Hiking and Camping in Texas

Texas isn’t the sun blasted desert some imagine from the old western movies. Well, some of it is, but there are also hidden gems sprinkled throughout this great state. Whether you want to go hiking in the second largest canyon in the U.S., make your way to a hidden swimming hole, or camp on a stretch of untamed beach, Texas has you covered. 

National Parks

Texas is home to a number of national parks including the national seashore on North Padre Island. Guests will find a rich ecosystem and around 60 miles of untamed beach visitors can drive down, fish, and camp on. A four wheel drive, high clearance vehicle is a must to traverse this wild stretch of beach. Be sure to have a full tank of gas because this journey only has one way in or out. 

State Parks

Many of the state parks in Texas contain networks of trails with convenient RV spots or primitive camping areas. Tucked away in the panhandle just south of Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the country and provides ample opportunity to stretch your legs. Be careful of the critters though as it isn’t unusual to see a rattlesnake slithering across the trail. The Texas Parks and Wildlife department offers information on this and many other parks throughout the state. 

County Parks

Some counties in Texas manage parks with unparalleled treasures. Hamilton pool near Austin is one such gem that is run by Travis county. To protect the natural splendor of this park, space is limited so get there early or check the Travis County parks website to see if reservations are available. Swimming is not allowed at different times for safety reasons, but there are many hiking trails in the Hamilton Pool preserve area and plenty to do aside from taking a dip in the pool. Downtown Austin also includes the spooky and haunted River Place Nature Trail.

texas, camping, hiking, trails

City Parks

Many cities also have a variety of parks and trail systems such as the Austin greenbelt. Don’t be afraid to ask a local as Texans love talking about their state.

AUTHOR BIO: “Jennifer Holt is a freelance writer and mother of two. She is a keen hiker, and is currently trying to complete some of the scariest, most haunted hiking trails across the U.S.”

The Essentials you need for your RV 

*This a guest post contributed by Dennis Kaminski, the owner of the website Safety Mart. More information about him and his highly helpful and user friendly website can be found at the end of this article and by clicking on this Safety Mart link.

RVs are multipurpose vehicles used for various purposes such as camping, traveling and full-time living. Recreational are also known as motor homes or mobile homes. Motor homes have several advantages which include that you do not require unpacking on arrival at your destination,  economizing on the cost of traveling and accommodation. Mobile homes can provide sufficient space and privacy just like a room with its own bathroom as well as being a mobile home for work campers or full timers. The vehicle can also provide entertainment for you and your traveling company. Recreational vehicles come in many varieties that include pop-up, truck camper, class B, class C and class A. There are some RV essentials that you need to stock your RV vehicle to facilitate comfortable touring. The list below shows the essentials you need to check and ensure you have in your RV.

Adapters for 50 amp and 30 amp outlets

Occasionally, you may need to change between 50 amp and 30 amp outlets. You need to be equipped with both just in case there is a need to use any items that require more power and amps. 

Batteries

You will need batteries to power your RV, and you also need the power from the RV batteries for charging. The batteries come in different voltages, and it is nice to have spares especially when going out for prolonged periods. The RV needs enough power supply when you have your computer and other devices for connecting to the internet. You should include flashlight batteries and extra ones just in case of accidental depletion.

First-aid supplies

This is a requisite in an RV. Accidents are prone to occur anywhere, and at any time, and you need a way to care for yourself or someone that is hurt. The first aid kit should have a first aid guide, painkillers, bandage, bandage tape, burn ointment, toothache drops, disinfectant, scissors, scalpel, medicated soap, alcohol among other items specific to the hazards you may face depending on where you go (think snake bites and the like). Remember to include other emergency equipment like a flashlight and a small fire extinguisher. You can also customize your kit to fit your needs, situation, and undertakings.

Flashlights, lanterns

These are essential for seeing at night. Camping sites are usually located in a natural environment with no electricity. The interior of many RV’s are not well lit with the windows often being on one side and tinted. This creates shadows that you can eliminate with good lamps, which can not only brighten the entire interior while occupying minimal space, but can double when venturing away from your RV during the night. Here is an example of what can be useful, sustainable, and reliable as it requires not batteries, is lightweight, and durable. Another great light to have on hand is a headlamp as it allows you to see while keeping your hands free. Again, you can find a good recommended one here, or keep clicking from that link to find one that best suits your needs.

Grill and fuel

You cannot carry your home cooking range because they are cumbersome. You can, however, have a cooking grill and fuel to help you prepare delicious meals while away from home. Camping Grills come in a variety of sizes to facilitate easy packing and mobility. Propane grills allow you to prepare your meals outdoors eliminating the hustle of lighting a fire, and outdoor cooking helps lower the interior temperatures of your RV. There are portable grills designed for camping which can have a fold-up stand that can be collapsed and packed in limited space. Some of these stands even have wheels for easy movement.

Insect repellent

Some camping areas are infested with nagging, biting or even disease-transmitting insects such as mosquitoes and flies. When camping, expect to spend a lot of time outside your van in activities such as lounging around a campfire. This exposes campers to insects and rather then swat at them you can keep them away with a safer, deet free repellant. As a natural alternative to chemicals, Sage can be burned in the campfire to repel mosquitoes and also produces a pleasant fragrance.

Toolkit

Mechanical problems are likely to occur anywhere. However much you may be trained to solve them, it is impossible to achieve this without the right tools. You need a small tool box that will not consume space in your RV but yet be able to hold adequate tools. Include the all in one screwdriver pack, pliers, spanners, hammer and others. The tools are essential for the repairs of the mobile home just in the event of a breakdown. The tools are not only for a serious collapse situation; you will need them for the care of your RV to maintain it in great shape. You will also need tools to troubleshoot any problems that may occur in your RV.

Water hose (white potable water type)

Campers will need water for cooking, drinking, and cleaning. A water horse helps connect to the main supply and fill camper’s fresh water storage. You need different lengths of hoses because you do not know how accessible or the proximity of the water supply. The best pipes for this purpose should have quick connect ends. You may also need to have a water filter just in case the water supply has some debris.

Binoculars

The significance of RV is for leisure and touring new places. You need to watch features of interest, and a good pair of binoculars can support that exploration. A nice, quality and affordable pair can be found here.

Bottle/can opener

You do not need crooked crazy ways like table ledges and lighters to open your drinks. A simple bottle opener presents an elegant way of opening bottles,without the possibility of damaging your furniture, or yourself.

Dishes/Cooking utensils

Just like at home, these are essential in the RV. They are significant in preparing and serving meals. Check them because you do not want challenges in acquiring meals. Storing your dishes so that they do not rattle and fall is also important, and there are some compact, creative inventions for that which can be found by clicking here.

Firewood

Campfires are a must during camping. They gather campers around for storytelling and keeping warm, and wood, naturally, is essential for creating these fires.

Folding chairs

Folding chairs save space in the RV and are necessary if you require seating occasions during camping. Here are some high quality chairs that will last and not break the bank in the process.

Jacket/Raincoat

Weather can be unpredictable especially when camping in areas you are not familiar with. This demands you pack Jackets and Raincoats in the RV to cope with the cold or rainy weather that may preside. Some high quality, effective and cost friendly raincoats can be found by clicking here.

Maps and GPS

Although not essential maps and GPS can be useful for adventurous campers that explore new places. You do not want to get lost at the same time you want to locate some essential amenities in your road trip or camping. Here is an example of a Garmin GPS that can be used (the exact one that Melissa (AKA One Nomad Woman) personally uses and trusts.

Matches/lighter

Matches and lighters are important to pack. You will definitely need fire. A lighter is easier and safer and more reliable to use than matches most times, as matches need to resist water to avoid any failures. Note that many times you will have no shopping center around camping sites to shop for matches.

Pillows, blankets, sheets

Most people camp for just a day or for several days at a time. You need to pack sufficient beddings to be comfortable while sleeping –  comfortable pillows to support your neck and other temperature appropriate bedclothes to cover yourself and your possible guests.

Plastic bags (large and small)

Plastic bags are essential in the storage of items while camping. They are water proof, therefore, they protect your sensitive items against insects and water. Sometimes you need to consume a portion of food and store the remaining. Plastic bags are also useful in such instances.

Pots and pans

These are essential for preparing meals. You do not want to package raw food only to forget the cooking appliances. A great, small, light and compact set can be found by clicking here.

Road flares

Road flares are quite famous. You will need flares in case of an accident or a breakdown at night. Flares communicate distress to other road users and can be used to signal for help. Many people recognize flares and they can, therefore, respond to your call. Some affordable flares can be found here.

Shovel (small folding type)

On your recreational tour, you may need to dig up the ground for disposal of organic waste or if your RV ends up stuck in the sand. This means you need to have a shovel in the RV, and a small folding shovel is the best because it takes up very little of the already limited space you may have in your RV. Something like this may be appropriate.

Towels

Showering is a necessity. You can also engage in swimming or some water activities that make you wet. Staying wet can make the body cold, and you, therefore, need to have towels in your for drying your body. There are some great camp towels that fold into small space and dry very quickly after use and can be found here. You will also need kitchen towels to dry your utensils.

Trash bags and garbage containers

There is no need to pollute the camping environment or litter your RV. Carry trash bags and containers to help manage waste. These are buried easily or carried to a proper disposal site.

Umbrellas

You need to stay dry even in the rainy weather. Thus you really need an umbrella in your RV. Imagine a situation where you need to sneak through the rain to some outside amenity without an umbrella. Yea, that would be the moment you wished you had one. 

Once you have checked that all the above items are in place, you can now pack necessary clothing and toiletries for your tour. All these will prepare you for an enjoyable camping experience and a way to handle emergencies, assisting you in enjoying peace of mind in any situation. Do not just hop into your RV, always plan everything ahead and countercheck your list of essentials before departure.

This article was shared by a guest blogger, and his bio, information and link to his helpful website SAFETYMART can be found below! 

Author Bio: Dennis Kaminski is the owner of the website Safetymart. SafetyMart helps customers ranging from private businesses to government/municipal agencies, both large and small to address their safety needs and requirements. 

 

 

Pros and Cons of Being A Digital Nomad Woman Working In Turkey

Your first love is always the most poignant, the one you never forgot. But what do you do when it’s two first loves? I fell in love in Turkey, no not a Shirley Valentine affair, well maybe but not about a man. As a digital nomad, I fell in love with Istanbul and Alanya. Alanya on the Mediterranean coast was my very first love affair with a town. I can still remember my first sight of it lit up by the morning sun, took my breath away. My second love came more slowly, the eternal dance of romance and excitement with an exotic flavour. So how come I fell in love? Like any good story, I must start in the middle somewhere!

I am a digital nomad. What I hear you say? Well, according to Wikipedia, “A digital nomad is someone who leverages technology and the internet to work remotely and more generally conducts their lifestyle in a nomadic manner.” I love the term, a ‘nomad’, ‘a wanderer’, ‘someone who carries their home with them’ and I think ‘digital nomad’ describes me perfectly. I will be honest, after university I could not settle, I tried a few career paths but never seemed to ‘own’ them. Always restless, constantly looking for something else, although did not know what that was. Thankfully the experience I gained during this time morphed into the work I love doing now. I travel with no constraining schedule and have blended my job and life into something I feel comfortable with.

I choose Turkey as the first stop on my travelling, working, journey. The reasons? I had a few. First, it was near enough to home as a backup. Being honest here. It was different enough to challenge me, a new culture, a different religious background. Turkey’s history also showed it has a very long tradition of welcoming travellers. The juxtaposition between East and West that is Turkey appealed to me and seemed to be the perfect place for a newly fledged digital nomad. The modern amenities, the availability of recognisable branding – call me shallow but it’s important to me: along with new and different opportunities. And finally the chance of a simpler, less fast-paced life that offered me the opportunity to live the lifestyle I choose but at a cheaper cost than in Europe or America.

I was not disappointed. Turkish culture welcomes you with open arms, well the people do. The bureaucracy is rather tedious and long winded. Very frustrating, recently residency visas have been complicated enough to remove love’s rose-coloured glasses. The weather is fabulous, imagine going for a swim then sitting using the beach bar’s free internet to work in December. Yes, you can still go to the beach in December on the Med coast. The downside is July and August, too many tourists and 50° heat. Not a good combination for a freelance worker. When it’s too hot to think, and your fingers stick to the keyboard, it’s time to visit Istanbul.

My other love is frenetic, lively, romantic, historical, Istanbul. Autumn is a great time to be there, great food, lower numbers of tourists. A lot more expensive to live than in other areas of Turkey but that is the cost of living in a city. Finding time to work here is the problem so much to see and do. Internet access, essential to a digital nomad is available in Turkey in theory 4G. The reality, slow speed, black spots all over the city and recent increase in banned sites makes a great job slightly more of a chore.

Being a woman traveller on her own can bring with it all sorts of safety issues, but I can truly say not been an issue. Obviously, you take precautions and do not wander dark city street alone, that only leaves the rather pushy traders, and the imaginative bill tariffs to be dealt with.

I think my ménage à trois would have continued for slightly longer if the practicalities of life had not stepped in. As a freelancer, it is convenient and practical to use online banking, in particularly PayPal and Skrill. Both have been banned in Turkey in the past year, making life far more complicated than this Nomad wanted. So, bags packed, tears shed and off to pastures new.

As I sit in in the Villa Rosiche, not far from the famous Slaveikov Square in Sofia eating one of their delicious pastries I reflect on my first loves. They will never be forgotten as is only right but what I gained from living there will always be with me. As a nomad, even after falling in love the travelling calls to me. My time in Turkey taught me I can deal with difficulties, I am resourceful and confident. And now it is time to see what a new love can offer. Bulgaria brings it on.

This article has been carefully prepared by Inga, a guest blogger for the One Nomad Woman site, and her bio can be found below 🙂

Author Bio: Inga Lindstrom is a marketing professional from Gothenburg, Sweden. She works as a freelance digital marketer in her free time and her dream is to do that as her full time business. Inga likes traveling around the world enjoying beautiful beaches and dramatic shorelines.

The Game Changer  

We met online. I was searching for her on the typical sites for months, but coming across the usual “out of my league and secret desires” types if you know what I mean. But then, I found the one. The one who would end up testing my faith, my perseverance, my temper, my determination to make it work, and most of all my willingness to stop at nothing to follow my dreams and intuition that had led me to her to begin with. I knew that we were meant for one another right from the start even before we met in person. Her name was Samsara. 

Samsara

Her pale skin with the fading grey lines that showed her age. The sad, tear soaked darkness that permeated every corner inside of her. The neglect and disregard she has been subject to… all made her more appealing to me somehow. She was just what I needed, and I was just what she needed.

We didn’t actually meet in person until a couple of months later, after the summer was over and fall had begun to creep in with its majestic ways of making everything look so different in such a short time. I remember it was very humid and I felt like I was breathing in the heat from a steaming shower as I stepped out of the airport terminal in Florida. This would be where our future began. In the dirty south, surrounded by white sand beaches, beautiful friends and family, and trash cans. Lots and lots of trash cans.

You see, Samsara and I needed to purge together, to expel and recreate, this is one of the reasons why we met. This is why we are here now. We began seeing each other right away, everyday, beginning at 10am, and ending at 4pm, like clockwork. She couldn’t refuse because well, she was so turned off she couldn’t budge. Just sat there obediently as I ran my fingers over every bit of her. I promised that she would learn to like it. It would just take some time.

We got off to a slow start, spending some hours getting to know each other more intimately. I searched around and began pulling her apart bit by bit, exposing her sensitive spots and getting to the core of who she was. All the while wondering who we would become together, how we would serve each other.

The therapy and treatments, (that’s what I like to call them although I am no doctor) have lasted for almost nine weeks now and I must admit I feel that it has been effective. She has a brighter outlook. She purrs when I turn her on now, and is literally glowing inside. I invited some friends to come and play with her once things began to turn around and the trash cans were gone. Each of her new guests approached her with respect, and admiration for who she was becoming, and decorated her with small gifts in one way or another. She seemed to like the extra attention.

I feel that soon we will be ready to meet many more guests along the Americas as we travel together. Enjoying meals, sunsets, mountains, and forests along the way. Perhaps we will see the desert as well and camp for some time there. I am open to where she can take me, and looking forward to sharing new experiences with her.

I have found a new home for the now. It is neither here nor there, as it can be almost anywhere. I dream of the journey as if its in the future, although I know that it is already partly in the past, perhaps its a lesson on presence, and making the now last.

If you have been wondering where I have been, now you know. For the past three months I have been in love with a machine. Her name is Samsara.

samsara, nirvana, van life, RV, class B, Ford Van,

Saṃsāra is a Sanskrit word that means “wandering” or “world”, with the connotation of cyclic, circuitous change. It also refers to the theory of rebirth and “cyclicality of all life, matter, existence”, a fundamental assumption of all Indian religions. Saṃsāra is sometimes referred to with terms or phrases such as transmigration, karmic cycle, reincarnation, and “cycle of aimless drifting, wandering or mundane existence.

 

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