Mashley’s Adventures – Road Trips, Visits and Sketches

Current Location: Fayetteville, NC

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
~ John Burroughs

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Feels like we’ve finally been busy! Matthew’s been having a lot of fun sketching and has been updating his art website. Even more exciting, however, was our road-trip this weekend (a vacation?) down to Myrtle Beach … where we met up with Jackie for a visit!

She travels a lot for work and we arranged a meet-up, knowing she would be near-by. Ashley’s schedule request didn’t go as hoped (no surprise) but we were able to head out Friday once she got off work and in a short 3 hours we had settled in at the delightful Myrtle Beach State Park campground. Jackie caught up with us and we spent a fabulous afternoon/evening together – chatting until early Saturday morning. Unfortunately, Jackie’s flight back to the Pacific Northwest was only a few hours later, so our visit was all-too-brief (though we’d say that no matter how long it lasted).

We had all day Saturday to explore. Started off the day with a walk along the nature trail and back along the beach. Then into town for a stroll along the boardwalk, art gallery and coffee shop exploration… it was a fabulous day spent together!

The minimum stay at the campground was two nights and Ashley had to be back at work Sunday evening. So that morning we both woke early, packed up and meandered out. Stopped for a delicious breakfast before leaving Myrtle Beach and then bee-lined back to Fayetteville. Laundry to be done and naps to take before work that night.

While it was a shame to visit for such a short time, it was great to be back on the road again! Sitting still, we’ve allowed clutter to build up a bit inside the RV, so it was definitely refreshing to pack everything away once more! Plus, it was just good to be moving, felt like home! 😀

If you’re in the area, we really enjoyed Myrtle Beach State Park campground. The beach was right next to the campground so it was easy to get out and enjoy the sunset over the ocean. Sure, it’s the off-season so a lot of stores were closed… but it was pretty empty everywhere we went. Our kind of touristing!

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

P.S. – During the week, Matthew’s been having fun sketching. He dug out supplies in December and has been playing since. Finally getting around to updating his art website – french-holt.com – you can see his doodles, and the progression, starting with this post. If you want to read it, just keep following the “next post” to see each new bit in order.

Mashley’s Adventures – Snowpocalypse and (Mis)Conceptions

Current Location: Fayetteville, NC

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
~ John Ruskin

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Well, we survived the great predicted snowpocalypse of Jan 2017. The storm threat that magically cleared bread, milk, and eggs from store shelves. The hospital informed all staff (at least on the unit we have contact with) that they were required to make it for their scheduled shifts and that, if necessary, they could sleep on the floor of the conference room or use one of the broken, defective bedside chairs that were waiting to be repaired.

Fortunately, Ashley simply got a ride home from a coworker who lives nearby before the great storm broke. We waited and looked out our window to see… a heavy frost. -rolls eyes- (Our accumulation shown in the picture above).

There was a lot of hoopla and, at least in our area, nothing came of it. It rained, some of that froze, and then we’ve been simply waiting out the cold. I know it wasn’t like this everywhere, but it can be comical to observe the hysteria that can occur. Better safe than sorry, I suppose.

In other news… we’ve noticed (once again, I believe) a trend in peoples’ views of living in an RV. We’re staying in a campground that is filled with long-term occupants. Some of our neighbors are retired and live full-time in their RVs and some are basically nomadic workers, following their jobs in a mobile abode. Whenever we first speak to them, it always seem that the workers make sure to mention that they have a home back… wherever. They ask where we live and I point to our motorhome, “right there.”

Even though they are living in an RV themselves, they seem to view it as a lesser lifestyle than living in a home. A couple have mentioned being “homeless”. Houseless – absolutely! Homeless? Not at all!

It’s just interesting to see others’ viewpoints. One person’s everyday-normal is another’s abstract-foreign. Different doesn’t mean wrong, and you can’t compare directly since everyone is coming from a completely unique viewpoint, their own.

Well, it looks like we’re having an above-freezing, delightfully sunny day. So we’re taking our coffees and going to enjoy a bit of time outdoors.

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

Mashley’s Adventures – Holidays and Routines

Current Location: Fayetteville, NC

An artist using a sketchbook always looks like a happy person.
~ Roger Ebert

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It’s been a while since we’ve sent out an update, but to be honest, life has been unusually routine and mundane lately. Between Ashley’s night shift and the cool/damp weather, we’ve both found ourselves spending a lot of time sleeping and hanging out inside the RV (as the other sleeps or is at work). Good thing we love our cozy home!

Matthew pulled out his sketchbooks and has been playing with different pens (doodling a lot of people in the cafeteria at the hospital while waiting for Ashley’s morning escape).

We’ve made some reservations for National Parks in Florida and are planning out other visits along the way. Over-all, we have a very rough plan for 2017, that hopefully includes the completion of our quest to visit all 48 contiguous states. Though we fully expect a change or two along the way. Plans set in jello, and all that… 😀

Fortunately, Ashley didn’t have to work for four days after the 23rd. We traded stockings and put away all our Christmas decorations then hit the road. Ashley slept as Matthew drove back to Newport, TN to join Matt, Brittney, and the nieces for a fabulous Christmas. Norma and Jim joined us on the 24th for a lovely time.

It was over all too soon, though tentative plans have been made for future get-togethers since we’re relatively close by for the next 6 weeks.

Back in Fayetteville, Ashley reluctantly jumped right back into the hospital, though we’re looking at the upcoming schedule to see when we can get away for more excursions. We can’t wait until February gets here so we can hit the road and get back to days filled with exploring, hiking, biking… and sunshine! We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and has a Happy New Year!

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

Mashley’s Adventures – The Day To Day

Current Location: Fayetteville, NC

You can lose yourself watching rain as easily as you can watching a fire. Both are deliberate yet whimsical, completely engrossing in no time at all.
~ Jonathan Carroll

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(This week’s edition brought to you by Ashley)

This week has been filled with lots of good food, learning, and adjusting to a different way of living. We’re enjoying our spot here at Lake Waldo’s Beach Campground. Most of our neighboring RVers are also in the area for some sort of transient work like us. Everyone has been very nice and it’s quiet during the day which makes for good sleeping. I seem to have adjusted (or reverted I suppose) relatively well to the vampire life. Matthew, on the other hand, just couldn’t handle the challenge (I’m quite a bit tougher than he is after all ;), so he’s back to normal human existence and sleeping at night. To be honest though, it is working just fine being on opposite schedules. He chauffeurs me to and from work on the motorcycle everyday, always has breakfast waiting when I wake up and has dinner ready when I come home. He even packs me a lunch bag every evening. He’s a very good house husband and makes working at a hospital again a much more tolerable experience. Knowing we’ll be done in 2.5 more months and enjoying the beaches of Biscayne and Dry Tortugas National Parks also helps.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving, although it was just the two of us. I worked the night before, so while I slept, Matthew slaved away. I awoke to an RV full of delicious ribeye steaks, pesto stuffed mushrooms, mashed potatoes, bacon wrapped green bean clusters, deviled eggs, and a homemade apple pie. It was wonderful! He’s turning out to be quite the cook.

As I mentioned above, I’ve been brainstorming the next leg of our journey once February rolls around. We’re in a great location here to begin moving South, hitting all the Southern Florida Parks (Biscayne, Everglades, Dry Tortugas, Big Cypress Preserve), then following the gulf coast into Texas. Quite a few of these Parks require some advanced planning, so it’s great we’ve got some time to do that!

We’re looking forward to spending Christmas with family in Tennessee and to some overnight trips over the next 2 months to explore nearby Conagree National Park and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. Until then, we’re settling in, seeing what there is to see in Fayetteville, and making new friends in the area.

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

P.S. – We found tea biscuits! Really been enjoying the treat and reminiscing about our time in Ireland.

Mashley’s Adventures – Nocturnal Edition

Current Location: Fayetteville, NC

Work hard, save your money, and keep your nose clean.
~ Sam French, Jr.

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This week finds Adventure-Some on the night shift! While it doesn’t seem like a lot has happend in the last few days, at the same time everything has changed since our last email!

We visited with Ashley’s sister, bro-n-law, and the nieces for a few fabulous days in Newport, TN. While there they took us exploring in nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where we had a wonderful day checking out historic buildings (like a working mill with a water wheel), watching sorgum molases being made, and hiking along a delightful creek up into the mountains. Our timing worked out splendidly, as we even got to see Bailee (our oldest niece) on her 13th birthday!

Then it was time to continue on our way to Fayetteville where we settled in at our current location at Lake Waldo’s Beach RV Campground. Of course, there is no lake, as the levee was damaged over the summer and has been drained for repairs, which the recent Hurricane Matthew delayed.

Ashley made it through two days of hospital orientation and then a couple of night shifts on her unit. Tonight she will begin working on her own. Since she’s going to be working nights she is planning on sticking to a sleep-during-the-day schedule to make it easier. Matthew’s also switched sleeping schedules so that we can maximize our time together.

Sleep deprived while switching schedules and focusing on orientation, we’ve been relative homebodies this past week. Cooking, reading, and getting out for a little bit of local exploration have been our primary activities.

Starting Thursday Ashley’s going to have a 4 day weekend, however, so we expect to get some different type of adventuring done then.

Until next week, Happy Thanksgiving!

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

Mashley’s Adventures – On the Road, Again!


Current Location: Cookeville, TN

A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.
~ Tony Robbins

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This week finds Adventure-Some migrating! It’s always bittersweet to leave family and head back out. We cherish the time shared with loved ones but are excited to return to our “normal” life of travel and exploration. The past few weeks have been rather tumultuous, filled with rapidly changing plans, consideration of options, debate of potential paths, and emotional releases. There is no better place to ponder such things than surrounded by family for encouragement, advice, and support.

After only being listed for a few days, we have sold the PT Cruiser. The cruiser was a direct tie to Ashley’s dad, and she’s had it longer than we’ve been together. So many of our adventures involved the Cruiser – it’s like a third member of our family. It was a hard, emotional decision to let it go, though we know it was the right choice. It has gone on to a new owner and we are officially car-less. Now, if we’re driving somewhere it’s on the motorcycle or in our house! Though, it’s been that way for most of the last 15 months…

As we mentioned last week, Ashley starts as a travel nurse on Monday. We’re heading that way to establish a home base for the next three months. Reservation at an RV park is made (after many calls, the area seems to be swamped!) If you’re going to be near the Fayetteville, NC area any time before February 11, let us know!

Fortunately, the path from Kentucky to North Carolina passes directly by Matt, Brittney, and the nieces, so we’re looking forward to a visit with them before settling down on Sunday. (And we’ll get to be there to celebrate Bailee’s 13th birthday, huzzah!)

Travel nursing offers the chance for us to continue traveling for the long-term, which we’re thrilled about! The longer we’ve been adventuring, the more we love it. We may have to adjust our goal timelines but we’ll still manage to visit all of the contiguous US within 3 years. And with more of a regular income we can focus a bit less on keeping to a strict budget. In the future, it also makes it easier to get to and temporarily live in Alaska and Hawaii, which is also one of our goals.

On a lighter note, it was great timing to be back in Western KY. Tobey, Matthew’s sister, bought her first house, so we were able to help her move in and get (somewhat) settled. That included helping to repaint the bathroom and also paint a mural in the bedroom. Even more fun, is that the mountains that comprise it are actual silhouettes of places we’ve been on our travels! 😀

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

Mashley’s Adventures – The Winds of Change are Blowing

winds-of-change-are-blowing

Current Location: Mayfield, KY

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. Adventure is worthwhile in itself.
~ Amelia Earhart

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What a crazy week! We’ve made plans, changed them, made new plans, attended a Spooktacular Halloween Party (dressed as a Park Ranger and a Moose!), ran about a million errands, and there is still a piling list of things to do. Also, it sure hasn’t felt like Fall here in Kentucky. The temperature has been keeping steadily in the 80’s, and we even had to run the RV air conditioner so we didn’t sweat to death…in November! Madness! But, a cold front should be rolling in soon, just as we begin rolling out.

That’s right! Adventure-Some will be back on the road, headed to a new destination! Now, our plans have changed quite a bit since our last email, very surprising I know. It really should just be expected by now. We are no longer going to be in Campbellsville, KY working for Amazon until Christmas. As luck would have it, Ashley got offered a Travel Nursing position in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She starts November 14th and the contract ends February 11th. We are both excited for this opportunity because 1) we get to go somewhere new 2) it gives us a way to make a substantial contribution to the bank account and travel fund while also giving us an opportunity to make this lifestyle more sustainable long term 3) and it gives us the chance to visit more states and nearby National Parks this winter!

We are grateful for the extended time we have been able to spend with our families this last month. God knows that we have missed them and they have missed us, but we can’t deny that we are itching to get back to exploring new places, seeing amazing things and accomplishing this journey we set out on 17 months ago. If there is one thing we are, it is determined 😀

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

P.S. – This change in plan does throw a loop into visits with friends over the next few months, which we hate! Pondering other ways/times to get together, however.

Mashley’s Adventures – Breaking News

breaking-news

Current Location: Mayfield, KY

If you don’t read the newspaper, then you’re uninformed. But if you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.
~ Mark Twain

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It’s been a pretty steady couple of weeks here in Adventure-Some land. Working on some saved projects, spending time with family, and searching for future jobs. As all that has taken place, however, we did manage to fit in an interview with the local paper, the Paducah Sun. (All thanks to Jim’s suggestion and introduction!) The story ran Saturday and was on the front page! Woohoo!

We’ve decided that the current best option is to move forward with Ashley finding a travel nursing job or two. A couple of contracts a year should cover most of our expenses – if these are during the winter in the south, we can continue exploring during the summer elsewhere. Matthew is still looking at options, whether that be finding a remote position with an online company so that he can work anywhere or… something else.

There’s still a lot of puzzling to do as we research options. Until then, we’re enjoying the fall weather and chance to spend time with family!

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

Mashley’s Adventures – Visits, Chores, and the Future

visits-chores-and-the-future

Current Location: Benton, KY

Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.
~ Oscar Wilde

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It’s been a pretty quiet week here on the Adventure-Some front. After the BBQ Ashley and her mom headed to eastern TN to spend a few days with our nieces (and their parents). Everyone had a wonderful time, complete with some day hiking at Cades Cove, a birthday celebration (happy 40th, Mr. Daniels!) and lots of giggles and laughter. As always, it went by far too quickly….

Matthew stayed with the RV and took care of some routine maintenance items. The PT Cruiser still seems to be running fine.

Ashley received some details about her upcoming Amazon stint – she’ll start on November 7th so we’ll be settling in to our new location in Campbellsville on the 5th.

Until then, we’re debating what to do. There are nearby parks we’d love to visit, but aren’t sure we trust the car to get us there and back and don’t want to spend too much gas money on the RV at this point in time. We are compiling a list of next-door activities – trails to hike, paths to bike, roads to motorcycle, and camping to do – but don’t quite have them figured out yet.

For the longer-term, we’re also pondering our options. We’ve discovered that the more we travel and live nomadically, the more we like it and want to continue on, but in a more sustainable way (i.e. have a regular income). We discovered during our last month in the car that we really hate travelling quickly. We hate just “passing through” and spending so much time sitting in the car getting from place to place. We prefer to spend at least a week or two in a place and really get to know it in depth. Our plan (after numerous variations) was to have visited all of the 48 continental states and the National Parks there-in within 2 years, next June. However, the car problems threw off our schedule (which is largely dependent on weather) and messed with our budget. So part of the conundrum is whether we should focus on that 2 year goal or if we should go ahead and start working toward building a long-term, sustainable nomadic life. This pondering has made Ashley start thinking about the option of travel nursing. She could work 3 month contracts anywhere she chooses, and in addition to the normal paycheck, we’d get a housing stipend, paid travel expenses, and at the end of 3 months we are done. Something to think about as it would definitely fit our lifestyle. At the end of a contract we could go adventuring for a few months before accepting another contract elsewhere.

Lots of puzzling to do as we consider options. Until then, we’re enjoying the fall weather and chance to spend time with family!

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

P.S. – Happy birthday to Matthew’s mom this week!

Mashley’s Adventures – SleepOvers and Smoked Meat

sleepovers-and-smoked-meat

Current Location: Benton, KY

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.
~ Anthony Bourdain

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Our plan was to be up in Maine this weekend, enjoying the cool weather and the spectacular fall colors. Of course, that didn’t quite work out so we’ve been enjoying more time with family, celebrating Tobey’s (Matthew’s sister) new house purchase (and helping her move in) and helping pull off another successful Unky Doo’s Bar-B-Que!

Friday evening we seasoned the variety of goodies for the next day and early Saturday morning we got up and started the smoker. Family and friends trickled in from all around throughout the morning and the feast properly began at 2:30.

There’s not much that can make one feel better about life, about humanity, about the state of our world than gathering together with family and friends over a delicious meal. We had a fabulous time visiting with family that we hadn’t seen in over a year, catching up with friends whose visit was even longer ago, and making some new friends along the way. The weather was fabulous and we couldn’t have had a better weekend!

The car has been running fine since we’ve returned home, not that we’ve needed it very often. We’re looking into options for it – repair, rebuild, or replace the current engine or just move on to something new. But we aren’t expecting to need it frequently in the near future so, now that we’re back around family, there isn’t such an urgency to repair it.

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

P.S. – We’re still in a holding pattern, waiting to hear back from Amazon about Ashley’s start date and our next move.