It’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.
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.
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, the fabulous gulf coast of Florida,
the wild and subtle beauty of the Everglades,
and the wilder side of Florida in general.
We returned to the “black” waters of the Okefenokee Swamp,
and to the Great Smoky Mountains.
We visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina,
and spent the beginning of our summer on the breathtaking coast of Maine.
We traveled to extreme opposites; in Key West, Florida, we stood at the southernmost point of the U.S.
And months later made it to the furthest northeast state of Maine.
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,
the unique rock formations and the beautiful lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove,
and the rugged beauty of Cape Breton Island.We traveled to the southern tip of Nova Scotia, along the gorgeous landscapes of Prince Edward Island,
and the spectacular Gaspé Peninsula,
where we visited its Northern Gannet colony in Ile de Bonaventure.
We saw the whales of the St. Lawrence River,
and took many walks around beautiful Québec City.
And Angel visited rivers, lakes, rocky and sandy beaches, forests, went boating on various boats and ferries, and even went whale watching.
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.
And, 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
At 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.
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.