I sincerely apologize for our very long blog hiatus, but when planning to leave friends and family for the extended foreseeable future, one must spend as many waking hours with said family and friends, and that’s exactly what we did. Here’s what we’ve been up to.
Multiple farewell gatherings, many of which we completely forgot to document with photographic evidence (insert, yet again, another face palm).
We did squeeze in some alone time to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary (11 years together, we got married on our 1 year dating anniversary, less dates to keep up with, LOL). BJ surprised me with dinner at The Optimist, voted the best place for seafood in Atlanta and it did not disappoint. We tried a little bit of everything, from oysters and crudo to the main course, with a side of Heritage Grits. The manager brought us over champagne to toast to our special night. It was an amazing evening! All my Atl-eins should make a point to check out The Optimist.
We gifted my Dad for Christmas a family photo shoot in Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta (it was like 5% a gift for us too, having the Atlanta skyline in the background was a great way to honor our forever home). These are just a few of my faves. Photos by Heather Clarke Photography.
And to top it all off, my Dad gifted us a 7 night Caribbean cruise for Christmas, that set sail on February 18th. So we decided to go ahead, pack up the rig and head south a week early. We had made some modifications to our 2015 Jayco Whitehawk 33RSKS in order to make it as self-contained as possible. We (when I say we, I mean BJ) mounted a generator stand (follow link to check it out on Amazon) , bike rack, and what I call the tail-gate (follow link to check it out on Amazon). We have probably over-packed and may end up not needing all the things we’ve decided to take, but we’ll just see what ends up in the purge pile in a few months.
First Stop: Reed Bingham State Park in Adel, GA. This state park is so beautiful and peaceful. We pulled in on a Tuesday and out on a Friday, so we beat the crowd and pretty much had the campground to ourselves. We had a FULL-HOOK up site, yes, including sewer, which had views of the huge Live Oaks covered in Spanish Moss from every angle. The nature in this park was so unique, I couldn’t stop taking pictures. We walked down to the almost 500 acre lake, did a trail keeping our eyes opened for the gopher tortoises, only spotting one, but one is better than none. Our last night we took a leisurely stroll to Carter’s Catfish House, which was located just a little bit passed the entrance to the park. The food was good, but the giant fireplace on the sweet little semi-wrap around porch was the highlight.
The facilities were practically brand new and so well maintained by the host couples there. I may have done a little dance when I saw a clothes washer that I could add fabric softener too, hey, it’s the little wins in life!
Second Stop: We decided to boondock at the storage place where we were keeping the RV in Christmas, FL while we waited to set sail on Sunday. It was perfectly located between the Orlando Airport (where we had to pick-up my Sister Saturday night) and Port Canaveral. But most importantly it was just down the road from Swampy, the world’s largest carved alligator. Aren’t you jealous!
Third Stop: We cruised on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas (the largest in their fleet). There was plenty to keep us all entertained, whether all together or split up; we all took part in everything the boat had to offer. Here are just a few; comedy club, casino, zip line, putt-putt, gym, 4 pools, rock wall (which my sister, her first time ever rock climbing made it to the top, you go girl) multiple restaurants, shopping (including Tiffany’s, Kate Spade and Coach), floating elevator bar in the middle of it all, live music, games, contests, trivia, sushi making classes, dive school, basketball courts…..the list goes on and on. Our first Port was Labadee, Haiti….which is really just Royal Caribbean’s private island, or as the comedian on the boat referred to as, Fake Haiti (which I totally agree, ha), we had fun, just relaxing on the beach and watching Mo play in the ocean. Next port was Falmouth, Jamaica. Where we zip lined through the jungle! It was amazing!!! Our guides Wilson, Sherry and Burnell made us feel so safe and kept us laughing. And our last stop was Cozumel, Mexico. We had visited Cozumel a couple of times on cruises, but decided to experience it a little bit different this go round. We rented scooters and toured the island on our own time and terms. Stopping when we wanted, whether to explore some ancient Mayan ruins or grab a drink on the beach. And what’s a day in Cozumel without a stop at Senor Frogs. It was my favorite day! The entire cruise was perfect and a great way for us all to spend some time together before BJ and I left. So many memories were made! I’m so thankful for my Dad and his S.O., Ashley, for giving us all this opportunity; we are forever indebted to them.
Fourth Stop: We’re sitting at a rest stop off the Florida Turnpike in Pompano Beach as I type. BJ’s working and I decided to finally do this well overdue blog post. In a few hours we’ll head over to the Hard Rock Casino for a little play time and boondock somewhere between here and Homestead for the night. We’re slowly but surely, inching our way to Curry Hammock State Park in the Florida Keys, where we start hosting with Dee and her crew, March 1st. It still hasn’t sunk in that this is our life. It still hasn’t set in that we’ll be away from family for a long time. It still doesn’t feel like we’re “homeless”. Denial is the wrong word, because that seems negative. It just seems like we’re on a trip or vacation, not the reality that we’ve made a major lifestyle change. Which is good thing, right?!?!?! (said with a tidge of doubt, ha)
We haven’t hosted in four months, so it’ll be interesting getting back in the grind, all while keeping up with our remote work. But I think it is safe to say, working where the beach is always in your view, the sand is between your toes and the weather never dips below 70 is probably the best working conditions one could ask for….here we come Curry Hammock!