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06.25.2014Personal Tech

Traveling With Tech - At Home...On the Road

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This is a guest post from Jody Halsted, a freelance writer and the owner of Family Rambling® Media. When she’s not traveling, Jody is homeschooling her two daughters (or shuttling them hither and yon to Irish Dance lessons, horseback riding and gymnastics). Jody and her husband, Doug, recently became proud owners of an RV and hit the road for the start of their #smartsummer. Follow Jody on Twitter – @iatraveler.

After quite a few years of dreaming, saving and searching, my husband and I finally realized our dream of owning a motorhome this year. We are both lucky enough to be self-employed; he as a contractor in IT and me as a freelance writer, so our schedules have quite a bit of flexibility.

Being new RV owners, we’re spending a lot of time this summer on the road. And though our schedules are flexible, there is still work to be done.

My Life: At Home… on the Road

Recently, our "home" was the KOA Kampground just outside Eureka Springs, AK. It’s an absolutely stunning area; one of our favorite places to visit. And though we enjoyed our stay, deadlines loom, bills need to be paid and my husband’s job is never more than a phone call away from interrupting something. Here’s a week in our life, at home… on the road, and traveling with tech.

Monday - It’s a seven hour drive, not counting stops, from our home in central Iowa to Eureka Springs. Thankfully, all three of Doug’s contracts are closed for the holiday so he can concentrate on driving. For awhile, I sit at the table, trying to work as the RV rolls down the highway. Though my Internet connection never wavers, the same can’t be said for my computer, which vibrates across the table if I’m not holding on to it. After about an hour of trying to work, I finally shut down the computer and turned off the Jetpack MiFi – much to the chagrin of my daughters, who can’t play Minecraft together without WiFi.

The navigation system on my Galaxy Note 2 leads us straight to the campground, and we settle in and set up as the kids rush to the playground to run off all their cooped-up energy.


RV workstation.

Tuesday - We’re on a multi-generational getaway with my mom, siblings, nieces and nephews; 17 of us in total. As soon as R’Velle (yes, we named our RV) shows signs of life, things get busy. On the docket this day: ziplining. But our appointment isn’t until noon. After a leisurely breakfast, cooked over fire, the kids play while Doug responds to the emails and texts he has received and I answer emails. Though the campground has WiFi, reception is slow and limited. So thankful for the Jetpack!

After two hours of incredible ziplining followed by lunch in Eureka Springs and a bit of window shopping, we return to the campground. It’s been raining off and on today, ruining chances of relaxing by a fire and making smores. Which actually works to my advantage as I have a deadline in two days – a review of a new Dublin guidebook. The preview copy is loaded on my Nexus 7 tablet, so I settle in with it to make some final notes before stringing them into complete sentences.



Wednesday - Like it or not, I have a deadline to meet. After taking the dogs out while water heats for tea, I settle in with my laptop and Nexus 7 beside me, alternately displaying my notes or the book I’m reviewing. Doug sits across from me, working with a client.

He finishes working as I am still typing. Suddenly he says, “The Nest thermostat knows we’re away.” Sure enough, the Nest app shows the thermostat is set to Auto Away, having not detected any movement in the house for awhile. Cool.

Continuing to check on the house, Doug switches to the Belkin Netcam. Though we don’t catch sight of the cat, everything seems to be as we left it and, Doug shares, “It’s sunny at home.” For good measure, he has me open my Belkin WeMo app and turn the light off and on a few times (he is easily amused).


It's sunny at home.

Thursday - Deadline has been met, and I get to treat myself this afternoon with pampering at the Palace Bath House – Eureka Springs’ only remaining original bath house. But before I can go, I need to clean the breakfast dishes and make myself presentable. Though the RV has a radio, the speakers are in the cab and the rear of the vehicle. So I sync my phone with the Beats Pill portable speaker to listen to my favorite tunes while I do what needs to be done. The Beats Pill comes out again this evening, as the family gathers to relax around the fire. Since not everyone shares my taste in music, I bypass my downloaded Spotify music lists, instead using the I {heart} Radio app to stream a station everyone can agree on.


S'mores, wine and music.

Friday - Our final day In Eureka Springs, we went underground at War Eagle Cavern, which was perfect as this day (like the rest of the week) alternated rain with short bursts of sun.

Each couple enjoyed a date night this week, and that night was ours. Following the advice of locals (always the best kind of advice for dining), we began our evening at The Stone House with wine and cheese. I should have called ahead to check on our dinner reservations at Local Flavor, as an evening downpour had closed the patio for quite awhile and all al fresco reservations had moved indoors, extending our wait for a table.

On this day, like all the others, I used my phone to snap photos to share to my Instagram account, which, through the magic of IFTTT, shared to my Facebook page and Twitter account.

Saturday - A long drive home, made longer with stops at Pea Ridge Civil War Historic Site and Lambert’s (one of our favorite restaurants and the Home of Throwed Rolls). But what a way to ride. Glancing back I see my mom relaxing on the couch, reading on her iPad, and the girls playing Minecraft together as I let them use the Jetpack for a bit.


Long drive home.

Arriving home at 10:30 p.m., we unload only the necessities, waiting to unpack and clean R’Velle tomorrow, so she will be ready for our next adventure.

Disclosure: We loaned most of the equipment to Jody for her RV trip as she is a Verizon customer, but she was not compensated for this post.

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