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The sky was not the only thing weeping yesterday.  Just getting somewhat lost took me out of any kind of positivity.  I couldn't take going back to a place we found comfort in combined with the difficulty of getting back there.  How are we going to make this work?  We have failed to find places to stay and everyone we meet has a surprised reaction to learn of our plans to stick in Costa Rica for 90 days.  This could be due to our limited understanding of Spanish and/or our lack of plans.  Then we are told of the dangers that lurk at night in areas less traveled.  It seems almost everyone has had their own experience or knows someone who has been robbed.   See more

Leaving Knoxville late at night, we stopped at a Walmart to rest for the night. At this particular Walmart, we were chancing our luck not to be towed away. Even with "No Overnight RV Parking"  signs posted, we figured it would be okay since others were more than obviously parked for the night. Safety in numbers, right!? The restless night went by and eventually I fell fast asleep.  Early in the morning, Josh woke to make our way to The Great Smokey Mountains.  Beyond exhausted, we stopped at an outdoor store to stock up on cooking fuel.  The store yet to open, Josh climbed back into bed for a couple hours to wait it out.  When we woke, the parking lot was full and Josh headed in.   He was lucky to come out with fuel as he mentioned the store was mainly for tourists with money burning in their pockets. Still bring a bit early, we made our way to a visitors center just outside the park. This feeling like yet another tourist trap, we found ourselves back in bed again.

Our excessive morning sleep caused us to head into the Smokies later than expected, but we pushed forward. Upon entering the park's main Visitor's Center, we were faced with the worst part of the only free (and most visited) National Park on the country- traffic. It's like Christmas-time traffic where everyone is busy getting somewhere, distracted and in some kind of dumb-founded bubble. Drivers aren't kind here for the most part. It took us a few circles to find parking and due to traffic chaos mixed with growling bellies and petty arguing follows suit. We finally made into the visitor center which was littered with aimlessly wandering tourists showing souvenir hunger in their eyes.   See more

While staying with The Spiels in Ohio, we all decided to have a camping adventure together.  With that, we loaded up their little Nissan Versa with our gear and hit the road.  A combination of Google searching and local inquiries somehow lead us in search of Wildcat Hollow in the Wayne National Forest.  The drive up to our campsite was both entertaining and beautiful.  We passed through the dilapidated old town of Chauncey (Pronounced "CHAN-see" by the locals for some weird reason).  Run-down houses and barns floated by on either side as we made our way through town.  The brick buildings of Chauncey's downtown were mere empty shells of what it must have been in years past.  An old farmer sat on cracked steps next to his John Deere push mower, his cigarette hanging from his lip as if permanently affixed.  He watched as we passed by which made me contemplate... "I wonder what he thinks of us?"   See more

Coming into Columbus started out on a positive note as we had just skydived that day, but quickly turned into shambles. Everything was STUPID!! The only things people could suggest for us to do were parks, walking, museums, and biking. Which just couldn’t live up to the thrill of jumping from 13,000 ft out of a plane. We spent a few days bickering with a final blow up that drove us to leave and never had an intent to return!

After spending time in The Plains and winging our way to Cleveland, we found ourselves giving Columbus a second chance. This time around we weren’t hyped up on adrenaline and seeking our next fix. And this time we had a challenge: no van and no plans past somewhere to sleep that for the first night. At first glance Columbus appears to be a small town with small neighborhoods surrounding it, but we came to find out it has the 15th largest population of any city in the U.S. with diverse people and LOTS and LOTS of food.

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So how does one eat when living in a van with no refrigerator or cooler?  Surprisingly... quite well!  Being van dwellers and backpackers, space, weight and budget are always limited, making dehydrated foods a typical theme for our meals.  Wait, isn't "dehydrated meal" synonymous with "tastes like crap"?  With a little experimentation and the proper dehydrated veggies and meat-ish bits, the answer is a resounding NO!  We thought we'd put together a little video showing you one of our typical meals and just what goes into it.  How's it taste?  We think it's delicious, but don't take our work for it.  Try it yourself!   See more

Before we leave our van behind and head to Costa Rica, we wanted to answer some of the most common questions we get while living and traveling in our van.  How do we do it?  What does our van look like inside? Where do we keep all our stuff?  It only looks like you have enough for a long vacation... don't you have anything else?  We've mentioned in previous posts that we are minimalists.  Hopefully this video will give you a better idea of what we mean.  We'll show you just how little you really need to survive a life of van dwelling adventures.  So come along with us for the tour...   See more

Ok, ok we know.  Chicago happened in July and August.  It’s now November.  Wait, what!?  November!?  Time definitely flies when you are not required to monitor it.  Either way, we spent 12 days hanging in and around Chicago and managed to accumulate a few pictures and memories while we were there.  Interested?  Cool.  We knew you would be.  With that... a few of our cherished memories from our time spent in the Windy City:   See more

For those who've just come across our blog, or who might be unfamiliar with Achromatopsia (Meisha's eye condition), the quick rundown:

In the retina, our eyes have rods and cones. In short, cones process light, color and are responsible for much of our visual acuity. Rods are primarily for night vision. Meisha's rods are either missing or non-functioning which means: she is completely colorblind (she sees only in greyscale), extremely light sensitive (she must wear sunglasses at all times in the daylight or brightly lit rooms/buildings) and is legally blind (her vision is 20/200- 10% of that of a fully-sighted person and non-correctable). For a bit more info, definitely check out Achromatopsia.info.
 
Every other year, people with Achromatopsia and their friends/family get together for a convention. It's an opportunity for everyone to connect, share stories and learn about the advances in adaptive technologies and scientific research regarding this rare condition. It's also much, much more than that. Because we both have differing perspectives of our experience at the Achromatopsia Convention, we decided to share both of our stories in one post.

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It began with a soggy afternoon drive through the hills of Southeastern Ohio.  Green, thick, moist, lush and calm.  The trees... Ohio has more trees than I could have possibly imagined.  We exited the freeway and followed the winding roads of the Hocking Hills past pleasant little houses and grassy knolls as I stared out the foggy window contemplating what daily life might be like in this quiet little corner of the world.  Eventually, the twisted road guided us to our parking place just outside the entrance to Old Man's Cave.  We readied ourselves and wandered down the wooden stairs to find ourselves thrust into a magical place devoid of time and reality.   See more