THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,


And sorry I could not travel both


And be one traveler, long I stood 
And looked down one as far as I could


To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim


Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Though as for that the passing there


Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay


In leaves no step had trodden black. 


Oh, I kept the first for another day!


Yet knowing how way leads on to way


I doubted I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh


Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

 

The road less traveled has within it the possibility of the ordinary becoming extraordinary. At least extraordinary to those who normally do the expected and stay within the margins that someone set up for them, possibly without their even knowing it.  When we embark on a path which is not the presumed, we can count on being surprised and surprising others. The surprise however, is not what is on the road, but what we discover about ourselves when we take that road.

Very often when I am speaking at an event and talking with women who have heard about the Girl Camper movement, they let out a sigh and express a wish that they could do that too. I want to shout, “you can”! It’s not as if it is some kind of exclusive club with strict membership policies. Anyone can join and although so many express the desire, I am always amazed by the number of women who don’t join.

The least likely person to ever find herself as a Girl Camper would be my best friend and favorite travel buddy, Carol Thompson. I chose Carol to profile because I believe she personifies the “ordinary” woman who longs to explore another side of life, possibly in her own little house on wheels. Carol is the very personification of the extraordinarily “ordinary” woman. She is “everywoman.”  She is extraordinary to us who know and love her, but ordinary in that she is what most women are; chief cook and bottle washer of their very own private domain.

 

Carol and I in our real life roles as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and best friends for over 30 years.

 

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GO BABY GO, GO RVING

We were in a campground on the Washington coast the day we found out we were expecting our third baby. It was a cool summer day and the breeze carried the salty smell of the ocean. Having been traveling full time in our RV for almost two years, we were one state short of hitting our goal to see 48 contiguous states. Our plans for the future were now uncertain.

The question on our mind was would we continue to travel full time in our RV now that we were expecting a baby? As we contemplated the last 2 years of traveling, we realized if there was one thing RVing had done for our family, it had strengthened our relationships. Since everyone was thriving on the road, we decided to keep traveling. Given the age gap there would be between Thing 3 and our older boys, we knew RVing would give Thing 1 and Thing 2 a priceless opportunity to bond with their baby brother.

There is this notion that once a baby comes all adventures must be put on the back burner. We disagree and liked to use the phrase “expecting adventure” as we waited for our little bun to finish baking.

On April 12, 2014 our little bundle of adventure, Thing 3, arrived. We spent the next few weeks RVing not too far from our care providers and planning for our summer travels. Once we got the sign-off that we were both healthy, we initiated Thing 3 into the world of RVing with an epic trip from Key West, FL to Alaska. It was wild and wonderful, a trip we won’t ever forget. 

Thing 3 turns nine months old this week. During those 9 months he has been to 14 states and 3 provinces. We’ve learned a few things about RVing with a baby that we are happy to share with you so grab a sippee, errr….a cup a tea, and getting ready to plan your own RV adventures with your little one.

 

Patience Patience Patience 

Traveling with a baby is going to take more time than traveling without a baby. I have to admit this, along with less sleep at night, was probably the biggest adjustment. It didn’t take long to learn Thing 3’s limits. A typical travel day might start with a 2-3 hour drive followed by a 30-60 minute stop. In the afternoon, we may get in another 2-3 hours. When our GPS says 4 hours we know it will take us at least 6 hours. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to grow in patience. Really! Traveling with a baby has brought new meaning to the phrase “it’s about the journey not the destination”.

 

Planning

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BEGINNERS GUIDE TO BUYING AN RV

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We began our camping adventures in a tent. While I enjoyed those first few trips, the novelty of sleeping on the ground quickly wore off. It wasn’t long before we were ready for something a little more substantial than a tent, but that fit within our budget. So we bought a Folding Camping Trailer (also known as a pop-up or tent trailer). We loved that little RV. With the canvas sides, it was the perfect combination of being immersed in the elements with the comforts of an RV. It even had a shower and a toilet! We created so many wonderful memories in that camper. We’ll never forget the weeks we spent camped out on the California coast or under the Giant Sequoias. Waking up with the salty smell of the ocean or thick scent of pine was heavenly.

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