A family on the road living fulltime in an RV.

Tag: Rv Living

North Carolina through Instagram

Our time in North Carolina through the eye of Instagram. (I want to go back to the Outer Banks.) Love and Laughter, Jenn If you enjoyed this post you can…

Our time in North Carolina through the eye of Instagram.

(I want to go back to the Outer Banks.)

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Florida by Instagram

One last glimpse of Florida on the blog before we move on to Georgia. I miss those sandy white beaches and majestic sunsets already. Dear Family (and anyone else who…

One last glimpse of Florida on the blog before we move on to Georgia.

I miss those sandy white beaches and majestic sunsets already.

Dear Family (and anyone else who cares),

I’m trying to keep up with our adventures but with homeschooling, sight seeing, driving, and life stuff. I’m finding it difficult to find the time. If you have an iPhone or Android I’m posting regularly on Instagram. My instagram name is newschoolnomad_girlhero.

I’m also trying to pin cute dresses places we have gone or want to go on Pinterest.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Shrinking Shadows

(I wrote this a few days ago after a particularly rough night. I considered not posting as I’m feeling much better but decided it’s a part of the journey.) I…

(I wrote this a few days ago after a particularly rough night. I considered not posting as I’m feeling much better but decided it’s a part of the journey.)

I talk about all the wonderful moments of living in an RV. The beautiful places we see.  The curious people we meet. The quiet evenings filled with peace and love. The times with friends and family.

These are the moments that fuel my soul. The moments that make me feel like my lungs breath magic not oxygen.

But that isn’t the whole story.

Last night, I cried myself to sleep. Heaving sobs rocked my body for no apparent reason.

Depression.

While we travel many new roads, this one is not. Many years ago, it defined my life. Over time, therapy, a patient husband, amazing children, and a loving God swept that shadow away. Mostly. For the past 11 years, aside from 6 long dark months and an occasional gray day sprinkled in to remind me how far I’ve come – how good God is-  depression has been little more than a distant memory.

Now here I am living one of my lifelong dreams and the shadow is on my heels. The shadow with a voice that tells me of my failures, plays on my insecurities, growls my fears, and mocks my sadness.

I’m angry that this shadow has decided to come knocking now. Knocking while I’m living one of my dreams. But that’s life. It’s not a Thomas Kincade painting. (Thank God I’m so over snow.) There are no shortage of struggles even when life is surrounded by a white picket fence. Life is messy, complicated, often painful, and, yes, beautiful even admist struggles.

So I wait through the night knowing morning will come.

Light will shine over the sometimes dim forest of life and the shadows will shrink.

The light of God surrounds me. The light that comes with a walk through the woods or the view from a mountain top. The light found in my children’s smiles. The light that shines through my husband’s arms.  The light that follows sharing the truth.

Darkness may come but morning always follows.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Day 55: Watch Out for Them Biten Dogs

Last night we arrived at our campsite at Lake Eufaula State Park in Oklahoma before dark. No small miracle. The campground was nearly empty and deer were roaming. I’m loving the…

Last night we arrived at our campsite at Lake Eufaula State Park in Oklahoma before dark. No small miracle.

The campground was nearly empty and deer were roaming. I’m loving the off season. The campground was lovely with large sites, many overlooking Lake Eufaula, the largest lake in Oklahoma.

Unfortunately, we discovered the panel that holds in the insulation on the bottom of the trailer had come loose. We also realized that was why a guy was honking and pointing to our trailer earlier that day. When we stopped we couldn’t find whatever it was he was making such a fuss over. Now we know. Just dragging insulation. No biggie. :-/

After dinner we drove off the curb around the campground to look at the Christmas light display. The display was impressive and included a giant brontosaurus. Like I said, impressive. It was cozy in the cab of our truck with four people up front listening to bad pop renditions of classic Christmas songs on the radio.

In the morning, we went to the nature center and I drilled asked the ranger about venomous snakes. I have a habit of drilling asking anyone who might know anything about snakes everything there is to know. It’s neurotic charming.

Then it was time to hit the road and head to Arkansas. It feels like we didn’t really give Oklahoma a chance. After talking to the ranger about the geography of Oklahoma I was wishing we had more time to stay and explore the state.

The drive to Hot Springs was loooong. Brent may or may not have insisted on stopping for Starbucks at the busiest strip center in all of Arkansas.

That evening we had dinner at a small restaurant in Y City. I picked up a paper and began browsing the real estate ads.  A four bedroom house on 20 acres for 155K?  The prices of real estate are unbelievable when you are used to California prices. Do we have any California friends who want to move to Arkansas with us?

I was ready to move until…

…we stopped for a bathroom break.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

If you enjoyed this post you can follow one of three ways! 1. Subscribe to the RSS Feed 2. “like” Newschool Nomads on Facebookor 3. Sign up to have posts emailed to your inbox. Simple dimple!

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Days 49 and 50: Life at Lake Conroe

Our stop at Lake Conroe was unexpected. We had planned to drive up to Lake Texoma from League City but decided to stop for a night. Or two. Or four….

Our stop at Lake Conroe was unexpected. We had planned to drive up to Lake Texoma from League City but decided to stop for a night.

Or two.

Or four.

We did nothing “exciting”. Unless you count laundry. Or getting stuck in “quicksand“. I needed the two extra days to recover from the stress.

The boys enjoyed playing with some other fulltime RV kids.

Brent worked. Of course.

The highlight of my four days was Marilyn. I met Marilyn while doing laundry. The conversation moved from the fulltime RVing advice to writing to facing fears. I love it when conversations naturally flow beneath the surface and we discover the beautiful reefs that are our lives.

The next morning, she invited me to her RV for coffee. Marilyn is a writer who lives part of her life in an RV and the other part on a boat. She is a woman who faced her fears and released her free spirit. Inspiring. Three hours passed as we talked as if we were old friends.

I was sad when we said goodbye  just as quickly as we had said hello.

It’s all apart of the adventure.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

I’m one of those moms that, even though my boys are nearing adolescence and can swim like fish, I knock on the bathroom door repetitively when either of them are…

I’m one of those moms that, even though my boys are nearing adolescence and can swim like fish, I knock on the bathroom door repetitively when either of them are taking a bath. Or a shower. They may slip. They may fall asleep. Mr. Bubbles may come up from the drain and sell them candy.

Now you know the real reason we moved into an RV…Mommy can see or hear everything.

Except that I really want my children to like me so I try, as hard as it may be, to give them some freedoms. This means I let them decide if they want ranch or hummus with their carrots and when we are in private gated campgrounds I may let them explore a little as long as they have their walkie talkie. Oh the walkie talkies, not only are they the most fun words to say ever, they are the best purchase of the year.

This morning, Brent and I were sitting at the table still in our pjs trying to plan a route that we won’t stick to (not sure why we even bother) while the boys rode their bikes. It was a cool cozy morning and Brent and I were happily huddled up in our booth dinette when we got a call from the boys on the walkie talkie.

“We’re stuck in quick sand.”

Followed by static and laugher.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

Static, scuffling, and bits and pieces of a conversation amounting to nonsense between them.

Followed by…

“We’re stuck.”

“Give it to me.”

Silence. More static. More Scuffling. Laughter?  What was going on?

“What’s going on? Are you stuck or not? Are you playing around? This is not funny.”

Thing 1 got on the walkie talkie and said, “Yes, we’re stuck in the quicksand. Come here.”

I’ve really been working on not getting upset at the drop of a dime. Some people call it “chilling out”. As Brent was rushing out the door, he reassured me that everything was fine, that there wasn’t any “quicksand”, and that they are just playing.

So I sat at the dinette and waited for a phone call that everything was just fine. Then I noticed that Brent had left his cell phone and taken our walkie talkie. What the…

“Breathe deep. Everything is just fine. Just keep planning the route that we won’t use. They will be back in a minute.”  I told myself.

But what if it is quicksand? Did you see Never Ending Story? I’m still haunted by the horse part. I better consult google. My google search for “quicksand dangerous” taught me in 20 seconds that quicksand does indeed suck people down. Not only people but cars and locomotives. It also traps people leaving them defenseless against the wild animals that maul them and holds people for the tide of the ocean to swallow up.  Somehow I missed the part that most quicksand isn’t dangerous and is only a few inches deep.  Maybe I didn’t see that part because I took off running in my Ugg boots through the campground.

When I got to the lake I found this…

..muddy buddies.

I was, at the same time, furious and over joyed.

Dirty rotten scoundrels.

So much for the new boots.

We took them home, cleaned them up, loved on them, and then reminded them they better never ever do something like that again.

Yeah…right.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Galveston

We spent the majority of the day doing school and work. After all, it was rainy and cold but come late afternoon I was itching to get outside.  The campground…

We spent the majority of the day doing school and work. After all, it was rainy and cold but come late afternoon I was itching to get outside.  The campground in League City was about 20 minutes from Galveston and Galveston is on the ocean. Our hometown, Ventura, is on the ocean and how I longed to inhale the cool salty sea air and be comforted by the crash of the waves.

Sometimes you don’t realize how much you miss something until you’re cramped in a 280 square ft space with 3 other people in the rain it’s gone.

There were only a few hours left in the day but we decided a few breaths of ocean air is better than none.

While Galveston is a town rich with history we decided we would skip the history and just be. I think the boys appreciated it.

We had coffee.

We explored.

We found a knight in not so shining armor.

We enjoyed the architecture.

 

We found a surfing sharkman.

We played.

(I can’t tell you how much I love this guy!)

We watched the sunset.

We searched the sand.

Thing 2 found the most lovely black shell.

For a few hours we simply enjoyed being and I think we all came back to the RV feeling a little more alive than before.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

 

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Day 42: Downpour

The photos opportunities today were endless. I didn’t even know when to start clicking. Me still in my pajamas at 6:30 pm? My eyes swollen from crying on the couch…

The photos opportunities today were endless. I didn’t even know when to start clicking.

Me still in my pajamas at 6:30 pm?

My eyes swollen from crying on the couch the night before?

Yelling at the kids?

The boys fighting?

The pouring rain?

The foggy windows?

Or the woman who asked if our “bulldogs” were “petable” and her husband (?) who thought they looked like “huskies”?

This is our life and despite the occasional downpour I love it.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Day 31: On the Steps of the Admiral Nimitz Museum

We slept comfortably at the rest stop last night.  This morning we even got up and made pancakes. After walking the dogs and picking burrs (I’ve never encountered such villainous flora.) out…

We slept comfortably at the rest stop last night.  This morning we even got up and made pancakes. After walking the dogs and picking burrs (I’ve never encountered such villainous flora.) out of our shoes that had tagged along from Marfa we hopped back on the I-10 towards Austin. When people say Texas is big, they aren’t kidding. It stretches on for miles and miles as if it’s its own country.

I had been anticipating driving through Fredericksburg on our way to Austin. Although, I had only been to Fredericksburg once before and for no longer than 30 minutes it holds a significant memory.

My freshman year in college in Santa Barbara I took French. In class with me was a girl with porcelain skin and strawberry blond hair from Texas. She and I would often chat in class. When I found out she too wanted to pursue the career of an actress, despite not really knowing her, I casually suggested that we move to LA for the summer instead of back home. Much to my surprise she said yes and we made plans.

She went back to Texas and I went back home to Indiana for a week to visit family and get my car, “Peanut”. Then my dad and I drove off to Texas.  I’ve always loved road trips with my dad, they are some of my most favorite memories and this one was no different. He went with me as far as San Antonio and I dropped him off at the airport early as the sun was rising. I’ll never forget the ache in my heart that morning as I pulled out of the airport by myself watching the planes take off through the the streaked sky.

I felt alone, excited, and scared.

After spending a few days with another college friend in San Antonio, I headed to Fredericksburg where I was to meet Juliana, my friend from French class, and her dad on the steps of the Admiral Nimitz Musuem to begin our journey west.

My map skills must have been better back then because I found the museum on my own without the help of an “app”. I didn’t even own a cell phone.  It was just me and my little red Peanut who was on her last leg all too ready to overheat on a hot Texas summer day. (Driving through El Paso without air-conditioning and the windows down in 100 degree weather is not fun.)

Today, I wanted to relive those first steps of that pivotal journey in my mind. I wanted to remember driving the hilly highway 290 through the pecan trees while listening to the Tori Amos Little Earthquake album. I wanted to remember what it felt like to be 19 and free from responsiblity. I wanted to remember looking through the pink lenses of my sunglasses. I wanted to remember seeing Juliana and her dad finding me on the steps to begin our adventure. I wanted to remember the exhilaration of being an excited 19 year old girl as we headed west.

I would not drive back east for another 15 years.

A crazy LA summer, a fifteen year old friendship, and a new life later, I find myself again on Highway 290 passing those steps where I naively felt like my “adult” years began. The dreams I had did not fold out as I had hoped. I would have never imagined I’d be driving back east, my home in tow by a big diesel truck filled with boys. My boys. Boys who I love with with every cell of my body and my spirit beyond.

Life looks different at 34 than 19. Prescription lenses have replaced pink lenses. Responsibility has replaced most of those old freedoms but inside I hear her. As we drive past the steps of the Admiral Nimitz Museum, I hear that 19 year old girl. She reminds me that her heart is still wide open for whatever God sets out before her. Wide open like the road ahead.

Love and Laugher,
Jenn

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Marfa and the Lights

I woke up curious this morning. Curious to see where exactly we had “tumbled in” last night. After all, last night we only could see the strange little “office”. The…

I woke up curious this morning. Curious to see where exactly we had “tumbled in” last night.

After all, last night we only could see the strange little “office”.

The sky outside was as strange as the town. Large dark but not unfriendly clouds billowed as far as the eye could see. Barb wire fenced stretched as far as the sky. Cars and cinder blocks lay forgotten. Just as I had thought last night, the Airstream with an overturned grill across from us was vacant as was the humble cabover camper on the other side of the campground.

We were the only ones there.

Alone with only the company of an occasional passing train.

It was slightly unnerving but completely exhilarating to feel the desolation in the wind.

After a morning of school and work, we ventured into town. Marfa was founded in the 1880s. Nearly a hundred years later, minimalist artist, Donald Judd moved to Marfa making Marfa what it is today.  A word of advice if you visit Marfa- go on a weekend, almost everything is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I was extremely disappointed to find out the modern art museum, The Chinati Foundation, was closed.  Regardless, we had a wonderful time exploring the mostly empty streets peering into the galleries and shops.  The folk at El Cosmico also made us feel and home welcomed us to explore their amazing grounds.

Marfa is a strange town.  The friend who told me about it described it as “a tiny town where blue-collar oil workers live next to Williamsburg art kids.” It’s a place where farm trucks are parked next retro beach cruisers. Where you can walk out from an art gallery to a view of a grain mill. Where skinny jeans and Wranglers are both equally appropriate.

It’s hard to tell what is really old and what has been restored to look really old.

Marfa is every bit as charming as it is odd. I didn’t quite know what to make of it.

I asked a girl with a short platinum blond hair, who I would guess to be about 23, if she was orginally from Marfa. As I expected she wasn’t. Then I asked her what is was like living here. “Twin Peak-sy“, she said.

For dinner, we enjoyed pizza at the Pizza Foundation which is an old converted gas station. Afterwards, we headed over to Frama, a laundry mat/ice cream/coffee shop for an after dinner sweet. Finally, we drove outside of town to view the famous Marfa Lights. It was cold and windy but still fun.  The Marfa Lights turned out to be the Marfa Light, one green flicker that faded in and out on the horizon.

I liked Marfa but I wanted to love Marfa.  What I loved was the desolation of West Texas and the architecture but something about Marfa seemed, I don’t know, contrived. Just a tiny bit. Not utterly and completely contrived but I didn’t fall in love with it the way I did Jerome or Madrid. Regardless, it was worth the effort to get there (it is out in the middle of nowhere) and perhaps if we would have come on a weekend I would have felt differently. Or perhaps not with all the tourists.

Funny though as I write this I feel myself longing to go back. Maybe it was the lights.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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