Hawaii, Georgia and the official start of RV travel

Thank you for your interest in following our travels. I hope your 2022 is off to a good start. We appreciate your patience in waiting for this inaugural travel update. Let me catch you up on what has transpired. This new adventure involves me, my better half Jason, my business Brand Career Management, and Happy (the name of our RV).

At the end of October 2021, we packed up our belongings and began the first phase of our new RV life. Our friends the DeWalle’s held a small going away gathering, which was a lovely way to say goodbye. Many thanks to them for hosting and to those who could make it. In the end, due to circumstances, we were not able to say goodbye to everyone in person but tried our best. Of course, COVID didn’t help but it also took every last minute to remove every item from our house. It was all-consuming and didn’t leave much time to do anything but pack, eat, sleep and repeat for many weeks.

We started our trip down south on Oct 25th and made our way down the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). It was a beautiful time to be on that path and we saw a great palette of leaf colors meeting our eyes at every turn. In the end, we drove down in tandem, so I was able to take the picture shared above. Each night, we slept in a new place, which I don’t recommend but we needed to rush to arrive in NC to meet and unload our POD storage container. After entering Shenandoah National Park, we slept at Shenandoah State Park, Sherando Lake, Fairy Stone State Park in VA, and finally in Roan State Park in TN.

The month of November was spent staying with family in NC and GA and seeing career clients.  It’s been great to be able to spend more time with Jason’s family.  They have been generous with offering us storage and shelter while we transition to the RV life. We had a fun side trip to Hot Springs NC for a couple of days. It’s a great town with lovely hot spring tubs along two rivers and the Appalachian Trail runs through it. Even though we went south, we did not escape the touch of winter. Our RV has been in Jason’s dad’s driveway covered much of the winter.

Mid December we went west (without the RV) for a long-planned trip to Hawaii. On our way there, we had a very nice visit to the Seattle area to see some of my family.  On the way back, we visited San Diego for the first time and saw many hummingbirds.  It was a quick stay and a bit tiring after we landed at 3 am, due to a delayed flight from Kona.  We met some friends from Maryland and drove up to LaJolla and then it was time to go. We would definitely go back some time for a longer stay.

Hawaii was wonderful! If you haven’t ever been, I highly recommend it, even though it’s a long journey from many places. I had been there with Jason in 2003 and 2008 but it had been a long time. This visit reminded both of us, once again, how good we feel when we are there. I think we will have to go back again for another long stay or even to live for a little while. Hawaii has a place in our future one way or another.

We started our trip on Maui and spent much of the time decompressing. Everything up to that point had been rushed and filled with preparations for each next step in the process of letting everything go. We met up with friends who recently had a newborn and were happy to be spending time with them since they live so far from us. We stayed in a tentalow at Camp Olowalu for a few days. The camp is along a beach and offers one of the best snorkeling locations on the entire island. On the first morning, we could see Mauna Kea (on the neighboring Big Island) in the distance, but that was a special sight that we were only afforded once while staying on Maui.

After the camp, we moved to an Airbnb at the windy harbor of Maalaea. From that balcony, we had a daily view of Haleakala and were able to see the constant change of weather in its foothills. We could also see the small Molokini Crater in the distance. Jason was able to play disc golf at a public course. There we met a kind woman who invited us to join her on a private course called Poli Poli. Jason was in his happy place throwing discs on this beautiful course. When the clouds were not moving in, you could see the ocean to infinity.

On Christmas eve, we flew to the Big Island which is also known as Hawaii. As a side note, even though the state is called Hawaii, there are many islands in the archipelago. The names of some of the most well-known are Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and Big Island/Hawaii. So, when someone says they have gone to Hawaii, you might ask them which island(s) they visited, to better understand their trip.

Our time on Big Island was very special. The week of Christmas to New Year’s Eve, most of my family was gathered at the Whale Spirit Sanctuary. It is known as a therapeutic retreat that lies just above the historic Kealakekua Bay. Thankfully, this facility was able to accommodate our large family. It offered a great base for daily adventures with nightly family dinners alongside beautiful sunsets. One day, all of us went on a group snorkeling trip on the Hula Kai. This venture provided many smiles and some tears. We held a moving lei-making ceremony that we dedicated to my brother Stephen, who passed away last year. This activity offered some healing moments for our family.

After the family gathering, Jason and I stayed on Big Island a little longer. The extra time provided us with an opportunity to visit Volcano National Park. We were fortunate enough to see Pele put on a show one of the nights. The lava was contained in a small and inaccessible area of the park but the glow it created in the clouds above was stunning and widespread

Besides the usual sun and surf activities, we also did the famous night dive with manta rays. Jason and I had done this dive in 2003 and it was just as amazing in 2021. This time we were able to create new memories with some family members too. We don’t have any pictures but here’s the site to the company that took us. The short video on their site gives you a good idea of the experience. On my birthday, we woke up in the town of Volcano but went to sleep in Waikoloa (the beach area on the opposite side of the island). Along that drive, we stopped near the top of Mauna Kea to experience an exquisite sunset and magnificent stargazing. When you are there, you are above the clouds. There was even snow. It was a wonderful bday and we were able to meet up with my niece and her husband, which made it even more special. For those who like data, this volcano is the tallest mountain in the world from base to peak at 33,500 feet (though the peak is 13,802 feet above sea level and the rest is below the waterline).

After Hawaii, we came back to the north Georgia mountains and had a moment to readjust and reconnect with family. I checked in with current clients and spoke with some potentials. My laptop died so it forced me to reevaluate my technology set up and I am making adjustments to make it easier to continue offering BCM services while on the road.

Now we are gearing up to head to our first official RV stay in Florida. I would be lying if I said that we weren’t excited to get back to sunshine and warmth. We are finalizing parts and products to ensure we are prepared (though we are realizing that this will be a constant work in progress). This feels like the real beginning of our RV journey, and we are glad you decided to come along for the ride. Stay tuned for next month’s entry.

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