When we first started our ventures into being commited snowbirders, we had to decide what options were best for us. Having enjoyed many years of visiting the Florida Keys during our working years, we felt we would still like to head down that way, so we began to look at our options.
Off the cuff, I filled out a volunteer form for the Florida State Parks, without any expectation of hearing anything further from my application. Needless to say, we were pleasantly surprised when we had an email from the volunteer coordinator at a certain park that we really wanted to spend time at. Without further thought of what we wanted out of our future camping experiences, we decided to jump in with all feet and go into the experience of volunteering as campground hosts in the Florida Keys.
Before we knew it, we were in the campground that we had asked for with big (innocent) grins on our faces. We knew that we would be campground hosts, but were not sure of the duties we would be expected to carry out. However, we were quite happy to discover that our duties included not only cleaning campgrounds, but also the shower and restroom facilities on the properties.
To be honest, we were so excited to be offered the opportunity to have full hookups (electricity, water and sewer) for as many months as we chose to do, that we really did not mind having to act as janitors for a few hours a day.
We enjoyed our first volunteering experience, which not only revolved around meeting campers and having the daily satisfaction of cleaning washrooms for the campers, but we especially enjoyed the experience of working with other like-minded volunteers.
Having completed a few more seasons at the same campground, we are now ready to try our volunteer skills on the other side of the country, at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. This stint will last six weeks, giving us ample time to experience the hot air balloon world, as well as get to know the town of Albuquerque. Because we have always 'free camped' in BLM lands out west, this will be an interesting experiment to see if we will want to return to the venue to volunteer again.
The point of bringing up the subject of alternative snow-birding options, is that we will always have the option of being able to camp in the middle of nowhere with the use of our solar panels and good water supplies, but sometimes, it makes life interesting to change it up a notch and make friends with other travelers who have their own tales to tell of what brings them to the same places we are in.
Also, because we are not very rich, we cannot afford to even think of spending months in the RV resorts that many people migrate to on an annual basis. We have to think outside the box, in order to experience the wonderful sights of Florida and California, which can be very expensive if we don't have an alternative plan.
The pictures below will give an idea of why we love the Florida Keys in the winter.