One Year Fulltiming!

 

Leaving Colorado 1

Leaving Colorado 2It’s true, we’ve now passed the one-year mark since we began our journey.  It has been a rich and full experience and yet time has passed very quickly.

Before I forget, I’ll answer a question that was asked just before we left:  What if we don’t like it?  Well, we love it.  Even though the first time I woke up in Island Girl knowing that I’d be living here for a while, my first thought was – What have I done? – I quickly came to love it and have never looked back.Isl Grl Redo  004

In fact, I was surprised at how easily I adjusted, particularly to the confined quarters. Hector and I decorated our new little 400 square foot home just as we had our other homes, and we really enjoy our interior space.

And we’re also really happy with our upgrades and our custom office space.   Hector is able to work on his Apple computer (the photographer gets the big computer) in our comfy chair by the desk, while I work on our laptop on our comfy couch simultaneously.halifax

Island Girl feels downright roomy with her 39’ length, and we have plenty of storage space.

And the journey has far exceeded our expectations. We’ve spent quality time with friends and family across the country, many of whom we’d not seen in waaay too long.  And other friends have come to visit.

Along the way we’ve also met lots of different people, learned new things, and just enjoyed spending quality time together.  We’ve visited a total of 14 states, including parts of the Midwest, South and Northeast.

We’ve experienced the lovely Arkansas autumn, Buffalo National River  024the fabulous gulf coast of Florida,Henderson Beach   080

the wild and subtle beauty of the Everglades,flower  024

and the wilder side of Florida in general. Ft Myers  056

We returned to the “black” waters of the Okefenokee Swamp,Swamp 011

and to the Great Smoky Mountains.Smokies  007

We visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina, OBX  055

and spent the beginning of our summer on the breathtaking coast of Maine.Penobscot  169

keys  021We traveled to extreme opposites; in Key West, Florida, we stood at the southernmost point of the U.S.sunset  027

And months later made it to the furthest northeast state of Maine.boothbay harbor  095

We spent just under 12 weeks in Canada, where we visited four provinces and learned a ton about our neighbor to the north.

There we saw the amazing tides of the Fundy Coast,New Brunswick117

the unique rock formations and the beautiful lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove,peggy 25

and the rugged beauty of Cape Breton Island.cape breton  030cape breton  011We traveled to the southern tip of Nova Scotia, brier 50along the gorgeous landscapes of Prince Edward Island,

PEI  161

and the spectacular Gaspé Peninsula,Perce  073

where we visited its Northern Gannet colony in Ile de Bonaventure.Perce  049

We saw the whales of the St. Lawrence River,st lawrence  115

and took many walks around beautiful Québec City.quebec city  046

And Angel visited rivers, lakes, rocky and sandy beaches, forests, went boating on various boats and ferries, and even went whale watching.River Dog  006

In total, Island Girl traveled 8,534 miles this first year.

And Hector and I have grown even closer during this journey.  Living together in such tight quarters can bring out the best or the worst in couples and sometimes both.  We’ve been married for a very long time and are very comfortable spending lots of of our time together while traveling.  Even after all of that we had a few grumpy patches along the road, but ultimately found our groove.

And, interestingly, some of the working aspects of RVing helped us to strengthen our partnership.  I named a previous post about leaving and arriving at our destinations “The Departure Dance”.  And I really do believe that there is a choreography that you both create and “perform” on a regular basis.  But it’s important that the choreography feels right for both of you.

That extends to the day-to-day chores and responsibilities as well.  Learning to support each other in a way that takes into account each of your likes, dislikes, talents and skills can make the journey much more enjoyable.

Rv Repair SedaliaAnd, not surprising to any RVers out there, we’ve discovered that things tend to go wrong in the most inconvenient of times.

The first time was on the first week we were on the road, when our water inlet broke.  Another time, our refrigerator broke down on a Sunday, the day before we planned to cross the border into Canada.

The first Hector fixed himself, the second, we found someone who was able to fix it.  But we learned that when things go wrong (not if, but when), we should:

  • Stay calm
  • Ask for advice and/or help, there is a very helpful community out there
  • Be flexible
  • Have or make a plan B

footAt the same time, it’s been difficult to be away from most of our friends and family in Denver, and we really miss them.  But we can always visit and plan to soon.

And there have been other challenges along the way; minor medical issues and having to figure out which doctor to go to in unfamiliar places.  The same for finding veterinarians.

And, less critical challenges like not having access to cell phones, internet or TV (sometimes a good thing) in some places.

But right now we wouldn’t trade this lifestyle for anything else.  And we are continually learning and growing.  For me this blog has been a huge learning experience.  I’m not the most tech savvy person, and when we began this blog, we knew nothing about blogging.  But I took on the task of figuring out how to get started, and spent several frustrating weeks using the process of elimination to figure out certain aspects of the blog.

Well, we just passed the 100 post mark on the blog.  And it’s is another example of working as a team.  Hector is in charge of the photography, I write the posts.  Then we combine the two.  From organizing how to divide the subjects to creating the final product, we support each other.   Sometimes we collaborate from the beginning, other times we work independently and get together at the end. The blog is another choreography.

departures  009

When I started writing this post, Hector wrote me a little note with some numbers and fun facts from the year.  He ended the note with “i love you still”.  And I feel the same way.

And the journey continues.

~ Brenda

25 thoughts on “One Year Fulltiming!

  1. Wow! How are you possibly going to top a terrific first year! The blogs are a wonderful chronicle of your year and I hope you continue them for the many wonderful travels and years to come! I love the descriptions, the pictures and emotions and feel like I am, in a way, sharing the trip with you both. Congrats on MAKING your dream come true!

  2. Congratulations on completing your first year. Isn’t this just the most spectacular way of life. I realize it isn’t for everyone but for us it is perfect. There are so many interesting places to visit. You certainly demonstrated that in your first year. I love living in the small space, especially when it comes to cleaning it:) We are four months into our fourth year and don’t plan to stop any time soon. I hope you have many more years as rewarding as that first year:)

  3. Congratulations! Island Girl had a great year and you two and Angel had a wonderful year full of discoveries. This is indeed an amazing life and journey, you will never know what lies ahead till you get there.
    This is a great anniversary post to share your joy and blessings.

  4. Here’s to you both!!! Thank you so very, very much for sharing your life and adventures with us all! Many days, although you may not know it, you give me the courage to carry on, knowing I can live my dreams, too. You share way more than words and pictures, my friends. You share the meaning of life and love. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart. Love, Rebecca

  5. Congratulations to you both for the first year of the adventure. I’ve really enjoyed following your travels via Hector’s photography and Brenda’s masterful writing and look forward to more to come.

  6. Congratulations on your one year mark and your 100th post. I truly enjoy your photos and following along on the journey. Great job on the remodel…..might I ask where you purchased the couch? I would really like to replace ours.

    • Time flies when you are having fun and you guys are doing it right. I love what you did with Island Girl and can understand why it feels like a home. All the sites,
      pictures and write-ups have been great to follow. We miss you and can’t wait to see you here in Denver soon. Schnitzel anyone? Be safe continue to have great fun.
      Karen : )

    • Thanks, Ingrid. We bought the couch from Brad & Hall. It’s a Flexsteel, which is a pricey brand, but high quality. It’s made of that soft faux leather, I forget the name. I actually like it better than leather because it doesn’t get too cold or too hot, and pretty resistant to spots so Angel can enjoy it too :).
      Brenda

    • Yo Skippy! Leaving Vermont tomorrow headed west. Winter will be generally south and west. New Mex, Az, San Diego, S cal is part of the program but we have no firm plans yet. We’ve thought of you guys all summer … lighthouses galore all up the coast. Hope you’ve caught the posts along the way. Love to Terry. Hec

  7. What a great post. I am a bad friend. This is the first time I read it. I’m going to have to figure out how to go back to read the other ones. I’m going to show it to Modesto so he can drool a little bit. Anyway, where’s our picture in the collage? Love you both. Mango.

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