The Ebb and Flow of Stuff: Month One.

It had only been a few days when we started to realize what was staying, what was going and what we needed. As you know, we spent a year and a half doing trial runs trying to figure out what would work for us. For the most part, we have been on point…but some things we were way off or hadn’t even thought of.  In month one, here are the things that we have loved, ditched or purchased!

Continue reading “The Ebb and Flow of Stuff: Month One.”

Thousand Trails Three Flags RV Campground

Three Flags is the third park we’ve stayed in the thousand trails system. Florida has 3 parks that are included in the southeast zone. This one feels the oldest and most rundown despite obvious work and improvements. They are renovating the park in certain areas and attempts are being made to clean the place up. It is also the smallest of the 3 Florida parks. We heard lots of complaints on the internet that it’s a dump and poorly run. I have to say you should take these people’s comments with a grain of salt. We have friends who complain about how terrible a restaurant is and when we go there we love it. While the park is older and smaller than we’ve seen and definitely needs some upgrades. We found it to be an acceptable place to stay and did enjoy being here. In short I would not hesitate to book another stay.

Campground: Thousand Trails Three Flags RV campground 
https://www.thousandtrails.com/florida/three-flags-rv-campground
Contact Information:  1755 East State Road 44 Wildwood Fl, 34785
Phone: (352) 748-3870
Dates: 3/19/17-4/1/17
Site#: 139
Hookups: FHU sites
Rate:  Included in Thousand Trails Membership
Cell Signal: Sprint 4G LTE 3-5 bars; Verizon 5 bars (unboosted)
Top Attraction:  Santos Mountain Bike Trail, The “Big Daddy” Don Garlits Museum Of Drag Racing
Pet Friendly:  YES! Dogs Allowed.
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The proof is in the banana bread.

When you watch old-timey television shows, the neighbors share a cup of sugar and fresh baked cookies. They have coffee together and gatherings and everyone knows everyone. It’s the quaint small town existence. Maybe it’s still out there, but it certainly didn’t exist for us.
The Bear and I have lived together in 3 homes. One was for a year, the next for 5 and the last one for 8. The first home we never met any neighbors. The second, we knew one and I fed her cats sometimes when she went away. The last one…a whopping 8 years…we knew 3 of the neighbors. Although we knew them, we never hung out with them. There was never an exchange of cookies or a shared cup of sugar. In no way am I saying that it’s their fault, it’s just as much ours. We went about our daily business…working, paying bills and keeping to ourselves. We did all have a mutual bond though, we hated one of the other neighbors. Think about that though, 14 years…14 years living mere feet from people with nothing but some general chit-chat and a wave. I wonder how many other people live like that. Stuck in their lonely bubble, having to travel out of it to find people with common interests to share a bite to eat with…now that I look back at it, it’s kind of sad.
The reason why I’m bringing this up is because moving into our RV has been a social shellshock.  It hit me last night when Mike & Deb brought over some fresh baked chocolate banana bread for us. It was still warm. This wasn’t the first time, but the time I realized that this is different. This is the way community is supposed to be. We have shared our cinnamon buns and we have had afternoon drinks brought to us. Need a blanket because it’s cold out? Your friendly neighbor is happy to share! In fact, they insist! Seriously…it’s now a battle of who gets to sleep with Deb’s fluffy blankie! It’s been such a different experience for us in the social aspect the last few weeks. It reminds me of a Nick at Nite TV show! In all the years we lived in our bubble houses we were NEVER this social.
The proof is in the banana bread, but it’s been so much more. We have shared late night laughs around the fire and early morning…ok…not so early…brunches. 5pm happy hour is a common occurrence at someone’s house. Sometimes we get together to explore the local area and do cool stuff like giant swamp buggy tours and sometimes we do mundane stuff like go grocery shopping together. When was the last time you went grocery shopping with your neighbor?
In fact, they aren’t just our neighbors…they are our FRIENDS.
 

 
Was it pure luck we ended up in the right place at the right time, or is it always like this?
In our year plus of preparation, we asked other full-timers what it was like out here. Some said it was extremely social and others said it was extremely solitary. Classic case of your mileage may vary. Do you boondock on public lands a lot? Are you in an active RV park? Do you live where there is undesirable weather and you’re cooped up inside all day? All of these things can be factors in how social your RV life is. Maybe we got lucky because our first stop was filled with awesome people and then we all moved together to the next stop! Is it Thousand Trails because is it a network and everyone is generally in the same few places? Is it because we are staying put for 2 weeks at a time and have the time to meet people? Time will tell as our trek north begins and we start to move more often and break away from the people that we have spent the last few weeks with.

Polly's Pantry Royal Tea Room – Wildwood, FL

Polly’s Pantry Royal Tea Room

Address: 819 S Main St, Wildwood, FL 34785
Owner: Tricia & John Bennett
Hours: Monday thru Saturday 11am to 3pm   (Reservations are encouraged)
Cost: $10-20pp
What we had: 
Selection Platter – 2 types of Chicken Salad, spinach quiche & a cup of broccoli soup.   $12.95
Bacon Quiche w/ Side Salad $10.95
Coffee, water and raspberry tea 

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The only thing that is constant is Change…and Bandaids.

Have you ever thought about how familiar your environment is?
You live in the same house every day, you travel the same route to your job at the same place. You go to the same gym every day and frequent the same restaurants.  You run by the same park near your house every day and sometimes you stop and sit on the same wooden bench to catch your breath. The bench looks and feels the same every day. You know that you can run your hand along the top of the bench, as you have hundreds of times, and it won’t filet your hand like dead fish.
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Thousand Trails Orlando RV Resort

We had reservations for our 2 week stay at this park. The night before we arrived we received a phone call from TTO informing us to not stop at the registration building. We were told to proceed directly to the main gate where they would have our paperwork. On arrival we were directed to the staging area (club house parking lot) where we could unhook Twinkie and be escorted to our site. Once we were all unhooked the woman in charge asked what my preferences were and showed me which sites were available. We chose what we liked and were promptly escorted to the site. All in all it went quick, smooth and painless. However when we arrived there were only 2 people ahead of us. More came in behind us and we were told that the following day they would have 75 people coming in. While we were here we regularly saw the line to get in going all the way out to the main road. Be prepared for a long wait during the busy season (Dec-Mar) unless you get lucky and arrive when no one else is checking in.
Campground: Thousand Trails Orlando 
https://www.thousandtrails.com/florida/orlando-rv-resort/
Contact Information: 2110 Thousand Trails Blvd, Clermont, FL 34714
Phone: (352) 394-5531
Dates: 3/5/17 – 3/19/17
Site#: F48
Hookups: FHU sites
Rate:  Included in Thousand Trails Membership
Cell Signal: Sprint 4G LTE 4-5 bars; Verizon 2 bars (unboosted)
Top Attraction:  Universal Orlando, Disney
Pet Friendly:  YES! Dogs Allowed.

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And then it hit me.

This morning about 2 miles into my run, I stopped to take in a view of the lake. It was so peaceful and quiet. It was beautiful. 

And then it hit me…before I realized what was happening, the emotion overwhelmed me and the tears started rolling. I couldn’t stop. I kept thinking about how happy I felt and how hard I worked to get here. 
The last several years I dedicated myself to getting an education and building a career that would afford us a better life. I sacrificed both my time and my sanity. I couldn’t have done it without the support of the Bear. He was so crucial in keeping me on track when I wanted to quit so many times. It wasn’t easy for him, not even close. I was really the one who was a Bear and he put up with me all those years freaking out, crying over papers, screaming about asshole professors. He sacrificed our entire life in general because I was stuck studying and doing homework every weekend and every weeknight into the wee hours. It sucked and it was worth it. I am very proud of myself for working hard and making it happen.
When I started on that journey, I didn’t know where it would lead. I probably thought more money, bigger house, nicer cars…you know, the American Dream. I had no idea that we were going to ditch status quo and go on a wild adventure. We are exactly where we are supposed to be.
The last three weeks on the road have been surreal. It is so much more than I expected it to be. The feeling of freedom, not being tied down is a feeling you can’t explain. It’s scary, not knowing exaxtly what comes next but it is awesome. I know we made the right decision. It just feels right like we have been doing this forever. I am happy. This is perfect and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It feels like home.
– Pookie

Working On The Road: First Impressions

It’s been two full weeks since I began working remotely on the road. I have been accustomed to working in a remote culture over the last 6 years, but always had a home base with reliable cable internet. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous. Is my internet going to be reliable? Will I be able to focus? What would my co-workers or clients think if they knew I was homeless?
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The First Two Weeks Of Full Time RV Life. 

I sit here in my tiny house on the highway. It’s 11pm and we’re getting ready for bed. We checked the weather and it looks like we’ll have a little wind tonight so I stowed our awning. The bikes caught a little rain this morning so I decided to put them in the Volkswagen tonight. We’re headed out this Sunday and moving a little further north to Clermont. I figured I might as well get some of my pre trip check list done a little early. Traveling day so far has been the most stressful on us. There is so much to be done and so many things to check. Imagine every 2 weeks or so you pack up your entire house and everything you own and drive your house down the highway at 60mph. Maybe it’s just me but it makes me anxious and a little nervous. Obviously this type of travel has its advantages or we wouldn’t be here. But let me tell you travel day will kick your ass if you’re not paying attention. Continue reading “The First Two Weeks Of Full Time RV Life. “