comfortable with then paying for piece of mind is always worth the cost.
So here is a list of the what we have upgraded or changed in our Keystone Passport to date:
New Mattress on bed
Installed cup holders around dinette
Bedroom closet drawers
Hall closet hanger
MorRyde steps
Slide topper
Replaced Door windows with Thin Shade windows
Replaced curtain stays as they have been breaking with zip ties
Replaced Scissor Stabilizers with Eaz Lift stabilizers
Vent Covers on the two vents on roof
Added antenna booster to TV
Lost of Command Hooks around to hang things
Tongue Jack replaced
Kitchen sink faucet replaced
Bathroom sink faucet replaced
Shower head replaced
Started changing our light bulbs inside to LED bulbs
Seat Cushions in Dinette replaced
I’m sure I am forgetting something here, but we are making the RV the best for us and we love it!
What are some of the upgrades that you have done on your rig?  We would love to know heck maybe it will inspire us to do more upgrading.
Let us know!
Have a Happy Day!

Window Up Grade! AP Products Thin Shade

11080005This week we upgraded the door windows of our Passport.  We went with the AP Products Thin Shade.
We went with these windows for a couple of reasons.  First, we love the shade that is built into the window.  The older windows allowed for privacy, but the look was just not what we liked.  The old windows looked like the glass that you find in a restroom.
Second, we love that the new windows match the smoked glass look of all of the rest of the windows on the trailer.  It makes the look of the RV much nicer and the door side now has a matched texture of the glass, it just seems to flow better.
Finally, the price was right.  We got an incredible deal on the set of windows.  We stopped by camping world.  The windows were on sale from $133 a piece to $119.  Then we got to the register we discovered thanks to the associate that there was another price marking on the box.  She told us that she had to charge us whatever the price is on the box.. so we got both windows for $180.
The project took only 20 minutes to install both of the windows, the hardest part was taking the old windows out.  Once I got them out and cleaned up the door the new install was quick and easy.
It says that the windows fit most RV’s.. they fit in our doors like fingers in a glove.  Perfect fit and great look.  Looks like they came installed from the factory… which begs the question… no it actually doesn’t.. I understand why the factory does not do the cool upgrades and I appreciate that.  The money spent later is well worth it because then you have the ability to customize your rig.
So another nice upgrade to the RV.  Glad we got it done.
Heres a video that gives you an idea of the project.
Have a Happy Day!

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March RV Upgrades

March is here and we look forward to some better weather.  25 degrees this morning here in Oregon, but we ready the Passport for another weekend adventure.  Last week we did some upgrades to the RV, one that was a must and a couple others that are just upgrades or nice to have.
smartjackFirst, the must item, and the more I think about it… yes it needed to be replaced, but we decided to replace it.. again, with a better one.  I am talking about out Tongue Jack.
On our last outing the Harbor Freight tongue jack that we replaced the original crank jack with finally gave out.  We got a good three years out of it so in Harbor Freight terms, we got our money worth.  It was a serious situation that when it finally did give out and we did a quick $60 fix (removed the urgency from the situation).  Last week however I went down to Camping World and picked up a new Smart Jack from Lippert.  It is a 3500 lb jack and has some cool features like setting the hitch height.  It was a super easy install and it is functioning great.  Lesson learned.  When you raise the Jack for travel and you hear the “Clunk”.  You have gone to far.  Repeatedly raising the jack to the absolute top will eventually wear out the gears and it will seize up.  The fix.  I am adding a strip of duct tape to the drop leg at the point before it reaches the top.  This will allow for some space so I do not reach the top and hear the “Clunk”.  This will keep the gears from seizing and wearing out.  You can see the install here.
faucetThe second upgrade we did was to replace the faucet in the bathroom sink.  We removed the standard plastic faucet which did not fit very well with the sink.  It was hard to wash hands, brush teeth etc.  We replaced it with the 4 inch faucet from Valterra.  This new faucet is higher and has a better reach into the sink.  The single handle is a nice feature that we like and it matches the faucet that we have in the galley.  We went with the nickel brushed look.  It goes well with the counter top in the bathroom, as it does in the galley.  This too was a real easy install.  Literally took about 10 minutes, mostly because I was shooting a video that showed the install.  I really like how it looks in the bathroom and adds to better functioning of the bathroom sink.  I wish we would have done this upgrade years ago.
So a word about things like hardware for the sink etc.  I understand why the manufacturers put in less expensive and lesser quality items like plastic faucets and sinks and hand crank tongue jacks in the trailers.  First it reduces the overall cost.  I appreciate that.  In most cases it cuts down on the weight of the trailer also.  That in the grand scheme of things is not that important to me.  My tow vehicle can handle the weight and the frame, axels, and build the trailer will certainly handle the extra weight of a new bathroom faucet.  So it really is a cost issue.  All of us are looking at ways to save money, but in the long run, if you are going to make your RV something that you love, you will eventually upgrade items.  We have been doing this little by little and one item at a time.  We find the items when they are on sale or when we can.  Little by little we have made the trailer better and better.  Many times its the little things that make a big difference.
57325753895__2428A478-4BF3-41D1-8114-C77E8A873B4DThe other upgrade that we are replacing is our stabilizers.  We bent one on a trip out to Sera and Sand RV resort a year ago.  It has not stopped the functioning of the stabilizer, but it is bent and I don’t like it.  I saw a video of a guy that replaced his stabilizers for beefier more solid stabilizers, again, the manufactures put on stabilizers that get the job done, but are lesser quality.  So we went to our RV dealers store and picked us up some of the EAZ Lift 5000 lb stabilizers.  Not that we will ever need or put 5000 pounds on each of the four stabilizers at any given time, but these stabilizers are …. well…. stable.  They reduce the wiggle and sway and are solid.  The old ones can literally be shaken by hand, the new Eaz Lift stabilizers give a fit and feel of stability.  I am looking forward to getting out and seeing the difference in our RV with these on.
Well, that is it for now.  We are doing some little things inside the RV, adding some personal touches, but major purchases are over for now… oh except the big upgrade.  For those of you that follow us on Instagram you saw it last week.. We paid off the trailer!  A major upgrade in for our financial situation!
What are some of the upgrades you have done?  We’d love to hear.
Have a Happy Day!

4 month review

analyticsI would like to start this by saying Thank you to everyone that has paid us a visit, left a comment, and started following this Blog.
We started this blog at the end of October 2018.  The intent was to document our Journey.  I was quickly approaching my retirement date and wanted to have a place to share our Journey as we started a new chapter in our lives.
It’s been 4 months since we started.  This is the 56th post and the numbers are in.
65 of you are following the blog via WordPress.  but it looks like we are gaining some traction with the blog views.
In 2018 we had 626 views from 337 visitors.  134 of you liked what you saw and 5 even left a comment.
In the two months of 2019 we have already seen some growth which leaves us motivated to keep it up and share away!
507 views so far from 309 visitors with 58 likes but already 6 comments.
Ok.. why share those numbers?  I don’t know.
Seriously.  It is not about money or fame, it is about sharing.  We don’t make money on this site and even though we became an Amazon Affiliate and encourage people to visit Amazon using our link.. that money..when we make some will all be going to charity.
So what’s with the numbers.  It’s about exposure.
The more numbers the higher you rank on the internet search engines and thus, more traffic is driven your way.  If we are going to share.. we want to share big!
So, while it’s not about the numbers.. it helps when we know that we are in fact reaching an audience that is along with our Journey.
I just thought it was interesting to see our blog grow in just a few months.  I am curious to see how it grows over the next 2 months as we reach our 6 month mark.. and then again at the end of this year.
Just like the blog we are watching our Youtube Channel as it grows… Extremely slowly.. but from 4 subscribers to 24 (at the time of this post).  Not monumental, but hey at least some one is watching.  I am sure at some point it will get traction also as we get better with our content and production.  Either way.. it’s about sharing our story and having some fun with it.
Thanks again for coming along.
If you are new here.. consider following the blog and check out our Youtube Channel.  And join the community by leaving us a comment.
Thanks again.
Have a Happy Day!

 

 

 

Happiness Tip #3 – The People in our Lives

17201265_10211096623424936_6421052433514078069_nWater seeks its level… and so it is with friendships.
I grew up in an Army family.  We moved every three years whether we wanted to or not.  Where my Dad went we followed.  It was just life and to my siblings and I it was totally normal.  Everyone in our friendship circles were in the same boat.  We all had to make new friends every three years and with few exceptions we never saw one another again.  We moved about half way through my Senior year of High School.  I won’t lie, it sucked. Because of our rotation I had actually been at the same High School since I was a Freshman.  Needless to say, when we got to our next place, we made some new friends, I graduated from High School, then I left again, this time for the Army myself… where I started the process all over again.
In 1988 I finally settled down, met my new best friend and made the decision that this was it, I was planting roots.  The Army took me away a few more times, but by and large we had settled down.  After we got married and made the decision that we wanted our kids to grow up in a “hometown”.
It was fun to watch them grow up and make friends, friends that they still have today.  It all seems so normal.  And as we settled in, we made friends, friends that we love to be with and share our lives with.  These people add to our happiness.
Our friends, family, and people who come and go from our lives all add to our happiness.  True friends that we laugh, cry, and share with are all part of what makes us happy.  We have many friends, few close friends, and lots of people that make up the circle which brings happiness to us.  Through Scouting, I have a ton of friends, many of them I consider family, others I just love to be around.  Through other aspects of our lives we have made friends that are always there and we love to be with.  And our family, maybe because of the way we grew up together is close.  Our family had to circle the wagons every three years and start from square one.  So we adapted to being close to one another.  My Sister (she’s the blonde in the picture) is now one of my closest friends… and we RV together all the time.
So the Happiness tip… make great friends and keep your family close.  The people in your life make a huge difference in your happiness.
I could not be more happy with our friends and family and hope that you have people in your lives that make you just as happy… and never forget the impact that you have on them.  You make them happy too.
Dennis Prager shared this;

“For much of my life, I, like most people, regarded the pursuit of happiness as largely a selfish pursuit. One of the great revelations of middle age has been that happiness, far from being only a selfish pursuit, is a moral demand.
When we think of character traits we rightly think of honesty, integrity, moral courage, and acts of altruism. Few people include happiness in any list of character traits or moral achievements.
But happiness is both.
Happiness — or at least acting happy, or at the very least not inflicting one’s unhappiness on others — is no less important in making the world better than any other human trait.
With some exceptions, happy people make the world better and unhappy people make it worse. This is true on the personal and global planes.”

You can read the whole article here.

I’ll leave you with this.  Baden Powell the founder of Scouting shared this:
“But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best.”

Be Happy and be the person that brings happiness to others.  You will get more back than you can imagine.
Thanks for hanging out with us on our Journey.
Have a Happy Day!

Happiness Tip #2 – Declutter

16864200_10210956663766032_2572772815531985169_nStuff.. more Stuff… and even more Stuff… Happy yet?

Stuff has become a dominate factor in most people’s lives.  A need to keep up with the Jones’s and wealth being measured in things.  But it does not bring happiness.

OK… I like stuff to, but it is important to know that the stuff should be something that enhances our lives, not dictates how our lives should be lived.

Clutter has caused many of us to loose focus on what is important.  Again, this adds to the stress of life.  I do not suggest I am perfect…. but I do know how to identify and correct problems.  Over the last couple years, we have started the reduction of clutter in our lives.  Everything from financial stress to stuff.  We have learned that there is a line that when crossed adds to stress and reduces our happiness.

Happiness is a state of mind.  When the mind is cluttered it does not function well.  Remember back in the day when you crammed for tests… your mind was so full of information that it could never operate efficiently.  Yeah, you may have passed the test, but you could have done better had you taken it with a mind that was prepared and not stressed.  Our happiness is not dependent on other people.  Keeping up with the Jones’s just leads to chasing our tail.  Getting deeper in debt and ultimately living someone else’s dream instead of your own.  When we declutter and take on our own dreams we tend to be happier.

Now I know that this is not a one size fits all post.  Some people have a strong desire to have more stuff… it makes them happy… until it doesn’t anymore.

What I have seen is people that have a constant need to have the best and newest.  I remember in High School when everyone had to have an Izod shirt.  That little alligator was a status symbol that meant you were part of the “haves”.  I think my shirt had a turtle on it or something, we were not poor or ever went without, but I have never been a fashion guy.. just ask my wife, she’s happy when I match sox.  But having the alligator was keeping up with the Jones’s, and that made High School kids happy.  But then we grow up.  Those of us that no longer chase the alligator move on to happy lives.  Those that keep chasing it never seem happy.. and that is sad.

A reduction of clutter in the home is also a stress reducer.  The home is easier to maintain and allows for life to go one.  Have you ever seen the TV show “Hoarders”?  Those folks are never happy and life is a mess.  So reduce clutter in your life and you see happiness become real.

Stay tuned for our final part of this series on Friday… Your Happiness Tip #3.  People in your life!

Thanks again for hanging out with us here at our Happy Place.  A Place where Happiness is the plan!

Have a Happy Day!