Friday, December 6, 2013

RV Living Frugality - Part III

Continuing with the tips listed in RV Living Frugality - Part I and RV Living Frugality - Part II, here are some other ways you can save money as a full time RVer:

9.  Holidays Remember how many times you promised yourself you'd keep it simple? You are going to love holidays without hassles!  Long-distance gifting requires quality over quantity, so you need to pick one special gift for those nearest and dearest to you.  Plan ahead and follow up with a phone call.  And for all those people you feel "obligated" to give to - gift cards, either small individual amounts or a large amount for an entire family. 

10.  Banking – You cannot go into the full-time RV lifestyle without having a good budget.  Incidentals will happen, so you need a little extra savings set aside for them (blown tires, breakdowns, extra campground nights, etc.).  Just about all of your bills can be sent to you and paid electronically, but you should set this up in advance and plan to have a secure internet connection for banking purposes.  Contact credit card providers to let them know you will be travelling; some will put a security block on your card when they see charges from different states - you don't want to be filling up your rig and have that happen!  Get an Ally debit card for cashing checks and getting money out at ATM's with NO FEES.

11.  Income – Diversify your income streams and consider how each will impact your taxes.  Save whatever you can, whenever you can.  Investigate residency domiciles to find the best bang for your buck, but don't jump into anything until you have been full-timing for awhile.  Think about employment and it's ramifications (our daughter got additional college financial aid, because I took a part-time job and Jim didn't work at all).   Don't live beyond your means, as tempting as that may be with the wonderful enticements all around you! 

Most people find the full-time lifestyle to be a bit more expensive than they expected.  We, on the other hand, found it to be much more affordable than we thought it would be.  Everyone has a different situation and different goals.  You really need to consider each aspect of your life; what you are willing to sacrifice, and what you cannot live without.  For us, that means staying put for 6 months at a time, wherever that may be.  We don't use a car during most of that time and we live in a small, pre-owned motorhome without the bells and whistles.  Despite those hardships, we absolutely love our lifestyle! 

I hope these tips help you make the choice that is best for YOU. Good luck to you, and safe travels wherever you may roam!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We made it out in the nick of time!

We stayed in NY right up til the last week of October, and it was very, very cold!  The snowflakes began falling the week after we arrived in FL.  Needless to say, I have a greater appreciation for those brave souls who do cold-weather camping.
The highlight of this trip was when Jim and I visited some of his friends in Myrtle Beach, SC.  They hadn't seen each other in over 20 years.  I learned that very little has changed about my husband since his younger days.
We also had the opportunity to stay in a lovely RV resort next to the beach.  Never, have I seen so many golf carts in a single place!  It was so relaxing as we lounged around on the beach watching the few tourists that remained ride horses up and down the shoreline.
Some highlights of the trip included camping on the top of a mountain in Hancock, MD, waking up to the sounds of ducks in Savannah, GA, and seeing several cotton fields along Interstate 95.  Once we got out of the colder climate, it was nice to take our "sweet time" exploring each place we stayed at.  An added bonus was the minimal amount of traffic to contend with this time around.
I am so happy to be back in FL where we have both been warmly welcomed.  As far as work is concerned, I am swamped!  It truly does seem like "feast or famine" comes into play in the world of freelance.  I have been offered a "work-camping" job (part-time), which I will be squeezing into an already hectic writing schedule.
I do want to send a shout-out to my friend Lorraine Reguly.  She lives "way up North" and is running a giveaway on her blog.  If you get the chance, please stop in and play along.  I'm on my way over there right now to join the fun!  Just click on this "link" and let her know Aleshia sent you. 


Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Next Adventure

We are getting ready for the next adventure! In two weeks, we are going to be on the road again. I haven't posted lately due to a HUGE project in the works, which is taking up each and every moment of my life. The folks up North have proven that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" with all of the social activities we are invited to! Emmie has returned to college with a new roommate and a new dorm. I felt so much better about settling her into the new digs.

Most RV friends in our social circle have already left us for warmer weather, but we decided that we would stay for most of October to celebrate some very special birthdays: Em is turning 20, our little grandson turned 2, and our niece just had her sweet 16 birthday. Thanks to Durham Editing and E-Books, I was able to write memoirs for my sister and I and turn them into a published work. My niece read them out loud during her birthday party with her grandparents present. It was a very precious moment that I will cherish always.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Autumn. It is so hard to believe that the holidays are coming soon!

God bless,

~ Aleshia

Saturday, September 14, 2013

RV Living Frugality - Part II

Continuing with the tips listed in RV Living Frugality - Part I, here are some other ways you can save money as a full time RVer:

5. Utilities – Always ask if electric, water, and sewage is included with the lot rent before you book a campground site – if it isn't, use free campground facilities as much as possible. Motorhome owners should consider purchasing an Extend-a-Stay hose connector, which conveniently connects your grill's propane tank to the RV's propane tank. It save's your gas mileage from driving the rig up to a propane filling service. Consider bringing a portable electric oil heater for daytime-only use. 

6.  Phone/Data – Google Voice has a free domestic calling plan, but you will need to buy an Obi Talk device (costs less than $40 on for use in your RV. For mobile phone service, prepaid is the most affordable option; I pay $100 per month for 2 smart-phone lines (had to by our own phones) for my daughter and I. We can tether them and use them as a wifi hotspot if necessary, but they are excruciatingly slow for this purpose. My husband, who has no interest in data services, uses a Tracfone for less than $100 per year. If you are going to reserve a long-term site and use the internet frequently, your best bet is signing on with an internet service provider (usually not an option in remote locations). 

7.  Entertainment – Many campgrounds offer free cable television, but if yours doesn't, low-cost alternatives are available (Free: Website programming, Crackle/Low cost: Roku, Netflix, Amazon Prime). Better yet, get out of the RV and do something – bike, hike, treat yourself to a matinee movie, or attend a local festival. Most museums participate in reciprocal program memberships; the annual fee includes free admission to many different museums within a geographic area (North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Association, Association of Science - Technology Centers (ASTC) Passport Program, Empire State Museums Reciprocal Program). Some campgrounds offer discounted group rate excursions to casinos or tourist attractions. When you are exhausted after a day of exploring, relax to the crackling sound and warmth of a bonfire – grab a bottle of wine and invite the neighbors over.

8.  Healthcare – The most cost-effective way to save money is through preventative care and physical fitness. That being said, some of us do need more advanced treatments and maintenance medications. Having a good Primary Care Physician is essential, even though you may need to use Urgent Care facilities in a pinch. You really can't afford not to have health insurance, so make sure to visit the “Health Insurance Marketplace” website for the most recent, affordable options. Take advantage of community health clinics for vaccinations, screenings and testing. Use a nationwide pharmacy with online refill services to avoid costly, time-consuming prescription coordination errors. Sometimes you can get an over-the-counter medication at a lower cost as a prescription and vice-versa. Anticipate emergencies, and be prepared by carrying your medical record summary and insurance cards at all times.

Stay tuned for more tips in part III of RV Living Frugality...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Old Pal

This has been a difficult month for us. We lost our loyal and faithful border collie, Charlie, to cancer. He has joined his two "brothers" across the Rainbow Bridge. Each one of our three boys was 14 years old upon his passing. Our beagle Shadow crossed with on Christmas Day from cancer, just before we became "snowbirds." Then we lost Buddy, our long-haired orange cat, to kidney disease on Valentine's Day of this year.

Each of our pets chose us, rather than us choosing them. Charlie came to us on an airplane from Florida to New York when he was 8 years old, after Jim's Aunt passed away from cancer. He was such a good boy, and I am so happy that he was able to return there one last time. Shadow was an abused and abandoned doggie when he appeared on our doorstep, but in time, he became the boldest one of the threesome. His endless energy filled our days with joy. Buddy came with our home, after we told the sellers "no, we really don't want a cat." But leaving that sweet, demanding ball of fur behind for us was the most wonderful, unexpected housewarming gift that we received.

With Emmie off to college, we are empty nesters once again, and even more so without our beloved fur babies to keep us busy. I have submerged myself into writing pieces for an upcoming anthology of memoirs along with a couple of nonfiction articles that plan to pitch this week. I am looking forward to our next trip down the East Coast in mid-October - the ocean reminds me that God is all-powerful and has prepared a grand reconciliation for all believers.

Monday, August 5, 2013

RV Living Frugality - Part I

Everyone makes a trade-off at some point in life. For example, your family may skip eating at restaurants for a year to save money for a kitchen remodeling project. The questions to ask yourself are, what do I want and how can I get it?

Those of us who travel around the country by RV choose to give up many of our personal possessions in exchange for new adventures and friends. We must run a tight ship, so to speak, in order to afford the “upscale” vagabond lifestyle. Since so many people have asked me how we can afford RV living, I have prepared a list of money saving tips for the basic necessities.
  1. Food – Clip coupons and shop the sales, especially buy 1 get 1 free deals. Stir-frying on the grill is a healthy and affordable. Crockpot meals = leftovers for a second dinner. Instead of going out to eat, buy a good quality frozen meal for a special meal. Eat lighter and get in shape!

  2. Clothing & Household Items –Shop end of season clearance sales and make routine visits to thrift shops. Go yard-sailing. Save time and find the best variety online using the free ship-to-store option. Choose multi-tasking items like apparel pieces that you can mix, match, and layer (another example: a Pyrex measuring cup for measuring AND microwaving foods).

  3. Shelter – Shop around for the best RV deals and bank interest rates; don't rule out pre-owned models. Weigh comfort and storage needs with style, and factor in the cost of maintenance. Consider adding a portable patio room to a small unit for increased living space. Ask about single night campsite discounts for boon-docking (dry-camping with no hookups). Skip the park and take advantage of free overnight parking (some Wal-marts and Cracker Barrels allow it, but always ask first). Make reservations for state and national parks or VFW campsites. Most RV parks offer discounted lot rates for monthly and seasonal rentals. Barter your expertise or services in exchange for a discount.

  4. Transportation – Tow a light, economy vehicle (we call these toads). Buy a scooter, which can get up to 75 miles per gallon of gas. Plan to stay in walking or bicycling distance to a grocery store or a discount department store; bring backpacks along to carry your purchases back to your campsite (baskets for bicycles). Long-term RVers might consider trying to find a campground near the public bus route. Taxis are for emergencies only!

    Stay tuned for more tips in part II of RV Living Frugality...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

For richer, for poorer...

I don't know where exactly the rumor started, but before we embarked upon the journey, people believed we were...nearly rich. At work the whispers went something like, "rich husband - that's why she travels so much." My own parents and sisters were under the impression that I had "money in the bank." The kids didn't hesitate when asking for help with  car insurance bills and shopping money either. 
Everything changed this year, beginning when Emmie found out she was getting $0 in college financial aid grants (in addition to a $2,500 loan for her and a $10,000 loan for me). Jarrod (My stepson) found out when he made the decided to return to college without financial assistance from Jim. Thank goodness Daniel, my other stepson, financially supports himself. Immediately upon returning "home" after our long-term RV trip, a crisis arose in my extended family, and all involved were stunned when I could not "help them out." 

In order to obtain the lifestyle we desired, we made sacrifices and lived frugally. We didn't buy or lease "new" vehicles; instead, we saved money and bought used ones. I won't bore you with details, but we went without the things many people take for granted. Our stationary home is an old trailer - we weren't sure if it would still be standing when we returned.

When you want something badly, you must work really hard for it, and at times you must "go without," and put your money in a savings account. Emmie knows - she finished almost 2 years of college while in high school so she can afford the degree. Jarrod and Daniel know too - both took a longer route while learning to succeed in the "manual labor" workplace. These are lessons most of us learn the hard way, though they need not be. 

What kept each of us going? The adventures ahead of us; allowing ourselves a week in Virginia Beach, VA or Myrtle Beach, SC every 2-3 years, and taking weekend trips in between. We also found joy in spending time together, as well as in the daily events of life. We looked at everything inside our little world with humor.

My words of encouragement to help readers reach their "dreams" are simple:

  • forgo instant gratification, work to save money, and do something EVERY MONTH that brings you closer to your goal. 
  • think about the brevity of your dream - will it sustain your happiness over the "long-haul?" 
  • material items decay, but a way of life is irreplaceable. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Shorts: Airing Out Secrets

Summer Shorts: Airing Out Secrets is an anthology of fiction short stories being released today. Publisher Durham Editing and E-books has provided free preview coupon codes for readers:

Summer Shorts on Smashwords
Coupon Code: KR34E
Expires: July 21, 2013

For a nonfiction author who dabbles in poetry, my FIRST venture into the world of fiction has met with great success. It is truly an honor that my short story, Taking Control, was selected to be published in this collection of remarkable talent.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Donald Duck & Mickey Mouse & Goofy - Camping Trip

So, I came across this on YouTube today:


Disney has captured the "essence" of RV living with this old clip & I just had to share it.

And that's exactly how the journey "feels" to a newbie.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Social Circles

Photo by Aleshia Clarke

An interesting group of people caught my attention last week. As most of you know, I have an acute interest in social science as a generalist (never did get that Master's Degree). I have been educated in personality theory and application through the use of psychological tests. I knew I was an INFJ according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® personality inventory. This basically means I'm the quiet, thoughtful type who seeks meaning in life, has concerns for mankind, and values the need for social justice.

What I did not realize, is there is an entire subculture of INFJ's or other personality types. Some are bloggers or peace activists, and they have an organized online social presence. They proudly list famous people who share the same personality traits; for example, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Gandhi. On the other side of the coin, Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, and Robert Mugabe share the INFJ traits. Does this mean we can be almost exactly alike, but either "good" or "evil?" It sure looks like that may be the case.

My daughter is an ISTJ, which means that unlike me, she is very methodic about her daily routine and she relies on facts more than feelings (she studies Molecular Genetics). She and I are very similar, as a matter of fact...I used to be an ISFJ when I was younger. Personality is fluid; it can have slight variation from one week to the next. I'm likely to test differently based on whether I am under pressure to meet deadlines at work, or relaxing at the beach on my annual vacation. In my case, going through the major life changing event of a divorce was the catalyst for changing my ST to an NF.

I also learned that many INFJ's, myself included, are also HSP's - Highly Sensitive Persons. Fascinating stuff, wouldn't you agree? If you would like to learn more about these analytical psychology concepts, which are based on the work of Carl Jung, check out the following websites:

The Myers & Briggs Foundation
The Highly Sensitive Person

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Unveiling my new blog: Aleshia's Angle

You may have noticed that I always have an endless list of "projects" in progress. My compulsion stems from a long history of working in the hectic field of human services. The "lack of funding" always insures that there are never enough qualified staff to provide adequate services. I responded to the dilemma by learning the art of "effective efficiency." It gave me an ethical way to meet the demands of management without sacrificing the needs of clientele.

Long story short: I take multitasking to the extreme. My career has created a psychopathology in me, in the form of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, adult onset - employee type (self-diagnosed, of course)!

My "recovery plan" consists of putting all of that excess energy to work using a cognitive-behavioral therapeutic modality. I made a list of my primary objectives, which incidentally happen to be literary in nature:

  • journaling my personal experiences
  • composing creative written works 
  • improving my literary skills
  • contributing to the social sciences 
  • selling a few pieces to pay the bills

To these ends, I have decided that I need yet another blog; one that has a more serious, academic tone. It is a non-partisan social commentary highlighting issues that affect all of us from a sociology point of view. The blog is called Aleshia's Angle, and I would love to present your "angle" too! I hope you will stop by, and if it interests you, I am going to begin accepting guest blog proposals. There are 5 requirements to have a guest post published on my new blog:

  2. topic is within the realm of the social sciences
  3. post demonstrates insight on the issues facing a modern society 
  4. the piece is well-written according to high quality publishing standards
  5. writers must respond to visitor comments in a timely fashion

If you are interested, you can find my contact information on the "About Me" page of my new blog. Please understand that I am unable to financially compensate contributors at this time. However, I will promote your work among various social media. Please include your byline in the proposal, and include a copy of all attributed photos that will accompany the post.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer in the Finger Lakes of NY

Photos by Aleshia Clarke
Photos by Aleshia Clarke

I'm beginning to believe that it is REALLY JUNE here in the beautiful Finger Lakes of New York. For the past few weeks it has RAINED and RAINED, then RAINED some more! Fortunately, we had at least one day of SUNSHINE each week. Nevertheless, we were quite WATERLOGGED for awhile up here!

In between CUTTING GRASS and building the ARK (just kidding :), we took the boat out to SENECA LAKE. We also tinkered in our FLOWER BEDS.

Being "SNOWBIRDS," we have to take care of all those pesky ANNUAL MEDICAL issues: dental cleanings, eye glasses, physical checkups, etc. This is quite a challenge with 3 adults sharing ONE CAR! I think we have gone to about 15 auto DEALERSHIPS within the last 3 weeks, but have yet to find the perfect vehicle for our daughter (cheap, low miles, automatic transmission, no rust).

I hope you enjoy the photos taken during the BRIGHTEST DAYS of JUNE here in the BIG APPLE!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Whirlwind Weeks!

Time goes by really fast when there is work to do. We have finally moved into our "summer" home, which has been scrubbed clean from top to bottom. I cannot believe a month has already passed since our return to New York. The motor home will still get plenty of use as we travel closer to home for "recreational" purposes. Emmie's boyfriend will spend the next four days living in it while he visits her (yes, more cleaning to do).

It has been raining nearly every day for two weeks up here. I've been working on literary submissions whenever I can spare a few minutes on writing. Next week, I must return to gainful employment (writing for money) to save up for the next grand adventure.

I did take a break from the drudgery to attend a family reunion picnic, which thankfully took place in favorable weather. I have heard that it will be warm and sunny starting tomorrow, and throughout the rest of the week. I do hope this is true so we can take a ride on our bikes!

Thanks to those of you who commented on my "riddle" post. You had some great guesses! The correct answer is "a rogue scholar," one who rejects learned knowledge in favor of quick profit. He sells false expertise for fame and fortune, but over time he gives up his academic focus, professional discipline and reasoning capacity. He loses the ability to contribute anything of value to society and becomes foolishly ignorant. This was actually one of several ideas I had to submit in a tanka poetry contest. I decided to send in a different poem, but this one was just too good to waste.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Riddle :)

Picture Credit: Aleshia Clarke

Saturday, June 1, 2013

RV Living: The Journey Continues

A leaky window in the midst of a terrifying thunderstorm dampened our second night in Port Orange, Florida. Jim quickly repaired it while our dog Charlie was being comforted on my lap. Our cat Buddy stayed calm throughout the ordeal, happily settled in after two long weeks on the road. The rest of the week was went well as we explored our new neighborhood. With temperatures in the upper eighties, the campground pool was an oasis from the sweltering October heat, although big, scary insects often bobbed around on the buoy divider. Everyone in the campground was super friendly - we were going to fit in very well here.

Marye, our new friend as well as the campground office manager, graciously let us tag along whenever she ran errands. We avoided driving the motor home with its 9.8 miles per gallon of gas, as well as the issue of unhooking everything. We soon learned that interesting and unique people ride public busses, but I felt confident having pepper spray tucked discreetly away in my purse. Jim took the scooter out occasionally for short distance trips. Tired of feeling confined, I bought a bicycle after a few weeks, and had a blast zipping around town with it. Jim followed suit soon after. We outfitted our wheels with handlebar baskets and carried backpacks for additional storage space. We still used the bus for longer trips. The only downside to our modes of transportation was not being able to travel after dusk.

Our daughter Emmie had her college freshman meltdown shortly after we arrived. She was working at her first paying job in a campus cafĂ© when a co-worker fell, gashed his hand, and was rushed to the hospital. Her stress level was already high due to her roommate’s personality and behavior - they were completely opposite to Emmie's quiet, studious ways. I found out later that the roommate had no inhibitions whatsoever, and my daughter had been avoiding the little vixen's frequent overnight male visitors, by sleeping on the floor of a friend’s room. I was livid about the "education" my girl was getting, and the fact that we were spending $7000 a year for a room that Emmie was afraid to sleep in. I seriously considered booking a flight and bringing her down to Florida, but she wanted to stay in New York near her friends. Against my better judgment, I agreed to let her handle the situation on her own, as an adult.

We never left our 14 year old boys alone in the camper for too long, and we always made sure the air conditioner was on in our absence. Buddy and Charlie enjoyed being outside on their harnesses, but Buddy got scared if we walked too far away from the camper. I don't think he understood why the scenery kept changing as trailers pulled in or out. Charlie was a campground favorite, especially with the children. They loved his quirky walk. Buddy suffered from a long-term inflammatory bowel condition that flared up occasionally, so I was always worried about his health. Thankfully, the Biketoberfest motorcycles didn't traumatize him, although the notoriously rowdy Bike Week was scheduled in February.

Apparently, Floridian employers don’t like hiring "snowbirds." I was confident about finding a job with my impressive resume, and I had done my research on the job market prior to the trip. After applying for over 50 jobs, I was finally hired for a seasonal retail position. This was not exactly my intention, but I couldn't find a per diem counseling job without a Florida drivers license. On my third day of merchandise handling, I got sick from riding my bike to work in the cool, humid mornings. I couldn’t speak or swallow by the sixth day, so I took a taxi up to the primary care clinic. Thanks to the medicine, I survived the hot, physical labor while working the following 10 days in a row.

We had reservations for a dinner and cruise down in the New Smyrna Beach inter-coastal waterway the day after Hurricane Sandy arrived. Even though the rain had stopped, the ocean surf was extremely rough, but Marye convinced us that river would be calm. It was dusk by the time dinner ended, then we boarded the boat. We were having such a fun time when the captain made us sit down and hold on tight. He took us out near the ocean jetty at full speed to see (and feel) the huge crashing waves – never in my life have I been so terrified, yet so thrilled at the same time!

The holidays were strange with temperatures in the seventies, and we felt the absence of our extended family. Thanksgiving dinner was spent in the rec-hall among people we hardly knew. Marye put lots of effort into Christmas planning, and we helped "adopt a family" of seven who were currently living in a hotel room. The father was a maintenance employee at the campground. JC Penney was having a promotion where you could collect cute little decorated buttons from the cashiers for a chance to win prizes or cash discounts. We went every day for our buttons, which were later strung as a decoration for our table top tree. On Christmas morning, we awoke early and followed a marshmallow trail to the rec hall. What a delightful time we had watching the kids open their presents of toys and clothes - all purchased at a discount thanks to those buttons! Later on, we enjoyed a lovely brunch at the Golden Corral followed by a charming movie at the local cinema.

On December 27th, we picked Emmie up at the airport for her semester break. She loved the campground. After relaxing by the pool for a few days, we took her to Daytona Beach Shores, the flea market, and the International Speedway area. Marye arranged a tour bus trip to Port Canaveral for a casino cruise ship adventure. It was a wonderful experience, and Emmie won $75! Our "adopted" daughter, Jaynie arrived from Pennsylvania the following week. We rented a car and took the girls to Orlando, where we spent two days hanging out at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. The 19 year old girls enjoyed the roller coasters, purchased a ton of souvenirs, and delightfully drank their butter-beer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

We settled into our routine once again after Emmie and Jaynie flew back home. I decided to try my hand at freelance writing to supplement Jim's retirement income. Surprisingly, I sold articles for cash with minimal effort. Jim and I also did "odd jobs" for various people in the campground whenever an opportunity arose (shopping for an elderly woman, selling coffee and bagels, etc.). Our estimated living expenses were significantly less than we had expected - thank the Lord! As an added bonus, my unemployment qualified our daughter for financial aid the next year. We finally stopped worrying about our finances.

Then the unexpected happened. On Valentine's Day morning, Jim awoke to find Buddy was sleeping on Charlie's back. Even more peculiar; Charlie didn't mind. Buddy seemed somewhat "sluggish," but Jim had a dental surgery appointment, so we decided to call a vet afterwards. The surgery took nearly two hours. Upon our return, as I frantically tried to contact a vet, Buddy took his final breaths. He was cremated the next morning. My world turned very dark for the next two weeks as I grieved the loss of my dear, sweet, old friend.

See Part I of The Journey:

The journey Into RV living, as Snowbirds

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Trials and Tribulations

My week has been...interesting in many ways:

  • Lightening struck a tree perilously close to our motor home. 
  • My laptop screen is on the verge of death, and I'm ready to euthanize it!
  • My daughter (Emmie) lost all of her shorts - it was 85 degrees most of the week.
  • We carried a few "hitch-hikers" back from Florida - ants and lizards.  
  • The radiator in Emmie's car  (our only other set of wheels) blew up.  :(
On the positive side:

  • Jim & I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary
  • My new laptop should arrive next week.  :)
  • Emmie passed all of her spring classes - even Chemistry II!
  • Our house is almost ready to move back into for the summer.
  • I ran into several old friends while running errands.

I think the worst is behind us now. Three people living together in a 24-foot camper is difficult at times. Each one of us has had a minor melt-down within the past two weeks. Although we don't like troubles pressing in on us, we know they are temporary, and we are going to keep moving forward.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

The week in review

We have been working diligently to clean out our old house in hopes of selling it in the near future. It is a decision that that we postponed until we were certain the full-time RV lifestyle would work for us. To that end, we are continuing to live in the motor home during the project. This will be interesting with our daughter arriving home from college on Saturday. She has spent up to three weeks in the RV with us over her winter break, but this will be a more intense adjustment for her.

I will be writing more about our first year as full-timers soon. In the meantime, I've been busy writing a guest post for my friend Lorraine Reguly. Please stop over to her blog to take a peek at it:

Loraine has recently started a blog dedicated to her poetry, which she has also written about in her upcoming book (soon to be published). I'm sure she would love to have new visitors. I think you will be pleased!

~ Aleshia

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Different World

Now that I'm back online, I am working on catching up with many things! It is a bit overwhelming, but at least I'm starting to feel settled. I always warm up by writing poetry. And this is my latest:

"Buddy"   Photo by Aleshia Clarke

Coming Home
   My journey is complete,
 or so it would seem;
I'm back to the familiar,
the home, and the dream.

With grass overgrown,
and the house in a mess,
tears overwhelm me -
the return of my stress!

Feeling quite empty,
all alone in the sticks,
not knowing where to start;
there’s too much too fix.

I want to go back
from where I just came.
I knew this would happen;
it is just not the same!

My sweetheart comforts me,
saying “wherever we roam,
as long as we're together,
we will always be home.”


Monday, May 6, 2013

Greetings from West Virginia!

Blue Ridge Plateau, NC
New River Gorge, WV

We are having an exciting time traveling through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains!

The scariest part of the trip was the climb up Grandfather Mountain in Blowing Rock, 
North Carolina. 

In the midst of rain, fog, and road construction, we were only inches from plunging over 
the side! 

But the views are absolutely breathtaking, and I'm glad we chose this route.

New River Gorge Bridge, WV

Blue Star Memorial Highway Sign, SC

Mystery Hill Vortex Room, NC
Charlie Napping

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Just a couple of notes

I will be leaving in the morning for my next adventure! My husband and I are looking forward to seeing some old, familiar faces along the way. Posts may be far and few in between due to spotty cellphone coverage while on the road. 

I will try to post a few pictures of the trip when we are in camp for the night. Thank you everyone who took the time to vote for my Hub in the rising star competition. Voting ends tomorrow, so I'm hoping to find out shortly afterwards. 

There is some excellent competition, and I feel quite honored to be considered among their ranks. 

Happy trails to all!   



Friday, April 26, 2013

Nominated for Rising Star Award!

Votes are appreciated!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Let the positive cultural revival begin!

Large crowds freak me out. Some say I have a phobia, but avoiding the risks associated with so many people occupying the same space at the same time, sounds logical to me. I think my fear is quite rational, as I prefer not to be the target of a pickpocket, and to avoid getting trampled by an out-of-control crowd. When we attend large events where crowds are unavoidable, my husband plays a game to help ease my mind. He looks over and says, “Moo,” implying that as cattle, we are making our way through the dinner line. He always brings my smile out!

My question is, why do people tend to follow the crowd (in a metaphorical sense)? I realize that chatting about the latest movie release builds camaraderie in the office, but what about the sculpted nail trend? Frankly, the idea of getting my fingernails ground down, then attaching acrylic pieces to them with superglue, gives me the creeps! Even more gross, is the piercing and tattooing trend - this dangerous gamble could result in serious negative health effects.

I want to challenge to readers to explore the world outside your social circle, and to be a positive trendsetter. Instead of celebrating the disturbing culture of reality television, be freethinking, eccentric individuals, who model inspiration and hope for others. Refuse to let your personality become a pawn of group-think mentality. Make a commitment to develop your natural creativity, talent, and skills. Cultural revival begins with a single person, when each of us unleashes our inner awesomeness!