We left our traditional life and our “sticks and bricks” home six years ago today to embark on this seemingly endless traveling adventure. Did you catch that number?!?! SIX YEARS AGO!!! Some of our best pictures are posted below so don’t bail out early! I have been doing a great deal of reflecting in the days leading up to this event as I knew a blog post was in order. As I sit here in a gloriously remote campground smack-dab in the middle of nowhere (aka Arley, Alabama); I have resolutely decided that six years may seem like a long time to live and travel like we do, but it’s nowhere close to being long enough to actually see and do everything there is to see and do! I am quite convinced that there isn’t enough time left in either one of our lifetimes to even come close. This realization is one of the many reasons why we carry on with our lifestyle and our “seemingly endless” travels with no end in sight.
Nothing about these past six years have been the least bit “normal” (whatever that is) and I highly doubt that anything about our next six years will be either. From day one of this adventure, our life on the move has removed words like: normal, comfort-zone, boring, traditional, rut, and same-old-same-old, far from our everyday lingo. The past two years have been out of the ordinary for pretty much everyone on the planet, yet the fact remains that our different is still very different from most. Although the past couple of years have definitely caused us to have to modify our travel plans and patterns; and have even forced us to slow down and travel less; it has not changed our love for this lifestyle, nor our zest for adventure. Nor has it dampened our desire to travel more. Quite the opposite.
“Better to see something once
than hear about it a thousand times.”
– Ancient Proverb
Honestly, it’s a major blessing that both Greg and I feel the same way about our lifestyle. What few people may understand is the simple fact that we could not easily change this lifestyle at this point, even if we wanted to. Just slowing down for the past year alone and securing an annual site in Orlando costs us an additional $700+ per month (since we also had to pay for our own electricity) and that is on top of our normal living expenses. The additional expenses incurred also played a huge role in us having to delay our sailboat purchase for the time being. We sold our “sticks and bricks” house and we do not own any land to “park” on so we cannot stay in any one area easily or cheaply. At this point we don’t have the option of just “going back home” as some may think. That said, we both agree that we are always home. Honestly, we won’t be truly home until we get to heaven! But in the meantime, wherever we may be parked is as close as it gets for us. Thankfully, that’s just the way we like it.
After taking a bit of a hiatus from our major travels to be closer to our family in the eastern half of the U.S. (Click here to read my previous post for all the gory details), we are both fully committed and more than a little bit excited to finally begin our third journey back out west. As I said earlier, we are currently up in Northern Alabama staying off Lewis Smith Lake and we will be here at this same spot throughout the entire month of February. Greg needed to get over to South Carolina to get his final family visits in and to meet our latest grandson, Milo, before we head farther west. I was just there in December, but he hasn’t been there since this past summer. He spent a long weekend there while I held down the fort in Alabama with Popeye and we now have the balance of February to hunker down get some much-needed work done. We are slowly making our way over to Texas (which is our “home” state after all) and we then plan on bouncing around Texas for a just a wee bit to see how things are looking in this crazy country before we truly solidify our summer plans. We are hoping to head up to Colorado and Utah this summer at the very least; but even more than ever this is a time in life when we make “our” plans, but we truly rely on God to direct our steps.
I feel the need to point out that this plandemic has actually affected us as well, but again, in a very different way than most. It seems that everybody and their brother bought an RV in the past eighteen months. Some to work remotely in, others to just bug out for “social distancing”, and others who discovered RVing as a way to have more freedom and vacation time that staying in hotels and resorts could no longer provide. We’ve also met more than a few who sold everything and moved from their home state looking for a new home state with more freedoms and are doing so in an RV, either temporarily or permanently. Add to this new reality the fact that many of them have either been gifted a Thousand Trails campground membership as a bonus from the RV dealer where they purchased their rig, or they bought their own membership to make camping more affordable. All this means that every single campground – Thousand Trails and otherwise – is significantly more difficult to get into, if not downright impossible. This meant we were not able to visit hardly any of the places we really wanted to even this past year while in Florida, and making plans now have to come with a Plan A, B, C and even D option! You get the picture. Due to this fact, we always book where we can find availability for our full 4 months out booking window, even when it’s not our ideal plan. This way we always have reservations on the books worst case scenario. As I said above, we don’t have another home to go home to. This is our home! So there’s that! Although the uptick in camping activity has put a bit of a monkey wrench in our lifestyle, we are determined to not let it frustrate us and to carry on!
As I mentioned above, we have had a brand-new grandbaby born to us this past December. Our daughter, Brittney, and her hubby, Clayton, added another adorable baby boy to their family on December 6, 2021. We now have three granddaughters and three grandsons so that evens things up. Meet the newest member of the Berthume Clan:
Milo Ender Thornton
The map I made and used above as our feature photo shows our travels for these first six years. It’s a bit of a spaghetti map, but as you can clearly see, we have made some serious tracks! We started out on this journey at age 49 working like crazy and homeschooling our then 14 year old son, Elijah. He was our last child at home and the only one who hit the road with us. I homeschooled my four kiddos for what ended up being a total of twenty-six years so continuing to homeschool our youngest on the road was an easy transition. He was able to travel during his entire high school experience and that is a memory that we (and hopefully he) will treasure forever. Although he moved out of the RV and into an adorable little house with his older brother almost three years ago (will be three years in May of 2022); sharing the first three years of our travels with him were special to say the least. Not having him with us has been quite an adjustment for us all, especially me. We still miss him, and in all honesty I have yet to fully recover from the exhaustion of so many years of homeschooling. Oh, and we must point out the fact that we also had our granddaughter, Saylor, join us on our travels for two months first time, and then again for another six months during our first year on the road. That was fun!
Greg and I are now in a completely different phase of life. We are 55 years old and we officially qualify for senior discounts and the many senior RV parks as well. Greg still supports our lifestyle by working remotely as a software entrepreneur and developer for our business Berthume Enterprises, LLC. The main product is business software for Food Brokers, Distributors and Manufacturers, called Naviteer. Visit www.naviteer.com for details. His new product under development is SafeOdyssey: Visit www.safeodyssey.com for details. As for me, although I still do the accounting and keep the books for our business, with not homeschooling any longer I consider myself pretty much retired at this point. We have been trying to adjust to our new normal as a couple, but as I said before – what the heck is normal anyway!?!?! We got married at 17 and had our first son at 20, so life as a couple – without children – is very much uncharted territory. We are learning how to walk this brand new road of “just the two of us” and although it’s quite different from what we (or maybe I should say I?!) expected, we are starting to forge a new road of our own. And I must say, the road ahead looks bright! Adventurous, curvy, risky, unknown, yet bright nonetheless. Let’s do this! I will end this blog by sharing some of our absolute favorite traveling highlights of these past six years. Although it’s impossible to post them all, here are but a few in no particular order. If you want to see any picture larger, just click on it to blow it up:
Happy Trails and Sunny Sails for Many More Years to Come From Our Family To Yours!