We love this time of year, as we approach turning the calendar over to a new year ahead, and reflect on the year we are bidding adieu.
Our past year end wrap-ups:
2014 was a wild and crazy year for us, albeit – one with relatively few miles.
Our travels this year took us on a one-way trip across the continent starting in Florida and ending up in southern California.
Or course, we didn’t take a direct route – we attended three RV rallies this year in Georgia & Indiana, explored the Sunrise Coast of Michigan, crossed into North Dakota for our first time ever, spent a couple of months on the coast of Oregon and then traversed the gorgeous Eastern Sierras via Highway 395.
All and all, just 6,876 miles traveled by RV, visiting 16 states… bringing our cumulative miles since we hit the road together up to 80,671.
It wasn’t our shortest distance travel year (2012 still holds that record) – but we feel pretty darn balanced in this slower pace compared to most our other years.
Also of note, we have ROCKED following the weather this year. We pretty much enjoyed a continual spring as we inched our way north, and then stayed just ahead of winter as we headed back south. We hardly ever needed to run the air conditioner all year long, and have only had a few periods of needing a little heat at night.
Along the way, we met up with more amazing people than we can even attempt to try to relay here. We are so very blessed to have our paths cross so many times with blog readers, fans, family and friends. We’re grateful to those who have invited us in to be temporary neighbors, taken the time to share a piece of their world with us or met up with us on the road to toast a sunset together.
We’ve been part of several informal RV caravans this year, having been able to explore parts of Michigan with Nikki & Jason of Gone with the Wynns, and we’ve now been traveling with Nina & Paul of WheelingIt (with Glenn of To Simplify joining in for bits too) since late August. We’ve also been crossing paths with our dear friends Forrest & Mary all year long – having met up in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Oregon and California.
Our community life on the road is absolutely abundant, maybe a touch too much from time to time. We’d stop and take some more alone time to ourselves, but gosh darn – we just love connecting with friends so much.
And even if we try to go off the radar for a bit, serendipity seems to bring others across our paths even in the most unlikely of places.
Tech-wise, our major project this year was finally deciding on our solar setup to compliment the lithium ion battery install. It feels great to again have the option to explore places without hook-ups for extended periods of time, and still feel power abundant.
2014 Slideshow (RSS/e-mail readers: you may need to view in your browser to view):
All and all.. we are super pleased with our pace of travel, the adventures we’ve had, the places we’ve explored and the people we’ve held in our hearts. It’s been a fabulous travel year.
Related Post: Our Favorite Campsites of 2014
Where we haven’t been so balanced is our work life.
Especially since we initially planned to be on semi-sabbatical this year after winding down Cherie’s family business of contract software development & support. Instead, we have pretty smoothly transitioned to creating new and diversified income streams that have exceeded our expectations for the year. Heck, we thought we’d be doing good if we avoided dipping much into savings this year while living frugally and instead we’ve been able to add to savings.
Of course, it came at the expense of mostly 60+ hour work weeks.
We started our year out in Cedar Key, Florida – as we have in years prior. Our time in Cedar Key was not only incredibly social being part of an unplanned 40+ rig multi month convergence, but was also spent conducting focus groups, writing road maps for feature sets, and constructing a social media campaign for a new social network for RVers we were invited to be part of building.
Come March, the team was ready to bring RVillage to a bigger audience – and we went into full action helping spread the word. The site has done very well (while still being in beta!), now having nearly 13,000 RVers signed up for the free site which allows you to check into your current location and meet folks around you. We love hearing stories of new friendships made via RVillage, and we’ve made some of our own. (Have YOU updated your location recently??)
It was exciting to be part of something so unique and revolutionary for the RVing community, and we totally rocked our role during pre-launch and launch. In April, we made the difficult decision to step back from the day-to-day operations after over-delivering our obligations, since we needed to get back to focusing on our own projects. But we still remain advisors and are passionate about the project.
One of those projects was a new app of our own we had begun before joining RVillage, and the reserved name was about to expire with Apple. We dove into intense development mode and finished up US Public Lands in the nick of time. The app overlays the public land boundaries of BLM, Forest Service, National Parks and more – a tool we had long craved in our travels. Thank you to each and every one of you who has told a friend about it, we’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well the app has done given how little we’ve marketed it.
After finishing the app, it was time to issue an update to our book on mobile internet – as it was approaching a year old. And in technology, that made it a history book.
After running our Internet for RVers Facebook group for a year, we had a good idea of the additional sort of information folks desired beyond just an update. But we also knew it would take a lot of time to properly write about it, representing a substantial expansion to The Mobile Internet Handbook. We tried crowdfunding via a book pre-sale, figuring if we could raise a couple grand, it would at least pay for the hard costs – like professional graphic design and editing.
Our readers completely blew us away by funding every goal we set – even the crazy long shot ones. We were entrusted with just over $10,000 to bring about our full vision of the book. This allowed us to not only hire professionals to take care of the stuff we’re not experts at (which well over the half the funds went to), but to also take over 2 months off of other paying projects to focus on the re-write of the book and launching new resources.
The result was a greatly expanded book (which really should have been renamed The Mobile Internet Alamanac) and a brand new RV Mobile Internet Resource Center website – a place we can keep on top of the mobile internet industry without overwhelming the highly diverse readership we’ve earned here on our personal blog (hey, we know – not all of you want to read tech all the time).
And as part of that website, we have a new premium membership component called the Mobile Internet Aficionados (MIA) – something we consider to be one of our more personally rewarding accomplishments this year.
If our book is the textbook, the MIA has become the classroom – a place to continue the conversations and go into more depth. Not only did more folks than we expected join to support us, we’ve continued signing up new members at a rapid pace – with amazing positive feedback. We’re loving creating new in-depth content, answering member questions, keeping up on this always changing landscape and helping more and more people be able to hit the road and keep connected.
After years of giving away content and answering questions on this topic, we are truly humbled that we now have a venue for it.. and one that supports us in return.
Really? We get to do what we love, help people, and earn an income?!?
But whew, launching three major projects (plus another one brewing we’ve not even hinted about before now) in one year has taken its toll. Up until late October we were working incredibly long hours – so much so, we had to cut our volunteer work as Oregon lighthouse hosts a month short just to keep sane.
So much for being on sabbatical this year. Whew.
We end the year feeling accomplished, refreshed and ready to take on the new year – so overall 2014 was a most excellent ride.
What’s 2015 Hold?
With most work major launches behind us, we look forward to keeping our slower pace of travel and applying it also to our work life in the coming year.
We’ll continue to maintain and grow our existing offerings – including the RV Mobile Internet suite of services & products, and our mobile RVing travel apps. And who knows what other projects will tempt us along the way.
But mostly, we’re aiming to allow more time for ourselves. We want to arrive to new locations and have the time and energy to get out exploring more. We want to have more time for socializing with friends, instead of feeling like we have to cut evenings short to get back to work.
We’ll be looking for new adventures, all of which are undefined at current time. We have no specific plans really leading into 2015 – except for making our presenting debut at the Escapade rally in Tucson in March.
Other than that, the sky is the limit as to where you might find us.
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for joining us on this journey – whether virtually (for now), having met up with us on the road somewhere, and/or supporting us with kind words or even financial offerings. This little blog continues to grow in readership and reach, and it humbles us every time we hear of how our story and information is impacting others.
Wishing you a blessed 2015, and cheers to the adventures ahead!