9 NATIONAL PARKS (NOT ONE OF THE MAJOR 59) YOU SHOULDN’T MISS

Did you know that there are 412 national park areas out there? A lot of people have a bucket list item of visiting the 59 main national parks like Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, and Yosemite, but ever since learning that there are so many more, we’ve decided to upgrade that bucket list item to visiting all 412.

We are still a long way off, but we’re starting to chip away at the list. We’ve enjoyed exploring some of the lesser known parks because they are typically far less crowded and you can easily see most of them in a day or two. Here are 9 that we’ve visited that you shouldn’t miss.

 

White Sand Dunes National Monument, New Mexico

 

 

This is easily one of our favorites. Walk, hike, or sled on what seems to be endless rolling hills of white sand. It’s a great site for photographers and you can see more about our visit here.

Pro Tip: Avoid visiting in the summer, since it gets brutally hot.

 

Cabrillo National Monument, California

While living in San Diego for a year, we had a lot of fun exploring Cabrillo National Monument. You can go tide pooling, check out the lighthouse, or enjoy amazing views of the city.

 

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MAKING MEMORIES (AND SAVING THEM)

We’ve all seen it on social media…the “humble brag,” scenery almost too beautiful for real life, and photos so perfect that they must have been staged. Just because some people pair their adventurous lifestyle with social media doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. However, the process of documenting your RV escapes can be both a fun and rewarding endeavor no matter what you do with it. With a little preparation and planning, you can preserve your adventures to look back on and create something to share with family and friends who might be interested in taking a peek at your life on the road.

 

 

Before you start your adventures, or if you’re already adventuring, we found that asking yourself a few questions will help you document your experiences in a more organized way that will yield better results.

 

Why do you want to document your adventures?

 

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FINDING BALANCE ON THE ROAD

Even though we’re part-timers, James and I have been on the road a lot lately.

 

 

James is fortunate. His day job allows him to work remotely, so it’s easy for him to hit the road. He’s actually pretty great at balancing work while still making the trip feel special.

 

 

I guess I’m to blame for why we aren’t out there RVing more. I’m a personal trainer and wellness coach, and even though others in my field can do that remotely, I feel I’m more effective working in person. But, that’s not the only reason we’re not full-timers.

 

I like the balance of having an actual home, and having the RV as a vacation, and keeping the two things separate. So when I told you we’ve been on the road a lot lately, you probably assumed that was a good thing. And…it usually is, but when the RV starts feeling a little too “home-like”…you know, the days start to look the same, or I’m less interested in exploring my surroundings … I start getting nervous. That’s when I know it’s time to head home.

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LIFE IS JUST A BOWL OF CHERRIES

Cheery Cherry ready to go

 

When Cherry Lewis was growing up in St. Shores, Michigan a neighbor had a big tent they set up in the backyard. The neighbor kids took turns camping in it. Boys only one night and all girls the next. It felt adventurous and the girls sat up at night with their flashlights telling ghost stories and giggling the night away.

 

One night, Cherry recalled, one of the neighbor boys decided to play a trick on the girls. He waited until dark and quietly crept up to the tent and slid his arm under the tent floor and grabbed the leg of one of the girls. Screaming and mayhem ensued. When the boys told the girls the next day that a prisoner had escaped from a local jail, the girls were done. The boys may have managed to secure the tent for themselves for the rest of the summer, but they did not manage to rid Cherry of her love of camping. She recalls this trip as her first “girl camping” outing.

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HOW 4 MONTHS ON THE ROAD CHANGED OUR LIFE

Have it all. The American Dream. The American Way. Not enough hours in the week.  Keeping up with the Joneses, Work Hard/Play Hard. All these colloquialisms defined our life as typical self-employed New Englanders. We had a crazy dream- work remotely for a few months so as to travel cross country. Another typical bucket list adventure / goal that we wanted to add to our ballooning list of accomplishments and acquisitions. What we never expected, was our four-month trip across the U.S. and back would change our outlook on everything we’ve been working 90 hrs. a week to maintain, and essentially reset our path in life.

When we hit the road it was naïvely just an opportunity to pour a little more life into our mundane daily routine. Our supporters said it was going to be the most envious journey they could dream of. The nay-sayers said it was selfish of us, and we would likely come back split up over the stress of living in 450 sq. ft. Essentially everyone was wrong, including ourselves.

The nay-sayers couldn’t have been more wrong. Within about 2 weeks of living fulltime in 450 sq. ft., we realized that life was so much more relaxing without the extra 2000 sq. ft. to manage. We connected with each other, we talked, we played and we laughed.

Massive weights were lifted from our shoulders knowing we didn’t need to fill our home with decorations, latest electronics, newest home trends, DIY improvement projects, maintenance, etc. All that “desire to acquire” was immediately gone. The withdrawal symptoms of being unable to Amazon Prime our every whim were challenging at times, but awareness of our “desire to acquire addiction” took center stage. We realized the rat race we were trapped in back home, had completely clouded our lives. Without the distractions of typical American life, the desire to explore, learn, communicate, and bond as a family completely fed our souls.

We never looked at our 450 sq. ft. as anything more than an allergy safe food preparation location and nightly resting place, (and office space). The entire country became our “back yard.”

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