On November 14, 2014, Lee and I closed on our house and headed out on the road. I thought the six month mark would be a good time to summarize what’s happened so far and share my overall thoughts.
What we have done in the last six months
- Stayed six weeks in Rock Hill, SC; ten weeks in Tampa,FL; three weeks in St. Augustine, FL; and four weeks in the Outer Banks, SC.
- Camped with Cori and Greg, Deb and Steve, Jo and Ben, Kelly and Bill, Eileen and Gene, Jo and Craig, and Sue and Guy.
- Spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with my sister and her family. Celebrated my nephews birthday in person.
- Lee became a certified mobile tech graduating from RVTC
- Was able to be with my grandfather, mother, and uncle and aunts when my grandmother died in Florida. Although this was incredibly sad I was grateful I was so close to my grandfather and could be with him.
- Earned four state stickers (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida)
- Visited (for the first time) and listed in the order we would be most likely to return: Charleston, SC; Jekyll Island, GA, Outer Banks, SC; Clearwater, FL; Tarpon Springs, FL, Asheville, NC; St. Augustine, FL. (Charleston and Jekyll Island were long time bucket list places for me and completely lived up to my expectations)
- Established Florida State Residency. It was painful but we got it done.
- Stayed at two state parks, numerous private campgrounds, and one 55+ RV community
- Established and maintained a monthly budget. Still a work in progress, but we put a stake in the ground.
- For activities we have taken a sunset cruise, conquered an adventure ropes course, watched taps being played at sunset, gone on a ferry, kayaked on the ocean, sang karaoke in a bar, enjoyed campfires on the beach, and gone on numerous nature walks.
- We have visited (among many other places) Kitty Hawk, Charleston Waterfront park, The Citadel, Charleston Provost Dungeon, Roanoke Island, Bodie Lighthouse, Kennedy Space Center, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, The Florida Botanical Gardens, Angel Oak, Patriots Point, and The Georgia Sea Turtle Center.
Some of our Favorite Moments posted roughly in chronological order
- Seeing Cori and Greg in PA our first night on the road. Stopping to be with them made it real and spending the first few days with them was very special
- Holding my new nephew for the first time and having him give me big smile. There were many moments with us and Abram but that first big smile was a killer.
- Having breakfast at Anna J’s with Deb and Steve. Deb got eggs and catfish and inspired me (not for the first time) to try new things in this new life. (the catfish was excellent and I would never in a million years have ordered it)
- Lee taking my nephew Alec to the magic store. Alec is 10 and the perfect age for Lee to share his love of magic with. They spent the entire afternoon together and had a blast.
- Stumbling across Looking Glass Waterfall in Pisquah National Forest. I was struggling with a big decision regarding work at the time and when we accidentally found this amazing waterfall, I felt God was giving my my answer.
- Making my edible “Christmas Tree” for the birds and squirrels. Lee was not only supportive but really helped me make it a reality and I felt great when it actually worked out the way I pictured it in my head.
- Spending a weekend in Charleston. I have wanted to visit the city every since I first read the Prince of Tides and it completely lived up to my expectations of it. Every single thing we did there was special and I loved it.
- Spending a day at Patriot’s Point and touring an air craft carrier. Lee absolutely loved it and I had more fun than I thought I would.
- Spending Christmas morning with my sister and the kids. Watching the boys open their soccer presents, having Bailey actually like the gift card I got her, and being with Abram on his very first Christmas was so special and something that would never have happened if we hadn’t gone out on the road.
- Seeing the turtles at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island. I love sea turtles and they do an amazing job there of caring for them and releasing as many as possible back into the wild. Plus Jekyll island itself was an amazing place and I would love to go there again.
- Kayaking with Gene and Eileen
- Seeing Jo, Ben, Kelly, Bill, Eileen, and Gene in Fort Meyers. Plus taking a boat ride with Jo and Ben. Didn’t see any manatee but what a wonderful relaxing day.
- Seeing Cori and Greg in Florida when they drove down for the boondocking rally. They drove extra long so we could spend time with them and I started crying as soon as I saw Cori. Was so glad she had made it.
- Getting to spend time with everyone the day we visited the BoonDocking rally. It was really nice of Linda and Howard to let us crash for a day.
- The dolphins swimming next to our boat on our amazing sunset cruise with Jo and Ben and Kelly and Bill.
- Watching taps being played with Lee at Indian Rocks Beach and having Lee take off his shoes and walk in the surf.
- Dinner with Jen and Nando at the Pub Waterfront Restaurant
- Lunch at the turkish restaurant in Epcot with Kat and Micah
- Seeing where the Apollo missions launched at Kennedy Space Center with Kat, Micah, and Lee
- Seeing the MD Oriental Market with Lee and buying some crazy stuff
- The few times one of my new recipes was a home run and watching Lee’s face as he enjoyed every bite.
- The farmer’s market in St. Augustine, Florida
- Driving through Pea Island on the way to Ocean Waves campground and seeing the wild dunes
- When Cori and Greg rolled into Ocean Waves Campground. They were finally on the road after such a long wait and it was a very cool to share in that moment with them
- Bill making me a fantastic rum sour with a little umbrella in it.
- Walking the same ground where the first flight took off at Kitty Hawk
- Celebrating Cinco De Mayo with Sue, Guy, Cori, Greg, Bill, Kelly, Jo, and Craig
- Conquering the adventure park with Lee and Kelly. I was so proud of Kelly for overcoming her fears. She inspired me to push my own limits.
- Watching my very first ever full moon rise. Very very cool.
- The night the beach fire exploded
- Kelly and I singing Karaoke together. Rocking a little “Jack and Diane”
- Walking Hobie on the beach and collecting shells
- Girls night with Jo, Eileen, Sue, Cori, and Kelly and making our shell picture frames
- Sue cutting my hair outside her camper. It was so sweet of her and she did a really terrific job.
- Our last campfire together on the beach where we all talked about what we liked most about the life. It was a very special moment
Can I just say here that seriously this list amazes me. I was a real couch potato before we started on this adventure and spent a whole lot of time reading, watching TV, killing time on the computer. That I managed to do all the things above in 6 months is absolutely incredible. And I don’t feel over stressed or tired…I feel invigorated and am looking forward to doing more.
- We really don’t like moving days. And no it isn’t as simple as changing the time we move or how far we travel. We like to spread out when we stay in a place and the chaos of moving day still isn’t any fun for either of us. We have gotten better at it, but not our favorite day by far.
- We like staying in one place and really seeing things. We are fine with staying in a place 2-4 weeks as a matter of fact we prefer it. Because of my work schedule we are limited in the things we can do during the work week so need at least two weekends to really see what an area has to offer.
- We like full hookups. I say that knowing full well we haven’t gotten out west yet and we are excited about exploring the possibilities of boon docking, but all other things being equal we would take full hookups every time. It enables you to do laundry in the RV, take long showers, and not worry about how much water you use when washing dishes.
- The best things to do are free or near free. The most rewarding experiences we have had to date cost very little money and are fulfilling in ways I rarely experienced while on vacation. Speaking of vacation you do have to remind yourself frequently you are not on one. The desire to see and do everything right now is very strong. Slowing down and really experiencing the life is in our opinion far more rewarding.
- We do watch television. Yes I know you think you’ll be out exploring with all of your free time, but sometimes you just want to sit an veg in your coach and watch some TV. Plus it gives you a sense of normalcy when you’re in a strange place and bad weather days do happen.
- Everything you read in the forums just isn’t true. Since we knew nothing about camping, let alone full timing, I tended to take everything I read on the forums as the gospel. Many “facts” are situational, others are opinion presented as fact, and the one only one thing I have found to be absolutely true is there is no one true way.
- Being with friends is complicated but well worth it. The country is a big place and if you want to be with people you need to go to some trouble. But, for us, the trouble is well worth the added benefit with being with others who truly get the lifestyle. These friendships have grown deeper and stronger because we are investing in them.
- Not everyone will be happy for you. Some people are jealous, others think you don’t deserve it. Still others think it’s all a scam or a big lie. That’s ok. I care less and less what others think as the days go by and that is a wonderful side benefit to the lifestyle.
- This life can make or break a relationship. It is not easy and it definitely isn’t for everyone. If you have problems in your relationship this lifestyle will initially make them worse not better…but that being said if you can truly be honest with each other and communicate, communicate, communicate your relationship can grow in ways you never imagined.
Ocean Waves Campground Rte 12, Rodanthe, NC 5 out of 5 pinecones (2015)
Absolutely fantastic campground with easy access to National seashore. Their off-season monthly rate was a very reasonable $630 with a $55 electric fee. Cable television is available. Wifi in the campground is very strong. We did have a bit of issues with ATT coverage on some stormy days, but I was able to work consistently the month I was here. Restrooms are very clean, the staff is paying attention without being intrusive, and they were very good about allowing us to accept packages. We stayed in site 45 which was fabulous. We were centrally located and could go north or south to see the sites. The city of Rodanthe itself is one of the least populated and I like the wild dunes in Pea Island which is right down the road. I would absolutely return to this campground and give it my highest recommendation.
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