A&A Challenges Of Mobile Living (780 Days)
End of Week #110 & #111 & #112 & #113
Moochdocking, Stone Lake WI
Miles traveled since last week's post = 0
Total miles traveled to date = 15,766 with trailer
I'm finally back on my blog posts! Did you miss me? Ha! I never intended to take like the whole month of July off, but I guess that is kind of what happened. You could chalk up writing blog posts as a special challenge I have been going through this month - perfect to discuss on my first post back.
On my birthday this year, July 13th, we hit our 780 day marker on the road and living in the RV! Keep reading to find out all about the other challenges we are experiencing this summer while living in Stone Lake, Wisconsin.
CHALLENGES OF MOBILE LIVING - 780 DAYS
I used to preface a lot before making these challenges posts, that by no means is this an opportunity for me to speak negatively about the life choices we have made to go nomadic. I am absolutely not implying that we are unhappy in our situations or that we wish for things to be any other way. I like to continue to write these posts every 2 months to keep it real with you - to shed light on the ups and the downs of full-time travel, living in a smaller space, and navigating life on the road. (Especially over the past year of this pandemic.) When it comes down to it, I do not have any complaints at all. I simply have before me, new opportunities to learn and grow in new places, while continuing to fine tune the lifestyle of my dreams.
With that being said, let's dive into the 780 day marker!
Writing blog posts
It's probably pretty obvious, but writing my regularly scheduled blog posts this month really hasn't been my strong suit. After the first week of struggling to make time to write a post update, I decided not to push it the following week - because ultimately, there is nothing wrong with taking a pause or break when you need to. This "pause" continued on for another week or so, and I decided I'm not going to feel bad or guilty about it. Yes, this is the first time in our entire journey I have not kept up with weekly posts, and "missed" updates - but that is okay!
The thing is, I've been too busy living life! The month of July has been one of the busiest months I can remember in a very long time, and I've been doing my best to embrace it and go with the flow. It also has been the 4th of July holiday weekend, my 32nd birthday, a trip to my dad and Carrie's seasonal campground in northern Minnesota, a week with my mom in Stone Lake, and a trip to Stillwater, Minnesota to see friends and Adam's family - and SO much more. It's just been busy, and I think it's been the right call to focus on living in the moment, instead of stressing out over blog content. (Even if that pains me to say!)
With that being said, I fully intend to get back to my regular schedule moving forward now.
Working different schedules
Adam and I knew in considering coming back to Wisconsin for the summer that we were going to be working different schedules. With him working at a bar, and his primary hours being on weekends, and me working a "regular" Monday through Friday work week, it makes it tough to plan adventures together. In a lot of ways, Adam has missed out on some weekend shenanigans with my mom and Dick, in going on the pontoon, going bar hopping or what have you. But I am thankful that we have found other ways to get creative with our time together to seize opportunities to adventure when he is off. It is also quite helpful that I work only half days, and online at that, as sometimes I'm able to just take my work with us somewhere and make things work from a different location. This helps us expand the amount of time we are able to spend together adventuring and has allowed us more time to visit both of our dads!
All in all, we have still been making the best of things, and don't worry - Adam has still been included in plenty of fun and craziness. We still have a lot of exciting things to look forward to in August, despite our own schedules, and I know we will continue to find ways to have a great time while we are here.
So close, but yet so far from friends & family
We are here in the Midwest, and close to a lot of good family and friends in Wisconsin, but for those loved ones in Minnesota it still feels like we are just a little bit too far away! It is only about a 2-2.5 hour drive down to see everyone, but it can be hard to make that work as often as we would like to. (Especially with the different work schedule that I just mentioned above!) In our perfect world we would want to drive down and see everyone weekly, but the reality of it has been more like once a month! And the trips are so short that we surely can't see everyone each time, and we often have to pick and choose.
I feel guilty even saying this is a challenge, as we are more than grateful to see loved ones at all this summer! Every moment right now is considered an extra bonus moment, as we weren't even supposed to be in the Midwest right now. But at the same time, I totally knew this would happen - I knew that it would almost be like a tease in some ways, and just make me want to see more friends and family even more!
Other NEW challenges:
Ugh, the Bengal cats again... I feel like my last challenges post jinxed us or something, as I had just reported that everything was all good with Roscoe, and then just like that we went through (or maybe even are still going through) a phase with him coughing again. I haven't heard it in a few days now, but he has basically been coughing every few days since we got to Stone Lake. At this point I pretty much can only assume this is due to feline asthma and that he will likely deal with this the rest of his Bengal cat life. The best I can do right now is to continue to monitor it and explore any and all solutions out there from cat groups I'm apart of, and my own research.
In terms of miss Rahja, I also have to get her a vet appointment as soon as I can here, to make sure her mouth and teeth are okay. She has been doing this weird thing when she eats, for several months now, where she will sometimes paw at her mouth as if she is choking. In some cat groups I'm apart of it seems this is typically in response to pain on the side of the mouth they are trying to chew on, and can sometimes mean issues with teeth or gums. I just hope it's not the tooth resorption problem that Roscoe has been dealing with the past few years!
Grocery stores... This is not necessarily a new challenge overall, as finding good grocery stores on the road is always a struggle. But it is another new problem for this summer in Stone Lake, as the city of Stone Lake itself does not even have a grocery store! There is a Marketplace grocery store the next town over in Hayward (about 20 minutes from us), but it still doesn't offer much of the type of product we buy. Just like we had to do all of last summer, we now have to drive 2 hours to the "Cities" in Minnesota just to access our all time favorites such as Costco and Trader Joes. Sometimes, when I know my mom is coming straight up to the cabin on a Friday, I will also order Whole Foods to be delivered to her house through my Amazon app, and then have her bring those items up for us so we can get by. We always find ways to make things work, it just can require some creativity too!
How fast time is going... I find it honestly shocking how fast this summer has and is going. It still feels like it was just recently we got to Stone Lake and had the whole summer ahead of us. And now I'm looking into next week, like holy moly how is it already going to be August!? I won't lie - it starts to create a bit of panic in me when I think about the fact that we only have about a month and a half left up here before we technically get back on the road and head to the next workamping job. It makes me feel like there isn't much time to see friends and family more, do all the adventures I wanted to do, and start prepping the trailer and ourselves for travel!
Starting to plan fall, winter, and beyond... It just hit me the other day that I should probably start looking into making reservations for some of our travel plans this upcoming fall, and maybe even start thinking about winter 2022. This includes Lake Elmo Park Preserve in Minnesota, for as soon as we depart from Stone Lake after Labor Day, and also some of our favorite Florida State Parks, right before we would begin the Christmas tree season this year. I don't know why I'm even shocked, as I should have expected this, but holy moly things are filling up fast! In the past two days I made sure to book as much as I could - Lake Elmo, the east coast of Florida, and even Savannah, Georgia for Halloween and Adam's 33rd Birthday. We may not yet know when the Beet Harvest will end, or how much time we will have to travel south, but I decided I don't mind taking a gamble on being in Savannah by Halloween - as that is our goal anyway!
I'm already starting to worry about winter 2022 in Florida, after the holidays, especially with the anticipated Canadian border opening soon. Last winter we were a lot luckier in booking places in Florida, if you can even call it that because it was still extremely difficult, strictly because the Canadian border was closed. I have a feeling this winter is going to look a lot different for us and we will have to utilize more Boondocker's Welcome options, and possibly even crashing with our Florida family. :)
Things we ongoingly continue to work through:
RECYCLING, missing friends and family HARDCORE, being away for celebrations-birthdays-deaths-milestones-dinners-holidays, being away from people we know and people in general, being away, etc….
Solutions to some previous 720 day challenges
Starting a new workamping job... I guess we found a solution to that one by completely removing ourselves from the situation, ha! I have to say that I still firmly stand by our decision to do so, and I think the summer has absolutely worked out in our favor ever since.
Spending vs. saving... It's always nice to get a break from always spending money, and be able to start saving money again instead! I'm thankful that is going continue to be our main vibe for the rest of 2021 too, as we already have 2 more jobs lined up to make our way to.
Getting back into workout/healthy eating mode... For me, it has been such a breath of fresh air to finally get back into a consistent workout schedule with healthy meals again. No fast food, no hiding in the trailer. I have been working out an average of 5 times a week for about 8 weeks now, and I've even started running again!
Previous 720 day challenges, that are STILL a challenge
Anticipated van & trailer maintenance... There is no avoiding it - the time is coming to make some maintenance updates to BOTH the van and the trailer. I believe both vehicles are going to need 4 new shoes each soon, and we may have to do an oil change and new brakes on the van too. This is how it goes on the road, so I can't really complain, it just seems the time comes up so fast all the time - especially when you are logging miles all over the USA!
Things that are still NOT a challenge another 60 days into it
We are taking a last minute trip to the Apostle Islands early next week, in northern Wisconsin on Lake Superior - near the town of Bayfield. We will be tent camping on Madeline Island, and I can't wait to write all about our adventure with a full travel review next Wednesday!
I have recently become affiliated with Amazon, through the set up of my own storefront page. Here I am able to list and link all of the items I have purchased through Amazon and would recommend for various needs. I have lists set up for fulltime RVing, camping in general, traveling with cats, health and wellness, and even curly hair! Plus, as an added bonus, I will make a small commission on any items purchased through my link.
If you want to check out more of my storefront page, here is the link: Spark Fire Swan's Amazon
I will continue to add items as time goes on, as we are always finding something new on there that becomes quite useful to our lifestyle or for our feline friends. As a rule of thumb, I only ever link things we have actually purchased, kept, and use on a frequent basis!