Have you been wondering why I’ve been quiet on this blog? I’d like to catch you up with where I’ve been. Last winter 2021-2022, I took a break from blogging to finish my newest novel (Montana SEAL Protector came out Feb. 2022), and then we traveled to visit family before taking jobs in May as workampers at Camp Hatteras for the summer!
Here is an aerial view of Camp Hatteras. There are 400 campsites here, with sites on both the ocean side and the sound side. We are camped on the ocean side. It’s just a short walk to the beach from our motorhome.
For some travel writers, their blog or YouTube channel is their entire job. But for me, I’ve been a published novelist and freelance author for thirteen years. My first book signing at Burkes in Memphis back in 2009 seems like ages ago and I’ve had many adventures since then. Now I’m having them in a motorhome!
In Nov. 2020, we moved into the motorhome full-time and I started this blog as a way to share my travels with friends and family. I’ve been thrilled that so many of my readers have wanted to follow along with me.
We wintered in Clewiston, Florida in the 2021-2022 season, which is sugar cane country, in the middle of FL near Lake Okeechobee. There’s not much there other than the cane fields, but that was good for writing. I wrote my seventh Brotherhood Protector book there and we took day trips to explore FL sites. I had planned to return to Wild Deadwood Reads in Deadwood, SD again this summer to sign books and spend time with readers and author friends. Then diesel prices went way up. We have a 43 ft Tiffin Allegro Bus/motorhome which is diesel, and we pull a Colorado truck which is also diesel. So we started looking for summer jobs as workampers. What, you might ask, is workamping?
Workamping is an arrangement for a period of time where you work in exchange for your RV site fees. Some jobs, such as the ones we accepted, also offer full hook-up utilities and an hourly rate. We have other perks such as cable, ice-cream at the ice-cream social, hot dog lunch on hot dog day, and a tie-dyed t-shirt on tie-dye day.
This summer, we’re working at Camp Hatteras, in Rodanthe, N.C. which is in the Outer Banks on Hatteras Island North Carolina. I’ve always wanted to live on the beach, and this places us five hours from our kids and grandkids, so it’s a great summer job for us. My children and grandchildren came to visit and to celebrate my 60th birthday, which was the best present I could ever have asked for.
It is beautiful here and I’m learning what it’s like to live on an island on the outer banks. Life on a sandbar is unique and I think you have to experience it to truly get it. Yes, I will set a novel here.
For now, I’m collecting information, photos and experiences for future writings. I’ve also started writing a book about our first year of full-time RV living and traveling, to share with you how we “sold it all” to begin this new lifestyle and the 109-day trip we took from Ohio to CA to see the redwoods and back to Memphis, TN. I’m only about eleven pages in but its a start. I sometimes write poems and I’m collecting the beach-themed ones into a poetry book with that theme. And of course, I’m also at work on book eight in the Brotherhood Protectors series which should be out in December. It’s common for me to have multiple book projects, generally, around thirteen or fourteen of them started at any given time. If you’re a writer and you have story ideas, you must get them written down, or like dreams, they drift away.
Back to workamping. What are these jobs like? There are workamper jobs all over the country. Each setting is different of course, and that can be part of the fun. I’ve met workampers who come back every season to work at the same place and workampers who change locations each time to see another part of the country, who enjoy that variety. For those of you who have asked, how can you afford to travel in a motorhome? Workamping is one way.
I’m lucky in that I can write anywhere and run my little publishing house from wherever I am. My husband started to get bored after eighteen months of being “retired.” People kept saying he was retired and he would say, “No, but I owned my own business for twenty-three years. So I’m taking a day off.” He certainly had earned it. Our 109-day trip out west took a good chunk of that eighteen months off, visiting family took another chunk, and I was on the opposite end of what he was experiencing work-wise. I got behind on writing and publishing though I did manage to get one book out in 2021, and another out in Feb. 2022. Last winter we sat still, in a more remote RV park on purpose, so I could get that Feb book done.
Now, in my new job at Camp Hatteras, I work at the front desk, evening shift, which is from 3:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Mike works security, the evening shift which has similar hours that vary just a bit and he also does some maintenance. The setting at the camp is beautiful and it’s fun meeting all the travelers and the other workampers. We work weekends, so our days off fall mid-week. This is when we do our exploring of the islands and I do my research for future books. I work four days a week, one day we have off together for exploring, a second day off we do our grocery restocking and errands, and the third day is for writing and laundry. In between all that, I squeeze a little more writing in where I can as well as any other book-related business.
Many new things are coming, and I will post more travel blogs here, from NC as I can, so stay tuned for more beautiful days.
For more about Camp Hatteras, the only oceanfront to sound front camping in North Carolina visit: https://www.camphatteras.com/
Family-owned since 1991. Over 400 sites with concrete pads. Enjoy full hookups, the beach, sunsets on the sound side, a tennis court, indoor and outdoor pools, hot tub, shuffleboard, miniature golf, basketball, children’s playground, bike rentals, bathhouses, activities, and a fenced dog park with a washing station.
For more about Debra and her travels, check out her YouTube channel. Right now its raw videos uploaded with no editing or commentary. When she has more time she will update them.
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