Gram Weenie

About Gram Weenie

Gram Weenie is a leader and an entrepreneur who's constantly taking on new ultralight challenges. She's been known to limit her international vacation suitcase weight to 25 lbs. She is sure she can shave a few more grams off that total.

Unexpected Camp Host Duties

A camp host is someone who helps other campers.  This includes anything campground related, like: receiving guests, collecting payment, completing paperwork, or even recommending a local restaurant or bait shop.  The host answers questions and solves problems while the official camp staff is away.  You become the “go to” person when assistance is needed.  The camp host is either a paid or volunteer position and most camping jobs are seasonal.  You reside in your own RV and sometimes park in an official “camp host” spot.

Camp Host Chris

camp-host

We wanted to stay in the Florida Keys through the winter, but were having trouble finding an available site for that length of time.  At the same time, our current campground was looking for a host for their busy season and had a site available for that purpose.  Kayak Chris agreed to become the camp host and we moved into the designated spot.

It was an interesting 5 months!  Now that the hosting gig is over, here’s a list of some of the unexpected things he ended up doing. Continue reading

Key Largo Sunsets

Key West boasts about its sunsets, but we think they are better in Key Largo.  Watching this daily occurrence is an official activity in Key Largo; so much that I often set an alarm, so we wouldn’t miss it.  Neighbors gather to watch the often stunning descent of the sun along with the colors that emerge afterwards (which are sometimes even prettier.)  It’s a great way to meet people and there’s no such thing as “too many sunset photos.”

Click image to enlarge.

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Continue reading

Finding Personal Happiness

Kayak Chris found the following article that’s a great take on finding personal happiness.   The premise is that staying in your hometown “severely limits the definitions you accept for what makes you successful. Oddly, most of the hometown definitions of success have nothing to do with happiness. They have to do with becoming what everyone in your past expects or desires given who you used to be.Continue reading

8 Things I Don’t Do Anymore

It’s day 180 of our RV adventure and there are few things I can’t or (don’t see the need to) do anymore.  They are:

1. Watch TV
Our travel trailer has TV hookups in the main room and in the bedroom, but we didn’t get one.  We figured with our laptops, smart phones, and tablet, we didn’t need any more screens to stare at.  We’ve gladly avoided: the political ads, the endless loop of negative world news, and paying a cable bill.   We still check the news, but we do it online.  We still binge watch a TV series on a lazy weekend, but we do it from a laptop.  Yes, I do miss a few of our favorite shows (ex: The Walking Dead) but I know that even if we can’t watch it today, we can watch it sometime in the future.  (Unless the world is overtaken by real zombies, it will be available to watch.) When I want background noise, I turn on the radio like it’s 1940.

2. Go Camping
I know how this sounds.  Yes, we’re in a campground right now, but living in a travel trailer and spending the night in a tent are two totally different things!  The trailer has a queen size bed, electricity, climate control, running water, a kitchen, and a bathroom.  One day a few weeks ago, I had the urge to go camping.  (That is, pack up the truck, and go to a different camp ground where we’d spend the night in our camping hammocks.)  That urge was brief and has since passed.  Avid camper Kayak Chris hasn’t uttered the phrase “Let’s go camping!” in months either. Continue reading

Native Watercraft Versa Board: Half SUP, Half Kayak

Maiden SUP Voyage

Maiden SUP Voyage

Wow, what a year it’s been!  Two things I never thought I’d say:  I live in an RV and I own a Versa Board!  A Versa Board is a cross between a stand up paddle board (SUP) and a kayak.  Paddle boarding is now very popular.  I’ve seen people gliding down the Potomac River but always thought this sport was for fitness models.  It looked difficult to balance, propel yourself through the water, and stay standing up, on what looked like a surf board.  I thought it was cool but probably not for me.  After all, water sports weren’t my thing and I certainly didn’t like kayaking! Continue reading

Detour: Peru and Machu Picchu

peru-passport-stampsMonths before we embarked on our travel trailer adventure I booked a trip to Peru.  I try to take one solo trip per year, usually to somewhere on my bucket list.  Machu Picchu was calling my name!  That made for a conundrum. Where will I be in August and what city should I fly out of?  I knew we’d be headed south on our RV adventure, so I looked at ticket prices at every major airport from Virginia to Florida.  Not surprisingly, the cheapest flights were out of Miami.  I booked through Miami which meant we had 70 days to get from Northern Virginia to the bottom of Florida.  Well, we made it and I left Florida for Peru on Aug 1, 2015.

The trip was organized by a Virginia/Maryland/DC Meetup.com travel group.  I went to Costa Rica last year with the group’s organizer, but the other travelers were strangers.  It turned out to be a great group of 6 guys and 25 gals. Continue reading

How We Got Here

Gram Weenie’s Story
(Read Kayak Chris’ version below.)

What lead you down your new and experimental path?
Growing up in a wealthy area of the United States filled me with certain lifestyle expectations and a culture of abundance.  The plan as I knew it was:  you get an education, you get a good job, you work hard, and you go into extreme amounts of debt to maintain the expected lifestyle those around you have.  Where I grew up, it’s normal to take on a 300-thousand dollar mortgage for a small condo or townhouse.  It’s normal to drive a 100% financed car. Your goals revolve around the possessions you have now and the others you are trying to get.  You buy things you really don’t need and then need a bigger house or a storage unit to put them in.   You have more credit card and student loan debt than you can actually afford.  Then, finally, after many years of hard work, and commuting in soul-crushing traffic, you get to retire and do what you really want.  Or at least this is they way I thought it was supposed to be. Continue reading

Month One Impressions

We’ve just past the “one month” mark of our adventure on the road.  Here’s what I’ve realized and some initial impressions:

1. I Really Like our New Home
We’re still getting used to things, like you would in any new house.  (What drawer did I put the duct tape in?  Where are the cotton balls?  Why is the shower head at that height?)  I like to take walks and look at the other travel trailers and the more I see the more I realize that we chose well for our lifestyle and needs.  Our trailer is just big enough where we can all have our own space.   We don’t feel cramped or step over each other at all.  I can vacuum the entire place in 2.65 minutes!  There’s no grass to mow and there’s much less noise from neighbors.  There’s no dishwasher, which I always used as an excuse for a clean (or dirty) dish storage location.  Having less “stuff” means having less to worry about.  Finally, I love that we can pack up and be in a new place whenever we want. Continue reading