We are definitely learning as we go. We have had so many adventures already, and challenges to go along with them. As much as we have tried to explore new cities and get a feel for different urban environments, getting close enough to really live an urban lifestyle when in a giant RV is tricky, to say the least.
Actually, by now it’s actually been 7 months, but we’ll keep it as 6…makes a better heading! Reed and I are are learning (or rediscovering) that we are thrill-seekers at heart. We enjoy new and different experiences, we like to problem solve, and take on bigger and bigger challenges. We find our personalities thrive most in big cities – being right in the heart of the bustle, and the mash-up of cultures, but with our own little space as home base. We love taking public transportation, as well as walking places rather than driving. We love raising our children in the midst of all this. And while it may seem like we couldn’t get any more thrill-seeking than taking off with our three children in a rolling home and picking where we are going to stay sometimes as we are driving there, we have actually found that we have become a little bored! RV’s take up a little bit of space, so RV parks and campgrounds, logically, tend to be set out where there is more space – aka – the suburbs *gasp*. So, by default, we have essentially become suburbanites.
Going to many different towns and cities has its perks, but you quickly realize that, unless you have an endless amount of discretionary income, you can’t be a tourist everywhere you go. But I want to do ALL THE THINGS! Add to that the fact that it gets dark at 6pm, and Reed works until 5, so that doesn’t leave a lot of time for having fun outside with Dad.
Something else we are learning is that not all RV parks are created equal. One shouldn’t assume there will be laundry facilities or hot water in the bath houses (or that they would be in any way decently clean). Some parks are strict about reservations and paying in advance, and some say they’ll “give ya their word that there’ll be a spot for ya” – and definitely bring cash.
Virginia Beach KOA – Virginia Beach, VA: This is the park we stayed in for 3 months while I was in Jesus Christ Superstar. It was very clean and well maintained, had a lot of activities for the kids (pool, playgrounds, jumping pillows, and planned activities in the summer), and was somewhere we could loosen the reigns on the kids a bit. And, as evidenced by the picture below – lots of friends were made here.
Red Gate Farms RV Park – Savannah, GA: They are still learning how to run it (the RV park part of the farm is newer), but it was a beautiful place to hang with the kids complete with animals, a playground, a pool, a clubhouse, and a beautiful pond.
Charlie’s Family RV Park – Kitty Hawk, NC OBX: While this place doesn’t have any amenities other than full hook-ups for it’s two short-term spots, you can beat being steps from the ocean and extremely friendly and helpful management.
Turtle Beach Campground – Sarasota, FL: This park is right on the gulf. It’s small, but there’s a nice family atmosphere, clean and updated facilities (which include hot showers and laundry), direct beach access, and a free trolley that runs up and down Siesta Key.
Liberty Harbor Marina and RV Park – Jersey City, NJ: Hands down this was the greatest location for us city folk. While the park itself wasn’t really much to write home about, it had the essentials. What really puts it over the top for us is the NYC skyline, view of Lady Liberty, and 10 minute walk to the PATH (train that goes into the city).
Pirateland Family Camping Resort – Myrtle Beach, SC: We had always heard about Myrtle Beach and how popular it is as a vacation spot, so when we rolled in to spend some time there, we were underwhelmed. Granted, we were there during the off season, and we had a spot that was right on the other side of the dunes from the ocean, however…this place had the feeling of having seen better days. It was a bit dingy and little things like there being a lot of burrs in the grass surrounding the parking spot, and inflexibility/lack of organization of its family activities made it less pleasant to stay at as a family. Everything in the area was geared towards extreme tourism, which just isn’t our style. But, we did have a fantastic time seeing a college friend perform at the Alabama Theater!
Isla Blanca Park – South Padre Island, TX: To sum this one up…mosquitos the size of birds, fire ants, cacti, very unfriendly grass plus 3 kids surrounded by a whole lot of nothing equals a family very ready to move on!
Atlanta South RV Resort – Just South of Atlanta, GA: There was nothing inherently wrong with this place, however, it was just kind of in the middle of nowhere, and wasn’t very kid friendly. It wasn’t one that I felt ok letting the kids play around.
Passions: I’ve already mentioned that we have been learning a lot along the way, one being that we are thrill seekers. Another is that we have learned moving and “adventure” isn’t enough to sustain well-being. One also needs to discover their passions and the outlet for those passions. Since leaving VA Beach, I haven’t had much opportunity to sing/make music, dance, act, etc. Reed can find ultimate frisbee pick-up games wherever we go, so he has that athletic and competitive outlet (until he hurts himself), but it’s not so easy with the arts.
American Diversity: It’s been very interesting to visit many different parts of the country and see the differences in culture and mindset. I think this is another invaluable part of this lifestyle. In a time when politics is extremely partisan and unwilling to compromise, we are fortunate to be learning what it means to live in different places in this country. I think if we all got outside of our tribes, we would be more willing to work together.
High Emotions: We can really see how this RV life could make or break a marriage/family. I’m extremely glad I’m doing this with my best friend. Living in tight quarters, constantly going into the new and unknown, having things go wrong and break on a weekly basis, having to work as a team – could all go very wrong if you don’t have grace with one another, be quick to forgive, and be willing to work on and improve your communication.