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Spend Quality Time Visiting Your Family

Posted by International Living on August 28, 2017 in RVing, Travel Smarts

Linda Card writing on independent travel…

My husband, Al, and I spent three weeks visiting with his family in Raleigh, North Carolina this summer.

Now, I can’t imagine being a houseguest – or having a house guest – for three weeks. Even if it’s family.

So, we did the independent thing. We stayed in our RV at a lakeside state park — surrounded by tall, fragrant pines – just 10 minutes away.

We had our morning coffee and breakfast in the woods while watching the squirrels cavort, and had the afternoons to do as we please. Then, we spent evenings visiting with the family at their home.

My brother-in-law loves to cook and served us up succulent barbecued pork ribs, crispy fried chicken, and flavorful grilled steaks. One evening he treated us to home-made ice cream with fresh peaches.

After dinner, my nephew broke out his guitar for an impromptu sing-along. On Saturday, they all came to the park and we had a visit at our RV and took our great-niece to the park playground, right next to the sandy beach.

It’s not easy to get that kind of quality time with family when you’re tied to a nine-to-five job with just two weeks’ vacation (if you’re lucky). But I work online, for myself, so I can afford to take long road trips…and see my family.

You don’t have to be independently wealthy to do it, either.

The state park charges only $17 per night for a campsite…sweet! We aren’t roughing it though – our RV has all the perks and amenities of the modern world.

Most of the time we stay at parks that cost around $20 per night and we cook our meals at home, so it’s much more affordable than staying at a resort.

This isn’t only for special occasions either. This is a way of life.

We enjoyed similar, though shorter, visits in Virginia and Maryland.

Al’s niece lives in beautiful Virginia Beach, a hugely popular resort town. With miles of clean beaches, mild surf, and plenty of sun, Virginia Beach is a vacationer’s paradise.

But that makes it very expensive and crowded in the summertime. You could pay $200 a night to stay there!

Instead we drove our RV to a county park in the neighboring town of Chesapeake that was perfect and affordable. We visited our niece’s food truck for her home-made gelato, and spent the 4th of July hanging out at the beach with her family…watching the surfers and, later, the colorful fireworks exploding over the ocean.

One of my brothers lives in northern Maryland, but his driveway is not RV-friendly, so again we stayed at a state park nearby. Codorus State Park is actually in Pennsylvania, but only a 20-minute drive from my brother’s country home, so it was easy to get back and forth.

At my brother’s house, we spent the afternoon enjoying the cool, fresh air under the shade of the nearby trees. Several of his friends came over for a monthly jam session. They’re all talented musicians and we had our own special bluegrass concert on the front porch.

Once we reached Pennsylvania we headed west to Greensburg to catch up with Al’s sister and brother-in-law. They live on a large farm and have plenty of room for our 35-foot RV. We parked next to the garage so we could run a power cord for electricity and made ourselves at home.

The view across the pastures to the distant hills was spectacular and the cool nights were delightful. We shared home-cooked meals of locally grown corn-on-the-cob, juicy heritage tomatoes in vinaigrette, and melt-in-your-mouth beef filets cooked to perfection on the grill. The wine flowed and the laughter rang into the night. I never had time to connect with family like this when I was tied to a full-time job.

Visiting family and friends is special to me, but I’d never be able to enjoy it without the independence of having our own home on wheels. Traveling and staying in our RV allows us – and our hosts – plenty of privacy. They don’t feel pressured to constantly entertain us, and we can do our own thing.

Best of all, we enjoy longer visits because we’re not paying for expensive hotel rooms and eating out all the time. And I don’t have to pack…I take all my stuff with me.

You can enjoy richer living when your income is portable, your living expenses are low, and you’re free to travel where you choose.

P.S. Discover how you can enjoy a more laidback, authentic, independent way of life in The Savvy Retiree Daily. Sign up below to have it delivered – free of charge – to your email inbox.

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