HOW WE CHOSE OUR RV

It is hard to believe that we have been full time RVing since July 2018! Time definitely flies by and I couldn’t be more grateful for making the decision to escape what was “normal” according to everyone else and doing what meant freedom for us.  I am not saying that RV full time living is for everyone, but it is definitely a lifestyle that is perfect for our nomadic spirit!  A question we are frequently asked is “How did you choose your RV?”

 

 

We went to a dealership and decided to walk into different models to see what felt like “home.”  The year before we had actually gone dream board shopping and fallen in love with a toy hauler model because of the high ceilings.  At the time we were not planning on living in one full time, but it was just a thought to have one for getaways in the future.

 

Exactly a year after our dream board shopping adventure we went on a SUPER last-minute RV getaway with my in-laws (a whole other fun story of its own). It helped inspire us to go buy an RV and live in it full time instead of renewing our rental lease at the time! It was a pretty wild decision and quite honestly the best one we have ever made for ourselves and our family.

 

When we purchased our RV, we had a one-year-old who was just learning how to walk and a three-year-old.  We knew that we wanted two bathrooms and a good area for them to play and also sleep.  We went shopping again and decided to look at different types (Class A, travel trailers and Class C).  We ended up falling in love with the toy hauler once again because of not only the high ceilings but this one happened to have a side patio and a back patio.  We were totally sold on the side patio because we could set it up as a play area for our little ones.

 

 

We were extremely happy with the layout and the fact that it not only had a second bathroom, it had a small bathtub in the kids’ bathroom as well! It was truly perfect for us!  We honestly should have done more research, read more articles like this and spoken to fellow RVers about their RVs to educate ourselves on the differences.  Luckily, we ended up choosing a toy hauler which later we realized has a lot less sway than a travel trailer.  The more people we meet with travel trailers the more we realize that the toy hauler was the right decision for us.

 

I love the fact that our RV just like any other RV out there gives us the freedom to move around if we choose to move it.  For us it’s a great feeling to have our home wherever we go.  It means less packing for vacations and always having our toilet and our bed (seriously priceless lol).

 

 

Something that I wish I would have done before purchasing our RV was to rent different types.  I think this would have given me a better feel for the different layouts.  Nowadays there are neat companies like Outdoorsy and RV Share where you can rent an RV from someone in your area! I think that is one of the neatest ways to rent because you are renting from a private owner who you can even chat with about why they chose that specific RV and then try it out for yourself to see if you really like it.

 

I highly recommend when searching to write down your “Must Haves” on paper because it will make it easier when finding the perfect RV for you.  The perfect RV for us has been our Heartland Toy Hauler AKA Big Bertha because it is what got us on the road.  It can be overwhelming with the different RV types, hitch types, axles, landing legs, etc, etc.  Best advice I can give is to ask yourself the following questions:

 

 

  • What kind of camping will you use your RV for? (Campground camping or off-grid boondocking?)
  • What is your budget?
  • How many people will you be traveling with?
  • How long are you planning on RVing?
  • Who will be driving it? (You want to make sure the driver is comfortable driving the RV.)

These are a few questions that helped us when we chose our RV.  Trust me, before you know it you will also have the perfect RV for you to take on your next adventure! The more experiences we collect the more we realize that all the junk we left behind to live full time in our RV doesn’t even matter.

 

I would love to hear how you chose your RV. Please do not forget to comment below and share away. We love hearing from you!

 

 

GET YOUR KICKS ON ROUTE 66

Get Your Kicks on Route 66: See America’s Most Scenic Byway in Two Weeks

 

 

Route 66 is the ultimate American road trip. Officially opened in 1926, Route 66 is 2448 miles long running from Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, CA. Considered The Mother Road of America, it served as the primary route for people migrating west from the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. The highway helped small towns and businesses flourish. Likewise, these same towns and businesses fought to keep their economies alive when the new Interstate Highway system threatened to bypass their towns. Remember the movie Cars?

Speaking of the interstate, our itinerary lets you choose whether you want to travel on the National Scenic Byway called Historic Route 66 or the interstate, but keep in mind if you want to stick with the two-week timeline you are going to have to get some miles under your wheels. In some parts you’ll have no choice but to travel by interstate. We started out determined to stay on the official Historic Route 66 whenever possible but quickly discovered that with limited time (and toddlers) we needed to travel between major destinations by interstate weaving off and, on the byway, to see points and towns of interest.

 

Day 1: Chicago

 

 

Route 66 officially begins—or ends if you are starting in the West—in Chicago. Pick a campground in one of the surrounding suburbs (We use the All stays app to find most of our campgrounds) to avoid having to navigate the RV through heavy city traffic. Pick a few attractions that sound fun to you and go have a blast exploring The Windy City. Some of our favorites are Millennium Park, Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), Art Institute of Chicago, and Museum of Science and Industry.  Be sure to get a picture at one of the Begin (or End) Route 66 signs located at 65 E Adams St.

 

Day 2: Drive from Chicago, IL to St Louis, MO – (Approx. 5 hrs driving time without stops)

 

 

Pack up and leave the campground first thing in the morning leaving enough time for a quick stop in Pontiac for the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum. Don’t pass through Lincoln, IL without stopping to see the Railsplitter Covered Wagon, the world’s largest covered wagon according to the Guinness Book of World Records. What’s a road trip down The Mother Road without kitschy stops and pictures to prove it!

 

Day 3: St. Louis

 

 

Take a break from driving and spend the day visiting St. Louis.  There is plenty to see in this great mid-western city but be sure to visit the iconic St. Louis Arch. If you have already been there or want to fit in another attraction, consider The City Museum. (It’s one of my favorite stops in the U.S.) It’s an eclectic combination of a children’s playground and art made out of found objects. It’s fun for adults and kids alike. Or visit the beautiful city park, Forest Park. It’s home to the St Louis Zoo, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, and The Muny.

 

Day 4: Drive from St Louis to Baxter Springs (Approx. 5 hrs of driving time without stops)

 

 

Today is another driving day. You’ll pass through Cuba, MO. Cuba is also known as Mural City.  Keep your eye out to catch the murals that run along the Route 66 corridor. Don’t put that camera away too fast. You’ll also want to get a picture of the former World’s Largest Rocking Chair—it’s now the second largest—in Fanning, MO. If you didn’t have time to stop in at the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum, you can stop at the Route 66 Museum in Lebanon. Next set your GPS for Galena, KS to see the inspiration for the Cars movie, Cars on the Route. It’s a particularly fun stop for kids and being off the interstate transports you back to simpler times. If there are spots left, stay at Old Highway 66 Rest Area Campground and consider grabbing some delicious Kansas BBQ at Baxter Springs Smokehouse. If the campground is full there are a number of campgrounds on the south western outskirts of Joplin, MO or near Miami, OK.

 

Day 5: Baxter Springs to Oklahoma City – (Approx. 3.5 hours without stops)

 

 

As you leave Kansas and continue to Oklahoma, keep your eyes peeled for more retro signs and buildings on the route. Today’s highlight will be The Blue Whale of Catoosa. The Blue Whale is one of the most recognizable and photographed icons on Route 66. The whale constructed out of cement by Hugh Davis in the 1970s was built as a surprise anniversary gift for his wife Zelta. It was originally intended for private use but Davis eventually opened it to the public and it became a popular roadside attraction.

 

Day 6: Oklahoma City

 

 

Stretch your legs today in Oklahoma City. There are many attractions from which to choose. A few of the most popular are: Oklahoma National Memorial and Museum, Bricktown Water Taxi, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor activities at Boathouse District, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and the city’s longest continually operated restaurant Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. Whatever you do make time to visit a modern Route 66 roadside attraction, Pops 66. It’s a really fun stop for people of all ages with hundreds of sodas and drinks lining the shelves.

 

Day 7: Drive from Oklahoma City to Amarillo – (Approx. 5 hrs of driving time without stops)

 

 

It’s back on the road today! Head out of Oklahoma City and head to Amarillo, the almost midway point of Route 66. (The actual mid-point is about 50 miles west of Amarillo where campgrounds are sparse.) On your drive keep your eyes open for the Leaning Tower of Texas and the Giant Cross in Groom, TX. Stop for the night in Amarillo, Texas. Drive out to Cadillac Ranch to see the iconic Cadillacs buried in ground and consider having dinner at the legendary Route 66 restaurant, The Big Texan. If you are feeling extra hungry (and brave!), you can take the 72 oz. steak challenge. If you finish the entire meal in an hour or less it’s free!

 

Day 8: Amarillo to Albuquerque – (Approx. 5 hrs of driving time without stops)

 

 

It’s another driving day today but with some great detours. About an hour outside of Amarillo you’ll pass Adrian, TX. If you haven’t had breakfast you can plan to stop at the MidPoint Cafe for breakfast or simply give your passengers or yourself a high five because you’ve made it half way! You won’t want to spend too much time there though because you’ll for sure want to take a detour to see Tucumcari, NM. Drive down the main street and keep an eye out for the iconic Blue Swallow Motel (815 E. Route 66) and if you don’t already have enough souvenirs you can stop at the Tee Pee Curious across the street but don’t stay too long. The next detour, Santa Rosa Blue Hole, will be worth getting into the campground a little later than usual. Blue Hole is an oasis in the middle of the desert. Its water is crystal clear and cold. A perfect spot to cool off and enjoy some natural beauty. The parking lot easily fit our 34’ RV making getting changed for swimming a breeze. If you time it right you can cool off and enjoy a picnic lunch. After taking a dive into the sapphire colored water continue heading west to Albuquerque and set up in one of the many campgrounds in the area.

 

Day 9: Albuquerque

 

 

After two full back-to-back days of driving you’ll be ready to stay put for the day. Use this

“downtime” to do a little exploring in Albuquerque. From outdoor activities to arts and culture there’s no shortage of things to do in this great southwestern city. Albuquerque may be most famous for its International Balloon Fiesta held every October. However, you can visit the unique Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum any time of the year or book a hot air balloon ride with one of the many operators in the area. A few other options for the day include: Sandia Peak Tramway, Petroglyph National Monument, Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque Botanical Gardens, and The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History.

 

Day 10: Albuquerque to Williams – (Approx. 6 hrs of driving time without stops)

 

 

It’s back on the road again today. Get up and head out as early as possible if you want to drive through Petrified Forest National Park. It’s the only park in the National Park System that contains a section of Route 66! It takes about one hour to drive the 28 miles from one end of the park to the other. Next head to Holbrook, AZ to see the iconic Wigwam Motel and have lunch at Joe and Aggies Cafe for a step back into time. As you continue west keep an eye out for the arrows that marks the ghost town of Twin Arrows. Set up camp for the night in Williams, AZ where there are plenty of campgrounds.

 

Day 11: Grand Canyon

 

 

Today you are going to take a detour from The Mother Road to see one of America’s most famous landmarks, the Grand Canyon. The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is an hour north of Williams and is open year-round. Plan to see historic Grand Canyon Village and drive the scenic Hermit Rd or Desert View Drive. Stay for sunset if possible to capture beautiful pictures. That evening head into Williams and walk the main street to enjoy some Route 66 neon.

Day 12: Williams to Barstow – (Approx. 6 hrs of driving time without stops)

 

 

Depending on the time of year this can be a long HOT drive through the desert. One year we drove this in June and it reached 127 degrees in Needles. Another year we did it in November and needed light jackets. Either way you’ll want to plan a short stop in the small town of Seligman, AZ. Walk down the street a bit imagining what this town was like 60 years ago and then grab a shake from Delgadillo’s Snowcap Drive-In. Continue west. If you have a little more time than two weeks consider a detour stop in Oatmen, AZ to hang out with the wild burros.

 

Day 13: Barstow to Santa Monica (2 hours without traffic)

 

 

You’ll want to get an early start again today to avoid the Los Angeles rush hour and to leave time for a short detour. On your way out of Barstow get off the interstate to see Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. It’s one of my favorite stops! Next head to a suburb of Los Angeles to a campground of your choice. (Unless you have a small easy to maneuver rig you really won’t want to take the RV into Los Angeles if you can avoid it.) Try to get to the campground by noon to set up, have some lunch, and then head over to Santa Monica Pier before the evening rush hour. Congratulations! You made it to the official end of the Route 66! Enjoy the pier and then head down to Venice Beach Boardwalk (my choice!) or Third Street Promenade to wait for traffic to lighten up before heading back to your campground that evening.

 

Day 14 – Day in Los Angeles

 

 

You can’t drive over 2000 miles to the City of Angels without enjoying some of its most famous sites. My suggestion is to head to Paramount Studios to take a 2-hour morning tour and then head over to Hollywood Blvd. (If you are feeling ambitious and not intimated by LA traffic you could even add in a drive down the famous Rodeo Drive and Sunset Blvd on your way to Hollywood Blvd.) End the evening at Griffith Observatory for amazing city views before heading back to the campground.

 

We’d love to hear from you! Have you gone RVing on Route 66? How long did it take you? What must see sites would you add to my list?

PICKING UP YOUR NEW RV AT THE DEALERSHIP

Woohoo! You’ve taken the plunge and purchased an RV. All you have to do now is drive it home, right? Not so fast. Unfortunately, the process of taking home a new (or new-to-you) RV is a little more complicated than the process of buying a car.

 

Whether you buy your rig at an RV show or a dealership, there will be a few steps in between the purchase and the time you hit the highway with your new home in tow. The following tips will help you enter this process with your eyes wide open:

 

 

Understand the Behind-the-Scenes Process

Before you can take your new rig home, the dealership wants to ensure the RV is ready for you…and ensure you are ready for the RV.

  1. The dealership must ready the RV for transfer. First, the dealer must do a PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection) to confirm the physical condition of the RV has been checked and all systems are operational. Next, the dealer may need to install any options you requested or any items that generally are not on/in the rig while it sits on a lot (such as televisions, propane tanks, and upgraded air conditioners).
  2. In order to ensure you are ready for the RV, your dealership should schedule a complete walk through. And when we say complete, we mean complete. Since the walk through can take several hours, your dealership will have to schedule it at a convenient time for both parties. The tips in the final section of this post will help you make the most of your walk through.

 

 

Consider your Gear and Equipment

When RV owners think about gear and equipment, we are sometimes tempted to focus on the fun stuff…like patio lights, camp chairs, and colorful décor. However, there are many more important items necessary for the safety and security of the amazing rig you just purchased.

  1. Make sure your tow vehicle is properly outfitted for towing. This can be confusing, so you’ll want to double check all of your specs. Tow capacity, hitch weight, payload, and more all come into play. Some vehicles don’t come equipped with trailer brake controls or proper towing hitches. Figuring this out before you arrive to pick up your rig will save you the embarrassment, time, and extra expense of finding out too late.
  2. You may need a weight distribution and sway set up. You may scoff when the dealership offers to add these on at an additional cost, thinking it’s an unnecessary upsell, but in this case, the dealer is right (if you have a longer/heavier rig). If you don’t bring in your own safety equipment, you’ll need to buy it before you can roll off the lot. The good thing is that these additional expenses can sometimes be added to your loan if you are financing the RV. Research your options and reasonable cost estimates before you go.
  3. Purchase the necessities. Honestly, there is some non-glamorous gear you need to safely and efficiently set up camp. Brace yourself for the additional costs, so you won’t feel shell-shocked on pick-up day. Before your first outing, you’ll minimally need a good sewer hose and proper connectors, a water pressure regulator, a good surge protector or EMS (electrical management system), and power converters (to allow you to move between 50 amp, 30 amp, and 20 amp setups, as appropriate). All the other fun gear is the icing on the cake.

 

 

Make the Most of your RV Walk Through

We cannot emphasize enough how important this step is. A proper RV walk through will lead to many happy trips ahead…a rushed or incomplete walk through will lead to tons of frustration. Most importantly, you don’t want to get your RV all the way home and then discover several reasons why you need to take it back!

  1. Record everything on your smart phone in individual files you can label for later reference. Don’t record the whole walk through in one swoop—you’ll be left searching through an hours-long video. Instead, make a short video of the hitching process, one for tank maintenance, one for fridge operations, and so on. Don’t be embarrassed. You will be thankful for these videos in the months and years ahead. If there are two of you, one person can focus more on doing the recording while the other focuses more on actually listening to the technician.
  2. Force the service technician to show you everything, and we mean everything. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. If the technician points at something, feel free to ask them to explain how exactly it works. Trust us, it’s much better to try to figure out the propane heating system with the help of a technician instead of wrangling with it on a freezing cold night with no backup! This is also a good time to ask about maintenance for all these systems, as well.
  3. Put the RV through the paces. The dealership may have your rig set up when you arrive, but you still need to learn how to do all that set up for yourself. Ask the tech to allow you to open and close the awning, the slides, the stairs, etc. If the air conditioner and refrigerator are already on, turn them off and start again. Also, if your rig comes with electric awnings, stabilizers, etc., learn how to manually operate each, in case of a power outage or other problem.
  4. Inspect everything. Inspect every nook and cranny of the exterior and interior. The manufacturer may have missed small items or others may have come loose during transportation. Inspect all the systems. Attach a water hose, and run the sinks, toilet, and shower. Look underneath for leaks. The most common complaint we hear is from people who discover a leak on a trip and have to schedule a time to take the RV back for repairs. Even if the rig is winterized, don’t skip this step! The dealership may be able to fix several items right away.
  5. Prepare for towing. Don’t focus your entire walk through on your new rig. You should also bring your tow vehicle over and practice setting up and using the weight distribution, sway system, and trailer brakes before pulling away.
  6. Plan a shake down trip. Don’t haul your rig across the country without doing a shake down trip first. Camp close to home or in the driveway (but don’t run the AC unless you have 30 amp) and play with all of the systems to see if you can operate everything independently.

 

 

This is a lot to take in all at once, but trust us, it is better to go slowly on pick-up day in order to go faster later. Take the time to become familiar with your new RV before you hit the road. Before long, you’ll be operating your new RV like a pro! Our next blog post will help you have a great first trip.

 

CAMERA SHOPPING IDEAS

As a professional photographer, I get asked all the time: What is a good camera to buy?   What should I get to document my upcoming trip?  What do I need to capture non-blurry photos of my kids?

 

 

And my all-time most commonly asked question: What do I do with all the pictures and videos I have on my phone?  As a pro, I understand the benefits and limitations of cameras very well, but I am not an all-knowing camera salesperson.  Instead of trying to pretend to understand your ideal photographic solution, let me shed some light on the differences between each category of cameras, and you can make an informed decision from there as to which camera is right for you.

First, let’s discuss what you need the actual photos for, and more importantly, what you plan to do with them.  This will help you to understand what modern tool you need for the job.  In the old days cameras were much more straightforward.  For the most part, you bought rolls of film, inserted them into your camera and took photos.  When you got the photos back from being developed, you either enlarged and framed one or two or even bought a basic sticky album to put them all in.  (Or worse yet, you just left them in the envelope they came in from the lab.)  That was a simpler time in imagery for sure.  Now we seem to be more thoughtful storytellers with our photos and need the right tool to make it painless and simple to operate, manage and distribute all of our work.

Some fundamental questions to ask yourself before picking the right camera.

  • Am I creating a visual documentary of my travel journey?
  • Will I be capturing photos only or photos and videos in the same device?
  • Are the photographs I’m capturing for Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook etc.
  • How will I carry the camera and how big can it be?
  • What is my budget for a camera?
  • Will the photos be brought to an archive system and saved for future use and printing?
  • Will I be creating a masterpiece for the wall of the RV/Home?

 

Although diving deeply into this series of questions is an entirely separate blog post, you must first know the outcome of your work to know what tools you need.  Let me guide you through the types of tools you can bring with you on the road, and you can refer back to those questions to find your answers.

 

There are essentially four basic types of cameras.

 

 

The first camera is probably the most common one, and that is the camera on your phone.   The second is the most common “real camera”, and the one people think about purchasing first – the DSLR camera.   The third is the exciting newer genre of cameras that has dominated imagery the past few years – the Action Camera and 360º Cameras. And lastly, the slowly dying breed of cameras called Point and Shoots.

The first camera to talk about is your phone’s.  Phone cameras are at best as middle of the road point and shoot cameras.  They are of similar quality, but with excellent editing and sharing capabilities (Sharing is SO vital to so many people, and the lack of low overall quality is overlooked for the convenience of shooting and sharing.)  Yes, even the newest phone’s camera sensor is not in the same quality league as the sensors from DSLRs and Mirrorless SLRs.  Despite their quality shortcomings, their ease of use makes them the go-to camera for millions. Coupled with the speed of sharing and accessibility, they will continue to dominate.  The drawbacks to the camera phones are many and begin with lack of true manual control (to override the auto settings), lack of quality accessory expandability (like lenses), and lots of people claim to feel that creativity suffers when using their phone.

How does the camera phone cause lack of creativity?  Simply put, the camera phone is so readily accessible, people tend to shoot anything and everything that might spark their interest.   So much so, that they are carelessly shooting nonsense much of the time, which ultimately buries their greatest moments deep within piles of garbage pictures.

When we load a memory card into a Mirrorless SLR or DSLR, we are essentially saying, “Ok, I inserted my blank canvas. My camping trip to the shore will be my paintbrush to work with.”   When using a DSLR I treat each memory card as if it was a roll of film for that day/event/place only.  I then deliberately capture to paint a beautiful story of our trip.   One picture at a time I pick and choose what I want to capture and document.  For some reason, the act of carrying that camera with me forces me to think one frame at a time and the results show.  Something a phone just can’t seem to do as well.  (Side note/Pro Tip: I then download that memory card the second I get home and label the folder of images MMDDYYYY_NameofTrip/Event and save it under a folder of the year)

 

 

The DSLR and its modern cousin, the Mirrorless SLR, are likely the only cameras you will handle that will genuinely give you that sensation of working with an actual creation tool.  The long and short of SLRs are their endless expandability from lens options to flash options to the sheer quality in the files.  (What I mean by quality in the files is how clear the images are at close zoom while viewing in the computer) Big camera sensors mean big clean files you can enlarge, enhance & print.  You can change lenses that allow you wide-angle viewing as well as telephoto zoom lenses to get you right up close.   DSLRs are larger than anything else you will handle, but the quality of file of your once in a lifetime trip will be something that is undeniable.

 

 

You have to weigh the cost vs. size vs. personal use of images to know if an SLR is for you.  Most all, SLRs now offer incredible video capabilities as well that translate to a powerful multitool for both mediums and increases their value.  SLRs have always been the only way to go, and the whole photography industry is watching everything that is happening around the new smaller Mirrorless SLR phenomenon.   Only an SLR will allow you to do something like this 30-minute exposure of our camper in the middle of the night.

 

 

The incredibly shrinking niche in the photography market is undoubtedly the Point and Shoot marketplace.  For all practical purposes, these cameras have always had small lenses and small sensors, and quite frankly, the camera phones of today just outperform that of the traditional point and shoots.  One point and shoot exception is the “Tough Waterproof Cameras.” They offer unique differences like underwater shooting and shockproof/drop proof shots.  These types of cameras as you can imagine, make exceptional backpack cameras for hikes, beaches, vacations, etc.  They are virtually indestructible pocket cameras that aren’t fixed wide-angle/fisheye cameras like action cameras.   Point and shoot cameras still have a purpose such as manually overriding the auto settings, long exposures, self-timer, etc, but more and more you will see this segment dwindle away as phones take over their space completely.

 

 

Wearable action cameras have been the fastest growing segment in photography for a few years now.  These little pint-sized cameras are mostly known for their impressive video capabilities, but quite honestly, I have ALWAYS used them as still cameras.  Whether attached to my bike, my backpack or even my dog Cole.  (Side note/Pro Tip: I set these little powerhouse cameras to take interval timer photos (once every 5 seconds) and let them shoot away.  Then I submerge my family in the scene and act out life as usual.

 

 

The result is a memory card full of images, but after I select a handful of my amazing favorites, I delete the rest and enjoy a few fantastically candid scenic photos of ourselves.   Action camera benefits are clearly their size, their wearability, and their environmental proofing.   Recently, I have been having a blast with my new 360º camera and that market has yet to officially take off.

 

 

OR Embed  in VR with photo on our FB Iframe Code: <iframe src=”https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Four1chance%2Fposts%2F1934410313269591&width=500″ width=”500″ height=”614″ style=”border:none;overflow:hidden” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ allowTransparency=”true” allow=”encrypted-media”></iframe>

 

Keep your eyes out for how the cool VR/AR photos and videos will play out over the next 4 years.

So, with all that said, which type of camera is the most important to have?

THE ONE YOU HAVE WITH YOU!  I know that isn’t the answer you were looking for but it’s a complex subject.  As a pro photographer, I happen to have all of these types of cameras and can honestly say I use them all for each of their individual strengths.  Captured with my Phone

 

 

No one camera is going to be your end-all, so you have to work within your budget and decide if you want something expandable, self-contained, wearable, etc.  Each one is so uniquely different that I feel the need to have all of them to feed my soul as an artist, but of course, I don’t expect people to get all types.  (My DSLRs are what I make a living off of so those tools of the trade are unfairly weighted)

 

I’d love to continue the conversation with you about camera needs, wants and desires.  Leave a comment below with some questions or head over to our blog http://www.our1chance.com or on social @our1chance and DM us your question.

SCHOOL ON THE GO

THE 2018 FLORIDA PARENT EDUCATION ASSOCIATION

 

NO MATTER WHERE OUR RV TAKES US, WE ARE ABLE TO BRING EDUCATION ALONG FOR THE RIDE.

 

Many families, like ours, have discovered RV travel is the only way to really see this country.  If you have two or more children, it just makes financial sense to make the most of your vacation time and money by hitting the road in an RV.   Countless families have also made the difficult yet rewarding decision to homeschool or even road school their little Einstein’s.  We have found that blending RV travel with homeschooling is the perfect recipe for a well-rounded education and an abundant life.

 

Yes, over three years ago we decided that we loved hitting the road so much so, that we did not want the school calendar to dictate when or how far we could travel at any given time. Needless to say, once we made that decision to home educate our three lively little boys, reality hit me that I was in charge of determining our children’s curriculum and ultimately their educational destiny.

 

THE FPEA PROMISED AN AWESOME CONVENTION AND THEY DELIVERED!

 

When I was introduced to the world of homeschool conventions, it became a resource I would continue to tap into every year.  This year I was lured to beautiful Orlando, Florida to explore the Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA) 2018 Homeschool Conference.

 

Who could turn down a trip to Florida, right?

 

These homeschool conferences can be huge and somewhat daunting to many families, but I want to share some tips that will allow you to consume this large educational meal in small digestible bites.  These four tips will get you started on successfully completing your first homeschool conference.

 

  1. Pre-register for the event and print out the vendor list and speakers schedule. This way you are able to highlight the vendor booths you are interested in getting more information from and which speakers you feel have information you need to be successful in your homeschooling journey. These conventions usually have a broad spectrum of topics for families, no matter if you are thinking about beginning homeschool in the near future, you’re a newbie to homeschooling or even if you have been homeschooling for years.
  2. Wear your most comfortable shoes because you will be doing a ton of walking. The larger homeschool conventions will have several breakout sessions that you have to navigate through as well as a large curriculum fair, where you can browse through hundreds of curricula books and other related homeschool wares and services.  All this amounts to a lot of time on your feet.
  3. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water, snacks and a brown bag lunch. The convention halls are notorious for expensive food. (I usually bring my boys with me to the curriculum fair so that they can have some input in what we choose for the upcoming year.)  If your kids are anything like mine they will want to snack frequently.

 

THE SNACKS AT THE CONVENTION ARE USUALLY SOLD THROUGH THE VENUE’S VENDORS AND CAN BE PRICEY.

 

  1. I usually bring a rolling cart to carry away my curriculum finds. Who wants to be stuck carrying around heavy books and what not? Mine also doubles as a handy-dandy seat to take a load off my feet when a chair is nowhere in sight.

 

 

Personally, I really enjoy attending the homeschool conferences every year.  Why?  Mostly, I believe the speakers usually provide topics that speak to my needs and give me that extra motivation I need to tackle another school year. Homeschool is not easy, but it is probably the most important job I have ever had.  Just like public school teachers, home educators also need to have classes that are able to uplift, inspire, and offer them with new strategies.

 

The speakers this year spoke on topics such as How to Choose and Adopt Curriculum, Homeschool 101, How to Teach Multiple Levels, Teaching, Critical Thinking, and Creating a Roadmap for High School.  This is a very small sampling of the topics that were addressed in the workshops.  As you can see there was something for the newbies to homeschooling, as well as for the seasoned homeschooler.  It didn’t matter if you were educating your preschooler or your high school student that is juggling dual-enrollment courses; there was a workshop to meet your needs.   This is one reason why I continue to go to the homeschool conferences every year.  I always learn something new that nourishes my soul and equips my toolbox so that I can soldier on.

 

If you are worried that these events are dry and boring, let me assure you that they are not.  This year’s FPEA homeschool conference offered the parents some fun activities to participate in such as the Mom Strong Pajama Party and the Guys Night Out.  Kids of all ages were able to participate in the conference by attending the FPEA Teen Town Hall and having special workshops designed for teens.  The younger kids were invited to register for a special children’s program where parents were able to drop them off in a supervised environment for loads of games and activities.

 

 

THIS IS ONE OF MY BOYS’ TOPS PICKS FOR SCIENCE CURRICULUM THIS NEXT YEAR.

 

I had a chance to chat with new vendors and others that were more established.  Why is this important?  Well, like many other homeschoolers, I too have researched curriculum online and thought it would be a perfect fit for my family.  However, once I received it I realized it wasn’t what I thought it would be.  That is the beauty of the Vendor Hall!  In the hall you are presented with hundreds of vendors who are eager for you to browse through their curriculum and ask the questions that you need answered.  Oh, and did I mention the discounts?  The majority of the vendors offer conference discounts and/or sample curriculum so you can be sure this is indeed right for your family.  My boys enjoyed the vendor hall as much as I did.  I really love bringing them in so that they are able to sample the material. They are really good at offering their impressions of the curriculum.  Lately, I have found that when they are able to weigh in on what curriculum that we use they are more likely to be invested in their work.

 

SPEAKING TO VENDORS IS THE BEST WAY TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE VENDOR HALL AND LEARN ABOUT CURRICULUM.

 

All in all, I found the 2018 FPEA Conference to be one of the best homeschool events that I have attended.  We are one step closer to making some curriculum changes for next school year due in large to the generous variety of vendors and workshops that were available at the conference.  Having had the opportunity to physically view and in some cases, allow my kids to sample a couple of our curriculum picks was worth the price of admission to the conference.