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The Great Move of 2015: Oh, Hey, Arizona!

Kenna & Lori at The Nova Studio
Kenna & Lori at The Nova Studio

So far, 2015 has been a total whirlwind! In January, I flew over to California and hosted my first soapmaking bootcamp at The Nova Studio. The bootcamp sold out in just a few short weeks, and I was amazed at how many people were bummed out on missing the registration period. I had a fabulous time whipping up cold process soap in various batches, all the way up to 40 lbs!

(I’m teaching again in June AND October, wahoo!)

A week after popping home from The Nova Studio, I got on another airplane to Orlando to join other fabulous indie makers and entrepreneurs on #IndieCruise 2015. I spent a week aboard a cruise ship, learning from other indies, testing and pushing my boundaries, and enjoying the sunshine.

After #IndieCruise, I dove into the final planning stages of the last ever Central Soapers Workshop, the annual soapmakers conference & gathering I’ve been hosting for the last three years. With¬†a month left to prep, I spent 24/7¬†working with my¬†lovely volunteers to ensure everything would go super smoothly.

At Central Soapers Workshop 2015 with some of my favorite peeps: Lela Barker, Anne-Marie Faiola, Donna Maria, and Kayla Fioravanti
At Central Soapers Workshop 2015 with some of my favorite peeps: Lela Barker, Anne-Marie Faiola, Donna Maria, and Kayla Fioravanti. (With a photo bomb by our lovely videographer from Sound and Shadow!)

CSW 2015 came and went on March 21 and 22, but my job there wasn’t over quite yet!¬†To really go out with a bang, we became the first soapmaking conference to offer a virtual registration option, and I spent the remainder of March (and the first two weeks of April!) editing, rendering, and exporting video footage of every single CSW workshop for our online¬†attendees as well as wrapping up all the loose ends of hosting a conference, like sending thank you notes to our sponsors and connecting attendees with resources.

With no time to waste, my focus turned to the Great Move of 2015: the whole reason that CSW2015 was the last one ever.¬†We had set a launch date of April 22 to leave Kansas City to¬†begin our move to Arizona, so I had less than a week to get packing…. and downsizing.

Oh, yes, the¬†downsizing! Did I mention that our goal was to move our family of five people (three kidlets¬†aged five & younger, and two big kids – that being, hubby and myself) in a 5′ x 8′ Uhaul trailer?

The Empty 4 x 8 Uhaul Trailer
The Empty 5 x 8 Uhaul Trailer¬†that really gives you an idea of how much stuff we own. ūüėČ

We spent 24 hours a day, every day, down to the wire, selling our furniture, appliances, and more importantly, my soapmaking supplies (oh my!) as well as donating dozens of trash bags and boxes full of clothing, toys, and other household goods to local organizations in Kansas City. We switched into FREE mode with two days left, filling up the Free section of Craigslist with miscellaneous kitchen wares, furniture, books, and more. (Can I just say how CRAAAAAZZZY people get about Free Craigslist listings?!)

One of the people who stopped by to pick up some free goodies was a¬†young father from¬†Colorado who unexpectedly found himself moving to the Kansas City area. While they were in town visiting family, his wife went into extremely early labor with their third child. With two toddlers already in his¬†hands, and his wife and newborn in the hospital for weeks to come, he strapped down and found a job and apartment for his family.¬†We refocused our efforts from selling and posting items, and loaded his family up with all the basic living necessities to get them started as a family in KC. It made our lives much easier in the crunch time, and I’m excited to know we helped out a young family in a really unfortunate circumstance.

On the very last day, we loaded up the trailer (and dropped our unloved microfiber couch off at the dump – can you believe no one wanted a free couch?!) and got on the road.

Stopping for a Pit Stop in Kansas
Stopping for a Pit Stop in Manhattan, Kansas РWe lived here when I started my first company, crazy right?!

Yup, those feet sticking out from our Honda Pilot are mine, and all of our worldly possessions are inside that itty-bitty trailer! We had planned on taking a leisurely route down to the Phoenix metro area, but my excitement got the best of me.

Much to my¬†right hand minion’s dismay (read: husband), we drove straight through with a short¬†stop in the middle of New Mexico to take a nap (which didn’t last much longer than a couple hours!)

I grew up in Arizona, and I always miss the scenery of beautiful red rock, mountains, and wide open skies. Here’s a couple photos from our journey:

So, now, here I am – in Arizona with my happy little family. We’re¬†temporarily shacked up in a 29 foot travel trailer, which is actually more roomy than we thought (and we even discovered that we probably downsized a bit more than necessary as we have a lot of extra storage space that’s empty!)

So, what’s next in this huge and busy year?

We’ve decided to hang out in Arizona for the summer, and are on the hunt for our perfect school bus to begin our conversion. (Unfamiliar with school bus conversions? Take a peek at Hank’s Bus or WPI Creative’s Work of Art.) We already have money saved, the¬†floor plans devised, and a complete list of¬†tools, appliances, and more – we’re just waiting for the one that screams “ME, I’m your bus!

Which, to be honest, is fabulous – I miss Arizona summers (no, I’m not crazy) and it gives me the chance to slow down for a bit! Well…. only a little!

I’m getting ready to host an Arizona Soapmakers Get-Together as well as planning some more soapmaking fun in August for locals. I’ll be travelling some more over the summer, with more bootcamps in California, plus a trip to New Jersey and another to Florida.¬†Maybe, I’ll see you at one of those?!

If you’re an Arizona-based soapmaker, get in touch! I’d love to meet you, and keep you in the loop about everything we have planned while we’re here, soaking up the sun!

Want to see our project come to life? Don’t worry, I’ll share when we dive into our conversion and share little sneak peeks throughout our journey!

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9 Responses

  1. This. Is. Epic. Having used a 5′ x 8′ UHaul trailer to pack up our booth for my last show (yes, seriously) I am deeply in awe and slightly jealous. There must be so much freedom in that level of downsizing! And as a mama of two littles (ages 4 & 2), I can only imagine the adventure you have been through and the one that awaits you with your family–the doors that are opening as others are closing, and the opportunities for imagination and new experiences. I will definitely be following along! And maybe one of these days I’ll make the 5 hour jaunt up to San Fran when you’re there so I can say hi. ūüôā

    1. Hi Stacia!

      Yes, we downsized like crazy. Each of us has approximately 7 to 10 outfits each, and we only kept our necessary kitchen items, a small shoebox of toys for each child, and the like. ūüôā It has been immensely freeing!

      I’ll be in the LA area before I hit up San Fran in June, is that where you are?

      Kenna

  2. Wow I can’t believe you got all your stuff into such a tiny trailer. I’m not familiar with bus conversions but loved the first link you posted. Will your layout be similar? Looking forward to seeing the process. Arizona is beautiful, I went to school in Southern California but two of my friends were from Arizona so I got to visit on more then one occasion. One of my friends lived in the Grand Canyon in a trailer and I remember staring at the beauty of that place.

    1. Hi Michelle!

      Our layout is kind of similar to Hank’s with the open head area, but a lot more kitchen type space so I can continue to buy food in bulk (it saves us so much money!) and the kids are getting a bunkhouse with a small nook/bookshelf in each bunk and curtains so they can have some privacy. ūüôā We’re looking forward to getting started and we’ll definitely be sharing our progress!

      Kenna

  3. Will you be giving classes in AZ when you are done traveling? I live in LV. Cheaper to drive to AZ than fly to Port Richmond on October.

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