May 11th, 2015 was the day we signed the closing papers on our house in St. Paul. It was also the day that we officially moved into our RV full-time. We have been living in our motorhome for just over a year and we have learned one very valuable lesson: this was the right decision for us.
Here’s a review of the past year:
We moved into the RV in May, parked in my parents’ driveway. This is where we stayed over the summer to save up money. In June, we lost Fritz, the love of my life.
After saving up money over the summer, we both quit our full-time, retail management jobs in September 2015. I had been with my company for 12 years and Andy with his for 9. Our very first night of freedom started with an amazing Breaking Benjamin concert with some even more amazing friends.
Our first adventure after leaving our jobs was a trip to NYC to visit Andy’s sister and brother-in-law.
After New York, we picked up our new puppy, Theodore. A week later, we took the RV up north on a test drive. We went to some family property we call “The Farm” and stayed a few nights. Theo’s first road trip!
Then we went to the North Shore and stayed on Lake Superior and the Temperance River (one of my favorite places in the world). This was our first real camping experience and where we had our private memorial for Fritz.
After our test run, we set out on our adventure!
First stop: Sioux Falls, SD where we visited my friend Bethany and stayed at our first, and only, RV resort.
We survived the intense rain in Sioux Falls and headed to Iowa where I learned there were more than just cornfields.
From there, we headed to a campground in northern Missouri and saw armadillos for the first time. It was beautiful there!
We went to southern Missouri to visit my grandma and grandpa for a few days after that.
Our next campsite was in Arkansas, just outside of Hot Springs. An amazing little place on Lake Catherine.
After Arkansas, another gorgeous state, we headed to Oklahoma where we got our first taste of wildfire fear.
Luckily, it missed our immediate area so we just enjoyed the view. Then we headed to the panhandle of Oklahoma where we toured caves and camped out.
After Oklahoma, we headed into New Mexico and saw fossilized dinosaur footprints.
This is also where we got trapped in a surprise snowstorm without power or cell service. Our first really scary experience on the road!
After our snowy escape, we headed up to Colorado where we stayed with my family for a month. We celebrated Thanksgiving at a cabin in the mountains with my aunt, cousins, dad, and sister (the latter two drove out). We had our first terrifying snowy mountain road experience coming back down from Cripple Creek. We also celebrated an early Christmas with my little cousins.
We finally took our leave from Colorado and headed back into New Mexico. Once our furnace started having problems, we took a long drive in a single day over to Andy’s uncle’s house in Arizona. This is where we spent Christmas and New Year’s.
From Arizona, we headed over to California and spent a few nights on the Salton Sea.
After hiking and off-roading around the Salton Sea, we headed to Dana Point to meet up with our friends Ali and Jared who came into town to see us for a belated New Year’s.
The second campground we stayed at with them is where we experienced our “mini tornado.”
Once they left for Minnesota and we were trying to figure out where to go next, we stayed at a county park in Oceanside.
This is where we decided that we wanted to try to make it work out in Cali for a while and where we applied for the park host positions. We lived at this park for a month before moving into our site in Ramona!
It’s been a crazy year! We’ve seen a lot of things and traveled to a lot of places. We’ve learned a lot about life on the road, living in an RV, and about each other. We’ve learned that this is what we needed to do with our lives and this is what made us happier than we’ve ever been. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve done some amazing things before this adventure but this happiness is being sustained for longer than a week or two, longer than your typical vacation.
Andy is working at an awesome mechanic’s shop that he absolutely loves. He is learning new stuff every day and is getting paid for it! My writing career is finally taking off; with three articles soon-to-be-published, a recently acquired position at a local newspaper, and two amazing wildlife volunteer positions, I am happier than ever. Our park is the perfect spot for us for now, perfect for our family and for this new life.
Our first year had some big ups and big downs. Each part was a lesson and all of it was an adventure! I am excited to see where the next year will take us in our Wandering Dolphin!