Is it just us or does Christmas seem to roll around faster with every passing year!? We wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a fantastic Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the end of winter solstice or Festivus for the rest of us… whatever it is you’re celebrating, we hope yours is magical! We sat down to film a personal holiday greeting for you, along with a brief recap on 2016 and an insight into our plans for 2017, so click the video below to get the highlights. I (Julie) got the giggles toward the end, so hang in there until the end to see the bloopers!
If you prefer to read, or you’re running low on your cellular data plan, here’s a quick overview of what’s in the video.
First, a big, big THANK YOU to all of your who have shared in our journey over the past 2.5 years! Yes, this week (December 19 to be exact) marked the 30 month anniversary since the day we rolled out of our old neighborhood in Colorado and embraced the full-time RV lifestyle! It has been life changing and this journey simply would not have been the same without you – our RV community – who have helped, supported, followed, liked, shared, comments, appreciated and encouraged us along the way. You rock and it’s YOU who makes this journey so worthwhile!
Brief recap on 2016
It’s been a HUGE year for us – in terms of life, work and travel. Trying to balance our everyday work commitments with all of our travels and the blog, YouTube and social media – not to mention our personal downtime and relationship – is always a balancing act we’re trying to master! Most of the time we do pretty well with that, but we’ve made a commitment to ourselves to slow things down in the year ahead and travel at a gentler pace. When we first hit the road – like so many newbie RVers – we felt a real urge to travel as far and wide as we could. It was a great way to get a little taste of ‘everywhere’ and get a feel for where we would want to spend more time in the future. Of course, this kind of pace catches up with you eventually and every few months, we felt the need to stop and take a breath… that is, until we started back up again! Next year, we feel we’ll get even more into our groove.
In March-April, we spent a month down under in Australia – a half work/half vacation trip. It was a great trip, despite the toll of the graveyard shifts working from midnight to 9am!
In the summer, as you know, we relaunched our website with a new look and feel and vastly improved navigation, making it MUCH easier for you to find the information you are looking for. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback on the website and our articles and much of this is thanks to your valuable feedback on our survey, to which we had a fantastic response! It feels really good to have our content displayed in a more organized and user friendly design, it was a big project and it’s something we’re really proud of.
In August, we actually completed our visit of all 48 of the lower 48 USA states! But our pace continued to be so hectic that we never really had the chance to share about that! We’ve got a ton of video footage and photos yet to be shared, and that will be published over the coming months. Some of our content goals for RVLove have lagged in 2016 because of our hectic schedule and we thank you for your patience with us as it can often be hard to be present with our travels and also share them with your properly, so we’re looking to make some improvements there.
Despite this, RV Love has continued to grow and this month, we reached an exciting milestone of 10,000 YouTube subscribers, in fact at the time of writing this, it’s now closer to 11,000! But we’ve never measured our success – personally, with RVLove or our RV lifestyle – by numbers. Our measure of success is based on how much our lifestyle reflects our personal value system of freedom, relationships (with one another, ourselves and others). With that said, we really do love helping, inspiring and educating people through RVLove and we want to do more!
So we’re reviewing the commitments and initiatives we currently have on our plate to find ways for us to dedicate more time to creating content for RV Love on the blog and YouTube. This is what we find the most intrinsically rewarding and so we’re trying to work out ways to be able to focus on that.
We’ve invested in some new equipment – with upgraded, camera, lenses, audio, lighting tripod etc – to help us take things up to a whole new level in 2017 and beyond. We started out sharing most photos and video that we took on an iPhone 5 and have been gradually upgrading from there, so we aim to take a big step up in terms of quality and quantity of content in the coming year.
Earlier this month, we zipped off to Maui, Hawaii for 8 nights for a real vacation – no work, unplugged (except for a few Facebook and Instagram posts) to recharge with some island time at our 49th visited so far. There really is a special energy there and it was a lovely way to reconnect with ourselves and nature as we’d been feeling a bit burned out. We had a wonderful time and yet, we were happy as always to return ‘home’ to our coach. It just reinforced for us that RVing is such an ideal way to travel – not only because of the convenience, but also the expense, especially when it comes to eating out which takes a toll on both your wallet and your waistline!
We came back to Las Vegas and we’re currently in Palm Springs, CA where we are spending Christmas and New Year, enjoying the company of the many friends also in the area.
Phew, that’s a LOT of travel for one year! The one state we are yet to visit is Alaska, and ironically our coach Rocky has already been – on her maiden voyage with the original owners! We suspect she got a bit of a shakeup, as November was quite the month for RV repairs and a couple of those were unusual issues that the repair shop felt were more related to a big trip like Alaska and not normal wear and tear. Everything is fine now, but it was a disruptive time for sure. There’s a separate post coming out about the list of repairs we had done in the next couple of weeks.
Although we did film a video on our 21 month update and also our 24 month update these are still “in the production queue” and so we just decided to scrap them and make a whole new video that’s a summary of our 2016 travel year to date. It’s a fun project and a BIG one, revisiting all of the amazing places and experiences of the past 12 months. This will be my (Julie’s) focus for the next week. Can’t wait to share it with you!
So what are our plans for 2017?
Top of the list is slowing down our pace! We will continue to travel by RV for sure, but immerse more in the local areas.
We’ll be spending the winter here in the desert south west, largely in Arizona, with a visit to famous Quartzsite in January and joining the Xscapers crew again for their rally at “Q” as it’s known. Then, we’ll make our way up the west coast and hopefully get to BC Canada, provided we can work out a solution for our cell coverage!
We may even make a trip to Alaska! We’re currently exploring the many different options for doing that – and we may not even take our coach. We’ll see. And of course, we’ll keep you posted!
We definitely have bigger plans to share more with you here and on YouTube, and this is something we’re really excited about. We feel like we’ve just been getting warmed up and we’re ready to slow down our travels so we can increase our content pace!
Final words and wishes
We can’t even begin to tell you just how grateful we are for all of you and this amazing community. This is truly a team effort and not only could we not do this without you, we simply wouldn’t want to. You are the people who make this journey so worthwhile – your contribution and interaction, your support and positive feedback, your constructive comments and your kindness, your generosity and your company. You really are awesome and we give thanks for you every day.
So on that note, we wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and we hope that 2017 is your best year yet. We hope to see you out on the road!
Best of LIFE
Love, Marc & Julie