We started last week by working Monday and Tuesday 10-4. Then on Wednesday we decided to go sightseeing. We jumped in the truck and headed toward Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We didn’t know exactly where we were headed but we knew we had 5 days off so we could spend a night somewhere if need be. Our first stop was in Cherokee, North Carolina. Did you know there is an Indian Reservation in North Carolina? Well the town of Cherokee is a little town with lots of shops and a beautiful park. The Oconaluftee River runs through the town and the Oconaluftee Islands Park looked like a popular and fun place to spend the day. Lots of families, children and pets were out enjoying the park and some were even “tubing” down the Oconaluftee River. Yes, another thing has been added to our list of things to do while in North Carolina! I read that there is not only a river but an island, hiking trails and a bamboo forest to explore at this park.
After a brief stop in Cherokee, we traveled through a portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We enjoyed a beautiful drive and we saw a flock of turkeys (not able to get my camera out in time.) We also saw Elk.
Right on the other side of the national park is Gatlinburg. We spent some time looking around in town. There is so much to see…there are actually 3 towns in succession with a lot to see and do in each: Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, Tennessee. After looking around in Gatlinburg for the afternoon, we stayed overnight. The next day we drove through Pigeon Forge, did some shopping and then started back to the Campground. The Millstone Village Shoppes was a charming little area with lots of interesting stores and a large parking lot/trolley stop.
It’s hard to believe we have been nomads for a year now. We have met so many interesting people since we started this journey. They’ve taught us about RVs and campgrounds and inspired us to live life in the moment. I want to take a moment here to tell you about Melissa Nance. She has created a website where she shares how she and Wade follow their dream of travel while still saving money. It was through her I learned about how to use smart phone apps to earn a little extra money just scanning receipts from our normal day to day purchases. She freely shares her experience and knowledge with the rest of us. There are so many reasons why people start this lifestyle but sometimes there are wake-up calls that shove us toward making some drastic changes. This is what Melissa Nance (the creator of the Penny Pinching Globetrotter) has to say about why she does what she does:
“Cancer changed my life. It left me with a new outlook on life. I realized that later is now and I had to get busy making my dreams a reality. I stepped away from my career as a nonprofit executive director to live the life of a traveling nomad. Before this I always lived near the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. I have a daughter who just graduated from college and is a mini me only 20 years earlier. I love travel, cooking, reading, art, kayaking and hiking. I am a type A person doing my best to jump and run toward the fear in order to live my best life. “
Here at Moonshine Creek Campground we met some inspiring people last week. John and Bonnie Curran travel with a retro camper pulled by a red 1956 Chevy truck. John rebuilt the truck himself and it is quite a sight to see.
John and Bonnie have a beautiful story and it is a story of redemption and lives rebuilt (just like their beautiful truck.) They are traveling chaplains. John is a veteran, retired pastor and a living example of what God can do when you let Him take over. Bonnie is a retired school teacher and she has a gift for listening to and loving others. Mark and I stopped to talk to them one morning as they were preparing to leave the campground after being here several days. That’s when we learned how they travel and let God direct their paths.
John told us that they start each day by praying that God would make their “appointments” for them. He told us of opportunities God has sent to them to encourage and serve others. They don’t preach, they don’t condemn, they listen to and pray for anyone they cross paths with. If you were to meet John and Bonnie today they would ask you, just like they asked us, how can we pray for you, and then they would pray for you – right there, right then. If you don’t want them to pray for you, they respect that as well. They tell their own personal story of deliverance from addiction. John has also had colon cancer and been through that physical struggle and he is now cancer free. They are transparent, freely sharing their struggles, their victories and how they do life. These are just some of the people we have had the privilege of meeting in our journey so far. They are real, they are unique and just like us, they aren’t “on vacation.” They are living their adventure. Each new person we meet, we are honored to learn their story and add it to ours. We continue to be inspired to explore, learn about and love God’s creation and creatures. Next post will be a tour of our rig along with some current “updates” Mark has done.