We’ve now been back to the US Mainland for about a week, after our 5 months in the US Virgin Islands. There has been some element of culture shock for us, and definitely things we’re missing about island life. Namely the pace of life and crunchy grouper sandwiches!
The biggest thing that stands out is all the traffic. We’re currently based in the Orlando, FL area – and wow. I always knew the traffic was pretty bad here, but it’s extra frustrating after having been so far removed from it.
The other shocking thing has been all of the concrete shopping centers. Sure, I noticed them before as part of the American suburban landscape. But now these concrete jungles really stand out.
Of course, this abundance and ease of access to consumer goods has a plus side. In the islands it was always hit or miss as to what might be available. I had to really re-callibrate my expectations that other day when we took our truck in for a new battery, as I was anticipating it to be an ordeal. But it just took pulling in and having it handled in well under an hour, including an oil change. These conveniences are things I used to take totally for granted.
We’re also re-adjusting to the concept of locking doors. After living on a glorified screened in patio with no locks, and a Jeep with no windows – we had grown quite used to never really worrying. That’s not to say theft and crime on St. John didn’t happen, but we certainly didn’t live in fear of it. Getting used to gated communities, security alarms, obsessive locking of doors and heck, vehicles with doors that lock – has been interesting.
And of course – we are enjoying food at a constant half-off sale!
Contemplating what’s next
While our time back has been focused on catching up with family and friends and unpacking, we have also been putting a lot of effort into figuring out what is next for us. Returning to our little Oliver Travel Trailer has shown us that we’re ready for a bit more space to spread out. We know we definitely want to slow down our pace of travel, and having a mobile space that is more amenable to being still for weeks or months at a time is a definite new desire.
The Oliver is not that, at least, not anymore for us. 80 square feet is just not enough for two homebodied nomads.
We’ve been putting thought into what might be our next ideal home-on-wheels, and some of our thoughts include:
- Two separate living areas – some division between the bedroom and other areas of the space is a definite.
- A bed configuration that doesn’t always require us to climb over each other.
- A little more kitchen counter space.
We’re also fairly certain that we don’t want a trailer again, and smaller motorhomes have been catching our eye.
Trailers are great, don’t get us wrong. We’re just simply ready for change. We don’t want to tow anymore (and would likely go toadless with a motorhome and instead carry electric bicycles, and rent a vehicle when needed), and we’d like to not be separated from our living space while in motion.
After touring some RV lots around town, we seem to have found a sweet spot in the 26-27′ range. The Winnegabo Vista 26P in particular caught our fancy as far as a layout. A new one is probably more than we want to spend, and the style too generic for our tastes. But touring it did give us some firm ideas of the type of space that appeals to us.
Next we were led to the classic ‘hot rod with plumbing’ 26′ GMC Motorhome over the weekend, and discovered one of the main refurbishing co-oops is right down the street from us here in Orlando. We couldn’t let that serendipity go to waste, so we spent an afternoon over there checking a few out, picking the brain of the owner and became quite intrigued
The styling is awesome, and they’re really well thought out. With one of these, we’d be able to refurb one to be our exact preferred styling – and we’d have a heck of a lot of fun shopping at vintage clothing shops to get a 1970s wardrobe to match!
So we’re keeping our eyes open for other stylish options in this size range. We’d also like to check out some smaller bus conversions as a possible next step.
And of course, we’d greatly appreciate ideas and leads – so bring it on!
The current thought
In general, we’re contemplating splitting our time between RVing in North America and then parking our home-on-wheels for a couple months at a time (and finding temporary homes for Kiki) while we do some international travel. It seems like it might be a good balance for us, as we do greatly value our US-based communities and family, and want to remain connected to them too.
But we’re also not set on this idea either, and keep other options on the table. Basically, expect us to keep trying on ideas for a while as we explore our options. 🙂