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Orwell Chronicles

Saving, Reinventing & Living In “Orwell”; My 1984 Sahara Travel Trailer

“This is a chronicle about reclaiming things; not just a worn out trailer, but reclaiming my whole self that yearns to live fully and even joyfully in a small home in the central Wisconsin woods during the pandemic. It’s about survival, adaptation, experimentation, challenge, failure, success, humor, beauty, humility and gratitude; and my most unexpected adventure”

-Jenn Todd, author of Orwell Chronicles

I thought that this escape from the city was going to be temporary; maybe three or four weeks while this nasty virus blew through. With my compromised immune system and housemate that worked in the public schools, I was encouraged by my doctor to leave. I was determined to make this work. I had no idea that I was really about to embark on the biggest challenge (and perhaps reward too) of my adult life.

I decided to make this an experiment in living small and humbly and above all, to be grateful for everything beautiful and right going for me. Every day is a gift. It was and is still, all about controlling my own thoughts and emotions and feeding only those that would and will get me through this. I decided also that it could be filled with things I love; the opportunity to learn new skills and failing until I didn’t; the abundance of flora and fauna on my little plot of land; time to write and create. Most importantly, Orwell challenged my personal beliefs about what I was capable of doing and being. In these chronicles of this first year, I found out what kind of stuff I Am made of and what I am not made of yet. I never want to get there. Or at least I am not ready to be done.

I was fortunately “prepared” and blessed by two tough brothers who challenged me when I thought I was incapable; and oodles of loving, knowledgeable, patient, generous and talented family members, teachers and friends who taught me countless skills in tool and material use, home repair and maintenance, outdoor skills, design, innovation, and problem solving. I also had at least some practical sense and willingness to work sometimes for long periods of time in less than ideal weather and with limited resources.

Maybe these chronicles will help you or others on your own journeys, or simply offer some amusement or escape. I would love to know that if they did and hope you would leave a message.

I plan to keep things in chronological order here generally, as that is how these Orwell Chronicles came to be and this experiment is still going; I am still here one year later. This year, however, I start it with abundance and more deep seated gratitude for life than I ever knew possible.

Chapters

In The Beginning

For many years there was occasional use of the trailer and land, but it slowly fell into disrepair and nature was willing to make a bid for Orwell. This is where I began my journey and this is a collection of photos and comments about the challenges I had to confront in Orwell’s reclamation.

Wrapped in Nature

My small property has an incredibly diverse population of flora and fauna. Here is a collection of photos and videos from visitors and co-residents around Orwell. This is the magic and motivation that, in every season, fed my spirit properly.

Future Plans

I was told once that it is human nature to constantly strive for more. I completely agree. Creating a home asks for more and more comforts and conveniences. These are some of the things that I had added for those reasons, and some future plans for things above and beyond basics. Everything begins with desire.