Family RV Adventure Announcement!

Anyone who’s known me for more than about 5 minutes knows that I’m not a homebody. Travelling is my thing, and being in the same house for the last 8 years is starting to feel a little… suffocating. Who am I kidding? It’s felt that way for the last 5 or so years. If you’ve met my family, you know that family adventure travel is also our thing. And though we had a blast on our bicycles in 2016, our next adventure will be a Family RV Adventure! And a BIG one, too 🙂

Family Adventure Travel in an RV, www.marianamcdougall.com

 

We recently acquired an awesome 2000 Triple E RV. It’s a big (as I call it) “bus” that fits the 5 of us perfectly, and will be  our home for the next year. Yep, you read that right. My awesome husband, my awesome kids and I are heading out for a 1-year adventure in our R.V. We’ll be touring all over Canada and the U.S., seeing sights, meeting people we haven’t seen in a long time, and generally making memories that our children will remember for a lifetime.

I am ecstatic to be packing up my house and can’t wait to head out on the road. Part of the reason this is possible is because of freelance writing. Dan (my husband) will be taking a one-year sabbatical, and I’ll continue to work while we’re on the road. I now have a few clients on retainer, and I continue to pitch publications here and there. And the amazing part? I work fewer hours and get paid more than I ever did while working a brick-and-mortar job. You just have to know who and how to pitch, and you can definitely make money as a writer. There’s actually several ways to make money with your writing. But I digress.

Dreams into Goals Writing Freelance Writing & Editing Services, Mariana Abeid-McDougall with her laptop

 

We’ve been packing up our house for the last few weeks, getting ready for our big adventure. We’ve also been purging like crazy. I think everyone should plan a big trip like this, just to get rid of all the junk in their house they don’t actually need. We’re pretty simple people when it comes to “stuff,” but it’s amazing what you accumulate over the course of 8 years, when you’ve got the space. I’m actually looking forward to living in small space that’s easy to clean and where you don’t have room to collect “stuff.” 

We’ll keep homeschooling on the road, but our roles will reverse: Mama will be working for pay while daddy homeschools. We’ll go by trial and error to see what kind of work schedule works for us and still allows us lots of time together to tour the places we visit. For now we’re figuring that I’ll work in the early morning/early afternoon, and we’ll get the whole afternoon and evenings together. But again, it’ll be trial and error. We’re so excited to teach the kids while we show them a little slice of the world.

Here’s our planned route!

Our plan is super flexible, but we’ll be leaving Kingston between August 26th and August 28th, and  heading east to Newfoundland. Our plan is to be in Newfoundland by mid-September, where we’ll visit my “cousin” and family, who now own a restaurant in Cambpellton. I put “cousin” in quotes because he’s not really my cousin. But our parents have known each other since they were about 8 years old, and his family welcomed us in their home when we first immigrated to Canada. So we’re pretty much family. I look forward to seeing them and to checking out this awesome restaurant they’ve owned for over a year now.

After Newfoundland, we’ll head south, and our goal is to avoid winter this upcoming year by travelling through the southern U.S. during that time. We’ll then head up the East Coast, with some backtracking for some national parks. Then we’ll travel east back to Ontario.

 If there’s something you think we should definitely check out, let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to sign up for the mailing list to stay up-to-date on our adventures 🙂

 

Canada’s Wonderland with Kids: What Not to Miss

What to check out and what to skip when visiting Canada’s Wonderland with young kids

I LOVE roller coasters. And I have always loved them since I was tall enough to ride them. There’s just something about that adreline rush when you know chances of actually getting hurt on these thing is really, really low. Not that accidents on roller coasters never happen, but you’re safer on a roller coaster than driving in a car. And still, that adrenaline rush is still there, and roller coasters do some pretty interesting things to your body that are kind of fun! After I went to Canada’s Wonderland all by myself for my annual weekend off, I kept thinking that my oldest daughter would probably love going there. The little ones would probably enjoy the kids’ area, too. So naturally, I made plans for a road trip.

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Family Touring Bikes: Cycle Touring with Kids

Family cycle touring is awesome!

And while you can just use regular bikes to go touring with your family, family touring bikes make life easier and more exciting on the road. We don’t have too many fancy bikes (though we do have lots of different types of bicycles), but if you can fit one of these awesome family touring bikes in your budget, we definitely recommend it 🙂

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RVing with kids: Our First Weekend!

RVing with kids: our very first weekend!

So, after getting our hands on an awesome 32′ RV for an incredibly good price, we summerized it with the help of the previous owner, packed a few things, and headed out on our first micro-adventure. We decided to stay close to home for our first weekend out in the RV, and headed to the Mallorytown KOA, just under an hour away from Kingston, Ontario, where we currently live.

It was a very nice little campground, but it was cold! And of course we didn’t pack any winter gear (because it’s supposed to be spring… just a lil’ reminder, Mother Nature…) We did have lots of blankets with us, and a space heater in the RV, so we were warm enough. And it warmed right up the next day—enough for the girls to enjoy the heated outdoor pool. G-boy had an issue with his foot, so he couldn’t go in. He’s all better now, though 🙂

Mallorytown KOA heated outdoor pool; RVing with kids on www.marianamcdougall.com

The campground had a cute little playground, a pet playground, a nice small outdoor heated pool, which is new this year, an arcade, and a small restaurant/canteen.

The folks next to us had truly mastered the art of bringing their house on the road with them, and were all set up with an outdoor movie theatre, a couple of tall plants, and lots of comfort-making things. They were lovely enough to share their fire with us, so we didn’t build one the first night, and our kids and theirs made fast friends with one another.

We all had fun and slept well in our first couple of nights in the RV. I’m looking forward to the next micro-adventure (and a big one, too!)

We were planning several mini-trips with the RV this spring and summer, but unfortunately, a medical emergency put a wrench in our plans. I’ll be writing a post about that soon, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I want to know: have you ever RV’d before? What are the must-visit RV parks you’d recommend in Canada and/or the US? Let me know in the comments below!

RVing: How We Got an Awesome RV

RVing was not on our bucket list, and bringing my whole house with me on the road wasn’t something I’d given much thought to.

But… life brought us a lovely opportunity at a price we couldn’t turn down. I’m pretty hooked on cycle touring, but there’s no denying that you can cover a lot more ground in an RV. Plus, you can always just take the bikes with you on the RV, too!

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Pros and Cons of Adventuring with Young Kids

I can’t believe I’ve finally finished writing all of the journal posts for our cycling adventure – it only took me 7 months after the trip! But now that I’ve had a chance to look back at this great experience with my little family, I thought it’d be a good time to share the good, the bad, and the ugly about our adventure with young children. Spoiler: there really wasn’t much bad or ugly about it 🙂

Without further ado, here’s the good stuff about our cycle adventure with three kids 6 and under. I think these pros would apply to most adventures with young kids.

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Cycle Touring with Kids – Our Gear, Part 2

So eons ago, I had promised I’d write a post about what we carried with us on our cycle tour. I did talk about our gear, as well as the camping stuff we brought along, but I never did write that post about what exactly was in those saddle bags. Well, better late than never, I say!

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We made it to London! And I finally caught up on these posts!

After a restful sleep on a real bed in Woodstock, we headed out to our final destination. We hit a bit of rain, but it was light enough not to be bothersome.

We noticed that we passed the part of  Woodstock that had some restaurants, but it wasn’t even 11:00 a.m. yet, so we decided to keep pedalling. We were out of food at this point, so that may have been an unwise decision. At the same time, it opened the door for one of the amazing experiences of this trip.

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Snacks under the Weeping Willow

We enjoyed our ride from Brantford to Woodstock.

On the way, we stopped at a farm and asked the young guy who was working on the yard if we could stop and eat lunch on his front lawn. He said yes, and we were able to enjoy a nice meal under a gorgeous weeping willow—that’s my favourite tree, so this was really nice. We were able to use the facilities as well, which was great.

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Rail Trails Are Great Fun!

After our lovely time in Hamilton, we headed out to Brantford via the Hamilton-Brantford Rail-Trail.

It was a gorgeous trail, and we got to see some horses during a portion of it. The kids also made friends with a  little caterpillar that hung out on daddy’s vest for a while, then on K-girl’s arm.

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