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Life in the Slow Lane

Posted by on February 23, 2010

Learning to live life in the slow lane... (Picture taken in the redwood forests of California).

One of our many reasons for pursuing the Airstream life was to actually enjoy our weekends.  We were finding that when living in our immobile home, we spent our weekends cleaning, catching up on chores/errands, and working on the house while longing to go out and see the sights, take a weekend trip, kayak, hike, or even just lounge in our hammock and read a book.  Sure, we probably could have found ways to make it happen in a not-so-drastic manner but that’s not our style.  So, we embarked on this journey with many goals, one being to finally get out and enjoy the outdoors (in activities that didn’t involve pulling weeds or mowing lawns.)

Enjoying activities we didn't make time for in our Pre-Airstream life. (Picture taken while kayaking in Scappoose Bay, Oregon.)

Unfortunately, I think we started our travels incorrectly and formed bad habits for life as full-timers.  First, our journey started with a somewhat rushed drive across the country to make it to San Francisco for a conference.  This means that while we stayed in campgrounds Mondays through Fridays, our weekends were spent driving.  Lots of driving.  We assumed that after the conference, we would learn to slow down.  And, we definitely did slow down compared to our first month.

We were then confronted with our second challenge.  It was mid-summer and we learned quickly that campsites during the summer can be hard to get for long periods of time.  We were lucky if we would find a site for an entire week and completely blessed if that included a Friday night stay.  This put us spending many of our Saturdays (and, sometimes, Sundays) traveling to our next site.  While our driving times decreased since our next destinations were never too far away, finding an available campground sometimes proved difficult.  As a result, we often failed to see everything we wanted to see or had to see some sights during a quick drive-by.

Enjoying beautiful scenery along the way... (Picture from Port Angeles, Washington)

It doesn’t mean that we didn’t enjoy our weekends.  We were out west where every turn brings you an even more incredibly beautiful sight. Car ride conversations usually consisted of “Wow! Look at that!” or, “That’s beautiful!” So, it was still an incredible journey and much better than cleaning bathrooms and doing laundry.  But, we still longed for non-driving weekends and definitely appreciated them when we had them.

But, why bring this up now? Because for the first time in our Airstream journey, we are at a campground for not one week, not two weeks, but THREE weeks!  THREE WEEKS! So, this weekend we didn’t worry about hitching up, finding our next campground, worrying about whether said campground would have internet, etc.  Nope…this weekend we enjoyed a relaxing, fun-filled weekend!

And, now enjoying walks on the beach at our current location - Jacksonville, FL.

Throughout our journey, we’ve enjoyed meeting up with friends who live in various places around the country and many who we had not seen in quite some time.  This weekend, we had the pleasure of getting together with one of my best friends from my childhood.  She and her family now live in Jacksonville so it was fabulous to spend an evening laughing over memories, catching up, and meeting her adorable children.

On Sunday, we spent an afternoon exploring St. Augustine.  We toured the Fort, saw a cannon firing demonstration, and walked the historic city streets.  I’ll do a separate post about St. Augustine later this week and post pictures of our time there as it is definitely worthy of its own entry.  It was a great afternoon.

Meeting our campground neighbors...

It helped that the weather was warm and the sun was shining brightly.  We came back to the campground feeling rejuvenated and satisfied.  Or, at least, I did.  Chris came back to many hours of work for Sunday evening. But, I still think he enjoyed the weekend.

Another benefit of slowing down is the chance to take in some local cuisine.  We don’t eat out often (not nearly as much as we did pre-Airstream life).  We enjoy cooking our own meals now.  It’s healthier and cheaper.  Plus, often times, there are not a lot of good eating options near campgrounds.  But, since we are just outside a large city we have quite a few eating options…good eating options. (Actually, did you know that Jacksonville is the largest city in land area in the United States? It’s true.)  We typically avoid chain restaurants (with the exception of the occasional Cracker Barrel or Subway on driving days), and seek out the favorite local establishments.  Sometimes restaurants are recommended to us but most recently, we have had good results by using Urbanspoon.com.

And, hoping the alligators don't make a meal out of me...

Since being in the Jacksonville area (we are specifically in Atlantic Beach) we have discovered two glorious places.  One:  DaVinci’s pizza, “where every pizza is a work of art.”  It’s a family-owned establishment that uses fresh ingredients.  The service is friendly, the pizza is delicious and the garlic rolls are a little taste of heaven.  They are convenient to the campground, too! If you are in the area, make sure you check them out: 469 Atlantic Blvd, Atlantic Beach, FL.  Make sure you tell them “Aluminum Bliss” sent you.  They will have no idea what this means but it’s fun to say, right?

Our other restaurant that quickly reached favorite status is Simply Tasty Thai.  And that it is! Great, friendly service and delicious affordable food. I love Thai food and have been craving Drunken Noodle for quite some time.  This exceeded my expectations.  Located approximately 2-3 miles from the campground, this was another Urbanspoon recommendation and I completely concur with the rave reviews.  You can find them at 2292 Mayport Rd in Atlantic Beach.

If you have any recommendations for the area (restaurants, sights to see, etc.), let us know…we’ll be here for awhile! Ah…finally…life in the slow lane!

12 Responses to Life in the Slow Lane

  1. jen

    love this post! congrats on enjoying your stay and slowing down. i know exactly how it feels to feel rushed and like you have to cram in too many driving hours in one day. we took a trip up to RI this past summer and it killed us because our time was too short.

    happy travels!

  2. Airstream Mikie

    Totally dig it!

  3. Lani

    Thanks Jen and Mike! Jen, like your trip to RI, we’ve taken many vacations where we tried to squeeze too much in to a short amount of time. We always question whether it is best to just pick a place and enjoy our time there or try and fit in as much as we can. There are positives and negatives to both. But, we can definitely appreciate slowing down, relaxing, and enjoying life! I only hope we can learn from this experience. :-)

  4. Kim

    Loved the post, very true of the traveling lifestyle and it’s challenges to do what it was meant to be… life in the slow lane!

    I wanted to ask you a question. I’m creating a website http://www.rvingcentral.com... it’s hopefully going to be general resource site for the rv’ing type person… full or part time. I want to build up a lot of content, have stories from people that are on the road, or even do rss feeds to various people’s blogs. I was wondering if i can set up a feed to your blog? Or even if you felt inspired to send me a little something for the stories from the road?

    I jsut set it up over the weekend, so it’s pretty rough right now, plus i’m doing it in a platform i don’t know well, Joomla! so it’s going to look better than that when I’m done.

    let me know if you think you’d be ok with me setting up the feed (for an example, look at the feed that’s there to my blog).

    Kim

  5. Lani

    Hi Kim,

    Thanks for the comment. Most definitely you can set up a feed to the blog – that’d be awesome! The site looks good and I’ll make sure to put a link to it on my blog as well. Thanks!

  6. Lotus

    I think this was such a wonderful post with some really good points. I hope you both get to really enjoy the three weeks in this location! AND, since you’ve got some time, you should definitely check out some yarn shops in the area, or photocopy some knit patterns at a local library. The internet is a great resource for great free knit patterns and tutorials (via youtube). I really hope you try your hand at some knitting. It’s very relaxing. And buying yarn at different locales makes for some lasting memories!

  7. Lani

    Thanks, Lotus! And, you’re right – buying yarn at different locales does make for some lasting memories. Good idea!

  8. Sally

    Love your blog and quite envy your life! Wanted to recommend a good seafood joint in Atlantic Beach – Sliders, right between Lemon and Orange Streets on 1st. Good fresh fish, nice people. Great oysters! My sister lived down there for 10 years, and we’d go there every time I was in town.

  9. Lani

    Thanks, Sally!

  10. Everett

    Thanks for stopping by our website. I’m glad I came over to check out yours. You have some wonderful pictures here! It looks like you’re living the dream for now. I’m sure if the farm comes a-callin’ loudly enough you’ll be listening. In the meantime, I will enjoy reading about your travels.

  11. tom s shoes

    Your article Life in the Slow Lane | Aluminum Bliss write very well, thank you share!

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