I’ve been a serious slacker in the world of Take That Exit blogging these past few weeks. I have lots of reasons for this – but the biggest reason is this is the busiest time of year for my “real job” which is my website QueenBeeCoupons.com. Since that website is our sole income source on the road (you know. . . how we pay the bills around here) it’s getting my undivided attention lately. It’s a busy time because I post and share the VERY BEST deals online and in stores – which we all know are going crazy this time of year. . .
If you’re looking for the very best Black Friday deals, online sales, gift guides and more, you are certainly welcome to follow me over at QueenBeeCoupons.com – you’ll be directly supporting my family if you shop through the links on the site. And I appreciate your patience as I get through the holiday season and can hopefully return to more frequent posts here on TakeThatExit.com.
Another reason that I’ve been remiss about blogging is we just spent TWO whole weeks in Washington state visiting family. We found a great deal on airline tickets direct from Raleigh-Durham to Seattle, it was Grandma’s birthday and we had a couple (very minor) things on the trailer that we wanted repaired under warranty – so it all came together for us to take a trip home while we dropped the trailer off at the shop.
We had a wonderful time “home” in Washington visiting family and friends – catching up with friends from Snohomish to Battle Ground, we logged quite a few miles on I-5 in those two weeks. We stayed with Jeremy’s parents in Lakewood, Washington who have a nice big house and who are gracious, kind and generous – a true pleasure to be around. We enjoyed the benefits of a bath tub, 2-ply toilet paper, grandma’s home cooking, driving our tiny sedan (we could park where ever we wanted!), a babysitter, our local bank and post office, our favorite restaurants and so much more.
BUT if I’m being honest, it was hard, too. The kids had a tough time transitioning back to a house – so much space, so many toys, so many TV channels, not enough fresh air and exercise (it rained a lot!), so much candy and sweets (Halloween in suburbia). They bickered more, acted more impulsively and were a bit on the wild side – what should have been a more stable environment actually resulted in the opposite behavior. We were spread out across many rooms and I definitely missed the close knit feelings we have while in the trailer.
Our first night back in our Airstream in High Point, North Carolina
We left Washington so grateful for the time with people we love, but also grateful and relieved to return to the simplicity of our shiny, tiny home. Our trip back to “the real world” has us asking the question, “are we going to be ready to transition back to suburbia in 6 short months or do we want to do this longer?!” We have always tentatively planned for this adventure to last about a year, pulling into the Portland in the spring 2016 so Jeremy could find a teaching job in time for the following school year. Now we aren’t so sure that’s what we want – could we possibly do this TWO years? Frankly, only time will tell how we’ll feel. . . we’ll keep journeying on with an open mind.
Hadley and I hiking to a lake near our campground in South Carolina.
We are so happy on the road right now – if it stays that way, why stop? Well the other thing we have to consider is finances – I want to make sure we have enough money saved so that we can buy a house when the time comes to transition back. We currently have a down payment stashed away and as long as I can earn enough on the road to cover expenses we can avoid tapping into that. If we want to do this two years we might need to boondock more, eat out less and make similar sacrifices to stretch our budget a little longer. I’m no stranger to frugal living (that’s how we were able to save for our trailer and truck!). But am still navigating how to live more frugally on the road while still enjoying the sights and places that we’re visiting. I haven’t shared our travel budget in a couple months because honestly it was stressing me out a little – I was worried about the money we were spending – mostly worried what others would think if our totals were higher than people thought they should be. Every time I start to settle into a budget – things change – like the expensive Northeast campgrounds and the extensive touring we did in the spendy cities, or expensive Florida in December, or Disney World. . . I know staying in one spot is the key to saving the most – but we want to explore and we just need to adjust accordingly. It’s something I’ll probably write more about at a later time. . .
So what’s next? We are currently at a beautiful state park in South Carolina and on Monday we head to another state park near Savannah, Georgia. We have family in the Savannah area so we’ll hang out there before heading to Florida.
We’re struggling to find a state or county park in Florida with openings over Thanksgiving – so currently we aren’t sure where we’ll be during this time. This has me a bit worried because that’s also the week of Black Friday – my busiest work week of the year and I need a stable spot with rockin’ wifi.
After we get Thanksgiving out of the way, we head to Disney World the first part of December! I found a campsite cancellation at Fort Wilderness (the Disney World campground) – we’ve always wanted to go and no better time than while we are here and able to camp (so much cheaper than flights, hotel costs!). It’s going to be an early Christmas for us.
From there, we head west to Tampa, Florida . . .and then we end up in mid-December with no current reservations anywhere. 🙂 We are finding Florida parks are completely booked on weekends, and very full on weekdays, so I’m not sure how long we’ll spend in Florida. We have family in Montgomery, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia that we want to visit and are tentatively planning to be in Arizona by late March to spend some solid time with my grandma in the Phoenix area – but that’s all we have “planned” on the horizon!
Guess we’ll see where the roads take us. . . we’d love your advice on places to stay in Florida . . .or where we should head after that. 🙂
Thank you for your patience through the holiday season as I juggle a busy work schedule with travel and family. Follow us on Instagram for snapshots of where we are and what we’re doing.
so jealous of you guys!! love hearing the reports 🙂
Lake Griffin would be a little more than an hour from Orlando. It is huge. When I go that way, I stay with my cousin in Leesburg, we make the little over an hour drive to Disney for a day trip. and then Homosassa state park by Crystal River is a neat place to visit. which is a little over an hour drive from Leesburg. Also if you little girl is into Mermaids we went to Weeki Wachee state park which is I believe a little south of Homosassa state park. We went during the summer when the waterslides were open and the springs are 72 degrees to swim in which seems to be cold at first but you get use to it. We took a Boat ride which is also included in the price which I believe is 15 for adults 8 for kids free parking and can bring picnic and they have 2 different mermaid shows. Live mermaids swimming. My 48 year old brother was amazed with that show as was my 9 year old niece. The Villiages which is a town they have different parts in which each town square has live music playing each night which you can check into. FREE.
where are some websites.
My parents camp in Desti, Fl. Book now. They say they book fast. I’m so envious of your family. Enjoy your time together. Orange Beach, AL is also very nice. Maybe you could find a spot there. IYa right over the Fl line.
Wow! Were you in Lakewood in Snohomish County or in Pierce County?
We were in Lakewood, Pierce County!
Tilla Ham says
a lot of times when i read your posts i tear up because it’s simply so beautiful to be able to do what your family is doing…and if it costs more WHO CARES?!?!?!? do you know the lifetime of memories you will be making for those kids? memories they will share with their children and their children! if it takes double or triple or 10x what you or others thought it would, there is no dollar amount on what you are giving them, no savings account could replace what they are gaining.
I grew up in a very small town called Silver Springs, Florida. I live in Washington now but you should check out the following places: Juniper Springs, Alexander Springs, Saltsprings, and rainbow Springs. Not sure about campground availability but I think it’s worth checking out because they are in such a small town. I can also attest to the comment above about The Villages. Very cool place! Hope you find a place!
Kathy E says
It’s clearly your prerogative whether to share your personal financial info or not, but I’d encourage you not to beat yourself up for underestimating your travel costs. Part of the appeal of traveling and enjoying new places is to eat the local specialties. I too had underestimated how much I’d spend on overnight fees (and laundry), but the experience is so worth it! If you don’t mind more isolated areas, check out this post: http://www.gonewiththewynns.com/fabulous-free-camping-florida . I’m hoping to try a couple of the spots this winter. Maybe I’ll see you around FL – if so, I’ll introduce myself and say hello. Thank you for sharing your adventure.
One of our favorite campgrounds in FL is Myakka River State Park. However, there is no wifi at the campsites and it’s probably booked solid…not much help, I know. There are tons of geocaches there!! Plus the canopy walk is pretty neat.
I love reading about your adventures! I hope you will be stopping in Charleston on your way to Savannah. Those are two of my favorite cities! So much southern charm! I love all of the squares and Spanish moss covered oak trees in Savannah. The fountain in Forsyth Park is beautiful. The pralines are a must from a candy shop on River Street. 🙂 I also recommend a day (or half day) trip out to Tybee Island while in Savannah. There is a beautiful lighthouse there and it’s a fun climb to the top. Are you planning on stopping at Kennedy Space Center in FL? It’s not cheap, but I really enjoyed the tour. I hope you have a wonderful time in the south!
Thanks for the fantastic update! It’s an interesting take on how you’re feeling after returning home and spending a few weeks living “normal” again. I’ve often wondered how I would feel about that if I were living on the road, and sometimes we just don’t know until we have the experience. I can’t believe it’s already been 6 months. Can’t wait to see where the road continues to bring your family and the big decision you will make in another 6 months.
god bless enjoy what a great time for you and the kids
Joshua Ross says
I’ve been following your adventure with envy. For several years while in the military I have been a full timer off and on in my New Vision fifth wheel, which I bought used along with my F350. I got a great deal from a lady and her husband I knew from work. I’ve priced new rvs over the years. In fact,a fun pastime on weekends is to go check out new rvs for half a Saturday. Because of my rv window shopping, I know Airstreams are very expensive with much less room compared to other style rvs, especially fifth wheels. What made you settle on such a high end rv where space would be an important factor with kids? Btw, I retire a few more years and plan to do some serious rv’ing! 🙂
Jess Curren says
I totally vote 2 years. 🙂
Dont miss Louisiana! Driving through there was an incredible experience–completely its own culture and climate. Loved the back roads!
Disney at Christmas is magical! Remember that the parks may have special hours due to Mickey’s Christmas party (the party is charged separate and if you don’t have tickets you will have to leave the park). Fort Wilderness is absolutely amazing. The Chip and Dale Campfire Sing-a-long and the Movies Under the Stars events are really fun and FREE! If you want to meet characters without standing in line at the parks I would recommend Mickey’s Backyard BBQ (a little more expensive than a standard quick service meal but worth it if the kids are really interested). You would need to start looking for reservations now however. Fort Wilderness also has a great casual dining spot with Trail’s End. You’ll have a fantastic time!