After closing on our house on September 14th 2015, we traveled out to far east Orlando to our dear friends, John and Cristy Nielsen. They were gracious and generous enough to offer their yard for us to park in for a couple of months. When we arrived, the RV was literally the moving van. The boys had to stay in the house with the Nielsens for about a week so we could create enough sleeping space for them in the loft. John erected a tent for us just outside our front door and we unloaded almost everything inside. Then I had the task of unpacking and organizing in a teeny tiny space. It was a large task, but not as large as downsizing out of the house. I still can’t believe it did that. It was so cathartic getting rid of so much stuff!
It took us the whole time to get outfitted for full-time RV living and travel. Mike was working full time, so our weekends were spent on projects. I will be doing before and after photos, so you’ll want to stay tuned. I’ll walk you through the process of what we did.
Our time with John, Cristy, and their girls was amazing. They became our family. Something really awesome happens when you do life together every day. It was so neat, too, because we were more like neighbors and not guests. It’s hard to have house guests for extended periods of time! We each did our thing during the day, the kids went to the homeschool classes in Winter Park, and then we usually all had a big family dinner together. The dinners were always my favorite time. We formed a bond with this family that is deep and everlasting!
We swam, chased chickens. collected eggs, rode horses, chased after runaway horses, chased runaway goats, removed horses from the goat pen, chased Kenzie the runaway dog, played with the 3 dogs, avoided being attacked by Bunker the cat, adopted Charlie as our RV cat, bobbed for apples, flew kites, played basketball, football, soccer and golf, swung on the tree swing, built lego cities, did arts and crafts, shot BB guns, went to the local farm for eggs, played Minecraft and Xbox, played with Perler beads (thanks Rebecca!), made Dubsmash videos , built bonfires, went rollerblading, bicycling, and so much more! There was always fun to be had. On Fridays when the kids didn’t go into town for classes, we sometimes had Ann’s homeschool and/or I took the kids to the library for books and movies. I loved taking the kids places and doing things.
When we left in Novemeber of last year, there were many, many tears. I was not expecting it! I missed them terribly 🙁 After spending about 2 months in south Georgia through the holidays, we returned to Florida, to home. Mike was offered a job promotion and had training in Florida and I had a leadership event with Doterra. It worked out perfectly that thee two things were just two weeks apart in Orlando. We reunited with our family and ended up spending another five months as yard neighbors.
The bonds grew deep and deeper. The kids grew closer together. We grew closer to the other half of the Nielsen family, the Thomas family – Drew, Rebecca, Sam and Milo. We were a village. We carpooled the kids each day and often times hung out in the afternoons. Taco Tuesdays was a favorite time when we all got together. There were sleepovers and movie night for the kids. There was adult time by the pool and on the deck. There were authentic conversations. We all knew we were family and could count on each other. It was amazing. It IS amazing! I love all these people so much!!
We left again and hit the road in July and have been on the road traveling ever since. Our first stop was New Smyrna Beach for July 4th weekend with the Nielsens, Thomas’ and other friends. It was such a great time! I didn’t say goodbye. Rather, I said see you later!!
Here’s a random collection of images from our time there.