The Top 10 Places I Want to Visit Again

It's no secret that we LOVE to travel. If you've been following us for awhile, you know that we were on the road full-time for 5 years and have had a few different RV's. Now we are on the road about 6 mo of the year...venturing out to our favorite places when we get that nomadic bug. 

We've now been to 47 states in the RV (Hawaii & Alaska were missed for obvious reasons...and Rhode Island, well...sorry Rhode Island.) Which means that we have had time to come across a few favorite places! You'll notice that most of our favorites are are the western side of the country and/or near an ocean. Cuz we just know what we like!

We've started flying a lot more as our business has grown...and as much as I love the RV, I will NEVER TIRE of air travel. There is something so magical about being strapped into a large metal tube and jetting off into the sky. The miracle of flight is impressed upon my heart each and every time we take off. Did you know I was going to be a commercial pilot back in the day? Yep...even had my pilot's license

Bottom line...no matter HOW we arrive at a destination, we LOVE the new experiences and the constant motion. Let's get started with our top 10 faves (in no particular order)...

1. Northern California

California. I LOOOOOOOVE California. No, we don't want to move there. But we love to visit! One place we really felt at home was at the Petaluma KOA. It was beautiful and wooded, close to San Francisco and other amenities, and the people were super friendly. KOA's are known for their super kid friendly atmosphere...and this one had a climbing wall, jump pad, tons of activities, and GOATS. 

We are also always on the lookout for great pools...this one fit the bill! It was huge, and had a hot tub...and it during the time that we were there, no one was ever swimming because it was "too cold" for them. Not for my crazy fish family. This photo was one of the most perfect nights there. We had the pool completely to ourselves. And I found a tiny bottle of cabernet at the campground store and my new book had just arrived from Amazon that day. It was a good night. 

2. Portland, Oregon

Ahhhhh Portland. This was during a trip in the fall and all the colorful leaves were falling. We've been back to Portland many, many times...and each time it's fabulous in a different way. But my favorite thing is probably the food, the food, the food. *sigh*. We've stayed at Jantzen Beach RV Park, and I've stayed alone at the Monoco downtown (oh my heavens...best hotel ever). We've stayed in Eugene and Salem and along the coast of Oregon as well. The lush green moss gets me every time. 

3. Austin, TX

The sunsets in Texas are consistently breathtaking...nearly every night. We've spent time in wildflower country...southeast of Austin...and we've spent LOTS of time in the Austin area and I really don't have any desire to venture anywhere else. Maybe a day trip to San Antonio and back to Austin. :-) The coffee? Amazing and abundant. The food is fab, the people are funky. It's good. Traffic is a little intense...but if you're in a walkable area, it's bliss. I'd love to get myself to SXSW one of these years!

4. Jamaica

Aaaaaaah Jamaica. January 2015 was the first time Matt and I had been across an ocean and the first time we'd left the girls in 11 years. This trip was completely free, thanks to dōTERRA...and it was a life-altering experience. Once of those things along the path of life that changes everything. I snorkeled for the first time...which left me awe-struck. We met friends there who are now besties...and on that trip we decided that we will be spending a lot more time on islands. 

Fruit. So much amazing fruit. That slimy little purple thing? BEST. EVER. What is it? Someone tell me the name!

We stayed at the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall...and it was our first experience with an all-inclusive resort. Our room overlooked the ocean and the salty air every morning was intoxicating. We were completely blissed out the entire time. 

5. Union Station - Denver (on a train to anywhere)

Traveling by train is an experience EVERYONE needs to have at least once in their life! My most recent excursion was out of Denver, in the newly remodeled (and stunning) Union Station. Sometimes I think I was supposed to be born in another era...when train travel was the norm. 

6. New York City

This was the view from my hotel room this past October when I met my sister and sister-in-love and dear friend in NYC for a 4 day rendezvous. The energy of the big city feeds my soul. When I was a teenager, I wanted nothing more than to be a magazine editor and walk the streets of NYC every day. I had no idea what that even meant back then...but it sure sounded glamorous. I'll be doing a separate blog post about our trip there...because I never want to forget those feelings. 

7. Dominican Republic

And...back to an island! In January we went to the Dominican Republic with dōTERRA and fell in love all over again with that turquoise blue ocean. This was me taking a little break to call a friend and sipping my favorite drink while we were there...a caipirinha. Oh my heavens...I would like one right now! They made it with frozen lemonade and tons of muddled lime...my perfect Caribbean cocktail. This trip solidified...again...our desire to bring our girls to an island and stay for awhile.

8. Oceanside, California

Succulents are my spirit plant. ;-) So when I came across The Succulent Cafe in Oceanside...I may have had a little freak out moment. This corner is just a tiny bit of the awesomeness. The coffee was great, the fountains soothing, and it's just a few blocks away from the ocean. Perfection. Everyone must go. 

Speaking of Oceanside...after we spent a month RVing with friends there last winter, we knew we'd be back. This time, we rented a house on the beach. It was the first time we'd ever slept so close to the beach where we could experience every sunrise and every sunset...and everything in between. Getting up in the morning and opening the patio doors to waves crashing was like a dream come true. I have a bit of an obsession with surfers (watching them...someday I will do it myself!)...and the beach we were on had TONS of surfers every day. 

9. Santa Cruz, California - The Redwoods

I can smell these trees through the screen! Redwoods. Go there. The end. 

No really...it's a spiritual experience. I've been able to spend much of my time there with dear friends. In fact, I had a blessingway for Emma INSIDE the "mother tree" at Henry Cowell. In the dark. With twinkle lights and chocolate and tea. It holds a special place in my heart for sure. The above photo was when 7 of us flew in from around the country to be together for a weekend. Traveling with friends or spending time in a new place with friends is one of my favorite things. Matt and I prefer to spend time with friends instead of alone...so RVing works out well for us. Caravan or meet up...or meet some new friends. Full-time travelers are a fascinating bunch. 

And of course, Santa Cruz. The bookshop, Verve, Natural Bridges. It has my heart. It's one of those places I will never tire of.

10. Home - Boulder, Colorado

And lastly...beautiful Boulder. Home sweet home.  Pearl Street never gets old for me. I love the people and the performers and the food and the art...all in the shadow of the majestic mountains. So much goodness to explore. 

Even with my intense love of travel...I still LOVE being at HOME. Sitting by our fire...watching snow softly falling down. 

Or gathering on our deck with our friends and family. Eating, drinking, and laughing together. We'll be returning home in a month or so...and I can't wait to fill this space with dreamers again. 


Where are some of YOUR favorite places? 

 

Sweet Sweet Safari

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This is our RV. She likes to wear hula hoops as jewelry.

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She shades us from the bright morning sun as we enjoy breakfast together as a family. Hi Nana and Papa!

She pulls our van behind her with ease...kind of a show off. ;-)

It feels good to be back in a motorhome. We haven't had one since 2011...it's been all fifth wheels and Airstreams and such. But a motorhome just feels GOOOOOOOD. We've missed it. There is definitely an ease of traveling with kiddos in a motorhome. 

This little one travels like a champ! Of course, it does help that she can watch the RV right from her cushy throne. This RV came with an in-motion satellite system. And since we already have DISH, it only cost $7 to add service to the RV. Yes please!

And because I know many of you will ask the question...let's talk car seats. Emma is always in a car seat. The other two girls have to be seated when the RV is moving. But they can be in their bed or on the couch. Each state has different rules regarding car seats...so do your research if you're interested in abiding by said rules :-)

One of the best things about the RV life is the ever-changing view out the door! This was taken somewhere in the middle of Iowa.

We had initially considered removing this couch to have more space for dogs and kiddos to run/play (especially because there are no slides). But I'm SO glad we kept it in. It's crazy soft and comfortable. Plus, the dogs have claimed an entire couch for themselves when they aren't riding in the front window. Spoiled I tell ya.

Do you spot the legs hanging off the top bunk?! This view makes me happy! It doesn't take much to make your RV snazzy. Just a little paint, curtains and textiles. Feels like a new rig!

We took the washer/dryer combo out and added this bunk area. We will be adding privacy curtains and changing out the floor as well. We added a king size bed to the bedroom and lots of hooks for storage. 

Where the magic happens! Love all the storage!

This table can seat all of us...it does pull out and has a leaf. We took out the stock chairs and added smaller IKEA chairs to accommodate seating 5.

So there it is folks! Not perfectly "staged" for pics...but I rarely shoot for perfect anymore. LOL! We're so excited to go on our west coast tour and get back into the rig for a few months. Every time we drive by it at Matt's shop, Emma yells "HOME!!".

Home is where your family is...so yes little one...it's home indeed! 

Photos of our previous RV remodels here: http://www.nestinggypsy.com/rv-remodel-gallery/

 

The RV Remodel Begins

You might think it would get tedious remodeling SO many RVs. But it never does. We love it! Each one is different from the last, unique in it's own way. We have learned so much since that very first rig in 2007!

This particular RV is a 40 foot, 1994 Safari Ivory. There are a lot of things we look for when we purchase an RV...and this one had a lot of the things on our "list". 

  • Lower miles for the year (only 44K)
  • Huge windows
  • Space to add bunks
  • Decent-sized fridge
  • Big engine (8.3 Diesel Cummins / 300 HP)
  • Good storage in the underbody
  • Fairly neutral decor
  • Super comfy couches (these are so soft and amazing!)
  • An automatic wind-sensor awning (trust me, this is awesome)
  • A sweet airbrushed tiger on the back. Try not to be jealous.
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And lastly...my absolute favorite thing in motorhomes as opposed to any other type of RV...THE HUGE DASH! I love sitting on the dash (thanks for the dash portrait Bella!). After we park somewhere, I love putting plants and books and dogs and food and all kinds of goodies up there. I have so many happy memories from our past travels of sitting up on the front dash, gazing out to whatever amazingness we were parked in front of at the time. Ocean? Yes. Redwoods? Yes. Dolphins? Yes. Walmart parking lot? Yes. All good things. Not to mention how incredible the open road looks through those giant windows!

This rig has an abundance of cupboards. Oh so many. And a double door fridge/freezer. Always a bonus. The cabinets are real wood as well...which we have come to find out was typical for Safaris. Same with the real wood floors. 

As soon as we saw this, we knew we could bunk it out. Not all large RVs are conducive to bunking...and if you have teenagers, it's certainly harder to find space for wider bunks. But Bella and Lucy will fit in here just fine!

Matt got busy right away on that project and I pick up the custom cut foam for the beds today. Yay! The girls adore their little private hideaways...we'll add curtains on each one as well. They will each have a drawer for clothes below and shoes will be in a basket in the middle. Little Emma sleeps with us in the king bed, although she will try desperately to claim a bunk for her own.

We removed the old model all-in-one Splendid washer and dryer. We will take it to Resource in Boulder for someone else to love. Bunk space was definitely more important than laundry...especially because we won't be living in the RV full time.

It's a mid-entry...which I love for many reasons. Mostly because I don't have to move all the stuff by my seat in the front for people to walk in and out. The table is small, but pulls out to add a leaf. We'll take out these chairs and add four small chairs or stools. And yes, that's an ice maker by the door. For my margarita dance par-tays. You know it. 

Matt takes his RVs very seriously...reading all the manuals, checking every system thoroughly and fixing all of the little "things" that come up with an older RV. We'll be upgrading and fixing the following:

  • New hot water heater (tankless baby!)
  • New windshield washing tank/mechanism
  • Awning strap repair
  • Replacing locks on underbody doors (many missing)
  • New TV in front
  • King bed frame and mattress
  • Flooring 
  • Curtains
  • Flat tow for minivan
  • General Janssification

That's about it! We probably won't get everything done before we head out for the Midwest, but hopefully before the West coast tour!

Yesterday I found a bunch of curtains at the thrift store and today I'm looking through our paint stash to see what calls to me. Love having a new project. We needed a little break from the house remodel madness!