By Maggie -- Jul 01, 2014
We met Amanda, Mike and Max Krueger through Instagram. That sounds weird, right? Well, we would have never guessed it either but meeting people through IG is becoming the norm for us. Like Facebook, users can follow other users, but what makes Instagram different is the fact that you can search for people who share the same interests as you do. By adding a #hashtag to a photo that you post, you're putting that photo into a category and it's now searchable to the rest of instagram users (millions of them). That's how Amanda found us - by searching the hashtag for the Outer Banks: #obx (I had posted a photo on Instagram and had added the same hashtag, #obx). She saw we had an old trailer and that we had planned on coming to Virginia, and she wrote us a comment letting us know we were welcome to stay on her property for as long as we wanted.
We emailed her that night letting her know we'd love to stay with her. Is it bizarre that we're meeting random strangers on instagram? Maybe... but the beauty of it is that we could look at Amanda's instagram page and see that by the content she had posted (she has been on instagram well over a year, so there's lots of photos) that she's a super cool chick.
Instagram is one of the main tools that has made our trip so exciting. We connect on a daily basis with other people - young and old, couples, singles, families, etc - that are doing the same thing we are: traversing the country on a camping adventure with a vehicle and a rig. We give each other tips, encouragement, advice, and virtual high-fives. We've met people like Malimish Airstream, who is a husband and father of three, living with his family in an Airstream, and coincidentally hails from San Pedro. Or the couple known as New Oregon Trail, who spent a year converting an old school bus into an RV and is now on the road full-time. These people are other road warriors who have packed up their lives and decided to live out of a small box with wheels, and they wouldn't have it any other way.
But back to Amanda and Mike - I can't help but gush about them - they're just so cool. They live on a house that overlooks a small part of the Chesapeake Bay. It's like they're camping every single day. They have a 10 year old son, Max, who they homeschool. He's really into collecting sea glass, pokemon, and building stuff. Amanda is a graphic designer and works from home. Mike is an artist and manages a screen print shop. The house is several levels, and they have tons of fun stuff to do, like kayaks, a hammock, you name it. All of which, they pointed out, were free finds - either given to them by friends, found on the street, or off of the Craigslist Free section. They also have a 1969 Shasta trailer out back, and are in the process of re-vamping it.
We arrived around 4ish and were welcomed by Amanda and Max. As Amanda and I stood there chatting, one of the first things Max said to us was "wow, you two are strikingly similar". Mind you, he's 10! We looked at each other and both said, "yeah, you're right!". We're both tall, brunettes, and both had messy buns in our hair. After getting to know Amanda more and more, it became almost eerie how similar we actually are. Her dad works at Northrup Grumman, we both love thrift stores and cooking, and we share a lot of the same views on stuff, etc. etc.
Ryan and I wanted to repay them for their generosity and so we went to the store and bought some brats and chicken and we decided to BBQ. After dinner, we took a quick kayak ride to check out the huge hawks and herons that live in the trees by the water (they have eagles in this area!) then the five of us played Apples to Apples and set off fireworks in the backyard by the bonfire.
It's all been so serendipitous and wonderful. We were originally planning on leaving today, but we just couldn't get ourselves to do it. Instead we took a day trip to Colonial Williamsburg and biked around in the heat and humidity. Amanda invited us to go to her dad's house tonight for dinner. He lives right on the water that's well known for collecting sea glass. We're relishing our remaining time here. I think we've made some life-long friends thanks to Instagram!
I'll update this post tomorrow after we leave. Our next stop: Washington, D.C.
Oh and P.S. Yes that's their kitten and yes it's so cute I could cry.
UPDATE: Wine and cheese at Colonial Williamsburg, checking out the colonial gardens and riding bikes through the streets, dinner at Amanda's dad's house at the beach in Hampton, Amanda finds some sunglasses on the beach, we hunt for sea glass and find a TON of it, We're sad to leave these wonderful folks but happy to have met them :)