Time frame: January 20 – February 20, 2010
Miles Driven: 1776
After an extended month long winter and holiday stop in St. Louis visiting Chris’ family, it was time to head south for the remainder of the winter. Cherie previously lived in Florida for 12 years before we hit the road, and that’s where her parents and a lot of our friends live. We knew we’d be in for a hectic schedule of trying to fit seeing everyone in. We started our adventure south on January 20, 2010.
Our first planned stop would be in Atlanta, a place we never seem to get enough time in as we’re alway just passing through. However we wanted to be sure to stop in and see Diane and Jill, who own a T@b clamshell twin to our former home on wheels. We used to be able to park at their place, but with our slightly larger Oliver Travel Trailer, we weren’t certain our trailer would still fit in their back lot.
And then serendipity happened. We received a well timed e-mail from someone who almost camped with us at Camp Nomadia the very first year we brought the camp together. Dale was formerly a nomad, but he ended up camping elsewhere and we only got to meet briefly at Burning Man 2008. Before he switched camps, he had made up some awesome caribineer/flashlight/bottle openers with ‘Camp Nomadia’ printed on them. He gifted us a handful, and they’ve been quite useful. Especially for lightpainting!
As it turns out, Dale has since settled in Atlanta, and invited us to stop in – citing he had plenty of parking space. His directions ended with ‘park anywhere on the tennis court’ – which raised an eyebrow. So thus we parked, intending to only stay a couple nights, on his tennis court in front of his airplane hanger converted loft. It was awesome to get to know Dale and compare stories from the road, Burning Man and geekery. Our intended couple night stay turned into 5 nights (see what we mean about Nomadic Standard Time?) until we figured we really did need to be on our way.
While in Atlanta, we also got to meet up with Diane, however Jill was sick. We also got to make a new friend, who was introduced to us via a mutual friend in California. We went to an independent artists fundraiser and saw a cool afro-celt band play.
Tomoka State Park
After coming off of our intense month working at Amazon.com, holidays, cold weather in St. Louis and our unexpected social time in Atlanta – we were craving some alone time with just the three of us before heading into more social time. One thing we’ve found in our travels is that if we want time for ourselves, we have to carve it out.
So we selected one of our favorite campgrounds in Florida – Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach. It was one of our destinations when we were first trying out nomadic life together back in early 2007. We love it for it’s authentic Florida hammocks and nicely wooded campsites along the waterway.
We got some relaxing and alone time in. However, one thing about state parks in the middle of the week, is that we’re not the only interesting people traveling through. We ended up meeting two other traveling couples. They were closer to traditional retirement age than us – but what was interesting, is that in each couple, one of them was earning an income by being online professors. They were each using mobile technology to explore their wanderlust, visit their families and keep funded. It’s so inspiring to encounter so many people exploring these mobile lifestyles before retirement.
Next stop was Titusville, primarily to visit with Cherie’s ex and her former cat, Alma. Cherie and Fritz dissolved as a couple primarily because they were simply on different life paths – Cherie wanting more mobility and adventure, and Fritz wanting to settle into one spot and focus on planning for retirement with a stable career. Their solution was to seek what they both wanted in life and remain close friends.. instead of getting bitter and angry over it. It was wonderful to see just how happy they were now that they were well into their chosen paths.
We did split our time down in Melbourne, staying with Cherie’s parents a few nights. Unfortunately, they live in one of those neighborhoods where they don’t allow RVs, so we opted to stay in their guest room while we left our camper at Fritz’. It’s worth it to get quality time!
While in Titusville, we noticed that the last planned night shuttle launch was planned, and ended up being temporary neighbors with the delightfully awesome nomadic Louis and Sean of Our Oddyssey. We were part of ‘Camp STS-130′ – an amazing temporary RV city that forms around launch time.
James and his partner Maria came over from Tampa – he’s better known as @NomadRIP, to join the fun. We look forward to many future rendezvouses with all these like minded folks.
The launch was delayed an evening, but it was an amazing 4:14am launch of Shuttle Endevour.
We relocated down to Wickham Park, a county run park in Melbourne for a couple nights. Chris’ parents are experimenting with being snowbirds on the west coast of Florida this winter, and came over for a fajita cookout at Cherie’s parents place. Chris also took care of routine medical exams at our primary care physician in Melbourne, and we both had our routine eye exams. While we have medical access all over the country via our individual health plans, we do prefer to establish providers in spots we consider ‘home bases’.
Orlando.. no.. now Miami!
At first we were planning to relocate to the Orlando area, where we have friends with several wooded acres who extend an open invite. However, we got hit with a Nautical Bug, and found our way to Miami instead to attend the Miami Internatational Boat Show. Chris has written prolifically about this.
Following Nomadic Serendipity
The next week was an amazing ride of following the Ripples of Serendipity – which took us down to Marathon to check out an older catamaran we were intrigued by.
Then up to Jupiter Farms to meet with some awesome readers of our blog – Richard & Claire and Dave & Julie, and answer their questions about nomadism on wheels. Richard and Claire have a pig and backyard chickens, and we spent an evening combusting Christmas trees in their backyard firepit with their awesome sons, Glenn & Patrick.
Then serendipity decided we weren’t done yet, and handed us a connection to a similarly aged full time sailing couple, Gray and Cindy, who seemed happy to spend an afternoon sharing their lifestyle with us. It was great to be on the other side of the table, inquisiting someone else about a lifestyle we’re interested in embarking upon.
Orlando.. and beyond?
We finally found our way to the Orlando area, a full week after our original intentions. We plan to stay here a week or so – get caught up on a bunch of projects, and just enjoy the solitude of our wooded nest camped next to great friends, Cec & Paula, who truly embrace our self sufficiency and temporary neighbor preference.
Soon we’ll decide when we need to start heading to Texas. We’re still undecided about South by Southwest, mostly because we just can’t justify the high ticket cost. If we make it to Austin by mid-March, we may just meet up with friends attending outside the event, and enjoy the ancillary festivals and events that apparently happen. Perhaps next year we’ll submit a proposal for a Technomadic panel and try to get in as presenters. At the very least, we need to make it to Central Texas by late April for the NuRVer‘s Gathering (or whatever they decide to call it) – a rally of other younger full time RVers.