How do we plan? And where are we going next? We get asked these questions a lot by friends. And, one of the things that we want to make sure to do as fulltimers is not to treat our journey as a vacation but rather as a way of life.
What does that look like? We’ve established a couple of rules for our way of life; driving Island Girl no more than 4-5 hours per hop, staying one to two weeks or more at each destination, driving no more than 1 1/2 hours each way on day trips.
Why? Because we’re not in a hurry to get to anywhere and we don’t need to see everything we can possibly see in each place. And we want to take our time and be able to really experience places. And there is always more to see somewhere else. Of course, these are our rules and we are free to break them at any time.
We’re also focused on visiting certain areas of the country during specific times of the year when we can enjoy hiking, bicycling, kayaking and the great outdoors. We want to avoid extreme cold and hot weather. Don’t get me wrong, there are fun things to do during those times too, but for now we plan to spend winters far south, summers far north, fall in places where we can go leaf peeping, you get the picture.
That means that we do like to do some advance planning, as we’ll be visiting some of these places in the peak of their season which gets tricky, and we want to have choices. Does that mean that we plan everything? Not really, example; we want to visit the Outer Banks in North Carolina in a few weeks and don’t even know what town we’ll be staying in. But we’ll likely have some sort of plan at some point before we arrive in the area – or maybe not.
What are our upcoming plans? We’re making our way to Atlanta to visit friends and attend a Jimmy Buffet concert there. So, on our way there, we’re breaking our “stay one to two weeks” rule and making a few short stops.
Afterwards, we are going to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on to the Outer Banks, and then to Washington, D.C. to visit friends and to New York City to visit family and some friends. Then we’re planning to spend a few days in Newport, Rhode Island, a place we’ve wanted to go back to since we visited some time ago. A couple of these will be also be shorter stops as we make our way to Maine, where we plan to spend the month of June, once again slowing down our journey.
We’ll spend July and August in the Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Quebec regions of Canada. I’ve been to Quebec City once, but the rest of the area is new to both of us. We were originally planning to include Newfoundland in our plans, but the logistics seemed overly complicated, including a long and expensive ferry across (a long ride for Angel). So we will hopefully get to see Newfoundland another time, and spend more quality time in the rest of the northern regions this time around.
What’s great about having planned our stay up north well in advance is that we have some awesome waterfront campsites reserved on the Maine coast, and in Canada, where there are sometimes not that many choices and demand is high in their short summer. It is always a balance between preserving our options for spontaneity and assuring that we can actually stay in our desired destinations.
One of the wisest things I heard at the Escapade seminars we attended last year is this: there is no one way to be a fulltimer, you make it your own. And we are.