Thinking back to a year ago is absolutely wild. On December 19, 2019, I can tell you exactly what I did because it was the same routine as every other Thursday that year. I commuted 30+ minutes to work, sat in an office merely tolerating my desk neighbor shaking his leg for 8 hours a day, drove to my second job to bartend until 10pm, then went home and went to bed to do it all again the next day. To my anxious mind, routine was comfortable, stable, and what I supposed to be doing. But I grew up with two serial movers as parents, which has definitely been engrained in me (the longest I’ve ever lived in one place was from ages 7-17, growing up in Dunstable, MA). Apparently, nurture beats nature in this case. I had dreams of doing something outside of my comfort zone and living an “unconventional” lifestyle, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that looked like for me. I was seriously considering moving to Philadelphia to be closer to my two best friends and to live in a city as I had dreamt of doing since I was a 17-year old touring NYU and Temple.
But, I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. So, looking back, I am beyond grateful that one month into planning my big move, I met a former nomad in a dog park in Durham, NC who unknowingly flipped my plans upsidedown.
Now here we are, December 19, 2020. I am writing this post from Oxford, MS, where I am visiting family that I haven’t seen in 10 years, with 6 months of learning and experiences as a full-time RVer under my belt. I’ve driven over 108 hours (6,100 miles), gone through over 880 gallons of gas (in the RV alone!), visited 20 states, 12 family and friends in 8 different states, 6 national parks, and 21 bucket list places. I’ve also hiked over 65 (recorded) miles! I now feel like I know the ins and outs of RVing and boondocking (which I didn’t think I’d even start exploring until I got out west!). I’ve had to replace house batteries, learn about using propane vs. generator vs. electrical power, replace a level pin, swap out 12 volt lights, rewire a CO2 alarm, jump the RV battery, learn how to live on minimal electricity and water and space (!), and master towing a 4,000 lb Jeep. It’s been tough at times, like when I hated New Jersey so much that I left three weeks early, or when I bottomed out in the boonies of Maine and had to wait hours to get towed, or when I drove out of a Harvest Hosts spot in Connecticut with my awning out and hit a tree, or when I was battling seasonal depression in New York. But the good experiences have outweighed the bad…by far. I’ve visited friends and family that I hadn’t seen in 5-10 years, revisited some of my favorite places that I hadn’t been to since middle school, been able to give my dogs more offleash time than I ever could have imagined, met and spoken to people from all walks of life, hiked Mt. Katahdin with a complete stranger, woken up to a moose outside my door, and caught countless sunsets.
Before I departed in June, one of the questions I would get most often was, “How long are you planning on doing this for?” I can say with full confidence that I’m living the life I want to be living and I have no plans of stopping anytime soon. I have already planned out the next two years of travel, which will cover the rest of my current bucket list. At the same time, I am always thinking of what I want to be doing post-RV life. At this moment in time, I would love to be a snowbird once I’m done travelling. I picture myself spending most of the year (say, April through October) in Vermont on a plot of land with views of the Adirondacks and a river nearby. For the winter, I’d head down south to be near my parents in Virginia or North Carolina, in a cabin in the woods where my dogs can run. Of course, this is subject to change. Anything can happen in two years (especially when you have serial movers as parents!), but that is just where my head is at after my first 6 months on the road. I’ve definitely learned more about what my essential needs versus wants are, and I’m excited to keep learning over the next two years (+/-).
Thank you all for following along on and engaging in this unique journey with me. I love having people to share my highs and lows with, especially since I’m physically alone so much. I appreciate you and hope you stick around!