SEAN & JULIE CHICKERY
BACKGROUND/BIO: After serving 20 years in the US Air Force, we knew we needed to keep moving and experience this beautiful country more fully. We’re currently traveling full time in our Heartland Cyclone (pulled by our Chevy Silverado HD) with our pretty kitty, Callie. We are enjoying our version of slow travel, where we take the time to enjoy the local area beyond the typical tourist attractions. We are currently touring the Southeast and will spend the rest of 2017 exploring Florida.
We choose Florida this year because we were stationed there twice during our military careers in Fort Walton Beach and Tampa. Unfortunately, as often happens, we didn’t experience nearly as much as we wanted. Our lives were focused on the day to day activities of life—work, school, and extracurricular with three busy boys. Now the boys are grown, and we are taking our time to see everything we missed! We’re starting on the Atlantic side of the state, traveling down the coast and into the Keys. Then we will make our way west to the Gulf of Mexico side and travel up the coast, and around the panhandle. We also realize in case of hurricanes, we may have to make adjustments, but that’s the beauty of RV travel. Have wheels, can move!
We aren’t retired or on permanent vacation. We’re working and living on the road. Initially upon retiring from the Air Force, we both pursued professional careers. We have been fortunate enough to continue them remotely. Sean, a Doctor in Health Science, is a Medical Research Study Manager, and Julie is a Content Manager. Because we still essentially have 9-5 jobs, we like to stay in locations a little longer to allow ourselves the time to explore the local area. We typically stay in place for 2 to 4 weeks, and only move a few hours’ drive before stopping at the next place.
THE RIG: We live and travel in a Heartland Cyclone 4200 Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler. We use the garage as our office, and guest room when we have company. We chose a fifth wheel because the layout and design felt more “homey” to us.
PET/S: We have a beautiful Calico cat, Callie, that travels with us. When stopped at a location, she enjoys sitting in the sun, looking out the window.
CAMPING PREFERENCE: We like our creature comforts, which is why we choose this the large fifth wheel, so we prefer full hook-up campgrounds. We have a residential refrigerator and three air conditioners, which means we need 50-amp power. We are living and working in our RV, not camping. We require a signal for our Wi-Fi hotspots and cell phones. These factors typically lead us to RV Parks/Resorts although we also enjoy staying at military campgrounds when one crosses our path. In addition, we mix in state campgrounds when they have full hookups and can accommodate our size. Over the next six months, we plan to stay at 2 military bases, 2 state parks, and 3 commercial campgrounds.
FULL TIME EXPERIENCE: We first full timed in our RV in and around the Tampa area from June 2014 to June 2016 while Sean was still in the Air Force at MacDill Air Force Base. After he retired from the Air Force, we took a one-year break to allow Sean to take advantage of a career opportunity in the Washington DC area. We are now back to full timing in our RV, and have no plans to stop anytime soon. We just left Northern Virginia and plan to travel through the Carolinas and Georgia on our way to Florida, where we plan to spend 10 months touring the state.
NOTABLE BAD EXPERIENCE: We’ve been very lucky in our RV adventures and haven’t had any mishaps. The worst thing for us is the dreaded back in spot. We’ve practiced in large lots, and Julie will feel totally confident with her directing duties, but exchange the orange cones for RVs in a campground and its meltdown city. It usually ends in tears, and friendly neighbor taking over while Julie has a glass of wine.
TOP CAMPING SPOT: Fort Belvoir in Northern Virginia is definitely our top spot to stay. It’s a beautiful small park located along the shore of the Potomac River 30 minutes outside of Washington D.C. The campground has 52 paved full hook up sites, each with a picnic table and fire ring. Castle Park, two fishing piers and Accotink Wildlife Refuge hiking trails are all within walking distance from the campground. The main office offers additional services to include: firewood, bait, ice, and ice cream sales as well as recreation equipment rentals. This is a military base and only accessible by active and retired military members and DoD civilians.
FAVORITE MOMENT: One of our favorite moments was getting back in our RV after a one-year hiatus. When Sean was offered a unique career opportunity, we put the RV in storage and returned to city life in the metro DC area. After two years in our RV, this was a big change. We found we didn’t really want to fill the townhouse with stuff. We didn’t even want to unpack things we had brought out of storage. Instead, we found ourselves longing to return to the simple life of the RV. The day we moved back in, we were so happy in our 360 square feet of bliss that we didn’t even want to go outside!
WHY FULL TIME?: We’ve been travelers our whole lives. For the last 20 years, we served in the Air Force and moved every 2-4 years. As we were anticipating our transition to civilian life, we knew it would be difficult to stay in one place. While we’ve lived in nine different states, there is still so much more of the United States we want to see. Without any RVing experience, we purchased a 45’ fifth wheel and diesel truck. The first two years, we stayed in and around the Tampa area while Sean finished his military career. We’ve always been flexible, and when Sean was offered an exceptional career opportunity we seized it and took a one-year break. This year we are back on the road, working remotely, and excited to see more of the south. We have no regrets, and are excited about continuing this lifestyle into the foreseeable future.