Tag Archives: Christian Dunn St. Augustine

A New Place, A New Adventure!

Full-time RV travel is rewarding beyond the obvious. The freshness of experience and opportunities for learning and personal growth abound, but some of the greatest benefits come about from its challenges. Since we tend to move frequently, hardly a routine is established before it is modified. This regular state of flux seems to enliven even the most mundane everyday experiences. Regular travel also requires considerable energy and focus, which can be exhausting but is frequently offset by inspiration. The new landscapes, people, energies and feelings stir up the senses and push personal boundaries and beliefs. Now, nearly two years on the road, our full-time adventure has served marvelously as a rejuvenating period of growth and experience which we can now draw on.

Our full-time adventure started as a whirlwind cross-country expedition with the hope of finding a new place to call home. Nearly two years later, it became so much more, yet still fulfilled its initial purpose. The RV Nomads have landed in St. Augustine, FL! The oldest city in America grabbed our hearts with its historic European feel, beautiful waterfront and beaches, and vibrant small town feel. It is the perfect place for us to establish what we missed the most on the road: community, consistency and focused outlets for creativity.

We feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel 22,000 miles around this country and find a place to consciously choose to live. Finding a place that met our criteria and personalities was no easy feat. Our love for urban street life and walk-ability was not something we were prepared to give up, we found this in a condo we recently purchased on the north side of town. Situated on a beautiful bay, complete with lighthouse, and only a few miles from the beach, our love for the water is utterly satisfied. Always attracted to historic charm and streets, the oldest city in America does not disappoint. Some of the existing structures date as far back as to the 17th and 18th centuries, with a very different history than the northern colonies. Compared to the west coast or Baltimore (our hometown), housing is only a fraction of the cost, allowing us freedom to pursue entrepreneurial efforts. Located on the northeast coast of Florida the weather isn’t too shabby, either. The nearby cities of Jacksonville and Orlando also give us the option to have big city amenities at our convenience, while the sizable tourist economy supports a music and arts scene that is unparalleled in other towns of its size. The people here are friendly and have been welcoming and hospitable. While it may not be perfect, it is pretty darn close!

Today, we are as excited to start a new life in a new place as we were to take off and experience America. This blog will remain active as we share updates of Christian learning to surf, Alayne’s photography, and our latest projects and travels. In the meantime if anybody is looking for a great little motorhome “The Dutchie” is on the market – $6500!

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Fulltime RV Travel as a Sabbatical or Gap Year

I have always been attracted to the word sabbatical. It sounds much more respectable and purposeful than “I need to get heck out of here because life as it is, is driving me insane!” Most people think sabbaticals are reserved solely for academics or clergy to recharge and refresh, so that they can deepen their understanding of a subject and return to their teaching or research with renewed vigor. While we recognize the purpose and benefits for academia, it is discounted and discouraged for others. I would argue that it is every bit as important for everyone to have time to reflect, recharge and develop personally and spiritually. Very few people allow the space for serious and often beneficial contemplation to live life intentionally. Too many of us, self included, get caught up in the expectations and currents of life before we even have the faintest idea of what is going on. Perhaps fear is the reason we steam ahead certain in our uncertainty. It is said we are the sum of our choices, but what if all of those choices were made with little thought or insight and the total is wrong? I do not think there is anything more terrifying than that. While many people double down and harden on their current path, a sabbatical is an opportunity to rediscover, develop awareness and enrich life and purpose. While world travel may be out of the question or impractical, especially for people with school aged children, traveling North America in an RV for a year or more is well within reach for many.

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Carpe Diem!

Carpe Diem, Seize the Day, was a phrase made popular by a widely seen film of the 1980’s, “Dead Poets Society”.  Since then the phrase has been a staple in the American lexicon.  However, what is well known is not always regularly practiced.  Most people tend to live their lives as if something better waits for them in the future, almost guaranteed.  Intellectually, we all know we will meet the reaper in the end and sometimes sooner than expected.  In fact, there are no guarantees, in a sense all we have is today.  Every day is a gift for those who are grateful.

I feel, more and more, that we all have been subjected to a great ruse.  That society has programmed us to believe certain things are important, when in the end they are utterly meaningless.  Instead of bolstering individual growth and awareness, what I feel is the true meaning of life, we are misguided to believe that comfort and wealth is synonymous with happiness.  Instead of facing the difficult task growth, a craving develops for immediate gratification and pain avoidance through a myriad of distractions.

“Life moves pretty fast, if you blink you just might miss it.”  This saying too was made popular by a 1980’s movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, right before embarking on one heck of an epic day.  The routines of work, shopping and entertaining oneself are comfortable, but tend to speed up life into a succession of days barely distinguishable from the prior.   Weeks turn into months, months to years and before we know it, life has slipped away with little more to show for it than drudgery, interspersed with a few milestones, some recreation, and even less excitement.

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If It Can Go Well, It Will

The more Alayne and I travel around this country, the more I realize that there are many different Americas. As I write this we are in the town of Cedar Key, Florida where the local mantra is, “If it can go well, it will.” This is a very optimistic view for a town that most would consider sleepy with limited options. Yet, the residents and visitors alike smile, wave and laugh with regularity. This remote island town, almost an hour away from any “real” civilization, is contented to go its own way. In places like this that resist “Starbucking,” the homogenization of America, where the locals feel little need to keep up with the Jones’s or anyone else for that matter, feel authentic and real. The American spirit of freedom and independence is alive here. Often it seems the further one is away from “civilization,” the more civilized and community oriented the people are.

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