A Travellerspoint blog

March 2019

Rving, Sailing or backpacking ...can't decide

View Winter Journey on Meike Carter's travel map.

90_20181230_140058.jpg With less than two months left in California until college classes are done, the question,"what next?" comes up more frequently. We have been researching for several years, originally planning to sail the oceans, but that idea kept getting put onto the back burner. We had too many unfinished projects, houses and businesses to take care of, which kept us landlocked. After Tony's retirement almost 3 years ago, we focused on our daughter's college education,which she started at age 16. We agreed to stay in Georgia until she finished her 2nd year of college, as well as highschool at the same time. She decided to join the Air Force to continue her education and learn a new job field in Cyber Security. We were thrilled that she decided on a path and heartbroken at the same time.
Our firstborn flew out of the nest to start her new chapter in life. In the meantime we sold our retirement home, rented an apartment for Michelle and spent months in Kentucky to work on our rental house. We had to move into our completely destroyed rental house and live in our construction zone for over a year. 20180816_191339.jpg By then we put off our dream to sail the ocean and we wondered if a travel trailer would be a better option. We went to the Miami boat show and found our dream catamaran, a gorgeous Bali Lagoon 4.5. The problem was that she came with a pricetag of about $400.000, way out of our budget. We continued taking trips to Florida, chasing our dream tent camping. One night laying in my sleeping bag in the tent, pitched at Long Key State Park, I was so restless. The traffic noise wouldn't stop all night and rats were trying to chew their way into our tent. It was time to find a more secluded and less rat infested area. We headed further south to Key West to Sigsbee, a military campground. Just out of curiosity we checked the bulletin board to see what RV were for sale by owner. A 27 ft. Grand Surveyor was listed for sale and was set up ready to view just a few feet from where we were standing. We knocked on the door and the owners were more than happy to show us the travel trailer. It had everything we wanted and we were able to negotiate the price and paid cash right on the spot. It all happened so fast and two days later we moved into a completely furnished RV. The site was paid up through the week, sheets, towels, pots, silverware and more included. We were ecstatic and could not believe our luck.This turned into our first Florida vacation in a home on wheels and we took that Grand Surveyor to the Emerald Coast several times. 20180827_200307.jpg We loved to have the creature comforts of home while traveling, but still a sailboat seemed more exciting and we realized quickly that the 27 travel trailer was a bit cramped for a family of four. We were getting pretty wrapped up with the remodel of our Kentucky house and finally sold it, which checked of another obstacle, from freely traveling, of the list. We sold all our furniture and put the rest into storage after closing of the Kentucky house. Completely relieved we headed towards the East coast to South Carolina, in hopes of finding our boat. 20181126_164704.jpg Instead we purchased a 40 foot Winnebago Journey Motorhome and traveled from coast to coast. We have been in California since December of 2018, collecting BAH for college. While it drives us crazy being stationary, it did come with benefits. We paid of all our bills that accumulated while remodeling not just one but 2 houses(yes, the Texas house needed some minor work too) .
Anyway, we paid of our debt and saved up a good portion as a down payment for a catamaran, should we find the right one for the right price. We are still chasing our dream, working towards it, while completing unfinished business. Lately I have been wondering if a nice long hike will help clear my mind. Should we settle down, buy property and a house, should we continue traveling in our RV (which keeps us landlocked) or should we go all in and explore the open ocean? Or maybe we will hike the PCT or the Camino de Santiago? So many options until the end of May. Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure. It feels pretty good to check off items on the list in order to gain freedom. Until then, safe travels! 20181222_165309.jpg

Posted by Meike Carter 10:33 Comments (0)

The bay area

View Winter Journey on Meike Carter's travel map.

20190303_132651.jpg Living in the Bay Area is very diverse, mountains in the distance, green hills all around you, marshland only minutes away and a harbor where the river connects all the way to the San Francisco bay, spilling into the Pacific Ocean. I am amazed at all the cow pastures around here, which explains why California is the second largest dairy supplier, behind Texas in the United States. This State alone provides 80 % of fruits, nuts and vegetables. Vineyards and Orange groves grace the rolling hills, reminding me of Tuscany. For several years the state of California has been experiencing drought for the past few years, but with all the rain that we had lately, that ban just got lifted and California's reservoirs are filled back up. Marshland is filling up, ideal for fishing and boating. 20190303_132710.jpg 20190303_132839.jpg
Only a 30 minute drive from us is the famous wine region of Nappa. We are planning a wine tasting tour very soon. Monthly wine tasting trips are offered on post thru MWR, a designated driver will bus the crowd to the vineyards for a very reasonable price. We definitely need to take advantage of that. If you travel in your rig, check out Harvest Host. This website is pretty amazing! After paying a membership fee you will be able to find vineyards, farms and orchards that offer free overnight stays in your RV, as long as you purchase some of their products. I wouldn't have a problem purchasing some wine, cheese or fresh picked apples in order to stay on a beautiful vineyard. E65CB75CF2062156E1D555E350E67727.jpg The coastline is rugged and absolutely stunning. A couple times we drove to suggested whale watching spots. We did not see any whales at Point Reyes that day.... 20181222_144004.jpg
But we did at Bodega Bay a month later. IMG_20190324_092910_511.jpg
Unfortunately I was not able to capture that on film. The Coast Guard was trailing in their boat behind the whale, which helped us bystanders to focus on on that area. Whales migrate along that coastline from December through April. If you like to set up camp along the water, Bodega Bay offers several camping areas with oceanview. The County and State park offer waterfront campsites, as well as the Marina. E65B794A90AE54F9DDCE5EB4A30932F8.jpg 20190323_140646.jpg
Thankfully the rain season has come to an end and we can enjoy the warmer temperatures. Spring is in full bloom and the fields are bursting with yellow wild flowers. Our next adventure will take us to Monterey and Carmel along HWY 1. See you then.... safe travels! IMG_20190313_084628_069.jpg

Posted by Meike Carter 04:50 Comments (0)

Over half a year on the road

View Winter Journey on Meike Carter's travel map.

7A2BA45FD531386C486515751D3F0B0F.jpg We are into our seventh month of RVing , stationary in San Francisco Bay area until May. With February almost over, we are laying all our options on the table, the wants, needs and dreams. There is nothing wrong with chasing after your dreams, right? It is so confusing to make any plans for us, because we are very spontaneous people and don't always stick to our plans. We do set goals every January for the year, write it down and file it away amidst other paperwork. It never fails that it reappears a year or two later, while packing or reorganizing, just to realize that our goals were actually achieved. I am beginning to think, that once we put our goals on paper, subconsciously we aim towards them, approaching them as life unfolds. On the way to that goal we usually experience obstacles, forks in the road and big old potholes( as much as they suck, they can be the best learning experience). 7A2C6D7BBAF56888C84845D3756BC8FF.jpg Currently we are going through another change, which started with both of us getting diagnosed with medical issues a couple of months ago. After experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort I was diagnosed with a fibroid in my uterus setting me up with a surgeon to discuss my options. That occupied my mind and Tony could tell how it affected me and as the typical problem solver, opted for a change of scenery. That is when we spontaneously flew to Hawaii. I forgot about my medical issue, too excited to go back to the island where we met, but while Tony ran back to the terminal after returning the vehicle, he noticed some pain in his kidney.
During the flight the pain got stronger and by the time we landed in Hawaii he urinated blood and had to visit the ER on our first day on Oahu. Two weeks in Hawaii passed while he was medicated to deal with the pain. Back in California he actually passed the 14 mm kidney stone on his own, while sitting in the ER yet again, waiting for help. The doctors were stunned that he passed this massive stone, it was almost triple the size of kidney stones that could pass through the urethra without needing to get blasted. The urologist set up for the removal of the second kidney stone that was located above the entrance to the bladder. That stone was stuck due to inflammation caused by the first stone and had to be surgically removed. I have never seen my husband in so much pain. After that surgery he swore up and down to pass a stone naturally, before ever attempting that procedure again. The entire healing process took well over 2 weeks and kept us indoors. We were about to go stir crazy! 7A2D63B1EE17E5F5BCEDD1415AD6113A.jpg 7A2CE4E8927BB626D6D3820A75BE0CCB.jpg All our homeschool and college classes require hours behind the laptop, eating up the majority of our time. Come Friday night we are ready for a break, usually having dinner cooked early to set up Landon for a cozy night of gaming or movies. That gives us adults some time alone, outside with our outside fireplace, cushioned chairs, blankets and a couple of glasses of our favorite creamy Sherry. During that time we brainstorm our options for the next weeks, months and years. We confuse ourselves, wondering if settling down would be a wise decision, which leads to several hours of property searches, but still not feeling excited about it. We then wonder, if working in the corporate world would bring a sense of accomplishment, but we quickly toss that idea aside. What if we backpack for a while, or go to Europe for a few months, or should we fly to Australia or just take the RV across the States again starting in Washington state all the way to Maine, maybe Nova Scotia. We could also live in the Keys for a while... you see, we are at a big fork in the road. At this point I will let things just happen and still focus on school, editing my YouTube videos and work on my latest and biggest project yet. Unfortunately I can't reveal it, because it is at the beginning stages, but it will be one of my most complex and time consuming undertakings as of today.
One thing that I realized by living in an RV fulltime is, that I don't get sidetracked by chores around the house or the yard. Giving me more time to create and reflect, ultimately opening more doors to my own creativity, that I never knew existed. Sometimes it's good to step out of the circle and find yourself, whether you're out kayaking, hiking. Snowboarding or painting. IMG_20190302_084702_092.jpg This is our time out from the circle and for the last seven months we have learned, that we can do just fine without the material items, that downsizing down to the essentials is easier than we thought and that in return life gets filled with wonderful memories and stories. We have a little over 2 months left in San Francisco Bay area before we hit the road again. I am looking forward to see, what path life will take us on.

Posted by Meike Carter 00:56 Comments (0)

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