4 things I hated about Key West, FL.

Traveling to Key West was quite the adventure. It was a two way highway after passing through Key Largo and several bridges. The view of the water was beautiful and exciting to see as we got closer to Key West. As a newbie who’s never been and lived there for three months – I want to share my first hand point of view on my stay and the four reasons I didn’t like it.

Too Expensive.

We stayed at Sisgbee Campground in our RV, which is a Navy Base right inside of Key West. It was a very safe Campground with a Commissary and Navy Exchange store. The prices at the stores were reasonable, but the quality just wasn’t there. When shopping off base at a Publix or another grocery store the prices were expensive. I honestly don’t know how people are able to afford living in Key West. A vacation is nice, but to live there, you would almost go broke, unless you’re rich.

Limited Resources.

Key West doesn’t have a Target, Walmart, or any other familiar store you’re used to. To go to a decent store you would need to travel to Miami which is two and a half to three hours away. It felt like we were in a foreign country inside of the United States. The most decent store in our reach was Kmart. The quality was very low and the store was a mess. Your best bet is the Navy base if you have access or ordering from Amazon. Again, this is only for folks who are interested in living there.

Hot as Hell.

It was extremely hot in the summer months. If you don’t like the heat, I would recommend coming in the winter and traveling some where else during the summer months more north. It was fun to go to the beach and swim in the ocean, but without the shade it was a bit miserable.

Prejudice/ Discrimination

Snooty people  gave us the stank eye and crooked smirk. It depended on the type of person we encountered, but there is definitely sprinkles of racism here especially on the Navy base.  I would say folks felt entitled or that they were better than others because of their status. There were customers who I served at the Navy exchange who complained about feeling like they were turned down for a hotel room or looked over simply for the color of their skin. Although, this is a common complaint all over the world, it was annoying and frustrating, so keep that in mind when visiting.

For more information on our experiences traveling watch our Youtube channel. We have a ton of resources available for traveling families.

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How long should you travel as a family?

I find this topic an interesting one for several reasons. I’m not here to dictate the amount of traveling a family should do. I’m no where near an expert at traveling, but I think this is a good question to debate. How long is too long on the road?

I think in order to answer that you must first know what you want to accomplish during your travel.

Does your family want to travel domestically only or a combination of domestic and international travel? You also may want to ask yourselves as a family how important is it to see museums, beaches, mountains, historical landscapes, etc. This all plays a major factor if in and when you will see the places you want to see and how long you will spend time in each place.

Do you still own your home?

Next, in order to determine the appropriate amount of time to be on the road it would heavily depend on if your family sold your home or if it is being rented out. If you are completely home free, then you would be free to roam and wander for as long as you need without having to get back to your home. If your family went the route of renting your home like us, it would depend on how long the lease is of course. Choosing the right lease agreement can be very tricky. Renters usually stay anywhere from 1-2 years. We rented our home to another family for 12 months and as of now we aren’t interested in going any longer than that, but things can change.

Do you want to travel for more than a year?

We plan to travel for as long as possible. We love seeing new places, learning new cultures, and meeting new people. Even after we return to our home we still will find a way to travel the world. Traveling is our passion and it gives us time to connect as a family and make everlasting memories. Can you see yourself living in a tiny space with your partner and children if you have any? It can be challenging and get rough at times. Ask your self if it is something you just want to do on the weekends rather than going through the process of selling your house and personal possessions. Traveling long term may not work for every family.

Six steps on how to recover from being homesick when traveling full time.

Traveling isn’t always glamorous and can get a little redundant just like normal life in a house.

Traveling isn’t also a quick fix to the issues you experience internally (for ex. anxiety or depression). There is an adjustment period when traveling that most people don’t discuss, but sometimes the feeling of being homesick creeps in and you want to go back to a familiar place. 

Beginning stage: Prepare for your journey by researching the culture.

Ensure you are ready for your journey and new environment because it will take some getting used to. You can never fully be ready for the unknown but leave some room mentally that things may not look or feel the way you imagined it in your head.

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Initial happiness: In the beginning, you will feel pure bliss from traveling and seeing new places.

Just know the blissful feeling will wear off. Once it wears off you need to remind yourself why you are living the lifestyle and try to do some new things to mix it up. You may even need to touch ground in your home base to reconnect with some family and friends and that is ok. (using Skype or a digital means to talk to a familiar face is also a useful tool)

Frustration: If and when the blissful feeling wears off you will get annoyed by your new living arrangement.

Everything is different and unfamiliar, so you will need to check in with yourself or a close friend to stay connected to the reason you are traveling. There may be some stores that aren’t easily available such as Walmart or Chipotle. You may not be able to run to the store to get a hair product like you would at home and feel that you just want to be done with the new place you are visiting. These feelings are completely normal and please hang in there it will get better.

Adjustment: You get used to the new customs and culture of your new home.

You find it less of a challenge to adjust to the new environment around you and start to settle in. At this point, you may want to find a part time job or a community event to meet the locals. Find a comfortable routine that works with your schedule. After some time you should begin to feel like you are adjusting well with the new culture.

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Adaptation: Troubles don’t last always.

Once you begin feeling comfortable with the culture, you will start to feel a sense of biculturalism, where you identify and even like the new culture you are experiencing. Everything that was once foreign and odd to you now feels comfortable and normal. You may even meet a few friends to include in your site seeing. A suggestion would be  to learn the native language or try some different foods in your area.

Re-entry: Going home.

When you leave this foreign culture to return home, you may find that you go through these stages all over again. It is no place like home. Having a homestead or home base is a essential part of traveling and takes the ease off of feeling homesick. It also gives the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. This is normal and healthy way to enjoy life on the road.

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Leaving one life to live another.

Managing a life on the road can be tricky especially if you’re a newbie. It’s leaving one life to live another if you travel full time. There is an adjustment period that happens that most people don’t talk about. It’s the fight or struggle of trying to do things the way you did in a stick and brick house versus in an RV or movable home. Everything changes really fast and if you aren’t careful you won’t realize that you’re in tug of war with yourself to do things the old way because that is the space that is most comfortable. This lifestyle requires a ton of self management and flexibility. Plans don’t always work out which means you have to be willing to go with the flow.

I set my own schedule each day and that took some time getting used to. I’ve learned that I’m a person that craves structure. It minimizes my anxiety and keeps me focused when I set out a plan for the day.  It was always my dream to set my own schedule and travel the world. Schedules are opt to change and that is where flexibility comes in to the picture. Keeping an open mind when things don’t go right is a skill and unfortunately I’m still learning to master it.

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What you can do to maintain a life of full time travel? You can first explore how you can pay down your debt. You don’t want to get on the road with a lot of expenses. Next, you can find a remote job or see how you can make money online. There is also free lance work available for those who are experts in a specific skill. There are also many teaching English jobs online that make decent money. That is how I started out when I first got on the road. Create an expense sheet and see what’s the smallest debt you can payoff first to keep the momentum going. Then slowly work your way up to the highest debt.

It took us a year and a half to prepare before we officially took the jump and we still have a lot of work to do. Although, it still wasn’t perfect when we took the leap we learned that there will always be adjustments to make. You never reach a final point of completion or perfection, it’s more like a steady climb. The best part is that it is the best decision I’ve made in my life besides get married and starting a family. What I know for sure now being on this journey is that my soul is happy. The dollar amount that I make isn’t as nearly as important as it was because I don’t have as many things to maintain.There are still hard times and hurdles to overcome, but I’m choosing this life which makes it all worth it. This is something I really wanted to do, I pursued it, and it is working, I call that pretty freaking successful.  Cheers!

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Black history in the city of Savannah

I don’t pretend to be an expert on Savannah’s culture or history in the least amount. I do want to share my experience on this trip as it brought a new perspective that I didn’t quite get before in my past experience traveling here. Immediately you’re swept up in the wonderful choices of food, the accessibility to openly carrying alcohol on the street, the huge ferries, but most of all the black history here is phenomenal. If you want to dive into black history and learn more about the culture while you’re in Savannah it is quite easy and possible.

RAILROAD MUSEUM

We visited the Railroad Museum for the first time and there was an exponential amount of information on black history. Blacks helped build the railroads and lived near where they worked which back then would be considered a plantation. After the Civil War, the Jim Crow laws were in effect so they had their own separate showers and bathrooms, and made a significant amount less than their white peers. Their labor was enforced by the government which means they couldn’t leave and if they tried there would be people looking for them.

black train on rail and showing smoke

MARITIME SHIPS MUSEUM

West Broad Street School piece of history was inside the Maritime Ships Museum. This school was a very important part of education in black history. During the 1860’s laws were implemented to lower the funding of black education. West Broad Street school accepted black girls and boys during 1873-1962. They were instructed to build ships as apart of their education. There was one teacher for each of the eight grades which by the 20th century included a school average of 600-800 children. The black children with less resources and access to teachers excelled and were more advanced than their white counterparts; this prompted whites to cut funding for the school to lower the quality of the black students it was producing.

RIVERWALK

If you ever get around to visiting the river walk you will notice a monument in the Square of a black family with chains around their feet representing emancipation. It was the first monument in Savannah to represent contributions made by African Americans.  There is a quote by  Maya Angelou that reads. “We were stolen, sold and bought together from the African continent. We got on the slave ships together. We lay back to belly in the holds of the slave ships in each others excrement and urine together, sometimes died together, and our lifeless bodies thrown overboard together. Today, we are standing up together, with faith and even some joy.” What I understood her quote to mean is that through the suffering, slavery, and persecution, African American still found a way to stand.

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The history I mentioned is not even close to all the information available in this city. It is definitely a learning opportunity for children as well as adults to expand knowledge on black history. The reason for traveling is not only to eat, go to the beach, and sleep in, but to dive into culture, experience, and live. Learning the history of the cities we are visiting not only expands our knowledge, but gives us a sense of appreciation for the people before us.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

 

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