I thought you moved to Florida?

The million dollar question!  Here are the answers to all of your questions:

Yes!  We sold our condo in Connecticut and bought a condo in Venice, Fl.  We did this for one main reason: WE HATE WINTERS!  We hate being cold, we hate driving in the snow,  etc.  Each year we would spend more and more time in the winter in Florida, and last year we spent 5 months down South.  We bought a camper and spent a month in the Blue Ridge Mountains, 2 months in Venice, Fl then another 2 months exploring in our camper (Jacksonville, Fl/Jekyll Island/St Simons Island/Savannah, Ga/Beaufort, SC/Charleston, SC/Southern Pines, NC)

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We work in the golf course industry and we would have our winters off, allowing us very little places to travel (again, we want to be WARM)  So, many years ago we had the idea of moving to Florida, saving money on taxes, cost of living, etc and having our Summers off instead.  Golf courses tend to die down Summers in Florida.  This would allow us so much more options to explore with the Camper and for Adventures.

When we decided this, we wanted to make sure we weren’t settling with Venice, Fl because that’s where we were comfortable. That is the reason we explored last year in the camper. We absolutely LOVED many of the places we explored, but even Jacksonville, Fl was freezing! So, Venice it was. Erik’s parents own a place there, and we bought in the same condo complex as them.

If you read this blog regularly, you know this winter was a tough transition for us.  We lived with my in-laws for 4 months while we waited for a current renters lease to be up then renovate the  condo.  That was a nightmare, but in the end we were settled and happy.

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People would constantly ask me if we were coming back to CT this summer and I told them I had no idea. That wasn’t a lie. We sold our condo and at that time the only thing we had planned was to spend the Summer traveling in the camper up North.  However, I always knew there was a chance we would find a place to stay in CT.  Here’s why:

Last year when we decided we would sell our place in CT, we had the thought of renting in CT for 6 months. I put the word out that we were looking, and we found out Erik’s friend from High School had a small cottage on Bashan Lake in East Haddam.  We checked it out and the place was gorgeous. He had completely renovated the whole thing, all top of the line. The yard was HUGE and it had amazing lake views.

Well, it was out of our price range, but while we were looking at it Erik’s friend (the owner) mentioned he needed help taking care of his properties (he owns 4 and constantly has projects going on) So, when Erik told him we weren’t going to be able to take the place, he mentioned he would love to help if he still wanted someone to help around the properties. He ended up doing about 25 hours a week and LOVED it. Outside all day, physical labor, not dealing with people, on the lake, etc. Well, his buddy kept bringing up, “next year” and Erik would say, “well, we have nowhere to stay so I may not be able to do next year” He made a comment hinting that maybe we can use one of his places…..So, there was hope of CT, but we weren’t sure.

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In March, Erik contacted his buddy, and it turns out the original (gorgeous) house we looked at was still available and he offered it to us and Erik would continue to work for him 30+ hours a week.  This was so amazing because now I was able to make some money at the Golf Course and go back to mission FITNESS, which made me so happy. Not that a summer traveling in the camper wouldn’t make me happy, but I didn’t work all winter and I really was ready to WORK!!

So, here we are. Living in East Haddam and happy as hell. We still plan to take the camper on weekend trips, but to be honest to have a house (not a condo) for the first time it almost feels like we are camping!

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This is what’s going on for this Summer. Who knows what next Summer will bring. That’s the beauty and excitement of it all. If it looks like we aren’t going to come back to this place next Summer we may take the camper out West and explore the National Parks.

 Life is good. However, I can’t say it enough that this life we CREATED was not luck. It was a lot of calculated, small decisions mixed with a lot of hard work and living very simply and below our means.

Follow your heart…take that leap. You will find your wings on the way down!

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It’s Time for a Change

Everything in me says I want adventure.  My heart aches for travel.  I see pictures others post of their adventures and I feel I would give up everything (possessions) for that.  It is all I want in this lifetime…adventures, new places, exploring, etc.

However, when I take it a step further, I have to ask myself…are you ready for that?  The same way someone goes to an IRONMAN or sees a Millionaire and says, “I want that” but then when they realize all the work that goes into it, it isn’t as glorious.  We tend to see things that we desire through false lenses.  Hell, isn’t that what Facebook and, even more so, Instagram set up for? We take a picture…most likely the best scenery of the whole day,  add saturation, contrast, filters.  We crop, add a beautiful quote and call it reality.  The picture doesn’t capture the smells, the noises, the heat, the cold, the mosquitos, the fear, the anger, the sadness that may surround that photo.

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So, as I am admiring other people’s adventures I have to ask myself, what is the reality of that picture?  And most of the time the REALITY is not something I am ready for.  While I feel like my heart aches for adventure, I know that mentally I am not ready for those crazy adventures (yet).  Here’s why:  I am a bit neurotic.  Ok, very neurotic.  I blame it on Howard Stern.  Really…he has made me so much worse.  I worry about germs.  A LOT!  I worry about food and how it’s being handled and cooked.  I worry about sleep.  I worry about safety, especially in other countries.  I get easily annoyed by others who do not respect other humans and our planet.  I hate not having control.  I don’t do well with not having a plan because I am obsessed with making sure we are hitting the best places and things in the area.

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So, now you see my battle.  I want to act on the free spirit soul I know that is within me, but I have some work to do.  SO, guess what?  I am doing that work.  I am working with my best friend who works with mind training, and I am going to work hard to LET THAT SHIT GO!  I want to go on these adventures I have planned and not stress the whole time about sitting on a nasty bus or train filled with germs, or eating from a restaurant that doesn’t look clean.  I don’t want to worry about if a local kid kisses my cheek if I will get a disease.  Or if I take a wrong turn if I will be taken by a gang.  These are seriously my fears.  Howard Stern tells “me” every time he hears a report of a news woman or a hiker getting taken or hurt to STAY IN YOUR HOME.  “Paint, like I do” he says.  And while I love that man like hell, I am ready to see this beautiful world!

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At Any Given Moment Who Have Two Options…

2 weeks from today….Friday, October 23rd I will board a plane and officially leave Connecticut. I will not fly directly to Florida, however. I fly to Washington D.C. where I will run the Marine Corp Marathon, then to Florida. In exactly 2 weeks I will move from the state I have called home for the last 35 years. I will fly to Erik, who has already arrived in Florida and reunite with him and Gunner after a month apart.

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While it has been a tough month with so much craziness and transitions, I have to say I could not have written a better script for my departure. First, with Erik and Gunner gone for a month when it is my time to leave it will make leaving so much easier.  I miss them so much it literally hurts. Second, I will be flying to run a marathon, which will take my mind off of leaving with the nerves and excitement of marathon weekend. Third, I am able to spend my last month with my parents, in the house (and bedroom) I grew up in. To go out on runs on the same roads I remember doing as a child and to spend this time with my parents has been a real treat.

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So, as my time winds down in Connecticut I am embracing this beautiful fall season, but also looking forward to the change. I have always known that I am not that girl who stays in her small town home and never leaves the comforts of all it has to offer. I’ve always had this tug on my heart to leave and go explore what this world has to offer. I have suffered from incredible anxiety in my adult life, and I am starting to understand it was largely because I felt trapped. I felt I was living a life that I was not meant to live. I only felt truly free when I was traveling and discovering small towns and unfamiliar areas. When I would return from these adventures I would feel homesick. What a crazy thing. I was homesick from the mountains, the woods, the places I only spent one night at. I was never homesick from “home”.

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So, now we start the journey of the unknown. Erik has already started working at his job and seems to really enjoy it. We will work seasonally in Florida, allowing us the summer months to explore and travel. To jump in our camper and discover small towns, mountains, and all the places I have never been but am homesick for. While I am experiencing a lot of sadness and some uncertainty about such a large move, I am overwhelmed with excitement. I feel this is the beginning of a new, happy life for Erik, Gunner and I.  More than anything I am proud of us.  We are the only ones who really know what it has taken to get to this place. The sacrifices we have made and the endless hours of working and saving. All with a goal in mind. And, as we celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary this month we celebrate 12 years of working as a team and accomplishing more than we could have ever dreamed of. A life of happiness, big dreams, freedom, and love. The love. That’s what means the most. Because what would all of this mean if I didn’t have my best friend to share it with. On the month of this 12 year wedding anniversary I am so thankful the young me never gave up on us. I am thankful I get to start the life of my dreams with the only one I would ever went to share it with.

Charleston, SC…..the place everyone is talking about!

Charelston, SC may have been the most highly anticipated stop for us. For the past 6 months when we told people it was on our “places to see” list, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s my favorite place in the world”
“It is such an artsy, cool area. It is the next best town”
“You guys are going to love it”

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So, with all of that being said, we made it our longest stay on our way to North Carolina. We stayed at James Island County Park for 4 nights, 5 days. It was less than a 15 minute drive to downtown Charleston, and the park itself was worth a days visit. It was huge, with over 6 miles of running trails, a huge water park, a splash playground, a dog park, a lake, several ponds, and during Christmas they apparently hold a light show that can compete against any in the US.

We spent the first day settling in…going grocery shopping and exploring the park. We bumped into a full timer, who spends her winters Workamping at James Island and summers working at gift shops at different National Parks. One great part of camping is the people you meet and the stuff you learn. Every idea of “normal” is suddenly (pleasantly) stripped away, leaving you with so many ideas, plans, and dreams. And the full timers seem so happy and so eager to help you pursue a similar life.

We spent the next day checking out downtown Charleston. It really was an amazing place. So many different sections.

There was a lot of history.

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There was a lot of character.

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Amazing parks.

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Southern Charm.

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Beautiful homes.

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It had anything you would ever want.

The next day we spent exploring different tourist attractions. I have to say that TripAdvisor has been my best friend during this trip.

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I found a winery/distillery that we visited. It was really awesome and different. Definitely a Southern Style Winery.

Then we visited the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only tea plantation in the USA. My favorite part was the unlimited cold and hot tea 🙂

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Our last stop was the Angel Oak Tree. This tree is thought to be the oldest live oak in the nation, possibly the world, estimated at 1500+ years old. While it was pretty crowded, it still had a majestic feel to it. Pretty incredible. Especially for a big tree lover, like myself 🙂

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The next day we went back into downtown Charleston to explore..and get poured on :-). Oh well, even through sheets of rain it was a beautiful place!

Beaufort, SC

Beaufort, SC was on my “places to see” list for awhile.  It originally sparked my interest back in 2013 when I saw it ranked #1 on America’s Happiest Seaside Town List in Coastal Living Magazine.  So, as we made our way up the Coast, we booked a stay at Hunting Island State Park located on one of the many Sea Islands in the Low Country.  This State Park is the most popular one in South Carolina, offering over 3 miles of natural beach, over 5000 acres of undeveloped land, and just 15 minutes East of Historic Beaufort.

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When we arrived at the campground it didn’t take long to fall in love. Once crossing a bridge and entering Hunting Island, it seemed as though you were on a secluded island.  Then, we quickly realized that the campground was practically on the beach.  I’m sure this was something I knew, and had seen in pictures during my research, but we were traveling and exploring so much that at times I don’t even remember what state we were in!

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Unfortunately, it was raining the day we arrived (common theme lately).  However, around 330pm the rain stopped, allowing us to get out of our camper for a walk on the beach…..

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IMG_20150224_221617exploring the Lighthouse….

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and the trails, which I quickly fell in LOVE with!!

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And then it rained some more…and more…and more.

So sad!  So much to explore and such a beautiful campground and the COLD and RAIN kept us in the camper. (Which we are still loving!)

I couldn’t stop thinking about the trails…and even tough Beaufort School Systems were closed because of freezing rain, I went out to run 8 miles worth of amazing trails.

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When it finally stopped raining, we ventured to Historic Beaufort area.  While it was still cold (probably in the low 40’s) we bundled up and got out there. And I’m so happy we did.  As I have said in the past, the one good thing about the weather being as bad as it has been, it has allowed us to explore all of these areas that would normally be busy, in a way that makes us feel we are the only people on earth.

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We sat on these swings as we could hear the gun shots in the distance, coming from close by Marine Corps Training Facility on Parris Island.  This had a specific meaning to me, since it was where my Dad was stationed for bootcamp while in the Marines.

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Then we made our way to the side streets, were just like Savannah the old Southern homes, with the Live Oaks with draping Spanish Moss stole the show.  Each corner we turned brought with it a more beautiful home, as well as an unobstructed marsh view.

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This campground is definitely one that we will revisit, and hopefully we will be able to explore the area more with nicer weather!