“Arner Adventures” has always existed for us since we met in 2002, but officially named “Arner Adventures” when we married in 2005. It has been a frame of mind- a way to describe the crazy, and the memorable moments in our lives (not to mention a fun hashtag for social media #arneradventures) However, not until recently did we decide we wanted a home for all of the components of what is going on in our lives, so that we could reflect upon them, and perhaps keep ourselves inspired by the lifestyle we create for ourselves.
“We” are Gerry and Shannon, and of course, our furbaby, Betty White. Anything that we go through in life, good or bad, we call an Arner Adventure. Just so you are aware, we also have alter-egos, where we often call ourselves, “Hanley and Fritz”…that’s for another time.
A little bit of background, to catch you up…. In 2008, Gerry and I (it’s me, shannon, hi!) purchased our first home and we spent the next 8 years filling it with things that were pretty and shiny, and would impress people when they visited- at least that is what we thought. We didn’t want for anything, that is for sure. If we wanted something, we bought it. The more new and trendy items for our home, the better. We do not have human children, so I even made one of our guest rooms into my giant closet, and made my smaller closet in my master, my tiny office. Ahem, priorities. Ger had his own “man room” with all of his music, and whatever else he had in there. 🙂
Then, something happened. Owning our own business, we were extremely busy, pulled into a thousand different ways, and all of a sudden, things were happening in our lives and we began to realize, all of these things/stuff/crap mean nothing. Not only did the stress from our business take it’s toll on our mental and physical health, but in this decision-making time, we lost two of our furbabies, grandparents, and with another one of our furbabies aging, we began taking inventory of what mattered in our lives. The inventory no longer included all of our stuff. It was difficult to fathom why that stuff ever had any meaning. Having our minds constantly cluttered with business, we began feeling like we needed to have minimal, clutter-free space- a sanctuary where we could only reflect on what mattered.
The process began, of decluttering, selling off the fancy things, then the things we forgot we had, and then we sort of started enjoying the process. Yes, it’s true. Purging “stuff” actually gave us a thrill, and our eyes began widening to our environment, people, and experiences we could have, by not having so much…well, shit. All of a sudden, we began caring more about the items we had, valuing quality of quantity, and paying more attention to our carbon footprint. We searched for information. We read books, watched documentaries, listened to podcasts, followed blogs, anything related to minimizing, living tiny, clutter-free, simplicity- it was like crack for us. Our obsession for things, turned into an obsession to get enjoy the hell out of life and what our lives have to offer to ourselves, and each other.
The biggest decision, one in which was the catalyst to things really changing, was made was on a short weekend getaway, very unlike us in the business we ran. We were sitting in the surf at Bear Island (check it out, by the way. It’s a hidden gem on the NC coast), dreading going back home into the chaos that awaited us, wishing for just one more day. The waves were crashing on us, and we were flopping around like seals on the dock in San Francisco, laughing, and one of us said (and I cannot remember who), “why don’t we just sell the house, go tiny, and have adventures like this a lot more”. That statement changed our lives. We literally came home, called our fantastic real estate agent, Jennifer Smith, and our plan began to set sail, and became a reality. Our home sold in 24 hours, to an all cash buyer, for more than asking. It was as if it was all meant to be.
We were then forced to begin our serious downsizing very quickly. Our research began into the Tiny Home Movement, and into a one bedroom apartment we went. We lived in that apartment for almost a year, slowly acclimating ourselves to this more minimal lifestyle, learning more about what was important as we moved along.
Fast forward to today- the Arner Adventures begin.
Who are The Arners Having These Adventures?
Gerry, the Hanley to Fritz, was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Cary, North Carolina. He went to Cary High School, then UNC-Wilmington, and while working as a bartender at an Italian restaurant in Raleigh, met the Fritz to his Hanley, Shannon. Gerry is the mellow-yellow part of Arner Adventures. He sort of floats along, pretty much open to whatever comes his way. He is always open to taking hikes on a nature trail, hitting the streets of a bustling city, or picnicking in a park- as long as the end result is testing out the local craft beer!
Shannon was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, a rarity these days, since Raleigh is mostly made up of transplants. Shannon attended East Wake High School, UNC Wilmington, then transferred to Meredith College. Shannon is the planner, often the neurotic part of Arner Adventures, but is always open to something new! Being a Meredith Angel, tradition is held as a cherished value, however, taking the path less traveled and making new traditions ranks highest! Shannon is the Fritz to Hanley. 🙂
Shannon and Gerry met in 2002, had a few adventures, got married April 30, 2005 in the Meredith College Chapel, and decided life was going to be one BIG adventure!
We love to travel, and search for the next #arneradventure. Sometimes getting lost while trying to find a destination can turn into an adventure of its own. As mentioned above, crazy situations in life are adventures, as well as the not so happy moments- also adventures. The best adventures- those in which are unplanned. We are people who actually get excited about getting lost, or going off the normal path. We look at each other and yell in this cheesy voice, “hey! This is an ARNER ADVENTURE!!!”
Last but not least, and our ride or die girl, is Betty White. She is our pibble-love, our rock, our travel buddy, and love muffin. Betty White is a beach pup, loves biting ocean waves, likes people better than other pups, but would do anything for a car ride, or the opportunity to bite at some ocean waves. Betty has been through a lot on her own from being found as an emaciated, abused little girl, to being rescued and adopted into our home where she wants for nothing. She is resilient and demonstrates that to us each day as we are reminded at just how strong we are as a family. She has been a support for us through some tough times- you can learn more about that here.
In 2017, we made some big life changes into a tiny house, and moved to the Crystal Coast! Together, we are The Arners, creating Arner Adventures!