A View from the Heart of the Bounder

When we started this crazy trip that evolved into a lifestyle, we auspiciously gave away pretty much everything that wouldn’t fit in the van, including my large and beloved book collection.  As I discussed in a post called Vertigo of the Soul, letting go of so many material possessions at the same time and then becoming totally nomadic, caused me to re-examine the constructs of my identity. Put bluntly, I asked myself, who am I without my home and the stuff in it? My belongings told a story, my story; without them, I felt like a book that was missing paragraphs from every page. How would anyone make sense of it?

Yet, the truth is, my space only became important to me after I got clean off heroin. Before then, I spent years living out of bags in residential hotels–in other words, homeless. When I moved into my guesthouse in Hermosa, at age 26 and one month sober, however, I carefully decorated my space to reflect–and construct–my new identity. Four years later, when I met Tree, I knew when someone walked into my place, they’d get a good feel for who I was.

Decorating the Bounder was equally important to me. To be honest, I felt a little nervous. Would I be able to make this space warm and inspiring? Would I be able to pick out things that both Tree and I would like? Could I make it ‘function’ for a family with a two year old? Would the interior of the Bounder reflect our personal interior, individually and as a family?

This is the view forward

Wide view forward

And the view back.

Wide view back

Now let’s talk details.

I love the pillows on this couch. The ones on the far outside were designed by Busy Mockingbird who has a store on Society6.  Busy Mockingbird is a collaboration between a mom and her 4year old daughter.

My favorite pillows

These pillows remind me to integrate, not compartmentalize. They remind me that my passion for writing and my passion for my family are not mutually destructive; they can co-exist beautifully. In fact, if I collaborate, if I include Sol and Tree and you and nature and everything else that inspires me, who knows where my passion will lead.

Pillow 1

The pillows on the inside are made from recycled fabrics in India. I’ve always had a culture-crush on India. I’ve never been, but I don’t think you have to have been there to sense the  heady mix of spirituality and carnal decadence it exudes.

These pillows remind me to search for god here on earth.

Pillow 2

Meet Oshun, an orisha in Santeria.  She is the goddess of love and guardian of the poor. She offers fertility, prosperity, and heals the sick. I’d say she’s a good goddess to have around. This statue was a gift from our dear friend Vivian in Cuba, the mother of the family with whom we stayed in Havana, in 2010. Santeria, the main religion in Cuba, is a fusion of beliefs brought by the slaves from Africa and the Catholicism of the Spanish colonizers. The Spaniards wanted the slaves to become christianized, but the slaves, rather than give up their old beliefs, continued to worship their gods disguised under the Catholic cult of saints. This sui-generis religion, or alchemic transformation of colonial oppression into personal faith, is powerful and transformative to its believers.

Oshun reminds me that I have the power to choose beliefs that serve me well. 


Meet Jesus. He’s Oshun’s boyfriend. Just kidding. She would never date him. Kidding again! Jesus. Calm down.

Okay, this statue has been with Tree for a very long time.  It hung in his family home as a child, and it’s been with us, along side the goddess of love, our entire adventure. I like this ‘prophet of peace’ version of Jesus rather than the more common crucified guy.

Jesus reminds us that family and tradition are the roots from which we grow–and, of course, to walk in peace.


This is the space where the television used to be. We ripped it out and hung Sol’s painting there instead. (Don’t get your hopes us art speculators, that painting is already SOLD to Mushroom Dave.)

Tree's office

This is Sol’s zone. As you can see, the canvas boxes are filled to the brim with books, blocks, babies and art supplies, and some ‘babies’ don’t even fit. In fact, this picture reminds me that we need to practice giving some babies up for adoption. Soleil's toy chest

This is Soleil’s art wall, otherwise known as our beautiful fire hazard.  She doesn’t want to take any pictures down, so now we’re going 3-4 deep on every pushpin. Attention art speculators, these drawings are FOR SALE.

Soleil's art wall

Some of these magnets–“Strange Girls”, Dorothy’s red slippers, and “Will your next child be a hopeless drug addict”– have been with me since I was 22 years old, living in Silver Lake in a funky $400/mo studio apartment off Sunset. I look at them now and see right through the hipster kitsch to the broken heart I lugged around, thinking I was so cool. These magnets remind me that I did a good job healing me, that ‘cool’ is overrated, and there’s no place like home(less). 

Will your next child be a hopeless drug addict

Here’s our kitchen, which I love!! I have 4 burners AND AN OVEN! It’s amazing. I also covered the hideous backsplash with some of my favorite art cards.


This is our super amazing, radder-than-rad, Blade Runner Unicorn clock. It reminds me of so much–the fleeting gift it is to be alive, the great equalization of death, man’s exploitation of life, what it means to be human (or “more human than human”), how terrifying the future is–but more than anything, I think of Roy Batty’s incredible speech in the rain that gives me shivers every time I see it:

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.

I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

Time to die.”

Blade Runner Unicorn clock

Here’s our ‘book binding’ kitchen rug–a rather pathetic homage to my lost collection.  It reminds me to tell people to never give up their book collection in an effort to practice non-attachment because if you do, you will suffer forever.

Book shelf rug

This is where I work, we eat, and Soleil watches “Me Gusta Ser Yo”
Soleil's office

This is our toilet, which if you ever read my feminist manifesto on overcoming the biological burden of urination, you’ll know is a big deal. If there were awards for most-used and well-travelled funnel, my funnel would win. But for now it’s tucked safely in a drawer, resting up for our next foreign adventure. By the way, I would normally NOT post a picture of our toilet, but you have to admit that Sol’s ducky potty attachment is pretty cute.


We even have a shower! And hot water! It’s amazing. The horrible blue backsplash has got to go, though. That’s what used to be in the kitchen before I covered it with all the art postcards. I think I’ll do the same in here, maybe some Matisse and Georgia O’Keefe would go nicely?

Bathroom 2

This is our super comfortable bed. We splurged and got one of those Tempurpedic Bed in a Box things. So good.

I originally wanted to get a colorful Indian bedspread, but Tree thought every one I picked out looked like “someone threw up a rainbow.” Men.

Anyhow, the duvet is supposed to be a map of the world, but the Americas seem to take center stage, which, I suppose, is apropos for now…

World Map Bed

THIS is where Tree got to ‘decorate’ all by himself.  HE LOVES HIS KITCHEN SETUP! It still feels weird to say the word ‘kitchen’ and ‘Tree’ in the same sentence. Until 3 months ago, he’d never cooked or grilled a day in his life. Now he’s Mr.BBQ, waving around his tongs and spatula, cruising back and forth between his grill and two-burner attachment. Okay he hasn’t used the stove, yet, but he’s excited to try. Apparently being OUTSIDE makes all the difference.  I can’t believe it took me 9 years to figure that out. Tree's domain

Here’s Soleil telling me how sad our basil looks: “Triste, mama. Ella quiere agua.”  I have to water my herb garden every day (clearly I forgot a day in this picture) because it’s so f’n dry here, and it never rains. When California runs out of water, I want everyone to know it’s my fault.

Herb Garden

So there you have it. That’s the inside of the Bounder.  But, in the spirit of honesty, I thought I’d let you know what it really looks like..

What it really looks like

And what it looks like after we’ve been playing all morning….

What can happen quicker than you think

The nice thing about living in an RV though is that it only takes a little over an hour to clean the whole house.

Next post is about Bishop, California, and why it’s my favorite future ghost-town.



  1. Looks AWESOME cuz!

  2. Play time is way more important than cleaning up!

  3. This was great!

  4. her rolling playground

  5. sweet set up! Tell tree he needs to get one of these. http://www.traegergrills.com/shop/detail/BBQ020.01?gclid=COX-spCr28QCFc5cfgodMqEAcQ#.VR8oqIZHaK0 worth every penny..

  6. Gabe Gunning says:

    lovin’ it! i hope Maine is on the list to cruize to eventually – it would be greatto host and show y’all around the beauty that is vacationland

    • Hey Gabe. Maine is on the list! But not until fall of 2016. I have family and bestie from Maine down to Florida, so I’m excited for us to do our U.S. tour over to the eastern seaboard. Unfortunately, that ‘tour’ doesn’t start until next year though. We’ll be looking forward to hanging out, getting our wild one, once it does though 🙂

  7. What a great blog! Love it! Xoxo

  8. Auntie Indra says:

    We will take the pictures on the far right and the one in the middle. THANK YOU, for the snapshot of your home. It is such an amazing collection of who you all are. I’m so sorry you gave up your book collection, and will help you get it back if necessary. You can always tuck whatever you wish to away on Mercer Island. xoxo

  9. XOXO

  10. Much roomier than the Sprinter:)

  11. Just added a video clip of the Blade Runner reference for all of you Philip K.Dick fans. I know I’m not the only nerd.

  12. For the bathroom could you maybe color copy and shrink down some of Soleil’s art à la carte postale size? Just an idea.:)

  13. Suzanne, great idea!! I was thinking about doing little hand prints, but I like the idea of doing different pieces of artwork instead, but I think i”ll still mix them in with Georgia O’Keefe and Matisse. Honestly, that will be such an awesome mix. Thank you 🙂

  14. And if you don’t sell others, you could laminate and make placemats?

  15. You’re on fire!

  16. 14 years of teaching HS makes one creative…or insane, or maybe both?

  17. Love seeing inside your home. It’s crazy how vulnerable it makes you feel, but how wonderful it is for us to be able to visualize you all there living!

  18. All I see is an adorable little girl. They are so cute when they are this age <3

  19. Not going to comment…

  20. Lol need a visit love!!!

  21. Ann, I apologize if I offended you with my irreverent joking. I believe humor is a form of god’s grace. Wishing you well. And, of course, your comments are always welcome. it’s good to hear from you.

  22. Your daughter is beautiful!!!

  23. Yes! haha, I’ve been waiting for this post. The Bounder looks super, and I can see how it feels odd to fling open the door to the masses, but at least this way we’re not tracking in dirt. Love your writing – the openness and that great sense of humor – and Tree’s kitchen is badass. Life is good. My nephew did some cool artwork when he was a tot, and my sis had some of them put on coffee cups to gift at Christmas – I’m enjoying mine right now. Cheers!

    • Awww, thanks for the kind words, and the great idea about the mugs. I think I know what my relatives are getting for Christmas this year 🙂 And, yes, the most badass part of Tree’s kitchen is that I don’t have to cook in it! I’ve had more ‘nights off’ cooking in the last couple months than I have in the last 7 years!

  24. Tessa Hill says:

    Oh my gosh, this post made me laugh all the way through! Your “Jesus” pun, your book collection rug, the OUTSIDE cooking phenomenon, and it was just really raucous laughter by the time I got to the “real life” pics at the end. So well-written! Your border of the art cards was ingenious. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Tessa! I couldn’t help myself with the irreverent joking right before Easter. Heehee! I guess I’ll never quite grow up. All in good fun, though. I’m glad you ‘got it’ 🙂

  25. Terry Buchanan says:

    Congrats on the new home! I love that the decoration has such meaning and reminders of growth, love and spirituality.

  26. Gwen Budinsky says:

    I saw a Bounder towing a trooper a week ago Wednesday on Highway One. I think I was going South from Mendocino. The Bounder was going North. Did I spot you??? 🙂 Happy travels!

    • Hey Gwen! How trippy. That wasn’t us, must have been our doppleganger, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we crossed paths eventually. Were you visiting in Mendocino? We’ve got some good friends that live in Mendocino…I’m actually planning a trip to visit end of July. I love it there.

  27. Nonituyas says:

    Oh, I do love your writing! A good one, Stevie, full of wit and thoughtfulness and wisdom-jewels.

  28. Thank you Ann <3

  29. You never offended me, I was drunk talking!!!
    I saw your family at the Standing Room, directly across the street from me, recently…..

  30. I, so wanted to reach out, and say Hi, but I was afraid, of what my behavior caused….
    I think the world of you and your family!!!!
    Keep up the great work!!!!!

  31. bounder envy!!! all of a sudden the red sprinter seems WAY too small! love the inside:)

  32. Ann, you totally should’ve said hi. I would’ve given you a big hug. Facebook tiffs are total silliness. As much as I appreciate FB to share ideas, pictures, and stories, sometimes it can be the breeding ground for miscommunication. I never take those kind of things seriously. Big hugs to you pretty lady xoxo

  33. Jan Meyer says:

    You’ve done it again… A magical post about things which are so simple… I really adore you guys and am always inspired by what you’re doing – be it the most mundane or most incredible. You always pack joy, wonder, honesty, humor and humility into the experience
    We traveled up 395 through bishop, Ca last spring – I loved it… Enjoy your journey and let’s get together when you’re back in HR!!! June-ish? Remind me!?

    I think our RVs have a double date planned?!


    • Hello there pretty mama! Thank you for the kind words of support. Honestly, I never tire of the encouragement. I’m secretly kind of a sensitive soul and need the positive feedback to ward off self-doubt. I thought by the time I neared 40 that part of me would’ve been ‘overcome’ by now, but it seems I’m still a little needy 🙂

      How are you, Maui, and the kids?

      And, yes, we’ll be back in June and we totally have a double-wide date 🙂 Party time!

  34. I hope you guys make it to NY at some point! I’d love to share a bottle (or 2) of wine with you and make you some empanadas!

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