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My Year and A Half Living Full-Time in a Trailer

By Lifestyle, RV Adventures, Travel No Comments

We are finishing our time in our trailer and honestly it might be the most bitter-sweet thing I’ve ever experienced. I have loved every moment living in our travel trailer! It has grown my marriage, allowed me to experience so many unique places in the country, while also allowing my husband and I to stay together while working and finishing school. It’s done everything we needed and more and to let it go will be one of the hardest things.

Next week we are heading up to the Midwest to grab our things in storage and move to Pittsburgh to get settled before my husband starts his job at the local hospital. We are excited about the changes and its definitely the next right step for us. But its also so hard to let go of the year and a half of travel and memories that we have had in here. My husband will be the first to tell you that living in a trailer has been amazing. We will absolutely be buying one in the future and may even retire in one we loved it so much!

One of the best perks and the one I will always mention is how much its grown our marriage. Our travel trailer is 32 feet long so there is no room to hide! We have had to learn how to work together better than we did in the past. We were together all the time, had no family or friends around and lived in a confined space. So we had to learn to be more patient, be more understand, let go of anger, and to be extrodinarily kind. And honestly we have fought far less in the last year and a half because of these lessons that we learned. We work together and enjoy quality time together in ways that wouldn’t have been possible without getting out and trying something new.

Travel trailer life pushes you to go outside and adventure, to not sit in front of the TV but to be active. Because the space is limited, we were forced to get out more and honestly we really learned how little we need in terms of possessions and a house. While we are moving to a bigger place, its not near as big as what we used to believe we needed. The goal will be to continue to limit the amount of items that we need and maintain a lifestyle of staying outside and active.

With all that being said, I want to highlight my top five moments from this adventure and hopefully inspire you to get out, try something new and maybe even buy a trailer!

1.) Our First Outdoor Movie – On the Side of the Trailer

My husband and I saved up all our money from Christmas and some of our savings to purchase a new projector. We were able to get the projector in January(a month or so after moving in) and used the side of the trailer to project the movie onto. We had our small electric outdoor fireplace, drinks, blankets and perfect chilly weather. The Greatest Showman played as we sang along and enjoyed just the perfect night together. One of many outdoor movie nights that we have been able to enjoy while roaming the country. It was one of those moments that was so simple but so perfect at the same time and was just a great outcome of our trailer life!

2.) Birthday Adventures – Seattle Addition

Our first big road trip from Seattle was the first time really getting out feet wet traveling with the trailer. The drive up was full of craziness between being extremely cold one nights sleep at the truck stop, singing and chatting the whole drive up. We loved every moment in Seattle and fell in love with the beauty of the area. So when my birthday came along, I was given free reign to choose all our activities without complaint! And I utilized every moment of it. We traveled to two of the major parks in the surrounding areas (3-4 hours away from Seattle each). Meaning that my poor hubby drove about 10 hours round trip that weekend so that I could go exploring and enjoy the views! He was such a sweetheart about it and I couldn’t have imagined a better birthday view.

3.) Drive to Washington DC

Honestly, this was the craziest day of our trip. This was the shortest distance that we needed to travel, only about 5 and a half hours. But it ended up taking us double that amount of time to get there. To start, we had endless issues getting the awning to go back up. Some small mechanism decided to break down the morning we were supposed to leave and it took us hours to get it up and ready for travel. Once we got the awning up and went to check out I noticed a giant hole in the siding of our travel! One that I had never seen before! It turns out the day before while mowing the grass areas, one of the staff hit a rock that went straight through the siding of the camper. So we had to deal with that and get an agreement for them to pay the repairs before we could head out. Then as we were driving we had a cabinet door fall and several other issues on the drive. But the reason it is ranked as one of my top memories is because it was a crazy day but we handled everything with grace, love and support. We didn’t argue, we just dealt with the issues and moved on! To me it was a sign of how much we had grown in our marriage in such a short time.

4.) Cooking In The Trailer

Some of my favorite memories are trying to figure out how to cool in a 20 year old trailer. There were many things that don’t work the same as modern technology. For example, the oven does not heat evenly, everything is centered to the front right so you have to be mindful of that when you are working. I burnt several items trying to cook things evenly and not realizing how burnt the bottom was getting! But it was unique and different and we spent this time together learning and growing. I tried endless new recipes and learned to clean (slightly) better than before by having such a small kitchen. It pushed me to be better about cleaning up quickly and more efficiently.

5.) Christmas Eve 2019

I was having a really hard time this Christmas being by ourselves and being in south Florida. The weather was 85 degrees out, beautiful and sunny but it didn’t feel at all like Christmas. I wasn’t able to skype with family on Christmas Eve and it was just all weighing on me. But my hubby was so kind and stepped up to make me feel better. Sitting with me while I cried, playing board games with me, and getting up early on Christmas to take photos with me at the beach. Sometimes its the small things that we do for others that mean the most.

2019: A Year in Review

By RV Adventures, Travel One Comment

Without a doubt this has been one of the craziest, busiest, most fun years of my life! We have had the absolute pleasure of getting to travel the country while also finishing medical school and starting my new job as an event planner! Talk about an insane but amazing opportunity! I wanted to take a moment and highlight a few of the amazing moments that have happened over 2019 during our trailer adventures!

Seattle/Oregon

Our first stop was Seattle, Washington! Which was without doubt the most beautiful state I had ever been to. To say I was in love at first sight is an understatement. The Pacific Northwest might host some of the most gorgeous views in the world. I spent every spare moment exploring and trying to enjoy every view imaginable. I’ve pulled together my top places to visit in Seattle for you below!

  • Mount Rainier National Park -If you are going to travel anywhere around Seattle, Mount Rainier is a must. It is a vast park full of beautiful waterfalls, lakes, and mountain views. I would highly recommend going to Mount Rainier in the summer when the snow is mostly gone and you can get to all areas of the park.
  • Snoqualmie Falls – The most gorgeous waterfall with the cutest hotel and restaurant overlooking the falls. Snoqualmie Falls is a completely free attraction and there are several vantage points to view it. This is a great choice for those who want a relaxing sightseeing day.
  • Olympic National Park – The thing I love about this park was that we were able to drive up to the most gorgeous view. So for those who don’t want to hike you can literally drive to see some of my favorite views in the state! Hurricane Ridge at the top of Olympic National Park was the best birthday view I could have asked for. It overlooked a range of mountains covered in snow, couple that with a cup of hot cocoa and you have yourself a perfect day!
  • Downtown Seattle – Below are my top picks for the next time you are in downtown Seattle.
    • The Space Needle is a true work of art in Seattle. 360 degree views of the city and surrounding mountains gives you an outstanding view worth the cost.
    • Pikes Place market is the iconic vendor market. Pikes Place hosts some amazing local cuisine, art and local flowers that you would need. It’s a must for anyone visiting the Seattle area.
    • A Mariners or a Seahawks game is definitely a must, such a fun experience and worth the money to get to see these sporting events.
    • Lastly, take a kayak ride along Lake Union. It is so much fun and gives you a unique perspective of the city.

Sugar Beach, St. Lucia

St. Lucia was a wonderful and gorgeous place to visit. So thankful for every moment that I spent there. Even though this was a work related trip and most of my time was spent working or making sure everyone had a smooth trip, I was still able to spend some time by myself enjoying the area. Below are my tips to visiting St. Lucia.

  • Work through an agency or a destination management company. It’s a small island, but it’s helpful to have someone to guide you along and also help with your safety. The biggest issue to keep in mind when traveling out of the country is to keep yourself safe at all times. Do everything you can do to keep yourself in safe situations and using a reliable destination company is a good way to keep that safety.
  • Choose a hotel with everything you will need. Make sure you choose a hotel that is on the beach, has restaurants and has good reviews. I highly recommend an all inclusive resort if you are on a budget as this is an island that has to import most of their materials. If you don’t choose an all inclusive resort, look up menu prices ahead of time so you can budget appropriately.
  • Plan excursions ahead of time and look up reviews and weather plans before booking. My favorite excursions are whale/dolphin watching, mud baths, and zip-lining. There are a ton of options available to you, just be sure to plan ahead and be ready for a weather change if need be. Be sure to look up the round trip distance from your hotel as well. Our resort, Sugar Beach, was just minutes away from all 3 of our excursions making it incredibly easy to get to and from.

Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville is our core rotation spot for my husbands 4th year of medical school. This means that we spent two months here this year and will be spending three months there in 2020. Jacksonville is a widespread town so planning ahead is key because distance between attractions is further than you think. If you are planning to visit, here are a few spots in Jacksonville that I highly recommend.

  • Jacksonville Beach – I can say with 100% certainty that this beach is one of the best ones in the state. It hosts free parking, expansive beaches and clean family friendly areas to relax. The water and beach is exquisite making it a great place if you are looking for a relaxing beach.
  • St. Augustine – While not in the Jacksonville limits, just south of the city is the gorgeous town of St. Augustine. The Alligator Farm that takes in gators from all over gave my husband the biggest smile I’d ever seen on his face. He absolutely loved seeing all the various gators and getting to hold one. Without doubt so much fun to see him smile like that! For me, St. Augustine is worth the trip to experience the local shops and cuisine. St. George street is eclectic and full of unique shops for you to peruse.
  • Safe Harbor Seafood – If you are going to go anywhere in Jacksonville. This. Is. The. Place. I am not a big fan of seafood, but their shrimp nachos might be the best thing I’ve ever eaten. They are so so good and worth every penny! Be prepared to wait though as this restaurant always has a line out the door of people waiting to order. And for those who are big seafood fans, my husband as loved every item on the menu so far as everything is fresh and cooked to order.

Atlanta, GA

Atlanta was not a place that we went to together in the RV. This was a trip through my work, where we were able to get the unique experience of an on field tour and batting practice at the Atlanta Braves. The Atlanta Braves stadium and restaurant area is a wonder to be seen. They really made this a special area for anyone who is a baseball fan, especially a fan of the Braves. Between the huge screen outside the Omni for fans to view home and away games, a huge baseball hanging in the air, and baseball themed shops and restaurants surrounding the area. The Braves stadium is gorgeous and definitely worth a trip if you are going to Atlanta.

Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh was an unexpected gem. I had no idea when we arrived in Pittsburgh just how much we would love it. We loved all the greenery, the nature and the old style feel of the city. Top that off with three major sporting teams, tons of lakes and rivers and a 5 hour drive to Indiana and we were sold. Pittsburgh really stole our hearts for so many reasons. The people that we had the pleasure of meeting we so kind and welcoming to us. Pittsburgh is a city that will welcome you if you come. A couple of my recommendations when you visit are below.

  • Pittsburgh Zoo – The Pittsburgh Zoo was incredible and so much fun to visit. It’s not the biggest zoo we’ve ever been to, but it host all the animals you would want to see and is fun for the whole family!
  • Grandview Avenue/Upper Platform – For the best view of Pittsburgh, head up to the Grandview Avenue and take in some amazing views! This would be a great spot with a cup of coffee in the morning and I highly recommend adding it to your list. There are also some gorgeous churches along the way to stop and look at!
  • Major League Game- Honestly, any of the sporting events would be a blast in Pittsburgh. Between the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins, there is always something to experience in the city. While we were only able to make it to a pirates game, I can attest that the energy during these games is electric. It’s worth every penny and the views from the park are amazing!

Colorado Springs, CO

This was another one of my work events that ended up being such a blast! We were at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and let me just tell you it is worth a trip! It was a phenomenal hotel with gorgeous suites and even better views. I didn’t get to go out and explore a lot of the Colorado Springs area, but the hotel we were at was so inclusive and beautiful you could stay here and never be bored. Between the view of the mountains, the spa, the extensive outdoor activities you can schedule, the bowling alley and the pool; you and your family will always have something to do. If it’s possible, try to get upgraded to one of their suites, they are so gorgeous and will make the trip that much better. *Also, they make all their chocolate in house, so be sure to grab some before you leave!

Washington, DC

Washington might be one of the most surprising areas for us to visit. There is so literally so much to do! Almost all the museums in the DC are free admission and there are a ton of outdoor monuments to view as well. I wrote an entire blog post with all my DC must see attractions. You can see that blog by clicking here. My biggest takeaway from our time in DC is remembering how important it is that we are all kind to one another. We may have our political differences, but we are all human and deserving of love, kindness and respect. When you visit DC just remember to treat everyone with kindness!

Fort Lauderdale & Boynton Beach, FL

South Florida is a totally different experience than Orlando or Jacksonville. The extent of tourists at the beach and the overcrowded neighborhoods and cities are a bit overwhelming. However, it also has amazing beaches, tons of things to do, and some great people as well. One of our favorite experiences was getting to see the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, which opened its new guitar hotel this year. An amazing site for those to see and if you get the opportunity it would be a great place to stay at. On a completely unrelated note: this year also hosted my favorite Halloween costume. Because we are living full time in a trailer, it seemed like the perfect time to dress up as Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation. I’ve never had so much fun with a costume. It just felt right!

Orlando, FL

Orlando was our number one choice when we first started looking at residencies. It just had that perfect fit that we were looking for. The year-long nice weather was perfect for my husband and the parks and insane amount of things to do in Orlando would keep me busy during his long work days. And Orlando definitely lived up to its expectations. While being an incredibly busy city that is always filled with tourists, there are some of the cutest towns around for you to live in or visit. I have endless recommendations and places I want to visit in the future, but for now here are a few of my favorites.

  • Disney World – While Disney is ridiculously busy and expensive, it is still incredible the amount of magic that they bring to the park. The way the staff carry themselves is enough to give you the joy you experienced in your youth. You can check out my blog on Disney here.
  • Universal Studios – Without doubt my favorite place in Orlando. Perfect for anyone who wants to experience magic, adrenaline rushes and more adult oriented fun. The rides are much more of an adrenaline rush than those at Disney and their Harry Potter world is phenomenal. Even my husband who is not a Harry Potter fan was impressed with how realistic and how well they replicated those areas were. When you are there, be sure to grab a cup of butterbeer for me!
  • Winter Garden — Winter Garden is where we stayed in Orlando and it has the cutest little shops, Saturday business markets and restaurants to visit. It’s one of many towns that are incredibly charming and worth the drive.
  • Outside of the main parks, there are a ton of smaller amusement areas, helicopter rides, mini golf areas, and tons of activities to keep you entertained. The next time you go to Orlando, spend one day trying something you haven’t done before. I promise you will find something incredible!

Overall, 2019 was a year that will go down in history for us. I couldn’t be more thankful for all the adventures we got to take this year. And while it has been a hard year, with financial and mechanical issues, we got through it and I am so proud of how far we came. Life is never going to be perfect or go the way you envisioned. So embrace the opportunities given to you and enjoy every moment!

Let me know your favorite moment from 2019 in the comments below!

Phoenix to Seattle

By RV Adventures, Travel No Comments

This past weekend my husband and I completed the first leg to our 4th year rotations! We drove from Phoenix, Arizona to Seattle, Washington and it was without doubt one of the most beautiful drives we have ever been on! Coming into the Pacific Northwest was like a dream, full of gorgeous mountains, sunrises and sunsets, and tons of scenic views to stop at.

There are times where you can’t believe where you are, where you can’t believe that this is your life. And there are times, good and bad, where I feel this way. However, this trip with my husband was one I will never forget or take for granted. We went through several states on this trip: Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Through this experience I have a few tips for the road if you ever take this drive!

1.) Take your time, there are several gorgeous stops along the way! One of our favorite stops was Shoshone Falls, a gorgeous waterfall in Twin Falls, Idaho. This waterfall is down a back road and a pretty steep mountain, but it has convenient RV parking and is completely FREE! There are multiple viewpoints to view the falls, and these falls are 45 feet higher than Niagara.

2.) Plan to stay at the larger truck stops. We were huge fans of Lowe’s truck stops. They all had great amenities and large parking spots to park our trailer for the night. It also helps staying there is free and gives you the opportunity to get some rest in a safe environment with a lot of people. I would recommend looking ahead and finding a Lowe’s to stay at on your next RV trip.

3.) Spend your first day exploring your new city! We did some of the most tourist driven activities we could. The observation deck on the Space Needle and Pike Place Market were our first stops!

The Space Needle had the most gorgeous views of the Olympic Mountains and the city of Seattle. With two floors to experience the views on, rotating floor views and slanted benches you will love every minute of your time on the Space Needle. If you are planning to see the Space Needle and some of the cities other attractions, I’d highly recommend looking into the city pass which will give you a cumulative discount on your activities. You can access the city pass here: Seattle City Pass.

Pikes Place Market is a bustling market full of fresh flowers, fresh fish, and tons of local vendors. There is something for everyone at this market and it’s open 363 days a year! You could spend hours getting lost in the hustle and bustle of the market, enjoying amazing fresh local foods, and viewing the Pugent Sound while you are at it!

It’s safe to say that the Seattle has stolen our hearts and we are thrilled to experience this amazing city! Culminating all of our travels into a fun Seattle Travel Guide that will come at the end of the month!

The drive between Phoenix and Seattle
Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho
Space Needle
Observation Deck, Space Needle
Pike’s Place Market
Pike’s Place Market
Fresh Flowers at Pike Place Market
Enjoying that gorgeous Pugent Sound view!

5 Travel Must Haves

By Travel No Comments

Traveling in today’s world can mean three checks’ in, a stuffed carry on, and a huge personal backpack. We try and bring everything that we might possibly need. But there are some things that are just absolutely necessary for a fun and functional trip! If there’s one thing that I am constantly working on, its bringing the absolute essentials on a trip and leaving the rest. No reason to over pack my suitcase with things that I don’t really need. So today, I wanted to go through the couple of things that I believe are must haves in your travels this year!

1.) Empty Water Bottle – This is a MUST for anyone who enjoys not wasting money. Water at the airport is ridiculously overpriced. Don’t waste your money on water when you could bring an empty bottle and get water for free. I t think the part that people forget is that you will still need water while you are on your trip. Bringing a good water bottle will save you money and keep you hydrated during your entire trip. My husband and I love Yeti Ramblers they are great for warm or cold drinks and have excellent durability!

2.) External Battery Pack – While airports are slowly adding more charging stations, they are still completely crammed. People are constantly hovering around you, and most of the time the outlets barely work. So instead of having a dead phone on your flights– invest in an external battery pack. This one on Amazon is $32 and has 4.5 stars. When your phone is on 15% and your flights about to take off… you will be thankful for this!

3.) Trash Bag & Dryer Sheets– Lets be honest, I learned this one from my husband. No matter how much you clean your clothes on vacation, smells can linger in your suitcase. Bring dryer sheets to help eliminate some of these smells. They don’t take up much room and will give your nose and clothes a nice smell. Time to get rid of those musty travel smells once and for all! If you don’t have access to do laundry during your trip, the trash bag actually comes in handy during your trip. As you go through your trip, put your dirty clothes in the trash bag and keep the rest outside the trash bag so the smell doesn’t infect your other clothes.

4.) Shower Shoes – Yes, not the most glamorous thing to bring. But, as I live with a podiatrist, I can’t ignore this one. No matter how fancy a hotel is, shower shoes are still a must. Protect yourself from potential infections that come from using the same showers as multiple strangers, and bring a pair of flip flops for the shower. It won’t take up much room, but it will save you from future issues!

5.) SD Card- No matter how much room you think you have. Bring an extra SD card with you. I absolutely love this one from Target, its easy to post camera quality photos from your phone and has a good amount of storage. Convenient, easy to use, and extremely helpful if you are an avid picture taker.

You can always add more, but these 5 things are items that should never be left out of your suitcase! You may find that you need them!

xoxo-Kayla

In The Middle… of Renovations

By Travel 2 Comments

We are in the heart of renovating the inside of our travel trailer. We are covering the wallpapered walls, repainting all the wood, changing out the flooring. At this point we are just praying not to go broke at the end of all this!

This has been an insane amount of work. With my husband on 3rd year rotations and me transitioning into a new job at work, things have been hectic to say the least. But I think the thing you have to focus on when you are crazy busy is that this season is only temporary. That yes, we have had almost no downtime for the last month, but that’s not a bad thing! It just means we are in pursuit of our goals with fire!

The heart of renovations is like the heart of a major life change. It’s messy and stressful to make life changes. It takes striping away the old, ragged floors and replacing them with new pristine floors. It means getting rid of the bad habits you’ve created and pursuing new goals. It means not giving up when you’ve stripped everything down and can’t see how things will ever look better. Renovations on this trailer have tested our patience, our finances, our endurance and our willpower. Its exhausting. Its every afternoon, every weekend, its every spare moment dedicated to renovations. Watching your husband pass out in utter exhaustion from the endless schedule.

This is one of those situations that no one really preps you for. The unknowns, we had no idea that this would be something we would take on. There was no way to prep for this part of our life, there was no way to prep for this season of life. The only option we have is to take every obstacle head on and know that we can get through it together. Having that knowledge that whatever may come our way, we will get through together.

For those who are in medical school, or facing any life changing obstacle, know this. That while the days are long, while the obstacles are huge, while the financial burden continues to grow; God has a plan. There is a plan for you and these trials are simply guiding you along to the place and person you were meant to be. So take them on with a strong and confident heart knowing you can overcome this. Know that you are stronger than the problem you are facing.

These renovations are temporary and the end result will be better than you ever imagined!

Transition from Apartment to Trailer Life – Part One

By Lifestyle, Travel No Comments

Finding a trailer that we like, that is within our budget is incredibly challenging! We need something that is reliable and doesn’t need work beyond cosmetic tweaks. This is a serious undertaking, I have no idea what to look for or what are necessary requirements. So I am Pinteresting like crazy trying to figure out what to look for, what design I like, what updates I can make, and man there is so much information! But beyond just finding the trailer there is the undertaking of changing our lifestyle.

There are two main areas that I foresee some hard changes in: downsizing and cooking. Lately when I walk around my one-bedroom apartment, I am thinking about all the things that I will need to go through. All the things that will need to be shipped back to Indiana, all the things that might need to be thrown away before we move into the trailer. It’s just crazy to think through and right now these are the questions I am trying to answer!

  • What renovations are necessary in the kitchen? Are you able to cook normally like you would in an apartment? Do you just eat out more often?
    • Currently, I am thinking that the only changes I will make are cosmetic changes and potentially a stone pizza block to even out the heat in the oven. But with the amount of space in the fridges I’m seeing, I think I would have to make at least 2 grocery trips a week. Alternatively, we could eat out more often to eliminate trying to cook within such a small space. I’m not sure what the best option would be seeing as we will be moving around a lot, and I will be working out of the trailer. Are there any guides to cooking in an RV that y’all would recommend?

 

  • Is it best to go as minimalist as possible or to bring as much as I can stuff in the trailer? Is there a happy middle ground somewhere?
    • At the moment, I am thinking about going more toward the minimalist side. For the sheer fact that the more I bring the more cluttered the trailer will become. So to eliminate the stress of trying to find places for all of our stuff, I would just bring the essentials. The real question will be, what items are ‘essentials’ and what items are ‘wants’, you don’t really think about it when you have room to store everything. But over the next two months, we will have to sort through our essentials and be okay with storing the rest at my parents. Does anyone have a must have list for RV life?

 

But honestly, I am so excited for the future. I am so excited for this opportunity, because how often do they come? How often do you get the opportunity to try out new areas? How many times do you get to live on the road with your spouse and at the same time be growing in your careers? It’s extremely rare to have this opportunity and for that I am incredibly grateful. So for all the struggles and questions that I have, I am so beyond thankful to be on this journey with my husband.

If you have any advice on trailer living, I would appreciate it! We are new to the game and would love to avoid making costly mistakes!