Part 3 of 3

Part 3:  Was our full timing an adventure or an escape.

RV forums and FB groups are full of questions for newbies, things like can I afford this, can I spend that much time alone (solo newbies), can I spend that much time with my spouse, and what about missing family.  All great questions and most answer how they manage and how happy they are.  Lucky for them and they are the majority, but what if loneliness takes over.  What if relationships suffer. What if health problems arise, and what if depression and mental health issues come up.

Sometimes because life before full timing is so busy these things get ignored or pushed down.

What I discovered on the road was because of moving around, friendships are short term. Yes you stay connected on Facebook, and you meet up again maybe once or twice a year.  But you can’t just text them, “hey,  let’s do dinner”, they’re 4 states away.   I missed an old friendship, the one over time, that in spite of your reluctance to share, have figured out when you say “I’m fine” you are definitely not. Then they insist on a panera bread lunch and give you that “what’s really going on” look until you spill your guts.  Hugs, you know who you are.

I also missed the community part, taking a dish to someone just home from the hospital, planting flowers at the cemetery, volunteering at a fund raiser.  Although our first December in Florida I did go and do bell ringing for the salvation army several times a week, it was short term, until our month there was up.  Finding a sense of community is not easy while full timing but maybe I didn’t try hard enough,  who knows.

We met so many wonderful people and  have met up often,  I love them, but they have no idea I battle with loneliness and depression.

When we started out my husband had already had open heart surgery so physically we were a team and we were pretty efficient.  We really were lucky that we had no travel issues,  coach problems, or challenges.  I think because we had done our research and planned pretty well,  the rest was just good luck.  Going full time was an adventure,  and a escape.  It was a 3 year vacation,  it was also motivating us not to just sit at home and focus on health limitations.  Hiking,  walks with the dog,  and bicycles keep us moving.   Later his COPD worsened,  and then,  after 3 years of full timing he got the lung cancer diagnosis. We are so blessed we were able to get a small home and settle in,  find good doctors,  and he’s doing pretty well today.  I’m still adjusting.  I do love it here,  love having a sewing room and a big kitchen again.  Being a spouse and also a caretaker isn’t easy, although a blessing to be able to.  Add in I’ve been trying to sell that gorgeous motorhome  (major financial stress) for over a year now.   I’m am overwhelmed most days.   I felt bad through his struggles and radiation treatments that I was actually happy to be off the road,  but he understands,  I’m more of a homebody now that I ever was.  I love to cook, garden, sew,  read.  I love privacy,  campgrounds and resorts don’t offer that and neighbors just seemed too close.  Here I can go days without seeing another person,  sit on the deck in my PJs, grow herbs, amass bottles of essential oils, and burn real candles.   I can go out and see people but I have the option of coccooning.   I still want and can be social but because of depression it’s difficult at this time.  Full timing for him was great,  he’s very social and while I used to be I struggle with it today.  I tend to be the person who seems just fine, but I worry constantly about Dan’s health,  I think I have to fix everything, when in fact I can’t.  I’m not ok,  but I’m Damn well trying.

I’m writing this out,  not to be a Debbie downer but because health,  depression,  mental battles, and grief don’t get addressed.  When you load up that RV you can lose your support system, doctors who you trust, friends,  clubs, and church groups.   We worry more about where to get our hair cut, rv toilet paper,  gps, travel apps, etc,  than the human element (many find the old friendships change,  your lives are different, your interests may have changed).   Trust me, those above rv travel questions are easily answered  after a short time (except maybe the where to get my hair cut one), plus every RVer is willing to help you, RVers can be awesome.  Have a issue with your RV,  5 guys (or gals) in the campground will go all “Macgyver” and you’ll be fixed in no time,  seriously,  they love doing this.  RVers are a pretty happy crowd.

Opening up about this is a way for me to be honest with myself and answer a few questions.   I wanted to address a part of full timing that is my story,  good and bad. Full timing is pretty cool,  it was me that was the square peg in the round hole. I didn’t hate it, I was just ready for it to be over rather quickly.

Right now I’m trying to practice gratitude along with addressing my mental health and my faith.  If the motorhome ever sells 😦 we talk about going camping 🙂 but I’m pretty sure a firepit in the yard will make my day.

PLUSES:

Now that we’re not moving around I see way more of my daughter. Ironically now she and her husband are full timers traveling for work.  It’s a perfect fit for her.  She is super sweet and I’m so proud of her.

I’ve also been able to reconnect with my sister who I hadn’t seen in a few years (She’s my only family member, having lost both parents,  brother, aunts, uncles, and grandparents) and we’ve been working on our relationship.  She’s been a great source of help with my spiritual health.

I love love my husband,  he is my soul mate.  Living in a small space together wasn’t an issue,  although there were a few AC temperature disagreements (brrrr) and the ongoing tv volume conversation (can you turn that down?) (huh?) (What?) That rest was fine.

So that’s my 2 cents.  Most probably can’t relate but that’s ok.  I wanted to address a few things that might not be discussed on other RV blogs, and I decided to be honest about my struggles today,  in the “After” Full timing life.  Hopefully it will help someone.  It’s been,  kind of therapeutic for me, although not easy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Part 2 of 3

Why after wanting to go fulltime so badly why did I dislike it so much.

Well to answer that I first had to go back and remember why I wanted it.  Truth be told I worked hard,  for a lot of years, but because of my job security I basically lived my entire 58 years within a 15 mile radius.  While we traveled often,  I always wanted to experience living somewhere new.   spending anywhere from a week to several months in new places sounded perfect and in fact, for the first 2 years,  it was.  Secondly,  I love camping and being out in nature. This would be perfect.

In the beginning we packed up more often and moved farther,  later we seemed to return to places we liked and stayed longer. Unfortunately the bigger the RV the more we wound up in RV  resorts more than state parks.  I think after a while i just got tired,  and maybe a bit bored.  Sure there were new places to see and new roads to travel but I just couldn’t put my finger on what was gnawing at me. I dreaded moving days.  And then one day in April of our second year,  several of our campground neighbors were all packing up, their winter snowbird season was over and they were going home.  BAM, that was it, I wanted to go home,  I was homesick.  But not for Ohio,  I was done with winters there plus we had sold our home. I NEEDED a home base.  I missed gardening,  a sewing room,  lots of bird feeders, and  a private porch. I didn’t miss Ohio,  I missed having a nest.

You know,  vacations are fun but it’s always good to be home.

Now looking back I wish we’d just gone part time but I have no regrets,  we did something lots of folks only dream of.  Unfortunately it just wasn’t a good fit for me.  I’m a homebody and ok with it. I’ve only shared this because people ask,  why… why did you buy a house, why aren’t you still full timing. I guess cause the adventure just ran it’s course. But at least I’m living in a different state,  in some beautiful mountains.

To be continued…

 

Downsizing….or not? Part 1 of 3

It’s time to update the blog.  I have a love/hate relationship with blogging and with most things.  It’s like loving to cook but hating washing dishes.

I’ll share the good times but I can’t share the rough,  sad,  disappointing times.  It’s in my DNA. While growing up in a loving family,  our biggest dysfunction was secrecy.  Unfortunately sharing any struggles, loss, anger, sadness, or grief with the outside world was forbidden, only happy faces and good stuff was ever allowed outside the walls of our house.  What’s wrong with that, nobody wants to hear or see your problems or tears,  we’ve all got stuff we’re dealing with right? And damn it straighten your shoulders, walk tall and soldier on, this to shall pass.

Well this last year I haven’t soldiered on well and my shoulders are pretty slumped.  I’ve done a great deal of thinking,  both while battling depression and attempting to soldier on.

While doing this I tried to figure out 3 things. 1. Why after wanting to go full-time so badly, did I dislike it so much. 2. Why do I always feel so alone and unable to make true friendships and 3. Is full timing really an adventure or just an adult way to truly run away??

The next 2 postings will explore this,  not just as a way for me to vent, but more of an open discussion that while we may think we’re downsizing we really don’t talk about,  or even realize, the mental and emotional baggage we toss in that RV.

While I thought downsizing the material stuff was hard,  changing a lifetime of habits was yet to come.

The Blue Lady

12062We were sitting at a tiki lounge,  listening to live music. I’ve always been a people watcher (especially at airports). I saw her walk in.  She had the biggest smile,  I knew she was cool.  Cowboy hat,  funky style clothing,  that feeling you get thinking sisters from different mother’s.  Later I wound up talking to her for a bit and asked her what was  her hatband that was on her cowboy hat.  It was rattlesnake bones… no shit, rattler and all.  She killed the rattler herself,  skinned it and then buried the bones.  Let the bugs in the ground eat away at the meat and then she dug it up and made the coolest hatband I’ve ever laid eyes on. I told her I loved the story and I had a blog.  Asked permission to share and she even posed for a picture.  Then as an afterthought,  I asked if there was anything else I should include in the rattlesnake story.  She laughed and said hell yes, make sure you say I’m single…. and looking.  I loved her ❤ this is the best part of traveling.

Franklin, NC

20160815_202311in early April we arrived in Franklin, Nc where we decided we wanted to spend most of the summer. The decision to do this was two part, one, we wanted to look for a piece of property and two I wasn’t feeling well and wanted to just chill for summer. I really hated to cancel our plans to go to upper Michigan this summer but I was just beat. That’s one of the reasons we decided to do this, we move when we feel like it and plans are only tentative. We’ve found our style of full timing and it doesn’t include rushing around lol. A month here and a month there is just fine with us. Our winter includes 2 months in Destin, one month in ocala, and then 2 months in crescent city (a new spot for us this year).

When we got to Franklin, nc we kind of fell in love with the mountains. It’s very non touristy here, small town vibe, and Appalachian trail town. Although this summer has been hotter here than we expected the low humidity really helps Dan.  We were very lucky and found a private rv site to rent and it’s beautiful. At this time we have decided to buy a small home here as a home base and we’ll have a place for the motor home. While we love moving around and the motor home is easy to live in, having doctors, dentists, and having a legal address has become an issue.

So Aug 25 we celebrated 2 years as full timers and we’ll continue until next April when we’ll return here to Franklin to set up our part time home. We’re excited about this new phase of part timers and think it will be a better fit for us.  I’m excited to look at Dan at the end of next March and say “let’s go home”…thanks for following along, here are some pics from Franklin 

 

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Our pool/view

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Along the ride up to highlands

 

 

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View from fontana dam

 

 

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View from wayah bald

 

 

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Never get tired of this view

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Dry falls

Carrabelle Fla and great friends

After leaving Cedar Key, Fl we headed to Carabelle which is in the Florida panhandle along what is called “the forgotten coast”.  Ho Hum rv park has great sites (although tight) along the gulf. We spent two weeks here relaxing meeting up with some friends and also meeting new ones.

 

We met Jean and Ron a year ago and have cross paths a few times now always enjoying hanging out with them.  The four of us decided to take a air boat tour of the swamps and had a great time. It was our first time on an air boat and I was a bit worried it would hurt my bad neck but it turned out it was harder on my bladder….it’s hell getting old 😉

 

Another day we drove out to st George island and enjoyed a beach walk. We had the beach all to ourselves and they even rolled out the blue carpet for us…..actually I’ve seen similar along the beach and I think it’s for wheelchair access, something I hope we see more of.

A few more pictures of carrabelle

A visit from Tom, Marci, and Bryce who were in the area.

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We also met Steve and Sue and took a ride to wakulla state park for a boat ride. Again, we are so lucky to meet up with such great folks on the road.

 

So many great visits and beautiful sunrises it was hard to move on but we must…headed up to lake city, Fl to stock up and head to Jekyll island next.

 

 

 

Cedar Key

On our way back up to the panhandle of Florida we stopped in Cedar Key.  Cedar key is west of Ocala on on the gulf side of Florida. We had been here a year ago but wanted to spend a few more nights there and explore. We arrived just after noon and headed downtown

After walking around we headed to Steamers  to relax and enjoy the water view. 8 bars/restaurants and one stop sign….gosh maybe we should house hunt here 😉

After a bowl of fresh clams we met a great couple (Greg and Lynn, hope we meet up again someday) that were there vacationing and they introduced us to “corona ritas”.  Finished up with some fresh oysters!!12800319_10207527637441566_61455691609986134_n

On the way back to the campground we had to stop at low key highway,a cute little tiki bar just of the island. Great little funky place for great sunsets.

Sunday we kicked back at the cg and Dan washed the motorhome. Monday was just beautiful and we love checking out places during the week, after the weekend crowds, so we had a great afternoon riding around cedar key looking at all the cool beach homes. Then we headed downtown to the main pier12066004_10207529677852575_741329544926014490_n

The last stop on our list was Tony`s award winning clam chowder. It did not disappoint!!!! Love the sour dough bread bowl.12593718_10207530100663145_1319502345008590001_o

Then we headed home for an early night, off to Carabelle, Florida tomorrow.  Don’t miss cedar key if you get the chance….thanks for following along. This started out to be a journal, turned into a travel blog, and sometimes a food blog but we are just enjoying puttering along, taking it easy in the RV.

Cruising the river and wild monkeys

One of the things we wanted to do here at the Wilderness rv park was a pontoon boat cruise. The park has two pontoon boats that you can rent for the day so we packed up a cooler with lunch and headed out. The boat is nothing fancy but at $100 for the day (that includes gasoline) it was well worth it. You launch here at the park and start up the Ocklawaha river and then up the Silver river to Silver Springs state park. The trip is about 5 or 6 miles each way and took us about 5 hours although we were not in any hurry and just slowly cruised along enjoying the sights. Dan took the helm and we started up the river.

The scenery was just beautiful and it wasn’t long before we saw the first of many gators along the way along with turtles, anhinga, ducks and many different species of birds.

Soon we found the first troop of monkeys. Somewhere back in the 1930’s a guy who owned a river cruise here thought he would buy some Rhesus monkeys and put them on a small island on the river to enhance his cruise business but he failed to realize that monkeys can swim so they left the island and have been living and breeding along the river for years now. It’s pretty cool to see them as your going down the river and we enjoyed watching them.

Over all it was just a great day and the silver river is so clear you can see all the way to the bottom and watch the fish swimming. As we turned around at the state park and started back home we spotted a lone manatee. We’ve seen them in many of the springs here but didn’t expect to see one in the silver river.

Just a great day!

Some days you just have to wing it…

Today started out to just be an errand day but at each stop we kept striking out. By that time it was 2:00 and too late to try and get to one of the area springs to watch the manatees so we were kind of suggesting things to each other…

Now I love unusual weird places but Dan…not so much. So I decided we were going to what I called funkytown (not it’s real name, but I didn’t want to give it away). So after getting “the look”from Dan, and putting the address in the GPS, we headed to Gainesville.

I’m pretty sure when we pulled into Satchel’s pizza he had even more doubts but quickly warmed up to the place. A friend in the MH park had posted pics of this place and then when I googled it it was on a list of top 10 pizza places in the US, well hell, I’m in.

When you approach the front of the restaurant there is a great beat up graffiti van that is the most coveted seat on the property. The guys occupying it let me photograph them and even offered to let us join them but there was to much more to see…

Of course I don’t care for wind chimes but one made of hub caps is just too cool, and who doesn’t have a wall of cds

Not a lot of parking and weekends can easily be an hour wait, even if you fly in12733656_10207411702223258_3828804732002499350_n

Water features that are artsy or crazy, depending on your “eye”12743740_10207411701503240_1126065178971214859_n

Even a place to make your pose12745926_10207411700743221_3824797288387331807_n

Of course it was time eat and satchel did not disappoint

When they bring the viewmaster it’s for real and is their desert menu, all homemade.12728888_10207411706263359_3253135784539856646_n

Hope you enjoyed our visit to funky town, . Or it’s real name of Satchel’s Pizza in Gainesville. Before we left I got a big grin out of Dan and a “well, you really hit it out of the park with this one” woot woot, hippy high five 😉 peace out!!