Mark, Ares and I piled into our brand new home on wheels and embarked on our first nomad adventure. We started driving and camped in a national forest just below the Florida Georgia line. We got eaten alive by mosquitos and died in the humidity, almost ran out of gas, and got strange vibes from other campers- but we also had an excellent time enjoying the forest, cooking some camping meals, and figuring out van life.
Atlanta Try #2…
Then we started toward Atlanta (spoiler this goes very similarly to the last time). We stopped in Macon, at a library, to work. I don’t know why I never see on van life blogs that libraries are the most amazing place to work. They ALL have free wifi, with covid some of them even having wifi in the parking lot.
They all have study rooms, they all have areas that you can talk in if you need to have zoom meetings to work. Most have free and accessible parking, water fountains, and bathrooms. Honestly the best and most underused public service. As a kid who grew up going to the library all the time (shout out to my hometown librarian/ girl scout leader Crystal) it made so much sense for me to immediately think of a library as a place to work.
We finished our first workday of van life and started toward Atlanta. Then we got a message from our friends Kayla and Roth, finding out that instead of us having covid- they did. I guess the third try is the charm? Mark and I chose to bypass Atlanta traffic and head right to Asheville NC.
We hung out in Asheville for a few days, drinking local beer, driving the Blue Ridge and hiking the paths at overlooks. Steve mentioned to us that Asheville is just the place people who want to live on the west coast but can’t live… I absolutely agree. Crystal ( the librarian above) took her girl scouts to Asheville one year and it was one of the most memorable trips of my high school years.
We had such an amazing time hiking and traveling that I think it must have been one of the trips that influenced my love for travel and the outdoors. It was fun to see things as an adult with a few more road trips completed.
Then we moved forward to Shenandoah National Park via the Blue Ridge Parkway. We spent a full day from dawn until after dusk enjoying the park, doing every hike we could manage, doing the entire scenic drive, stopping for dinner at the lodge, and grabbing some much needed coin showers.
After Shenandoah we moved forward, stopping to work at libraries or coffee shops and driving a few hours each day. In Vermont/New Hampshire we went to an amazing co-op outside of the Green Mountain National Forest. Then headed to the world known retail store- LL Bean.
If you don’t know, the flagship L.L Bean in Freeport, Maine is open 24 hrs 7 days a week. They openly allow RV, van and car camping. They also have free yoga every day at 8am during the summer. It is also my second favorite sporting goods store. The first will always be REI and I just don’t think anyone can top them, especially since I have spent thousands of dollars a year in REI’s across the nation.
We arrived in Bar Harbor and settled in to our two weeks with Kaylee. It was the best two weeks I have had in such a long time. Kaylee is the best friend I could ever ask for. We met as sad college students and continue to be sad adults together.
We hiked Cadillac mountain (more than once), adventures through every gift store in bar harbor, went to Hannaford’s about ten times per day, drank wine and beer and laughed endlessly. We climbed Beehive and Precise. We saw lighthouses and observation towers. We got to meet Nick Cage impersonating BigFoot, eat at a place that only sold grilled cheese, and find a store that only had old maps.
The two weeks flew by like no time at all. I would have stayed longer and I foresee us spending quite a bit of time in Bar Harbor in the future.
When it was time to leave we said our goodbyes and headed back to L.L Bean ( and we had also stayed there during this trip). Then Mark and I used the LL Bean wifi to work late into the evening before getting a few hours of sleep and attending 8 am yoga.
We spent a full day enjoying Boston. We toured Harvard, took the subways, buses and ferries. We did the Freedom Trail and then toured Samuel Adams. Then we spent the next day touring Yale and wandering around CT. We also visited tons of libraries and enjoyed judging cities by public transit and library quality.
Then we had to really get moving back to Florida. So we drove through DC and Philly, seeing the monuments as we drove by. We are planning a dedicated DC trip so we chose not to stop just for a few hours.
We continued on down reaching Florida a week after we had left Maine. Our first adventure taught us a lot about cool weather, bug spray, how much water we use, camping with friends, traveling with Ares and what it’s like to sleep in Cracker Barrel and Lowes parking lots as well as highway rest stops (which some states are much better than others).
Now we are spending some time in the Central Florida area seeing friends and most importantly going to Halloween Horror Nights.