Happy 1.5 Year NOMADiversary To Us!
18 months. 1 1/2 years. Not quite 2 years, but more than 1 year. Yes, that’s how long it has been since we pulled out of our storage facility in Spring City, PA headed for . . . adventure? To say we’ve learned a lot in that time is an understatement. It may have been better than even we had hoped for.
So, what do we write about at this Nomadiversary? Yea, we weren’t sure either. So we interviewed ourselves. Well, kinda. We wrote down some questions that we thought people might be interested in finding out the answers to and then Betsy and I sat down separately and answered them. As you read them you’ll notice some obvious similarities, but you’ll also notice some differences. All we can tell you is the answers are honest, and we hope you learned something, or learned something about us.
If you happen to follow us on Instagram you already know we go by mr.seesimplelove and mrs.seesimplelove on there. Since we think that is a little bit cooler than Russ and Betsy that’s how we’ve labeled our answers in our self-interview. So here we go, 10 questions, 20 answers, read and enjoy.
Well, I definitely do not miss all of the expenses that come with owning a Sticks & Bricks house. Just so everyone is on the same page, the term Sticks & Bricks house is a term some RV’ers use to refer to a more conventional , stationary house. When you add up all of the monthly expenses related to owning a home; including mortgage payment, property and school taxes, utilities, maintenance, improvements, etc., it turns out to be a pretty significant number. All for a house that Betsy and I utilized probably one third of the space. For us, it was pretty much a place to store a bunch of stuff that we really didn’t need.
What do I miss about our former home? Hmmm, I had to think about this one for a while to come up with something. This may sound funny but it is probably good plumbing. Don’t get me wrong, we have a nice shower, ceramic toilet, sinks, etc. in our current RV. What I miss is the concept of not having to worry about where the water is coming from and where it’s going. In our current home you have to think a little bit about having a water connection or if the fresh water tank is full so you can use the fixtures. And you have to give some thought as to the status of the grey and black holding tanks. If you are connected to sewer in the campground, you still have to monitor them and determine when to empty them. If you are camping somewhere without a sewer connection, you need to be aware of your water usage and determine when you’ll be able to next empty the tanks. Having this knowledge will allow you to avoid standing in a pool of water in the shower or having to deal with a black (poopy) tank from overflowing. Not life changing, but definitely something I know I took for granted while living in my S & B house.
I do not miss much, but the thing I DO miss is a garbage disposal. Funny thing is I never had one growing up and Russ had to teach me that it was okay to actually put food down there and grind it up! However after having one, I really really miss it. Especially when all our sink water goes into a holding tank. We try to keep every tiny little scrap out of that tank. Because food scraps sitting in a tank, well they rot and rotten food STINKS! Before it some food scraps got through the strainer they would head to the sewer plant, not sit in a tank under my house! #firstworldproblems
What I DON’T miss about my prior life in our sticks & bricks house is the cleaning of rooms I never used - the extra bedrooms, the closets, the bathrooms. Now, I use each and every square inch of my home on wheels, Charlie. Therefore I clean each and every square inch of Charlie, but it takes 15 minutes tops to clean all 429 square feet from top to bottom.
The easy answer is I like both! Seriously, in a perfect world we would have a good mix of changing locations and staying in one spot. We were in one place this summer in Maine for five months and it was nice to really get to know an area and settle into “home”. Having just finished traveling from Maine to South Texas over a month, covering a little over 2,500 miles, we got a good feel for moving every 2 - 5 days. It was definitely cool to see so many people and places during the last month, but it starts to wear on me moving that often. I believe there is probably a “sweet spot” somewhere between two and four weeks to stay at one place. To me that would give us time to explore and learn about an area before moving on to another place. Since we just started a workamping assignment in Port Lavaca, TX for a calendar year, we’ll definitely have an opinion on staying in one place for an extended time. Check back with us at the 2 1/2 year mark!
I definitely enjoy staying put for awhile. You all know by now that I don’t like long drives. The reason behind that is not the actual driving, but the feeling of just zooming from one town to the next without taking time to explore. It is that “stop and smell the roses” mantra. Part of our blog name is “SEE - to SEE the country” and I don’t feel like hurrying through state after state after state is to truly SEE the country. There are so many beautiful places and I like to stay in the places long enough to enjoy their beauty. I like to live like a local and adventure like a tourist when I get somewhere. I want to check out the small town coffee shops, pedal the local bike trails, and seek out that restaurant with that perfect gluten free menu (always looking out for you honey)! I like to be able to go back and check out the place that brown road marker told me about. When I get to do that and kind of drop anchor, I also fall in love. I always feel a little sad when we leave someplace as living and adventuring there makes it feel like home. In my perfect little Betsy world, I would visit 6 places/states a year and get a chance to really dig in and enjoy.
I live for a living. Not trying to sound like a smart a$$ here, but we have definitely tried to transition more towards the mantra, “work to live, not live to work”. I fell into the tail end of the generation who lived by the rule, “get a job at a good company and work there until you retire”. Well, I kinda did that. After working the normal part time jobs through high school and college (busboy, fast food worker, checking ID’s at the college weight room, cutting grass, etc), I graduated from college and started working for the Phone Company; a.k.a. Bell of Pennsylvania, Bell Atlantic, Verizon, and Verizon Wireless. After working there for 26 years I decided there was more to see and do in life, so I retired early from corporate America.
Our current work life consists of Workamping, which is a wonderful combination of working part time / seasonal jobs and RV’ing. In between this thing we call workamping, I would say that Betsy and I “hustle” to earn what we can to pay the few bills we have. You see the equation works both ways, if you spend less, you definitely don’t need to earn as much. In the last year and a half, in addition to workamping, I have been an Uber driver, RV Inspector, secret shopper, and wanna-be writer. I would say that the pursuit of passive, remote income is in my thoughts daily, so in the mean time I’ll continue to read, investigate and evaluate ways to maintain this life I love.
I am a workamper. What is a workamper you ask? First and foremost, check out this great website - Workamper News. That is the awesome company that coined the phrase workamper. We are an adventuresome couple who get the honor of combining work with RVing. As a person who has held many different jobs in life - elementary teacher, Panera Bread associate, camp counselor, bakery owner, and even a Cracker Jack factory worker. Okay, okay - I only lasted 2 weeks at the Cracker Jack factory the summer after my senior year in high school. But I’ve always been drawn to trying things I have never tried before. I’m just curious I suppose. So this life of workamping is beautiful for me. I get to take part-time jobs doing things I have never done before - Amazon in Campbellsville, KY at the holidays, Acadia Bike & Coastal Kayking this past summer in Bar Harbor, Maine, and currently as a campground office lady at Texas Lakeside RV Park in Port Lavaca, TX. That is what I do - I work and have fun jobs for just long enough that I never reach that phase of burn-out that employees all over the world often reach. It’s a beautiful thing! Does it pay the bills - usually! But when it doesn’t, we get creative. That used to stress me out big time, but now we roll with the punches. We pick up little side gigs. I’ve merchandised at grocery stores, do online work as a User Tester and Photo Cataloguing Specialist, and play mystery shopper in exchange for delicious free meals, nice products and a small cash bonus. There will be a post on all those small streams of income in the future for anyone looking to bank a few more bucks. Never fear we do have money saved for retirement years, but in the mean time we are working, earning, and having fun. So that in a nutshell is what I do for a living.
We do a lot of things to reduce risk and lower our chances of doing stupid things, but, inevitably things happen. We’ve been very fortunate to not have done any “majorly” stupid things, but one particular stop does come to mind. Since we travel with a somewhat lengthy (41’ 4”) fifth wheel trailer (Charlie) and tow it with an unconventional tow vehicle, The Big Tow'er (Volvo 610 semi truck) which is about 25 feet in length, the time that comes to mind involves the length of our “rig”. The occurrence was in a campground outside of Tampa, FL that we arrived at right at dusk / dark. Not something we normally like to do. We were not able to fit into the site we were originally assigned, so thanks to the help of the office we were directed to another site. Still tight, but it seemed to be big enough. It wasn’t meant to be a pull-thru site, but being on the end of the row, we found a way to squeeze in from the back of the site and pull along the concrete pad. No harm done, and we were in. After unhitching and beginning the set up process, as dusk turned to night, we leveled the RV and then headed in to put the slides out. Some of you may know that one upgrade we’ve done to Charlie is add MORryde Step Above steps, which fold up into the RV when stowed. Well, in this particular case, when we went to put the steps out we discovered that the large concrete pad on our site, next to our RV was way higher than normal and did not allow our steps to come down. You would think we could say, hey this is something we’ll deal with tomorrow. Not so fast! You see, when our steps can’t come down, our entry door doesn’t close. After some deliberation, we decided the best course of action was to raise the camper enough to allow the steps to come down. As I kept raising the hydraulic jacks higher and higher, I began to doubt my solution. After many tries, and with Charlie a good foot or more higher than normal, we were finally able to put the steps down, and close our entry door.
If that was the end of our problems at that campground, we would have been ok, but during our entire two week stay there I kept having a bad feeling about getting out of this particular site. Well, when the day arrived to leave and move on, my fears turned into reality. We hitched up the Big Tow’er to Charlie and soon realized I would not be able to get out of the site due to a combination our favorite concrete pad, the utilities on the left side of the site, the size of our truck and the tight turn needed to get out of the site. After several tries, and many unsolicited opinions from people in the campground, I gave up and our nice neighbor across the street graciously used his truck to pull Charlie out of the site, where I promptly hitched up in the street. Definitely not one of our better stops in the last year and a half.
You have probably heard us say in previous posts that moving days are stressful. Just imagine packing up your entire home securely enough to drag it down the highway at 65 miles per hour. That is essentially what we do each time we move from one campground to another. While it has gotten much easier and we pretty much have it down to a science, there are times the sequence gets askew. Those moments may end up looking a bit like ham & cheese all over the floor and stairway when opening up the door to the camper. Yes, it happened! No, I didn’t remember to secure the fridge doors before travel. However the stupidest thing I have down so far was to not move the trash can that sits at the end of our kitchen island before closing up all of Charlie’s slide-outs. No big deal, right! We rolled out of the campground as usual and had a safe travel day to our next location. Happy with the way the day is progressing, I go to put the slides back out. CRUNNNNCHHHH! Oh no! What was that? Russ is not going to be pleased? Help! All are things that blew through my head as I looked at a kitchen slide that appeared to be a bit whopper-jawed. As I had just enough room to sneak around the kitchen island to peek, I saw that darned trash can wedged between the slide and the wall of the camper. Yikes! The trash can survived and the kitchen slide still operates, but will never run as smooth as it did prior to my bout of stupidity. I’ve lived and learned and by golly I’ve never forgotten to move that trash can to its travel location again (which if you’re ever helping out is in the bathroom). I’m sure I will have another “DUH” moment to report on in our next rendition of Q & A with Mr. & Mrs. See Simple Love. But until then, send good mojo my way.
Well, there’s a saying that “home is where the heart is”, and since our hearts reside in Charlie, we definitely consider it home. But there are also some physical attributes that make Charlie “homey” for us. Charlie’s main living area is a lot like many fifth wheel floor plans with a kitchen and dining area directly inside the entry door, and a living room area in the rear of the trailer. Charlie is a little unique in that there is a somewhat physical separation between the kitchen / dining area and the living area. There is a decorative wood arch on the ceiling and the two areas do not share a slide. The main level of Charlie has four slides (2 slides kitchen / dining and 2 slides in the living room). Adding to the homey feel is a residential refrigerator in the kitchen and a 65 inch television in the living room across from two theater seats.
In general, fifth wheels are considered to have more “living space” than a motor home since there is not a driving cockpit to take up living space. We love our choice of Charlie and it feels more like home every day.
Home Sweet Home! Did you ever wonder why that saying isn’t “House Sweet House”. I believe it is because it is not the house that makes something feel like home. The word home holds a much deeper meaning and can be different for each and every one of us. My RV definitely feels like home to me. Whether I like it or not, it is the obstacle course of shoes in the corner and the laundry that piles up in my closet. It is the unfolded blanket on the sofa, the bookmarked books on the coffee table, and the dirty coffee cup still sitting on the counter. It is the “unloading zone” that we still don’t have figured out - that place often characterized by a mess where we throw our sunglasses, receipts, keys, hats, and things we don’t know what to do with. Charlie feels “homey” because it is the place we sit down to enjoy our meals together. It is the place we wear our coziest clothing with not a lick of fashion in mind and get stuck watching our favorite movies for the hundredth time when they come on TV. It’s that place that after a long day at work or a exhilarating bike ride that we get to come home to and it is peaceful and blissful. While some of the things (like the piles of shoes and the junk drawer) drive me bonkers, these things are truly what makes Charlie feel like home. Now don’t go thinking, I will give up trying to tackle the shoe debacle because Momma Marsha didn’t raise no quitter! (Hey Mom - just for peace a mind, I do know that is not proper grammar! Thank you Charlie for feeling like home, a place comfortable enough to not only bake sweet-smelling cookies, but stinky brussel sprouts and even sauerkraut too!
One thing in the RV that doesn’t feel overly “homey” would be the photos on the wall of our fake family. You know those stock family photos that come in frames that have been hanging on the wall ever since we purchased Charlie. Yeah, about those! Well, the gallery wall I have created in my head has yet to come to fruition. It was one of the “those projects” that I was supposed to tackle in Maine. We are now 2,500+ miles from Maine and I still have the fake family in my hallway. Joanna Gaines please send help and shiplap or if you can’t swing that can you at least send cookies! Because those Silos Baking Company cookies were the loveliest thing to hit my tastebuds in quite awhile.
School has definitely been in session for the past 18 months, so picking out the biggest lesson is a tough one. We have learned so much through trial and error, reading blogs and Facebook posts, and talking to the more seasoned RV’ers we have met in our travels. There are a lot of logistical things we have learned about RV’ing that have definitely made our life easier. The best way to back into that tight site, tricking the auto level hydraulic system when the site is really out of level, trouble shooting the myriad of problems that can occur in an RV, the best ways to make money while traveling in an RV.
All of these things are great, but I think the biggest lesson learned for me is tied directly to what we hoped for when named our blog. The lesson I’ve learned is that it IS possible to see the beauty and diversity of our country, while living a simpler life, all while loving my friend in this big adventure.
I have learned that campgrounds vary greatly from fab to drab. I have also learned that having my home with me makes even those less than desirable campgrounds okay. I have also learned that vehicle maintenance is expensive and whether I like it or not is pretty much necessary in our current lifestyle. I have done a lot of learning over the last 18 months, but the biggest lesson I have learned is “don’t wait for tomorrow”. Time flies whether you are having fun or not. The good news is that we are the pilot. We are trying to cherish the experiences, the adventures, the repairs, the budgeting - everything! We had the opportunity to be places we said we would have never taken the time to visit in our “old life”. Time waits from no one. My heart breaks as I watch friends battle with cancer, lose love ones, and deal with issues they shouldn’t be forced to deal with. It hurts and reminds me that I am so glad we decided to take a risk as we will never be able to get time back. While I hope to have years and years of travels ahead of us, no matter what, we will always have these 18 months of love and adventures to remember. Glad we quit saying, “One day we are going to follow our travel dreams” and instead said “On May 19, 2016, we are going to live it.” While goals and daydreams are different for everyone, might I encourage you to make them happen.
November 19, 2022. It sounds weird to even say that date. If I had a crystal ball and was able to see five years into the future, here is what I would picture. Ok, life would look a lot like it does today. Yes, Charlie will be a little bit older but still serving us well as our home. The Big Tow’er is still chugging along, safely towing Charlie around our country. I hope the Pilot is still serving us well, but five more years may be a lot to ask, so his replacement will be safely transporting Betsy from place to place keeping an eye on Charlie’s rear. Maybe Betsy’s lust for a Tesla Model X SUV will come true by then.
We will definitely be more seasoned workampers, with a resume that will allow us to have our pick of jobs in the prime locations we choose. The pursuit of the perfect for us, passive income source will have been discovered and continuing to provide for us. I think we can make it to the lower 48 states, maybe even Alaska, sorry Hawaii. Hopefully we have come across that perfect for us place where we can purchase an RV site to return to any time we want. When we’re not there, said RV site will provide us with a little money on the side. Our families will continue to be happy and healthy, and still there for us to visit with as our travels take us close by them. Dad, that’ll only make you 91, we can’t wait to stop and visit with you!
So like I said earlier, a lot like our life does today. We’ll be older and wiser, but still young at heart and hopefully still pursuing our sense of adventure.
Russ & I do everything together (gag if you must), so it seems weird to answer this question without talking to him about. I think on this Q & A that would be cheating, so I will answer all by my independent self. I am woman, watch me roar. In five years, I picture still trying to make it across this beautiful country we call the U.S. of A. I anticipate a collection of thousands of photos categorizing moments, people, and adventures we have enjoyed. I envision having a successful blog, a steady passive income (from what, who knows?), and freedom to travel. My goal is for our travel plans to be dictated more by where we want to be when, then where we want to go for work. After the question of “How do you get your mail?”, the next most popular question we get asked is “How long do you plan on doing this?”. The answer to the question is unknown, I don’t picture stopping it anytime soon because I sure do love it. If the money runs out, we will figure out how to make more. If the truck breaks down, we will stay put until we can get it fixed. If the weather turns too cold, we will put the slides in and the jacks up and head South. If we miss friends & family, we will make sure to catch a visit with them on our next time through town. However if it stops being fun or we run out of places to explore (not possible), that is when we will stop RVing. The chance of that being in the next five years is highly unlikely. It will be fun to go back and read this post in 2022 still sitting beside my best friend & husband Russ and reminisce at all the things we have succeeded at, screwed up at, and most importantly the things we have laughed about and loved. (I just reread that last sentence and may have cried a little.)
Fear and being scared are not normally things Betsy and I introduce into our lives. In case you’ve forgotten, let’s review. In the past two years we have quit a good job, closed a business, sold our nice house and 90% of everything we owned, travel around the country with a 17 year old truck towing a fiberglass box (Sorry Charlie!) and Betsy following me in a 10 year old SUV, make money doing jobs we’ve never done before, and write about all of this in great detail and publish it for the world to read. If fear were a problem, we may have already encountered it by now.
With all of that being said, I wouldn’t be human if there wasn’t something that scared me a little bit. Even though we have greatly reduced the expense side of our personal balance sheet, some days it does scare me a little bit that we won’t be able to earn enough income to continue to pursue the dream we’ve started together. Listen, we’re both really smart and have talents and skills that serve us well in the working world. But to say I can walk away from a good-paying job at a large, stable company with no guaranteed income in my future and not be a little scared would be crazy. The old-fashioned me says you have a wife to support, get a job and make some money. The reality is, Betsy and I love a good challenge, especially together, and we’ll figure this out. The path may zig and it may zag, but it will end in a good place and we’ll tackle it together. Some people say fear is a great motivator. I say fear can be conquered with determination, a little thought and a good partner. One thing I can say for sure, “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!”
You want to know what scares me, huh? Snakes - snakes scare me folks! But in reality what scares me is FoMO. The fear of missing out, not on parties and invitations, but on rewarding experiences and cool moments. As an introvert, I certainly don’t have the social anxiety characterized by a desire to stay continually connected to what others are doing. But as I travel, I always feel like I left something behind. I left a hiking trail, unhiked or a free museum, unexplored. It’s trivial, but it scares me! So instead of thinking about those things I missed, I am going to spend my time being happy with getting to explore at all, stay in the moment and enjoy the things surrounding me, and be grateful that I have a blog full of memories to reread every once and awhile. I blame you USA for this slightly irrational fear as you just have too many landmarks, national parks, and small local attractions all wrapped up into 3.797 million square miles. Now you probably feel overwhelmed too, my apologies, so come adventure with us.
. . . these are a few of my favorite things! 🎶🎶
MEMORY: Since Betsy and I spend the majority of our time together, it’s a safe bet that my favorite memory will involve her in some way. We have been fortunate to experience many great memories over the last 18 months and there are several I could point to as my favorite. However, there is definitely one memory that sticks out in my mind. While we were in the Florida Keys, we took an afternoon and ventured up to Bahia Honda State Park to explore. The color of the water off the coast doesn’t even seem real until you go there to see it in person. While at the park we couldn’t resist the urge to park along the shoreline and wade into the blue and turquoise water lapping at the shore. We promptly spent the next two hours walking along the shore in knee deep water just looking into the water, soaking up the sun. We honestly didn’t even talk that much because it was so peaceful just walking in the water, looking for wildlife, enjoying the sun and the cool breeze. Great memory for sure! More details on this memory here.
LOCATION: Ok, this one may sound a little too predictable, but my favorite location we have visited in the last 18 months is the Florida Keys. You hear a lot about Key West when people talk about this string of islands jutting off the coast of Florida, but that isn't my favorite spot. The natural beauty of the islands is what drew me in upon our arrival. Don’t get me wrong Key West is an entertaining place to walk around for a couple of hours, but the whole bar, drinking vibe isn’t really my, or our, cup of tea. While in Key West we much more enjoyed walking the side streets and admiring the architecture of the homes and beauty of the gardens. We stayed at Venture Out Resort, which is at Mile Marker 23, during our stay in the Keys. This was a perfect spot for us. Close to the beautiful Bahia Honda State Park, and about a 30- 40 minute drive from Key West. Unfortunately, this part of the Florida Keys took a direct hit from a hurricane earlier this summer and appears to have suffered some serious damage. I’m confident the Florida Keys will recover and I look forward to our next opportunity to visit there and enjoy all of its beauty.
CAMPGROUND: As we’ve said many times during our campground reviews, there are many variables that go into deciding what is a good, favorite or best campground. And as can be expected, the importance of these campground characteristics vary greatly from person to person. After staying in 50+ campgrounds over the last 18 months, to me it comes down to a matter of feel. Sometimes the location is perfect, the campground, not so nice. Sometimes that awesome campground with all of the amenities you want is out in the middle of nowhere. With all of that being said, the rules of this game say I gotta pick a favorite campground. It’s a short list, but my favorite is Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort in Foxboro, MA. Surprise, surprise, it’s not at the beach! Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort had a lot of the things that I find important in a campground. Great staff, lots of amenities, large wide sites, hook ups in the right place, that work, to name a few. It was technically the off season when we were there, but it still showed well even when not in its prime. Definitely a campground I would stop back and visit if ever in the area. More details on this campground here.
RESTAURANT: Having to eat out with a gluten allergy can be challenging at times. With Betsy’s help and the use of an app or two and the old interweb, we usually do pretty good. I am now accustomed to asking if there is a “special” gluten free menu so I can peruse the sometimes limited options available to me. Well, when we come across the places that are completely gluten free (and there have been a few), and have an entire menu available to me, I must admit I get a little excited. Before a day of sightseeing in Nashville, TN we decided to splurge on a nice brunch. Our Find Me Gluten Free app kept pointing us to A Matter Of Taste (AMOT) Eatery. What a little treasure this place turned out to be. Awesome food and decor. My only regret with regard to AMOT Eatery is that we only went for brunch and didn’t make it back to experience their dinner menu. More details on this restaurant here.
ATTRACTION: As most of you know by now my wife is very skilled at locating the must-see attractions when we arrive in a new area. But she is exceptionally skilled at finding the FREE must-see attractions in said areas. While Charlie and the Big Tow’er rested at a campground in Connecticut, Betsy and I made the hour long drive to explore the town and coastline of Newport, RI. Yes, Rhode Island is a tiny state, but if you are on the coastline near Newport you are definitely living LARGE! The free attraction on this particular day was the Cliff Walk along the Newport coast. With the Narragansett Bay on one side and the Newport mansions on the other, every camera shot was filled with a postcard-worthy view. The path varied from an easy gravel path to traversing rocks with uneven surfaces. The sky was blue, the breeze was cool, the views spectacular, which made it an easy choice as my favorite attraction. More details on this attraction here.
Talk about a loaded question. Who came up with this one? Uhmmm, oh yeah, that’s rights - yours truly! So I will do my best, but boy let me tell you it was hard to do. That’s a good sign that either we have visited, eaten, and stayed at some pretty great places or that I am easily amused. Both are true!
MEMORY: Most of my great memories include time with family and friends, such as an impromptu lunch with my sister at a local coffee shop in Goshen, Indiana. Have I told you how much I love our life! However, my all-time favorite memory thus far, was our trip to Shark Valley Visitor’s Center in Everglades National Park. It was hear that we biked a 15-mile paved loop right along with wild gators. By the time we reached the mid-point of the trail, we had already spotted close to 50 gators, ranging from big boys to baby gators basking in the sun on their momma’s back. The abundance of wildlife and all the flora and fauna made this a top-notch day of biking and experiencing nature at its wildest and finest. More details on this memory here.
LOCATION: While it would be easy to skip right to the Florida Keys on this one, I was stuck between that and Charleston, South Carolina. Since I was fairly certain that Russ would pick the Florida Keys, I will quickly land on Charleston as my favorite location we have visited. Within a matter of a few weeks, we visited St. Augustine, Savannah, and Charleston and without a doubt Charleston was my very favorite! Its most appealing feature is its location on the Atlantic coast. As a port city founded it 1670 it is also defined by its cobblestone streets and gorgeous architecture. I enjoyed its walkability and think Russ and I could have walked those streets for many, many more hours. The food scene is a wealth of culture and flavor. You can find low-country classics, farm-to-table cooking, southern traditional, and fresh seafood. To make this stop of ours even better was that I got to spend the week of adventuring Charleston with my parents who came to visit! I look forward to doing more exploring, walking, and dining in the lovely South Carolina town of Charleston.
CAMPGROUND: We do reviews of all the campgrounds we stay in, so picking our favorite campground should be easy, right? Well just because a campground rated high, doesn’t take it automatically to the top of my list. While we stay in a lot of RV parks, my favorite are always the ones with plenty of trees and semi-private sites. That is not always easy to find with a big rig like ours. However, I plan to make sites like this more a priority in the future. I do appreciate being out of the middle of nowhere, but I also appreciate some outside activities to participate in and by golly I do love the beach. While you can find it, it is rare to find a beach in an undeveloped area. My pick was definitely not in the middle of nowhere, but rather quite the contrary. I enjoyed that I had the best of both worlds - convenience and privacy all in one. Without further ido, let me make my pick. Drumroll please…. Markham Park Campground. Markham Park is owned and operated by Broward County and is located in Davie, Florida. The sites were wide and most had large open space behind them and canal views. Markham Park provided more of a campground feel “wooded/grassy” than you typically find around the Florida coast. However, it was also convenient to just about anything you might possibly want! My favorite features were the disc golf course, racquetball courts, 11 mile paved greenway for biking, entertaining model airplane field, and most importantly a 20 minute drive to the beach! More details on this campground here.
RESTAURANT: We visited this restaurant during our stop outside of Raleigh, NC to visit Russ’ sister Connie. Knowing that Russ was gluten-free, she made some dinner suggestions with that in mind. After a quick glance at the menus of the restaurants she recommended, I knew we had to make a trip to Fresh Levant Bistro. It is an all gluten-free Mediterranean restaurant serving up dishes filled with flavor and flair. You certainly won’t miss the gluten during your visit as the pita was the tastiest I’ve ever had (gluten or not). There was beets and brussel sprouts and goat cheese and hummus and micro-greens and house-made sausage and olives. Let’s just say it is a restaurant I hope to find in heaven! Thanks Connie for introducing me to my new favorite restaurant! More details on this restaurant here.
ATTRACTION: As a kid, I often dreamed of being a marine biologist and while my career path changed nearly a dozen times, this dream job never came about. Never fear, it’s still not too late. Regardless, I have always been fascinated by creatures that call the ocean home. I even tend to get a bit giddy when I see them. When in Florida, we kayaked with the manatees in the Crystal River which is a short river which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The river is well-known for it’s 30 natural warm springs that attract large numbers of manatees in the cold winter months. Kayaking this area was without a doubt on our bucket list! So kayak with the manatees we did. As we got closer to the actual Springs, I made my declaration that I was getting in the water to get a closer view of the gentle giants. I suited up with my wet suit (why yes, I do think 72 degree water is cold), mask, and snorkel and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. As part of this whole event, I also learned that I was capable of picking out a swimsuit in exactly 12-minutes. Impressive feat, don’t you think! More details on this attraction here.
My current lifestyle has afforded me the opportunity to experience people and places in the United States, while shedding some of life’s burdens that often weigh people down, all with my best friend whom I love.
My life is freedom to adventure and work from coast to coast, enjoying a home filled with simplicity and love.
If you have gotten this far, congratulations on making it through a fairly long-winded interview. Hopefully we have covered some of the questions you might think of when Russ & Betsy of See Simple Love come to mind. If you have another others, comment below or send us a message. We would be glad to give you another long-winded answer. No really, we will try to keep the length under control, but we can guarantee you honesty!