The Note that Started It All


This is the note that started it all. This note was written almost a year ago. On our way back from a road trip to Norman, Oklahoma to see my family. Where we played the “What If” game all the way home to Austin.

What if we had a million dollars?

What if we could travel anywhere? Where would we go?

What if we could take a year off and travel? How would we do that? What would be our income?

What if we lived in an RV and travelled across the US?

So fast forward a year later and here we are getting ready to leave. Sort of fitting that our first stop is back to Norman, Oklahoma to witness my brother getting married. When we first talked about our dream, we envisioned that we could spend more time with family and friends. Move once a month, spend time with parents and reconnect with old friends. Our original plan of traveling for an entire year was cut short to just three months. With that being said, we had to make adjustments on where to go and who we were going to see. Going to Canada, just seemed to be the right fit. Plus, I need my first stamp on my Passport!

We leave in ONE WEEK. Never would I have thought in a million years that we would finally be doing this dream. Although we have been living in the RV for almost six months, I have not felt the true spirit of a nomad. We have had our creature comforts, our friends and our social life has been quite active. In a few short days, our journey will take us to the Pacific Northwest. Just in case you missed it, our loose travel plans. I am both excited and fearful. I love the unknown of our travel plans, I love the fact that I am going to spend more time with my partner than I ever have in the past. I can not wait to see Zoe’s face when she sees her first mountain, her first bald eagle, her first snake and quite possibly her first waterfall.

It doesn’t mean that I am not fearful of tire blow outs, breaking down, a screaming toddler, a tired toddler and even the fights that will happen because we are living on top of each other.

But I push away the fear and remember that we are embarking on a trip of a lifetime. And that is way more exciting than any fear that I may have.

So sorry if you made the list but we were not able to see you this time around. Maybe there will be a second leg of our trip and we head East.


Houston, We Have a Plan!

We have sat down, discussed our plan and have mapped it out. We always knew we wanted to head to Whistler, Canada but we had no idea the route we wanted to take until tonight.

And now the research begins on where to stay and what to do when we get there. My better half wants a plan for the road. He even decided that a map was not good enough, he needed a calender.

The only concrete plans we have is to leave June 7,  arrive  in Whistler by June 23, be at BurntWoodStock by July 26 and back to Austin by September 13.

Is it crazy to think we can travel 5600  miles in 3 months?

Is it crazy to think we can travel 5600 miles in 3 months with a TODDLER?

Where should we stay while in Fort Worth, Denver, Salt Lake, Boise, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Tucson and White Sands?

Any possible rendezvous with other nomads?

Please contact us at or send us a message on our Facebook Page. We would love to meet others on the way.

Safe Is a State of Mind

Quite often I get the question “do you feel safe in the RV?” To me “safe” is a state of mind and no matter how well you prepare, sometimes situations are not safe and we learn a lesson.

I went out to my truck this morning and noticed that all my doors were slightly open. I quickly looked in my truck and saw that my middle console, glove box and back bag were all open. After more investigation I realized someone had rummaged through my vehicle. Up until now, I had felt fairly safe in this RV Park. The neighborhood is kind of trashy, old and with only one way in and one way out, you really had to live in the area to be back here. An uneasy feeling sat over me…did they take anything? NO Did I leave anything valuable in my car? NO Did this happen to anyone else?

After talking to my neighbor Mike, I learned that his car was broken into and they took a GPS, carton of cigarettes, and all his change from his cup holder. No big deal or so he thought, he realized on his way back to work, they had took his motorcycle key! My nosy investigative self wanted to find out if anyone else got hit. Sure enough I spoke with John, the RV across from us and they had been hit too. This time they took clothes, a new pair of shoes still in the box, cologne and Johns’ ID and credit cards. While talking to my neighbors about feeling violated, I heard a women yell

“Help, I need someone to call 911!”

There is one house that faces the entrance to our small RV park and this is where the confrontation was taking place. This women was yelling at her boyfriend and my neighbor John and I started to walk toward the house when John turned to me and said,

“Call 911, that guy is wearing my shoes and clothes that were stolen!”

Officers showed up minutes later and searched the house and guess what they found? All the things that were stolen from the RVers and more. All stolen property was given back including that missing motorcycle key and charges were filed against the assailant. Can you believe that idiot wore those clothes right in front of us? Later we found out that the girlfriend was confronting her boyfriend about stealing money from her and the fact he was in and out of the house several times in the middle of the night, last night.

While the officers were parked they got ANOTHER 911 call from DOWN THE STREET! They left with one guy in the back of their cop car to go check on another disturbance. April 1st can not come quick enough, I am ready to move on. We actually thought about packing up tonight and driveway surfing until Monday.

My state of safe has been disturbed for the moment. I need to realize that this situation could have happen anywhere and I need to release this anxiety.This man….. more like boy, did not take anything from me but I still feel very violated right now.

Day 24 Austin, Texas

ummm now I know why its called Pecan Grove. Every 30 minutes a pecan nut would drop on our RV roof and scare the shit out of us. I felt silly in the fact that I never put two and two together until after the 5th nut fell on the roof. It was an airhead moment…duh the Pecan trees.

We have settled in nicely into our new surroundings. We love this area and after we moved from West 6th Street to our old rental house, I always felt like we were in the suburbs. Granted it was only about 4 miles that separated us from downtown Austin and the house, it never quite felt the same. Despite the cold temperatures we have walked to dinner every night. I even went to the grocery store to buy our planned meals for the week and we still opted out to head to the restaurants that surround us. That’s what I love about this trailer, it makes us want to get out and explore. Maybe its the new mindset or the smaller space but there are only so many chores that need to be done around the trailer. To simply put it, Life has become simpler and we have opened up some valued time.

We like it here, however it is still up in the air as to how long we will get to stay here. Every week we have to pay “rent” and I go into the office hoping they can continue to fudge RVs around so that we can stay longer. We know that March is going to be a difficult time to stay anywhere in Austin because of all the things going on that month, like SXSW and the Austin Rodeo.

This past weekend the temperature finally rose into the 70s, this was a perfect time to walk around the park and meet our neighbors. Lots of dog owners and while walking with Zoe, you can usually strike up a conversation pretty quickly. Who doesn’t think a toddler walking around yelling “Dog, Dog, Dog” isn’t cute. Our neighbors a couple sites down run a website, where you can search for pet friendly camp grounds, hotels, restaurants etc. Wonder if I can partner with them for a gokidfriendly website. A search engine for all places kid friendly. Pretty awesome what this woman has done and what a great concept, all while traveling. Their Winnebago is completely wrapped with pictures of dogs, so Zoe loves to walk by it looking for the dog. On one of our earlier morning strolls to see the “dogs” Zoe was quite surprised to see and hear a large REAL dog barking. That dog barking scared her right out of her shoes. She literally saw the dog, heard the dog and immediately fell to the ground and her shoes fell off. Poor kid she is still getting used to bigger dogs.

It was also Derek’s Birthday celebration this past weekend. (35 years young) Which means in our house we have a few birthday rules.
1. Birthday person does not have to change any diapers.
2. Birthday person can have whatever food they want brought to them.
3. Birthday person can choose to do whatever their heart so desires.

I leave you with a picture of my wonderful nerdy boyfriend, who is determined to do as much as possible while we are in such a kick ass spot. Including snorkeling Barton Springs while biking on his birthday. Decided to put two of his favorites together. Words can not describe that wet suit or his beard.


Day 5 Austin, Texas

I think I have finally started to get into the swing of things after our first night was hell or so I thought. I was determined to cook our traditional Christmas Eve appetizers and have our dear friend Amanda over for drinks and entertaining. I always do this to myself…..why would I cook ONE thing, when I can cook 4 things to test out the new kitchen.

First lessons learned…
The kitchen sink is so small and not only do I have to do a dishes after every process, I also have to dry each dish and immediately put it away.

Because there is no counter space, I am constantly having to play musical surfaces with things to have enough room to prep.

None of the cookie sheets I had at the old house fit into our really small oven, so I got creative and used the top to my dutch oven to bake cookies, needless to say they were slightly

Our tiny oven gets extremely hot, once I finally figured out how to light the damn pilot light!

After my third round of dishes, the sink faucet popped off and squirted water everywhere. That was a fun sight.

Things I love about the RV….
Before the RV, how much time did I spend running around the house looking for things? Now everything is in reach.

It is so much easier to keep the RV clean, can’t really be a slob because you may need a place to sit or sleep.

We met our neighbors, and after our horrible first night, they helped us laugh about what had happen the night before. David and Teri have been full timing for 8+ months. Glad we got
“stuck” by them. Their story is eerie identical to ours, minus the kiddo.

The RV means we are flexible. We can change the scenery anytime. And although we do have a planned move at the beginning of the yea to Pecan Grove, we really like this park and may come back.

The RV is quite cozy and always being in the same approximately to your loved ones. This might be a problem, but we will see.

Having to use the RV park restroom and shower facilities….is awesome. Other RVers might not agree, but as a mother of a 1 year old it is amazing. 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to
myself with out a baby crying….without Zoe peaking in and creeping on me in the shower, without her wanting to sit on my lap while I use the “chair.”

Next project is to get a video tour of the RV, so our family can see the inside our rig. It will happen soon, I promise.

Day/Night 1-Austin, Texas

Night 1 and all I can say is……. it was a doozie.

We spent the last 5 months preparing for this day to come. Spent most of the morning going back and forth between putting the last bit of our belongings into storage and packing the RV. Right before we left the house, I had a few moments to myself and got teary eyed walking out the door. All the memories; Derek and I’s first house together, our daughter was almost born in that house, many sleepless nights walking Zoe up and down the hall, the piter pater of her feet when she took her first steps and the place where we have called home.

Those tears quickly dried up as I watched Derek and noticed how proud he was, we were doing this, this crazy dream of ours. We both like change and we both like the unknown, this is one of the many reasons we get along so well. Derek hopped in the cab of his truck, pressed the gas pedal and we were off to our next life destination.

We didn’t drive far by any means, we are staying in Austin for some time, maybe playing it a little safe until we are ready to move on. We parked the rig, set it up and spent most of the day unpacking…picking up Zoe at daycare, making a run to Target…boring, normal stuff….yada yada ya.

Here is where it gets good…we finally got back to the RV and threw the target goodies in the RV. We bought waterproof mattress covers for our beds but were to tired to put them on the mattress and so we went straight to bed. (remember this detail later)

I woke up at 2:30AM to a curdling cough and than chucks all over me, Zoe and our nice new unprotected mattress. Little Miss Zoe Mae had gotten sick. In a normal house, this would have been easy, clean up Zoe and me, change the sheets and throw the clothes in the washer. Well not that simple in the RV. I failed to mention earlier that it was the coldest night it has been in Austin, 34 degrees. I grabbed Zoe, Derek packed a small bag of new clothes for Zoe and me, grabbed some towels and raced over to the shower facilities at the RV park. Once Derek got us all in the shower, he headed back to the RV, stripped the bed, threw all pukey clothes in a trash bag, flipped the mattress because it was really wet, PUT ON THAT NEW WATERPROOF MATTRESS COVER, and than the nice new back up sheets we had just purchased.

Once we were all back in the RV, wet and cold from taking our showers, we decided it was a good time to turn on that brand new furnace. Kicked that bad boy on and what do you know it starts to smell bad, smell really bad, like that smell as if something is burning and what do you know our smoke detectors start going off. ewwwweeee…..ewwwweeeee…..eeeeewwwwweee. Geezzz our neighbors are going to love us, crying baby and smoke detectors at 3 AM in the morning. I finally calmed down Zoe long enough to get her to go back to sleep, it was a long, freezing night. I am pretty sure I had dreams about a warm, cup of coffee. We woke up all together in the bunk on a full bed. Our first night might have been a doozie, we learned some lessons and the universe was not on our side last night. However, we still woke up thinking this was the best decision for our little family.

Note to Blog: Purchase bath robes and shower shoes.
Always put on the waterproof mattress cover, no matter how tired we are.
Probably a good idea if we try and stay close to a bathroom facility in the future for times like last night.
Before leaving the RV, bring in the awning and turn off the water.


1 Day-Happy Holidays

A letter to our Family and Friends-

Hopefully by now we have told you all our plans of living nomadic in an RV. If not, here is a great start to finding out why. And by the time you read this letter, we have spent our first night in the trailer and soon our first Christmas. We thank you for the support you have shown us after hearing of our life alternating plans.

Some of the reactions we have heard:

“you are crazy”

“I expect nothing less from you”

“I am jealous”

“you have to be rich do do that, right?”

and my personal favorite “you grow out dreads and stop showering, and we are no longer friends”

Each one of our friends and family had different reactions but in the end you all still love us the same. We originally set out to travel a year, with plans to see much of you, however plans change and with our first bump in the road we now have a new road map to follow. We promise in 2013 to spend more time with family and friends near and far(don’t worry grandparents, we have plans to come see you for extended periods of time) Our sense of community is great and we hope to continue this on the road. Wishing you all well and warm wishes this holiday season and don’t forget to come see us too, the RV DOES sleep 7-10 comfortably or at least thats what the manual says.

Love and travels,

Monica, Derek and Zoe

Click on link to see our family Christmas card

15 days

Some exciting news, we got into the coveted park that is Pecan Grove in Austin, Texas. So coveted that people have been living there for 20+ years and have never left. I had been calling Pecan Grove RV Park and the old man on the other line always said they had NO spots open. Ever. I have been calling for 3 months! Me being hard headed and I do not take “NO” easily. I got in my car and went right down to that RV park on Monday morning because I wanted someone to tell me “No” to my face. Here is how the conversation went

ME “We would like to stay here for (SOME) amount of time.”
OLD MAN SMOKING: ” Sorry, we are all full”
ME: “I see spots open right there(pointing at several open spots).”
OLD MAN SMOKING: “Those are nightly and weekly spots.”
ME: “Okay, well can I have one of those spots?”
OLD MAN SMOKING: “Those are too expensive for you.”
ME: (With a smile) Thanks for your concern however anything is better than what we spend in rent and expenses each month.”
OLD MAN SMOKING: Well it is $800 a month. (Yes I understand this is expensive for an RV park, but we are paying 3 times that amount in rent right now)
ME: We will take it!
OLD MAN SMOKING: Where do you work? That commute is going to suck if you work up North.” I had mention to him that Derek is a computer software engineer, most of the companies are in North Austin.
ME: We have that all worked out, Derek is going to carpool with a friend who lives quite close to the park.
OLD MAN: How many people are going to be in the RV?
ME: Me, Derek and our daughter.
OLD MAN: You should look into the RV park out East, it is more family friendly.
ME: We have looked at that park, and yes it is a great park, however, Pecan Grove is near
everything we like about Austin. Greenbelt, Barton Springs, Zilker park, Chuys etc. All
great things to do with our family.
OLD MAN: Fine, lets go sign you up for a weekly site. We don’t take those “electronic cards”, we only take cash and check. How long do you want to stay?
ME: A Month?
OLD MAN: Okay let me move someone else to a different spot so you can stay a month.
(Starts erasing a name on a spot on a LARGE piece of paper)
ME: How do I know that you are not going to erase us?
OLD MAN: (Writes “do not move” on the LARGE piece of paper next to our name) There…no one should move you.
ME: Do we need to leave a deposit, a phone number, anything?
OLD MAN: Nope.

There we have it, no matter how high tech the rest of the world may be, there are still people out there that need to be face to face with you. Now we know where we will be living for the next few months until we leave this summer. Wonder how hard it is to get back in once we return. I am going to book that in advance.

19 Days

19 days until we move into the RV full time. The new tenants for the house signed the lease on Saturday!

179 days until we hit the road for the summer.

We made great progress this weekend on the house. Note to blog.

Yard Sale: I thought for sure we would have one of these events. How else are we suppose to sell all the little things that we can’t put on craigslist? After much debate(argument) Derek convinced me this would be a waste of our time and effort. He was right and so we are donated everything.

Donate: I had no desire to drop off a huge load to Goodwill, just so they could resell it. Instead I posted a WANTED Ad on craigslist and asked for needy families to email what they needed. Multiple families showed up and we handed each family a few trash bags full of things. Felt like Santa for a day. Set several things near the street with a HUGE FREE sign. It is amazing how many people will pick up free stuff. Also quite liberating feeling getting rid of all things that can help others who are less fortunate.

Craigslist: Anything worth more than $30 we posted on craigslist. So far this has been a success and Derek has been able to UPsell quite a few people because he had a Square. Really great thing to have if you are planning on doing any type of estate or yard sell. WE have a few big ticket items left and hoping these will sell in the last couple of weeks.

Ebay: I posted all my Legos and video games on Ebay. Sold all items in 2 weeks! I stayed on Derek’s ass to get rid of all his Heroscape figurines. Good thing I did, he has sold that shit for over $1200 in the first week of posting them. All I can say is I told you so 🙂 He knew they would sell quick, he just never had to deal with them before.

Storage Unit: We were able to take two loads to the storage unit. My fear is that we will not have enough room and we need to sell more items. Mark my words….we will be coming back to the storage unit after a year and selling the rest of the items in it.

We have a very busy week ….our House Cooling/my Trailer Trash Birthday Bash is this weekend. Look forward to having friends over for my birthday and entertaining in a large space for the last time.

Unknown Days + 12

Forgive me blog, for I have sinned, it has been exactly 12 days since my last blog post.

It has taken me awhile to post this blog…because I was unsure what our next step would be. I felt defeated, deflated, disappointed and I was searching for our next “light at the end of the tunnel.”

Well we have found it! Here is a recap of our plans.

PLAN A: to take off April 1 and travel the country for a year. Derek work remotely and I stay at  “home”  take care of Zoe and be the family travel planner. The road map was to head West, drive up the coast of California all the way to Canada. Spend the summer in Whistler, Canada and than head back down to the states stopping in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee  Alabama and than spend the winter in Florida.

PLAN B: to move into the trailer full time and stay at an RV park in Austin. We would save up the money from not paying all that rent and travel one week of each month.This would open up places like Europe, Hawaii, Ireland…other places on our bucket list to visit.  I would stay at home with Zoe which would give us more flexibility with vacation days. This was as good as it was going to get….or so we thought.

PLAN C: Fast forward one week later and Derek  found out his management team approved 3 months of remote work vs. 1 year. Guess his boss had some fight in him and found a compromise for him. We will take whatever we can get at this point. I feel like we have been taking on a ride like a cheap whore with a Black Friday Sale. We are moving into the RV at the end of December (Dooms Day 12-21-12-End of the World, whatever you want to call it) The plan is to take off in the RV this summer as soon as the heat is unbearable in Texas. Head straight to Canada and than make our way back down the coast of California. Planned stops are Whistler, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego and somewhere in Arizona.

Game On…back to the To Do List, selling everything, finding an RV Park in Austin and moving into our RV FULL-TIME!

Back to our regularly scheduled program, happy blog.