December 1, 2017 marked 5 years that we have been traveling together in our RV. So much has changed in those 5 years and so many opportunities have been opened for us. The opportunity to connect with those that we love, opportunities tied to our passions in life and opportunities to see new places and reconnect with some old ones, too.
Most of this year’s traveling has been driven by Steve’s musical opportunties. For much of the year, he was playing keys for Classic Nashville Roadshow, which is a touring show. We stayed mostly on the east coast, but also ventured into Iowa, Indiana, and Texas. We attempted some sight seeing as he was touring, but were unable to stay too long in those particular places.
He also had a couple of music opportunities at Florida Southern College. Those were extended stays, so there was more of an opportunity to see friends, visit the beach (one trip to Sarasota and another to Cocoa Beach where we were able to watch a rocket launch!) and explore the areas we were visiting. One particular stop in NC allowed us to visit and do some sight seeing in Asheville, which was wonderful. Such a beautiful town, full of creative energy…and so close to Boone, which was really nice.
We enjoyed some time in Texas visiting friends with an extended stay in a new (to us!) town: Fredricksburg. We loved exploring the town and visited a wildflower center as well. We just missed the bluebonnets blooming, though! We attended an unschooling conference and also spoke about RVing and learning together as we travel. It was really great to reconnect with some people that we love and enjoyed meeting new friends as well.
By the end of April, the touring schedule started to slow down and we took some time to visit family in Boone and in PA, before heading off to Maine for the month of May. During our stay in PA, both Steve and Calista had a hair color change, which they both loved!
Maine was simply amazing, We all fell in love with it. Exploring the coastal area of Maine was particularly wonderful, with its breathtaking views and quaint towns within walking distance. We were also within driving distance to friends in Massachussetts, so that was an extra special gift. Being able to connect with others while we travel is a pretty incredible feeling and every time those connections are of great depth, care and love, it makes us want to stay a little bit longer. We definitely felt that pull during our time in Maine. We celebrated Steve’s birthday at the beginning of the month in Boone and in PA and then celebrated Christy’s in Maine.
Our next stop was Missouri. We stayed there for a month for Steve to play keys for a musical at Southeastern Missouri State University and we also were able to take a trip to St. Louis and took a ride inside the arch. That was so cool! To view St Louis from the top of the arch was so amazing and wonderful. On one side you see the city of St Louis, on the other, you can view the Mississippi River. We also visited the St. Louis Zoo which was wonderful as well. You have to pay to park, but the zoo is free. All in all, St. Louis is a great place to visit!
July was packed full for us. Performances for Steve in Kingsport, TN and in Blowing Rock, NC and a week long voice academy for Calista at Lisa Kelly Voice Academy in Peachtree City, GA, a short stay in Boone and Advance, NC before ending it with a family concert (along with our dear friend, Krista!) in Blowing Rock, NC. We needed a LONG nap afterwards, for sure.
At the beginning of August, we traveled to Michigan so that we could park the RV as close to Canada as possible. Steve had a 1 week gig with another touring show and he needed to be able to cross the border to perform. Calista was able to celebrate her birthday in Canada. We took a trip to Niagara Falls during our stay which was on one hand an incredible sight as a beautiful natural wonder, but on the other hand very commercialized, which we were not expecting. We had the absolute pleasure of meeting up with a dear friend in London, Ontario, which was a very fulfilling and connecting time.
During September, we stayed in Pennsylvania and were pleasantly surprised at how much we loved staying near Lancaster. We have visited there so many times over the years, but never really explored downtown Lancaster. We fell in love with it! So many coffee shops, a bead studio and a co working space, plus we had some wonderful connected time with family and friends, too. It was truly a time we hold close to our hearts. We celebrated Dylan with a very low key birthday celebration.
Steve had the opportunity to fulfill one of his lifelong dreams of playing Rhapsody In Blue with a Symphony Orchestra. This opportunity came to be through the partnership with Symphony of the Mountains in Kingsport, TN. Our families were able to come see the performance and we also were surprised by our dear friends, The Church’s (another traveling family that we LOVE!) He was so brilliant and the collaboration with Symphony of the Mountains was perfect!
Georgia, Kentucky and Florida were next on our calendar, for more performances for Steve before heading toward New Orleans for a few days. We had the opportunity to go to a BBQ and Blues Festival where we saw the amazing Robert Cray perform. And we ate beignets!
We ended up in Texas again and enjoyed exploring Houston, Katy and Austin, mostly. Connected with friends, made some new amazing new ones, ate great BBQ and visited a museum in Austin, enjoyed some amazing city parks in the middle of Houston, enjoyed coffee and craft beer in Katy and mostly enjoyed being with one another.
It seems like a lot of things packed into a year and I suppose it is, but we don’t regret a minute. Living this life journey is exactly where we want to be and hopefully, our paths will cross yours in the year to come.
Beauty and Blessing Awaits.
Enjoy the video below. It is a complilation of photos from the last year. A huge thank you to Dylan for helping me get this video together. Without his help, you would not be viewing it now! Thank you, Dylan! You are amazing!!!
I meant to post this here a few months ago. I was able to place it on our facebook page, but forgot to post here! We celebrated our 4 Year Nomadiversary on December 1 and we are looking forward to many more adventures!!!
We almost didn’t make it to Kentucky.
What seems to be an endless saga of repairs happening for the RV just about kept us from our Halloween plans, but we persevered and were so glad that we did! We were able to meet up with our fantastic friends, The Church Family, and spent some great quality time with them. We took the time to enjoy so much on this trip. Lots of great memories were made!
Our first outing was a walk through the visitor center at Mammoth Cave National Park and a walk on one of the trails near the park. It was a gorgeous day and we timed it just perfectly to be able to see the sun setting.
The following day we visited the National Corvette Museum and Plant Tour in Bowling Green, Kentucky. We had a fabulous time! So much fun and the tour was simply amazing. We were able to see the process of creating a corvette from the beginning to the end. One of our friends was chosen to start one of the cars as it completed coming through the processing line. Cool opportunity for a 12 year old! We also were able to see where a massive sinkhole swallowed up several classic cars in 2014. They have turned it into a major part of their museum. Here is a news article from USA Today about the event.
Trick or treating was planned at the campground early in the weekend and the kids took part in the festivities…and they of course received lots of candy.
The next day we visited the Lincoln Birthplace which is also part of the National Park system. This was located in Hodgenville, KY. The kids were able to work through the Junior Ranger workbook to earn a badge from their time exploring the park. We visited the memorial, walked some trails and walked through the museum. We also drove to Lincoln’s boyhood home and walked around that area. It was a very fascinating learning experience.
We experienced another night of trick or treating that was planned by the Nomadica group (a group of other families that travel full time and enjoy various activities together). The kids loved having an extra day of trick or treating!!
We had many more times of hiking, campfires and coffee time with our sweet friends. This time was just priceless to us.
The saying is true…home is where you feel loved and valued. And if that is true, and I believe that it is, we were home this week in Kentucky.
“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”
Calista informed us at the first of the month that it was time to say goodbye to her beloved barbies. These barbies have been her friends for many, many months so we were quite surprised to hear that she wanted to give them away. She not only wanted to give them away, but she wanted to make sure that they were given to children that lived in a children’s home. We were not very familiar with the options in the area, but we found a children’s home that operated a thrift store, so we bundled them up and delivered them to the Collins Children’s Home Thrift Store in Seneca, SC.
We explored the local area a bit and visited The Children’s Museum of the Upstate in Greenville, SC. It was a really fun museum and they had an exhibit that encouraged interactivity with all 50 states called Trivial Pursuit, A 50 State Adventure. It was fun to interact with the states and even be able to recognize some places that we have visited.
We also enjoyed a very fun Valentine’s Day as Steve had a gig with Katie Deal and Chris Wright in Gainesville, GA at Brenau University, just about an hour from the campground. It was such an amazing concert with so many outstanding musicians. We went out together and celebrated as a family at Mellow Mushroom. I think we have visited at least 10 different Mellow Mushroom restaurants in our travels and every one of them is unique! We topped off the night with a cheesecake that I made for everyone.
So, now to the exciting part of the month…well, all that happened prior was pretty exciting, but…
We had a flood. In our RV. Thank you non-working toilet that decided to work while we were gone for the day. Lots of water on the floor and in the carpet. We tried valiantly to remove all the water, but we just couldn’t. So, we removed the carpet and put down the new flooring we have been wanting for 3 years. So, all in all a blessing in disguise, just not the route that we planned to take.
It was really quite the project, but we were so happy to be able to complete it ourselves and it is exactly what we wanted. We love our new floor!
We topped off February with a very fun and refreshing trip to Florida to visit with friends and just enjoy a change of scenery. It turned out to be so much more refreshing than we thought it would be. It was a such an encouraging and uplifting week. We did not want to leave!
Even with the ups and downs of figuring out the flooring issue, we had such a fabulous February! We are filled with so much gratitude for every experience that comes our way. It is a beautiful life!
Beauty and Blessing Awaits!
It’s very hard to believe that we have been traveling for 3 years now. We have so much to be thankful for, have seen so many amazing places and met the most incredible people. One step toward a long awaited dream helped us discover a life full of joy, adventure and friends…so many wonderful friends!
There is really no way to contain all the memories that we have experienced in a single blog post, so we put together a video to show a few sights (definitely not all!!) that we have seen on this amazing journey.
I hope you enjoy this glimpse into our past 3 years…you may even see yourself in the video!
Beauty and Blessing Awaits!
During our stay in PA, Steve has had many opportunities to give some concerts in several different venues. We are looking forward to several more in the coming months, all located in PA. The weather has been gorgeous and we are loving being in the area. Not only have we been able to enjoy the opportunities for music, but also spending time with friends and family has definitely been an added bonus.
This week we have had the opportunity to spend time in Ocean View, NJ and we absolutely LOVE the campground here (I’ll post more about that later). We also traveled to Medford, NJ this weekend so that Steve could provide music for a small church there. We actually ended up staying at a Hampton Inn for the night (just much easier for us for various reasons). We enjoyed an amazing dinner with friends (smoked ribs and grilled bratwurst and burgers—so very good!!!) We connected with some new friends that we hope to see again when we go back to NC this fall. Then today, spent a large part of the day by the lake watching the kids swim and canoe. So fun!
So, if I had to sum up our day in one photo, this would be the one:
The ultimate in summer fun! Watching the kids jump off that deck over and over brought back some great memories of doing the same thing at their age!
Beauty and Blessing Awaits…
Happy 2 years-traveling-learning-and-growing-together-aversary to us!
So hard to believe we have been traveling this long. It seems that not too long ago, we were traveling across the country to pick up our RV in Canyonville, OR.
We have driven across the country 3 times now and visited 27 states. So many amazing sites that we have seen that we would not have, if we had not taken this leap of faith. Grateful for every moment….even the challenging ones have been welcome. They show us that we are always learning and growing…would not trade the experience of learning alongside my family for anything.
Well, that is our first 2 years, in a nutshell….a very large nutshell, but there it is! We are looking forward to seeing what the next year brings, the new friends we will meet and the old friends we will see again.
Beauty and Blessing Awaits.
When we returned to the Bristol/Abingdon area, Hannah let us know what was on her list of things to do and acting class was one of her top picks! Unfortunately, there were not any classes available at first but about a month ago, a class became available at Barter Youth Academy in Abingdon, VA. When I asked her if she wanted to attend it, there was an immediate YES! She was so excited.
The class was for 1st and 2nd grade kiddos and the play that was chosen for them was Tortoise and the Hare. The play ended up being re-written by the kids, which was so awesome. I think they all felt like the play was theirs and really had some ownership in how it was presented. W eek after week, Hannah looked forward to going to her class and seeing her classmates. She loved being asked for her ideas and having them being used in the play. She instantly memorized her lines and delivered them beautifully. She has a definite love of theatre.
We were so sad to see this come to an end. We won’t be able to make the next round of classes in the spring because we are not planning to be in the area, but we are hoping to make it for next fall when we return.
This experience has definitely left an impression with Hannah and a continued love for theatre. We can’t wait until the next season of classes and to see how this love blossoms.
Great job, Hannah! You rocked it, love.
Beauty and Blessing Awaits.
Halloween this year brought us some interesting weather, but lots of fun times with friends! We have loved the warm temps and the fall colors and then the day before Halloween, it got very cold. Like, wake up to snow on the ground and freeze your bazookas off, cold. But we were prepared and stayed warm despite the freezing temps. It was so ironic because just a few days prior, we were in short sleeves and by Halloween night, we were breaking out the parkas! Crazy weather….but it usually is in this area, this time of the year.
The local library in Bristol, VA was having a few parties the week of Halloween and we took advantage of stories, crafts, games…and of course, lots of candy! Hannah decided to go “just as a kitty”. She made a new friend and they both had the same cat ears and were so cute together. Hannah wanted to be sure that they stayed together for the duration of the party so she could watch over her. Too cute! Ms. Michelle and the ladies at the library really did a great job putting it all together….we had a fantastic time!
We met up with some friends on Halloween night, went to the local mall in Bristol and had a fun time! We’ve been looking forward to spending time with our friends for several weeks and were thrilled to see them again!!
All in all, a very fun Halloween week!! Lots of activity and various fun things to keep us busy.
Beauty and Blessing Awaits.
Fall is definitely happening around here. We started the week off with some cooler temperatures and the colors of the leaves began to change as well. As I looked over the water at the lake, I started to see some yellow peeping out…then I started noticing other colors as we traveled through SW VA and Western NC. I love this time of the year. Something about the beauty of the colors but also realizing what it symbolizes is refreshing. The dying off of the old to make room for the new. It is a beautiful thing to see and experience.
We took at trip to Boone, NC to take care of some car maintenance and we enjoyed the added bonus of seeing my parents and picking some apples from their yard. We had a great time finding just the right apples to bring home and those apples have now been turned into applesauce!
As the week progressed, the temperatures rose again and we were able to put our shorts on and enjoy the sunshine. The weather has been absolutely beautiful and we are taking advantage of each moment. We took some time to visit Watauga Lake in Tennessee and have a little picnic together.
We ended the week with a great visit from our friends that live in Hampton, TN. They are our forever camping friends, I believe. We love hanging out with them and look forward to each time they can come over to the campground for a weekend.
So, the fall festivities have definitely begun and we are looking forward to embracing everything that the season brings us.
Beauty and Blessing Awaits.