An Update: Graduation, Scuba, Motorcycles, Family, and a New Adventure

Hello all! It has been quite some time since I have updated this blog, but as our next adventure is getting nearer, I decided it was time to do a little update! A lot has happened since we returned to St. Petersburg in July of 2017, but I will do a random little recap 🙂

In August of 2017 (a month after we returned from our teardrop adventure) Kyle started school to get a two year degree in Computer-Aided Design and Drafting.. and just a few months ago, he graduated!! He now has two degrees: a certificate in Computer-Aided Design and Drafting as well as one in Rapid Prototyping and Design. He also has a Solidworks Professional Certificate which is the program he will be utilizing the most. The motivation behind Kyle getting all these certificates is to find contractual design work along our traveling way and to deepen his understanding of Solidworks in order to be more versatile in its use. So if any cruisers need a custom part designed: we are your people!

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As for education for me, I have been taking Spanish lessons once a week for 2 hours for the past year. I also have met some friends overseas that I Skype with and talk with almost daily in order to practice my conversational skills. I chose to take the formal method in learning Spanish and started pretty much from square one. It has a been very difficult to learn a new language, but I would now consider myself nearing the intermediate stage and can hold a basic conversations in Spanish as long as the person is speaking SLOW!  I absolutely love learning the language, but know that it will be many many years before I am anywhere near fluent.

For 2018 New Years, Kyle and I flew to Guatemala to visit my family. My uncle (my mom’s brother) has a house there and my cousin operates a restaurant in a tiny village called Jaibalito on Lake Atitlan. We flew into Guatemala City, took a 4 hour van ride to Santa Cruz la Laguna, and then took a small boat to the village. The village is only accessible by boat, which Kyle and I both very much enjoyed. The restaurant my cousin operates is right below the house, and is called Club Ven Aca. Our time there was quite incredible- we went on a range of adventures and really enjoyed time with friends and family celebrating the New Year and my cousin’s 40th birthday party.

 

Shortly after Guatemala we listed the teardrop for sale. We spruced her up a bit and painted her in order to better protect the wood. Varnish is not waterproof. It was sad to see her go, but as our focus had shifted to our upcoming adventure, it was time to find her a new home. Sunny sold rather quickly and her new owner was very excited to have her.

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Within two weeks of returning back to Florida, we both had jobs and were working on building back up our savings as it was completely depleted after the Mississippi River, Caribbean, and Sunny road trip adventures. I went back to working as a personal assistant for a bit, but decided I wanted to go back to working with kids and focusing on my writing. For the last year and a half I have had 3-4 different part time jobs at a time- staying quite busy and making as much money as possible. I nanny for a couple different families (one overnight gig!), I teach English online to children in China, I help out my friends’ company with invoicing, and I have written quite a few articles. I wrote one main article once returning back from our Mississippi River trip which was featured both online and in print for Small Boats Monthly. I have also written 5+ different gear review articles for Small Boats Monthly online publication. Check out one of my articles here: https://smallboatsmonthly.com/article/7149/

Kyle has been working for the same company since we returned – Gulf And Bay Divers (https://www.gulfandbaydivers.com/). Our very good friends own a dive company and do boat hull cleaning, dock and pylon repair and dock building. Kyle is the warehouse manager and is in charge of all the ordering, maintenance of machines, etc. He recently cut back his hours and now only works one day a week and otherwise is working full time to get us ready for our next adventure.

Last year it was also time to say our goodbyes to SOLVI. She treated us so well and was such an incredible home for our time on the river, but it was time for her to move on to a new home where she would be used and loved. It was a long process of fixing her up (remember our ship wreck) and getting her ready to sell, and then another process to find a good home. Thankfully, in the end it couldn’t have worked out better. She was purchased by a guy who lives in Boise, Idaho. Kyle fit her in the back of a budget truck and drove her all the way to Salt Lake City where he met the new owner. The most exciting thing about her sale is that her adventures aren’t over! She will be participating in the R2AK race- an intense race from Washington state to Alaska.. for more information and to find her profile check out this link:  https://r2ak.com/    Kyle and I can’t wait to see how she does and we are super excited that we get to follow her along another adventure. Go team SOLVEIG!

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Spruced up for sale!
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Our last sail on SOLVI

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During the last half of 2017 and all of 2018 we made an effort to visit friends and family as much as possible. Our next journey will take us out of North America for quite some time, so we wanted to really focus on spending quality time with the people closest to us. This has led us to travel to Delaware, Salt Lake City, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, and different parts of Florida. My parents also have rescued two new dogs since we returned so I have been really enjoying spending free time with their now three dogs and going on walks and playing outside.

And of course, we made sure to have as much fun as is possible even when each working 80+ hours a week. We took advantage of our time on land and both got scuba certified and I got my motorcycle license! Kyle has always loved motorcycles, and I wasn’t quite sure, but I gave it a go and passed my test and now we both have our own motorcycles and try to go on rides when we have the free time. Kyle commutes every day to work on his motorcycle, but I only ride mine for pleasure. I am still pretty cautious and will only ride in certain conditions. We wear full gear from head to toe, so riding in the Florida summer can be pretty brutally hot, but the breeze from the ocean always helps so during the summers we try to ride near the beach. We went on one motorcycle trip to a state forest a few hours North of us, and it was quite the adventure filled with flooded back roads, torrential down pours, ran out fuel, and then had a flooded fuel system 😉 but it brought us to an amazing forest and we greatly enjoyed the quiet and greenery of our campsite.

Kyle also taught me how to change the oil in my car, so I have very much been enjoying the ability to complete that task on my own. During the time we have been back in Florida, we have focused a lot of our attention on self-reliance, becoming financially independent, and sustainability. I also have put a lot more focus on cooking and learning a broader range of vegetarian meals. It seems 2018 was the year of acquiring new skills and mastering the ones we have!

 

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I hope you enjoyed the array of random photos from over the past almost 2 years! Also read about our newest adventure in my next post 🙂

Cheers!

Danielle

14 thoughts on “An Update: Graduation, Scuba, Motorcycles, Family, and a New Adventure

  1. I am so excited you are blogging again, you write so well and I have missed getting info this way. Will go back through and click the links for Solvi and such…I want to see how she does too.
    Love you guys lots!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the update. Can’t wait to follow your next adventure. My complements on your writing style too. Excellent. Harrison

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Harrison. We really appreciate the support and I super appreciate the comments on my writing. I am still trying to work on a book about the Mississippi so glad to hear people are enjoying my writing 🙂

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  3. Too funny, we were just talking about you with friends maybe two weeks ago, and were wondering what you were up to. Great timing!
    Congrats on the degree, Kyle, that’s great stuff and we know you’ll do well.
    Keep up with the Spanish, Danielle! Sounds like it’s coming along great.
    Super to hear all is well, and looking forward to your next next trip.
    Connie and Murph, from the campground outside New Orleans

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Connie and Murph! It is so great to hear from you guys! We talk about you guys from time to time as well and how fun it was to meet you guys. We still remember and are thankful for the wonderful lunch in your camper and the yummy, fresh salad 🙂 Glad we can stay in touch via the blog! We hope all is well with both of you.

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  4. Great to read your newest short story !
    Wonderfully presented and full of surprises and success!!
    Looking forward to more adventure from the two of you.
    Thanks for remembering us!!

    Liked by 1 person

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