4 month review

analyticsI would like to start this by saying Thank you to everyone that has paid us a visit, left a comment, and started following this Blog.
We started this blog at the end of October 2018.  The intent was to document our Journey.  I was quickly approaching my retirement date and wanted to have a place to share our Journey as we started a new chapter in our lives.
It’s been 4 months since we started.  This is the 56th post and the numbers are in.
65 of you are following the blog via WordPress.  but it looks like we are gaining some traction with the blog views.
In 2018 we had 626 views from 337 visitors.  134 of you liked what you saw and 5 even left a comment.
In the two months of 2019 we have already seen some growth which leaves us motivated to keep it up and share away!
507 views so far from 309 visitors with 58 likes but already 6 comments.
Ok.. why share those numbers?  I don’t know.
Seriously.  It is not about money or fame, it is about sharing.  We don’t make money on this site and even though we became an Amazon Affiliate and encourage people to visit Amazon using our link.. that money..when we make some will all be going to charity.
So what’s with the numbers.  It’s about exposure.
The more numbers the higher you rank on the internet search engines and thus, more traffic is driven your way.  If we are going to share.. we want to share big!
So, while it’s not about the numbers.. it helps when we know that we are in fact reaching an audience that is along with our Journey.
I just thought it was interesting to see our blog grow in just a few months.  I am curious to see how it grows over the next 2 months as we reach our 6 month mark.. and then again at the end of this year.
Just like the blog we are watching our Youtube Channel as it grows… Extremely slowly.. but from 4 subscribers to 24 (at the time of this post).  Not monumental, but hey at least some one is watching.  I am sure at some point it will get traction also as we get better with our content and production.  Either way.. it’s about sharing our story and having some fun with it.
Thanks again for coming along.
If you are new here.. consider following the blog and check out our Youtube Channel.  And join the community by leaving us a comment.
Thanks again.
Have a Happy Day!

 

 

 

Happiness Tip #3 – The People in our Lives

17201265_10211096623424936_6421052433514078069_nWater seeks its level… and so it is with friendships.
I grew up in an Army family.  We moved every three years whether we wanted to or not.  Where my Dad went we followed.  It was just life and to my siblings and I it was totally normal.  Everyone in our friendship circles were in the same boat.  We all had to make new friends every three years and with few exceptions we never saw one another again.  We moved about half way through my Senior year of High School.  I won’t lie, it sucked. Because of our rotation I had actually been at the same High School since I was a Freshman.  Needless to say, when we got to our next place, we made some new friends, I graduated from High School, then I left again, this time for the Army myself… where I started the process all over again.
In 1988 I finally settled down, met my new best friend and made the decision that this was it, I was planting roots.  The Army took me away a few more times, but by and large we had settled down.  After we got married and made the decision that we wanted our kids to grow up in a “hometown”.
It was fun to watch them grow up and make friends, friends that they still have today.  It all seems so normal.  And as we settled in, we made friends, friends that we love to be with and share our lives with.  These people add to our happiness.
Our friends, family, and people who come and go from our lives all add to our happiness.  True friends that we laugh, cry, and share with are all part of what makes us happy.  We have many friends, few close friends, and lots of people that make up the circle which brings happiness to us.  Through Scouting, I have a ton of friends, many of them I consider family, others I just love to be around.  Through other aspects of our lives we have made friends that are always there and we love to be with.  And our family, maybe because of the way we grew up together is close.  Our family had to circle the wagons every three years and start from square one.  So we adapted to being close to one another.  My Sister (she’s the blonde in the picture) is now one of my closest friends… and we RV together all the time.
So the Happiness tip… make great friends and keep your family close.  The people in your life make a huge difference in your happiness.
I could not be more happy with our friends and family and hope that you have people in your lives that make you just as happy… and never forget the impact that you have on them.  You make them happy too.
Dennis Prager shared this;

“For much of my life, I, like most people, regarded the pursuit of happiness as largely a selfish pursuit. One of the great revelations of middle age has been that happiness, far from being only a selfish pursuit, is a moral demand.
When we think of character traits we rightly think of honesty, integrity, moral courage, and acts of altruism. Few people include happiness in any list of character traits or moral achievements.
But happiness is both.
Happiness — or at least acting happy, or at the very least not inflicting one’s unhappiness on others — is no less important in making the world better than any other human trait.
With some exceptions, happy people make the world better and unhappy people make it worse. This is true on the personal and global planes.”

You can read the whole article here.

I’ll leave you with this.  Baden Powell the founder of Scouting shared this:
“But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best.”

Be Happy and be the person that brings happiness to others.  You will get more back than you can imagine.
Thanks for hanging out with us on our Journey.
Have a Happy Day!

Happiness Tip #1- Remove the Urgency

16864200_10210956663766032_2572772815531985169_nI heard a good saying the other day as I watched a YouTube video from the Keep Your Daydream channel that reminded me of a leadership principle that I have used all of my adult life.  Remove the Urgency.
Today’s post will the first in a series of posts of things that I believe lead to or add to a happy life.
So lets talk about Removing the Urgency.  For many people the urgency of a situation gets in the way of thinking about the resolution.  Removing the urgency allows one to reduce stress and anxiety over the situation.  For example, when on a recent trip we hooked up the city water and within seconds of turning the water on it began to shoot out of the bottom of the trailer.  You could hear water flowing into the pad and it was coming quick.  The immediate action was to turn off the water.  Rather than go into panic mode I removed the urgency.  What was the worst that could have happened and how did it effect the rest of our weekend?  At the end of the day what did not having water mean in the grand scheme of things?  The answers were simple and it removed the urgency from the situation.
First, the water was off and no longer flowing.
Second, there are shower houses and sinks at the campground, so we still could take showers etc.
And finally, after a quick inspection of the trailer, there was no damage visible.
After a quick evaluation and removing the urgent need to get into “fix it” mode we discovered that the connection from the city water into the trailer had become disconnected.  An easy fix, but I know some people that would have packed up and called it a weekend, taken their trailer into the shop and disrupted their weekend.
Removing the urgency takes the stress away from the situation.  Stress is a major contributor to people being unhappy.  If we can do things to eliminate stress we can be happier.
Now I know that there are people out there that absolutely can not function without stress.  And I have never seen them to be happy.  I have seen that people that do not have the ability to remove the urgency from a situation often spiral out of control in decision making.  I have seen this in combat, I have seen this in wilderness first aid situations, and I have seen this in peoples everyday lives.  Simple situations become mountains that they can not cross.
Removing the Urgency from a situation can be applied to any if not all situations in our lives.  But it takes a willingness to not want stress and make things simple.  Simplicity is the key.  It allows you to declutter your thoughts and see things for what they are in the midst of a crisis.  We could have panicked in our water situation, but understanding that there was no need.  Panicking or creating energy around the situation would only lead to stress.
How many of you have had a flat tire.  There really is no need to panic or stress.. just change the tire and be on your way.  If there are more issues address them as needed.  But don’t let the situation get the best of you.  It will never fix things in the long term and only add stress.
So… The first part of being happy this week is to reduce stress by removing the urgency of the situation.
On Wednesday we will discuss reducing clutter.  Stay tuned!
Thanks for checkin’ in with us.
Have a Happy Day!

Is this thing on?

thingonWe teach in the Scouting Leadership Course Wood Badge that Feedback is a Gift.  Feedback is an important component in the Communication loop.  You know, you have the Sender, the Message, the Receiver, and then Feedback to the Sender knows that the message has been received.
When I was a Sergeant Major feedback was an important part of how I communicated.  There was an understanding that I was sending a message and a need to know that the message was received.. sometimes loud.. but always clear.
What I am finding in writing this blog is that there is not always a clear understanding of the receipt of the message.  The message is being sent, and we can see that other computers are seeing the message, but a blog is a discussion.  Our intent is to build community and without feedback, we can not effectively communicate.
I took an online class on blogging.  Part of the course was how you format your content. In that content they suggest that you create a call to action.  Ask a question or solicit comments.  This is supposed to drive feedback and spark discussion.
I wonder how that works.  I read many blogs and see that some get tons of comments, while others (like ours) receive very little or no comments at all.
I don’t know if this is an indication of good or bad communication, or a community that would just rather not.  I am sure that as the content grows and the community grows with it that at some point the gift of feedback will happen.  Until then.. we wonder…
Is this thing on?
Leave a comment and tell us whatever you want…

Campers to RVers

img_0057This past weekend we spent at an RV Part in McMinnville next to the Evergreen Air & Space museum.  During our stay there we had many discussions with some “Newbie” RVers.  Among the discussions of our RV set ups and how to’s, we discussed the reasons why we started RVing.
For us it was something that was never really discussed until it was.  What I mean is we have never really considered buying an RV until camping in the tent stopped being fun.  That point for us was in September of 2015.  We were camped at Nehalem Bay on the Oregon Coast.  We have always been campers and avid outdoors types.  We have always loved to hike and explore and get away for the weekends and camp.  As we grew as a family, so did the tent sizes and the gear.  Needless to say, we have gone through many evolutions of how we have camped, but the constant is that we always have camped.  In September of 2015 we made plans, like every other camping weekend.  Head out to the coast on Friday night, set up camp, and enjoy the weekend.  We were camping with the usual group of friends and my parents, who were in there 17 ft. Jayco trailer.  We got into the State Park on Friday afternoon and set up our tent.  The tent was a big REI Hobitat. rei-hobitat-4-cabin-dome-tent-footprint A tent that you can stand up in and move around.  So big in fact that we put a queen size air mattress in it.  The weather started moving in on us throughout the day on Friday and by Friday night the winds were blowing pretty good.  Our puppy was going crazy as the tent flapped and popped with the wind.  The winds got so bad, that the tent was literally folding down us.  Around 5 in the morning on Saturday, we had had enough.  I went into my parents trailer and informed them that we were no longer having fun and we were packing up.  The winds continued to gust reaching 70 mph and trees were starting to snap around us.  So we packed up and went home.  All the way home we talked about our future camping and made the decision to go to the RV show.  In February of 2016, we purchased our Keystone Passport and it has been a wonderful journey since.
But the discussion this weekend was not about why we made that choice, rather, it was about the style of camping that we have embraced.  We concluded that in the RV we participate in two different styles or kinds of “Camping”.  The full RV Park destination camping and getting away into the woods camping.  They have one thing in common, the RV.  The Full RV park destination style takes you to places to go and see.  Like camping next to the museum and heading into town for a nice sit down meal.  Or wine tasting in the Willamette Valley.  Or the Trip to Disneyland and staying at the Anaheim RV Resort next to the Happiest Place on Earth!
Then there is the State Parks and KOA’s that offer the unplug and get away experience.  While we still may have all the hook ups, these get away’s off the out door camping experience while maintaining the RV amenities and comfort.  It gives us the best of both worlds when we have the ability to get out, but retreat into the comfort of the RV and all that comes with it.
The idea that we are always packed and ready for a trip.  The luxury of having the comforts of home while out in the woods and enjoying all that nature has to offer.  It is one of the best things I love about the RV.  It is always ready and waiting on us.  The transition that we made from “Campers” to “RVers” was an easy one for us.  It took us a bit to recognize what we were doing, but we have fully embraced the life style of the RV community.
We look forward to our longer trips that combine both the outdoor experience and the RV Park luxury.
Have you made that transition?  What does that look like for you?  What was your turning point?
Leave us a comment and share your story.

The BIG 5 List – Pets

44497060_10215972748805023_4616306690273312768_oThis weeks BIG 5 List is all about pets.  Yep for the most part our four legged friends that love to hop in the RV and head out for adventures with us.
We have two traveling companions, Sadie and Chunk.  They are campers through and through.  When it’s time to load up the trailer, they are first to the door and ready to go.  Our little family members are seasoned campers  They have their spot in the RV and the truck and seem to love being out for the ride.
This week we will list our BIG 5 things to consider when traveling with your pet.
Here we go!
1.  Treat them like family.  When we take out little ones with us, we include them in most if not all of our activity.  We don’t bring them so they can just sit in the RV.  We have pets for companionship.  Leaving them alone all day is not why they want to be with you.. or the other way around.
2.  Make sure to give them their space.  We throw a extra large dog bed on the floor of the trailer.  It is a place for them to nap, lay around, or delight in a treat.  But it is their space and they know that they are welcome when we give them that place to be a part of our journey.
3.  Take their favorite stuff.  We have a blanket they like, their bed and of course their toys.  Again, it is a part of making them welcome.. that and when you do have to leave them alone, they have their stuff to keep them entertained.
4.  Make sure their shots are up to date and bring along their medical record/shot records.  You never know when you will need them.  An unexpected trip to an out of town Vet or a trip to Petsmart for a special Spa Day.  You will need to have that documentation.  I have even heard of some camp grounds or RV resorts that want to know that your pets are current.
5.  Our Dogs love to take walks.  Help your dogs help you stay fit.  I see too many dogs just leashed (chained) up to a tree in the campsite while the people ignore them.  Walks on the beach are Sadie and Chunks favorite camping activity.  Chasing the ball on the beach is Chunks idea of heaven on earth.  So get out and active with your pets.

We love our pets and want them to be a part of our lives and our camping adventures!  If you bring them along have a great time with them.  They are special to all of us.
Oh.. a bonus item for the list…
If you have barkers… yeah ours tend to bark at times too.. but they typically bark when they are scared or lonely.  The more they know you are there for them, the less they bark.  At least that’s our experience.
Thanks for coming along with us… what are some things you do with your pets and hey… how about giving us a tip on your pet experience.  Leave us a comment.
Have a Happy Day!

The Journey

We just put a video up to talk about our journey.  We are looking at establishing direction with the YouTube Channel and as we study and learn what it takes to produce content for the channel we also are trying to refine our audience.  We don’t know what that looks like yet.  While one of our goals is to share our journey with everyone, we also want to maintain focus on the RV community and helping new RVers discover the joy that it brings.  It is our Happy Place!
So if you have not checked it out yet.. please consider it.  Subscriptions are totally Free!
Thanks for coming along the journey with us!

Happiness

Happiness1Lets talk about happiness.  I am sure that happiness is on a huge sliding scale and means something different to everyone.  We call our site the Happy Place Diaries, a reference to our RV by and large and the happiness that it has brought to us.  But the sub text of our site is a “Journey to Happiness” and that is where we need to define or shed some insight as to what Happiness means to us and what being on a journey to “find” it means.
First of all our journey to happiness should not imply that we are not happy and we are in search of being happy.  On the contrary, we are very happy with our lives, what we know however by observation is that happiness can be fleeting and change by life circumstances.  Our journey to happiness essentially is an effort to mitigate those circumstances and find happiness and joy in how we live our lives.  I think that we can distill that down to a few ideas or ways that we choose to live our lives.
Number 1.  Money.  Money is the number one stressor in most peoples lives.  We have achieved some financial freedom and have made decisions that allow us to reduce the stress that money could have on us.  We have conceded that we will never be millionaires and that we can live comfortably on what we have.  To us it comes down to an understanding that at the end of the day it is not a bunch of stuff that matters.  Rather it is how we use that stuff to make life better for us and others that make a difference.  Now would I love to be a millionaire?  Sure.. it would open a few more doors, but the trade off is the question.  What is the cost to have all the money and still not be happy.  One of the biggest decisions of our lives was for me to retire.  It came down to can we live comfortably and can we take care of ourselves and our family.  The answer was yes.  It would mean that we would have to make some sacrifices, if you want to call it that, in that, not moving into a new house and getting real good and our budgeting.  But working together we have come to a happy place in our money and that stressor of our lives.
Number 2.  Stuff.  How much stuff do you need.  We have our hobbies and interests, but when a serious inventory is taken of stuff… how much do you really use and what do you need.  Over the past six months or so we have really been taking a look at our stuff and what we need and use.  Many trips to the Salvation Army, Good Will, and the dump has reduced the amount of stuff we have.  Combined with selling off some good used stuff we really have a better understanding of our stuff.  Society dictates that we need more and more and encourages clutter, the by products of to much stuff.  We still have more work to do to reduce our stuff and declutter, but what we know for sure that less has become more.  I think that is one of the wonderful things about the RV.  Everything has a place, everything is in its place, and everything has a function or we don’t need it.
On the journey to happiness reduction of stuff has actually made us happier.  We have learned to use what we have and not get bogged down by what the “Jones’s” have.  It really does not matter in the grand scheme of things.  What I discovered after I retired is that when it comes to clothing for example, I have more than I need and use.  When I was working I was always in uniforms or casual clothes.  Now that I have quit wearing uniforms I am only wearing cloths that fit my life style.. casual.  Yeah, I’m holding on to a suit or two and keeping some nicer clothes in the closet, but really it’s all about comfort and practical use clothing.  The rest can go.  Kind of like going to a restaurant that has too much on the menu.  To many choices apply a little more stress and less happiness.  I know what I like and that is what I do.  That makes me more happy than wading through the clutter of stuff.
10900246_10204119814730465_1618872015724708408_oAnd Finally, number 3.. Family.  While it is last on this list, it certainly is first in what makes us happy.  Keeping our family first has made us very happy.  We have three kids that are all grown and almost gone.  They are the joy of our lives, not without frustration and concern at times, but that’s called parenting, our kids have grown to become good adults.  They all have good jobs, staying focused on their goals, and are good citizens.  They are responsible and loving.  They are caring and kind.  Our oldest son just gave us the gift of a grandchild.  The best of our family is that they value the family.  They understand that the family is most important.  It is the foundation of who and what we are.  Our whole family from our parents to now our Grandson is the most important thing in our lives.  It brings us great joy and happiness.
Family, Reducing Stress, and taking inventory of stuff.  A simply formula for happiness and three things that through focus and work have made us happy and contribute to our happiness.  We have a Happy Life, we want to keep it that way.. and this is our journey. Always staying focused on the reduction of anything that does not make us happy.  I was listening to the Adam Carolla Podcast one day and he summed it up pretty well.  “If it doesn’t make you money and it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it.”  It doesn’t do us much good to do things that move us away from happiness.  So we don’t.
We are happy to share… how about you?
What are some things that you do in your life to make you or keep you happy?
Leave us a comment and share happiness with us.