Happy New Year!

After Alice and I were done spazzing out over the amazingness of where we were, a beach patrol woman rolled up. She informed us that the tide was going to move in quite a bit and if we didn’t want to get washed away, we better move.


Because we were a little confused by the signage posted, we took this opportunity to confirm with her that it was legal and free to camp on the beach. She affirmed this and pulled out a map to show us where to move so we would be safe from the incoming tide. We packed up our boards, moved to where the beach opened up (more driving on the sand! Eeek!) and settled safely into our new spot.

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We spent the evening drinking mimosas, dancing and laughing. As the clock was nearing midnight, I announced to Alice that we should run to the sea and ring in the new year with our feet in the Gulf of Mexico. It was near freezing temps and the wind was blowing strong enough to rock Mander but we agreed this was a grand idea and stripped off our socks. I pulled up the countdown on my phone and we tumbled out the door and onto the beach. With the last 10 seconds of 2017 remaining, we started towards the Gulf.

Sounds perfectly cenematic, no? Two best of friends, free spirited and slightly tipsy on mimosas, go frolicking towards the sea barefooted, in wild abandonment to ring in the new year. Is this the image in your head? Well let me tell you, you’re WRONG. This is how it went down. I was running with a drink in one hand and my phone in the other desperately trying to keep track of the countdown. That left no hands free to move the hair out of my eyes that the wind was determined to keep there. Basically, I was running blind and yelling, “I can’t see! I can’t seeeeee!” like a total nerd dead set on telling time. Meanwhile, Alice took off like a bullet only to trip over her own feet and end up on all fours. We made it to the water and HOLY S&%T it was cold! We hooted and hollered, welcomed in the new year and before anyone could say boo, we started back towards the warmth of Mander. Alice wiped out one more time for good measure and by the time we reached Mander, it felt like I was walking on nubs. Feeling like amputees, we managed to climb back into Mander, full of salt water and sand. It may not have been a graceful moment but it was honestly the best ringing in of a new year I’ve ever had.

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Atreyu, the definition of party animal.

We spent the next couple days enjoying the views from Mander and waiting out the weather. I swear, I’ve never met anyone that has the tolerance to just chill for as long as I can without going stir crazy. Since we were kinda Mander ridden, I really appreciated that Alice was as content as I was to be confined to less than 200 square feet! We did pop outside from time to time, but it wasn’t very welcoming. We were still under a wind advisory which made the windchill way below freezing. If you went outside it didn’t take long before your face was frozen and you had a mouth full of sand.

On what ended up being our last day, the wind died down and it was finally warm enough to be outside for any length of time. Like the true pet Mama that I am, I couldn’t wait to plop Moonchi in the sand so she could experience the beach for the first time! Unfortunately, it was all a bit much for her and she wanted to go back inside pretty quick but she did manage to look incredibly majestic for a few minutes.

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 Alice and I took a walk along the beach towards a restaurant to hook up to some internet. When we returned, there was a very polite warning stuck in Mander’s door saying we were illegally parked. Turns out you must buy a $12 yearly pass for the island and then camping on the beach is free. Since we were planning on leaving in the morning anyway, we just packed up early and left that evening. No harm, no foul. If you get a chance to camp on South Padre Island, I would say it’s well worth the $12 and I would have paid if I had known. I mean, c’mon, at $12 a year you could have your very own beach house! That’s a deal of a lifetime.

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We said our goodbyes to this beautiful location and headed out. The parts for Alice’s transmission had come in, so it was time to get our butts back to Austin. We had our fun but now Alice had a transmission to rebuild! I am so grateful that we jumped at the opportunity to go on this adventure together and it’s surely one that I will never-ever-ever-ever ever-ever forget. I had a party at my house on the beach for NYE! Yes, maybe a party of two and yes, the house is a motorhome but if you know me at all, you know that it couldn’t have been more fitting.

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#tbt ringing in the new year on South Padre Island….. after hunkering down for days, waiting out the freezing temps and wind that rocked Mander as if she was an actual boat at sea, the clouds finally parted. I awoke to see a sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico, right outside my window. I quickly layered up and ran outside to get a better view. This was a moment I had dreamed about. I sucked it in with the cold morning air. I turned around to head back and saw Mander looking teeny tiny, under an almost full moon with my shadow stretched far and long. I hadn't pictured this view in all my dreamin' but dare I say it was better than the sunrise. A beautiful interpretation of what Mander really is. A small vessel that makes me stretch myself in ways I never knew and rewards me in ways I never dreamed of. She is my magic little adventure mobile, fueled by love and I'll never tire of looking at her.

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Please consider donating to my Gas Money Pool on Paypal by clicking here. Any donation goes straight into Mander’s tank. At 6 mpg it sure costs a lot to keep the old girl on the road. With your help, I can continue to collect stories and take pictures to share with you on my blog and Instagram. Thank you for being a part of my journey!

You can also support me by shopping my vintage clothes collection, Freedom to Roam. These clothes are found at various thrift stores across the U.S. and purchases help keep me roaming!

Until next time, much love and Mander on!

14 response to "Happy New Year!"

  1. By: Andrew Jarvis Posted: May 4, 2018

    Just enjoyed your video on youtube from the Tiny Homes channel and looked up your blog. I was wondering if you are thinking of crossing the border? Wouldn´t life be a lot cheaper and more adventurous heading south?

    • By: agirlandhercommander Posted: May 4, 2018

      Maybe eventually but as of right now, I’m having plenty of adventure and minus the gas, living pretty frugally! I’m content exploring the states.

      • By: Andrew Jarvis Posted: May 4, 2018

        I hope one day to do the same. I´ve always had wanderlust and backpacked for most of the 80´s .Became domesticated after marriage although I´ve moved my family to 4 different countries around the world over the last 10 yrs. Always thought a bus or RV conversion will be what I end up with once our son has flown the nest and the U.S is really the best place to start, but I imagine I´d head south through central America and end up somewhere like Ecuador. Anyway, thanks for helping keep the dream alive 😉

  2. By: eremophila Posted: May 4, 2018

    Life I believe, is meant to be filled with times like this. Memorable.

  3. By: Emer sidehack Posted: May 4, 2018

    You go kiddo! Build those memories. Lots of free spots in the states. Try BLM lands. Cheep Rvlining is a great site to start. Great suggestions. And if you and your friend get along so well. You should travel together. You can take yours for a while and hers next time. Also if you take a heat gun and a plastic scrapper to the Com on Commander Mander won’t get confused. 😆
    Always be safe. Emer

    • By: agirlandhercommander Posted: May 5, 2018

      Thanks for reading! I’m on a BLM as we speak. 🙂 she’s not fulltime but maybe someday! I don’t think I could strip mander of her full title. She will always be a Commander! 😀

      • By: Emer sidehack Posted: May 5, 2018

        Cool but I believe you’re commander of Mander.🤗

  4. By: Michael Posted: May 5, 2018

    You’re fun to read, thank you.

  5. By: Nathan C Posted: May 5, 2018

    Had a feeling that pesky tide would come in. Life’s a beach if you’re on one, though, especially for New Years!
    Every time you post pics of your wheels, I can’t help but think of ‘Winnebago Warrior’ by the Dead Kennedys.
    A bit dated, but still awesome…much like Mander, and you are a true yankee pioneer!

  6. By: mikeandnikki Posted: May 5, 2018

    Loving your blog. Life is to short to stay in one place. Happy travels
    Mike x

  7. By: James Lande, Old China Books Posted: July 17, 2019

    Sunrise Mander – great shot! May all your new years be happy ones.

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