It’s hard to believe that we began this journey three years ago today – on February 18th of 2016. What’s truly hard to believe is not how long it’s been, but rather the fact that it feels as if we’ve been living this roving lifestyle WAY longer than only a mere three years. In some ways it’s stressful and in some ways it’s downright exhausting, but in most ways it’s nothing short of amazing.
This past year has been the least exciting travel-wise as we have hung out more in the eastern half of the country with not as many new experiences as our first two years on the road. But the longer we live this traveling lifestyle, the more we are inclined to slow down and simply enjoy the journey. We are not in a hurry and are relishing taking whatever time we want and need to spend with our loved ones. Our priority this past year, which will continue far into 2019, has been getting in lots of visits with family and friends until we head back out west again for a spell. We have certainly done and continue to do exactly that! By the end of 2019 we will need to help get J.Jay and Elijah established for the long term as well.
In 2018 we made it a point to spend some extended time with all of our grown kids and our grandkids in both North and South Carolina. In addition, we were blessed to get in lots of visits with friends and relatives in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, and Michigan. Since we left, we have come to appreciate our friends and family more than ever as absence has indeed made our hearts grow fonder.
Just because it’s been the least exciting travel-wise, does not mean it hasn’t been exciting. In keeping with tradition, we made it a point to see as many sights along the way as possible. Some of the highlights of our 3rd year were: day trips to both New York City and to Washington D.C.; extensively exploring Amish country in Lancaster County Pennsylvania; multi-day visits to both The Creation Museum and The Ark Encounter; beach days at the #1 Beach in the USA in Siesta Key as well as several others on the gulf side of Florida; dancing with the old(er) folks at The Villages, canoeing Price Lake off the Blue Ridge Parkway, kayaking the gorgeous turquoise waters of Rainbow Springs in Central Florida, and more. Also, a very special treat this past year was spending Christmas in Orlando where, since our 22 year old, J.Jay, was with us on his Christmas break, he and our youngest, Elijah, were able to spend 4 days at Universal Studios in Orlando as part of their Christmas present (they each contributed $$$$ as well). Yes, it has definitely been a good year. It has been a good THREE years!!!
As of this writing, February 18, 2019, we are staying at Tampa East RV Resort in our 76th campsite/homesite to date. (To see our first 53 campsites click here: 2nd Anniversary Post) We are wintering in Florida this year and I, Pamela, have been reaping the health benefits of plentiful Vitamin D at the various pools and beaches along the way. Speaking of health, this has also been a year of improving our health. We have all lost weight, upped our activity levels, and all three of us have become healthier versions of our previous selves. I, Pamela, have been strictly keto (short for ketogenic diet) as well as practicing Intermittent Fasting consistently since early June of 2018. As a result, not only do I feel terrific, but also I have lost and kept off 25 lbs. This way of eating has done wonders for my overall health and energy levels and has turned from a diet into a lifestyle for me. Greg has been on and off keto himself this year, depending on circumstances. He definitely feels much better when he’s eating keto consistently. Elijah eats healthy and relatively low sugar and he walks incessantly.
Speaking of Elijah, he has decided that he wants to graduate high school by the time he turns 18, which is November of this year. To that end, we are amping up his homeschool and he’s now doubling up finishing 11th grade and starting 12th at same time. His desire is not only to graduate, but also to move in with J.Jay when he turns 18. Now that he has determined this to be his definite goal, he is quite motivated to do what he needs to do to pull it off. He is still fine with this lifestyle, but he doesn’t love it like Greg and I do. Honestly, he loved this lifestyle the first year, liked it the second year, and has tolerated it this past year. Although he’s not complaining, he’s clearly ready for the next phase of his life and has a strong desire to settle down and begin his life as an adult. I would expect nothing less. One of the things that I have said many times about all of my kiddos is that we are not raising them to be kids, rather to be independent adults. He’s already transitioning into an adult mindset, for sure. Thankfully, he and J.Jay are still very close and they are both on the same page with plans of getting an apartment to share. What a blessing for them as well as for us. Talk about peace of mind.
As I mentioned above, the first two years we stayed in 53 campsites, so that’s an average of 26.5 per year. As of today we are up to campground number 76! So during our third year we have stayed in a total of 23 different homesites. We have been saying that we want to slow down a bit, but these numbers would show otherwise. In keeping with our tradition, below are pictures of each one of our homesites (as I prefer to call them) them during our third year. Again, if you want to see our first 2 years of campsites I linked to that blog post above. Third Year Campsites:
Last year was a year of family and friends and this year will be much of the same, adding in a whole lot of transitioning. Elijah will be transitioning to an independent (hopefully) adult, J.Jay will be transitioning out of college, and Greg and I will be transitioning into empty-nesters. It’s all a bit emotional and even scary for me, but exciting for everyone else. That said, I am excited about transitioning back out west (which I miss more than I ever expected) and ultimately transitioning onto a liveaboard sailboat as well!
We have learned a great deal in these past three years. To live with less stuff and in less space as been a huge life-altering lesson for us. The less I have, the more I realize just how little I need… or want. At this point, the idea of more/bigger almost overwhelms me. We have also learned (and are still learning) to not let the little things define us and not let the stresses this lifestyle brings take away from the excitement and adventure that only a lifestyle like this could afford. Although slowing down sounds better and better the longer we travel, I honestly still can’t fathom actually “settling down” anytime soon. This lifestyle has so many more pros than cons that I, Pamela, don’t have a single regret that we began this journey when and how we did, 3 years ago today. Greg and Elijah may say otherwise, but hey… I don’t see either one of them writing a blog entry! As for me, this traveling lifestyle is a perfect fit and I hope and pray that it is a lifestyle we find ourselves living for many years to come. (Traveling by land, and soon by sea… but still traveling!) It keeps me healthy, happy, and whole.
As I always say, I will try to blog more frequently this next year. That said, I am so busy these days (with no end in sight for this year) that I’m not sure I can actually keep that promise. I do promise to try though. To keep in touch with us as we travel on more frequent basis, follow our Wheels and Sails Facebook Page where we post pictures and updates in real time. Until then…
Happy Trails and Sunny Sails!!!