And Now For An Update!

And Now For An Update!

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Scott and I have been busy over the past couple of weeks working on videos, photo processing and the website.  I had every intention of getting a new post up only to find it was two week later!  When you aren’t filling your time with new adventures, the time seems to fly.  I guess I need to get this ankle healed up so we can slow time down.

I thought I would take this post and give you a basic update on what all is happening with the website, Facebook and YouTube.  We are starting to see progress and attention starting to happen with all of them, but it hasn’t grown as fast as we would like it to do.  I am not quite sure if it is because we are not doing something right or if we are living in our own little bubble, but we have seen a little movement.

The Stitchntravel website is finally how it will be for a while.  I really like the template I found and have been able to tweak it just a bit here and there to get it how I want.  It seems to be user friendly and pleasing to the eye; this is such a good thing.  There has been some very positive comments about the site and that is encouraging.  It is amazing how watching a few YouTube videos can help a person to improve their work; I have been able to use the information I have learned to make the photos and meta data (computer speak for better search ability) work for us rather than against us.  Then there is the Texas State Park Project page.  That page was a hot mess for sure, but it is starting to get better.  I still have a lot of work left to do on it, but I am getting First Visit videos linked to the corresponding parks as I get them finished.  Scott is working hard on getting sign photos processed so I can have those up as well.

We are up to 85 likes on our Facebook page and have been steady with this number for the past few months.  I have been doing research in how to make the page better, but haven’t put any of that learning into practice just yet.  I  am hoping to do a “give away” soon to help us reach 100 likes soon.  I am still working on the concept so be on the lookout for that.

The biggest achievement for me, I think, is the YouTube channel.  Since learning many of the things I was doing wrong and correcting those errors, our channel is starting to gain a little attention.  We are still in the teens subscription wise, but people are starting to watch more of our videos.  There are 37 videos as of today and we are at 1,042 views of those videos.  This was actually a milestone for me because it seemed that we would never get past the 500 mark.  We have you to thank for the over 1,000 views!  Thank you so much!

When you visit the YouTube channel, you will find plenty of variety and playlists to keep you entertained.  There are the First Visit videos for the Texas State Park Project, the Outside Our Box playlist, and Ren’s Daily Vlog.  We are still learning how to put the videos together so they aren’t amazing, but I would like to think we are getting better with consistency, the visual aspect, and such.  Starting out I didn’t think there was going to be such a major learning curve, but I have gained a new, healthy appreciation and respect for those who have been making good quality videos.  I know we have improved in our processing and work on videos because you can see the difference.

Our very first video:

It was awful!  There was no structure; we just uploaded it and hoped for the best.  However, our latest video from the Outside Our Box series is rather nice, I think:

DEFINITELY AN IMPROVEMENT!

So, when you have a few minutes, stop by our YouTube channel and look at our latest videos.  Please give them a thumbs up, if you liked it; share it with your friends and help us get out there, and then subscribe to the channel so you don’t miss a video.  We love sharing our travel hobby with all of you and hope you are enjoying it as much.

lifelife-ren

 

You Do WHAT On YouTube!?

You Do WHAT On YouTube!?

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Scott and I decided, with our move to the smaller place, to not have cable TV.  For us, we don’t watch much of the regular television shows so it would be a waste of money for us.  We like to watch things like documentaries about history, places, and science where we watch on Amazon Prime.  Then of course there are the shows like Downton Abbey, Call The Midwife, and other PBS based shows that we can find on their website.  However, most of the time, Scott and I end up watching videos on YouTube.

YouTube is a good place to find information about places you want to go and we have used this to help us find information about the Texas State Parks before we visit them.  This has enabled us to find out a lot of interesting information about those parks before we go.  We also use it when we are planning our vacations, such as when we visited Davis Mountains State Park recently.  There was so much information on YouTube about Fort Davis and the area.  It enabled us to have so much more fun because we knew ahead of time some of the things to do.

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Not only do we use YouTube for travel research, we use it as a platform for education.  As you know, I have been working on our website.  Because of this I needed to learn some coding so I could enhance the site and make it the way I wanted it to be.  In order to learn how to do the coding I went to various YouTube channels.  The one channel I ended up following was LearnWebCode.  This channel is a really good place to learn coding for creating WordPress templates.

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Scott has been learning about photography and the cost of learning this in a program at a community center, community college, or photography studio is expensive.  Instead of shelling out the cash to learn in such situations, he has been able to learn what he needed to get started and more by viewing various YouTube Channels.  One of the channels is Jason Lanier’s.  Jason Lanier is an award winning photographer who loves photography and he loves teaching others.  You should really check out his channel.

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Then, of course, there is Jared Polin and his channel.  This young man has a very unique way of looking at photography and he isn’t afraid to share all the in’s and out’s of this art.  He has many different playlists and there is so much to learn from him, if you are willing to sit through some fun.  Check him out and enjoy the wackiness.

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The last of the three photography YouTube channels that Scott learned with was Professional Photography Tips with Joshua Cripps.  This channel teaches all about landscape photography.  This is another one of those crazy, goofy guys that is entertaining to watch and enjoyable to learn from.  We actually tried to connect with him when we visited Yosemite, but he was unfortunately on the wrong side of Yosemite on a job so we were unable to connect.

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The major thing we sit back and watch videos of RVer channels.  When we decided to start thinking about doing the RV lifestyle we decided we needed to do a little research, so we turned to…  you guessed it!  YOUTUBE!  Here we found a plethora of information.  There was so much that we just were not sure where to start.  That was the fun of it all.

We have many channels RVing channels we watch, but three we tend to watch the most.  The first couple we began to watch were Jason and Nikki Wynn.  Their channel is called “Gone With The Wynns” and it is well worth the time watching their videos.  Unfortunately, they are no longer in an RV, they graduated to a sailboat!  Even though they are no longer in an RV, this couple has a lot of information concerning the RV lifestyle.  Trust me, you should check out this channel because they are smart, witty, and wonderfully fun.

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The next RVing couple we started following was Chris and Cherie of Technomadia.  This is the couple who can teach you everything you need to know about going wireless with your data usage.  These two have literally written the book, well books, on the very subject and you can find out more information on those books on their website technomadia.com.  Chris, Cherie, and their amazing cat Kiki have traveled the U.S. in their restored bus Zepher.

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Our very favorite channel at this time, however, is Steve and Tess’ The More We Explore.  I think it is mainly because we found them at the very beginning of their RV journey.  These two young adventurers both had landlocked jobs and a hankering for more adventure so they decided they wanted something more out of life and looked into tiny houses and eventually decided that the RVing lifestyle was what they really wanted.  So Steve and Tess sold their house and worked toward getting an RV, mobile jobs and getting on the road.  We have actually started becoming friends and it has been wonderful getting to know them.

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So, you can see there is so much more to use YouTube for than just watching videos of cats, babies, and conspiracy theories.  You just need to open your mind and be willing to learn from people that are using a unique platform to teach and share what they know and experience.  Give it a try, I am sure you find something interesting.

lifelife-ren

Officially, I Fell Off a Mountain…

Officially, I Fell Off a Mountain…

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Saturday, July 2, I “officially” fell off a mountain and broke my ankle.  In all honesty though, I simply fell off the sidewalk in front of our apartment.  It’s not as exciting, but I was lucky this did not happen while were bouncing around on top of the many Davis Mountains we were on in June.  A week and day later I was told that I will not need surgery and was put in a permanent cast for four to five weeks.  So we have decided to take a fairly long break (for us anyway) and not go to any new parks or camping in July and August.  This means we have plenty of time to do some housekeeping on the blog, photos and other website stuff.

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In the Emergency Room getting the left ankle, left knee and left elbow checked out.

For those who have not worked on a website, housekeeping is something that is needed on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we have been on the go-go-go since we started this site and we never created a routine for how we should prep the photos, write the posts, create the videos, and so on.  Because of this, the site has never been 100% how we wanted it and we have a huge backlog of photos to be processed, which means I have a BUNCH of videos to make and upload.  I had no clue what I was getting into when we decided to put this thing together, but I wouldn’t not have it.  I enjoy seeing the things we have done, places we have been, and people we have met. I especially love meeting new people because we have made some really great friendships along the way.

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Meeting new people is a highlight to our adventures. We have made so many great friends.

So, if it is so much work, why do we do this website thing?  I hear you asking it now; I honestly ask myself the same question when I sit down to write a post and cannot think of what to say!  We started this blog for me to have a venue for talking about hand embroidery and travel.  That is exactly how it began, but we decided to step away from that because it was just a “me” thing.  Scott and I had discovered the Texas State Parks and fell in love with them.  Of course then the whole Tiny House/RV living caught our attention and that was that.  We decided at that point we wanted to live in an RV and travel the United States, documenting our journey so others could keep from making some of the mistakes we had,  go to some of the places we had enjoyed,or have family keep tabs on us just seemed like a really great idea.  While looking into this we have found many other people and families do websites and videos giving us an example of what does and doesn’t work.  We have found some great inspiration from people like The More We Explore, Technomadia, Gone With the Wynns, Long, Long, Honeymoon, and so on….

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Cordie, the slave driver dog, is telling me to get back to work on the posting.

A blog was pretty much all we had intended to do, then Scott found photography.  How lucky for me to have an endless supply of photos for the blog!  Eventually, we found those photos would come in handy to make videos of the places we had been.  I cannot tell you how many times we have searched YouTube for videos about different state parks, cities and things to do.  Even though we did not always find what we were looking for, we found ideas on what is out there and how we can share something different.  Unfortunately, this is not always an easy thing to figure out, but we are getting there.  Learning to do something new takes a lot of time, reading, and focus which all takes away from the housekeeping our website and photos.  As we have been doing the traveling, photography, and videos, we are seeing what works and doesn’t work for us. I do know we are not very good at planning for videos;  it never was something we thought about doing so we just took photos.  Since Scott got his camera, he is starting to think more along that line with photos but we both think so differently.  This is a good thing, most of the time, because he will take photos of the pretty things like flowers, birds and such, where I am taking photos of campsites, bathrooms, and other boring mundane stuff. It actually works out for us in the end, but if we would just start doing a bit more planning it would help us produce better content and quality. We want to make videos and blog posts we enjoy showing, but if they aren’t good would you really want to watch?  Yeah, you are just trying to be nice now.

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Scott doing what he loves to do. I am so glad he does because I would rather sit pretty for the camera.

Since starting on this website, I have learned so much especially on how to set up a website from scratch.  I have found I appreciate those who know code better than I do, but I am determined to learn it if that is what it takes to make a quality site.   Scott has learned that less is definitely better than more in almost all walks of life.  He would take thousands of photos and never stop long enough to process them.  This has not only caused a huge backlog of things to do, but it has left him feeling overwhelmed and frustrated when I ask for a specific photo.  We, as a couple, have learned that getting outdoors and being active is awesome and makes us much happier.  Because we have found this and really believe it is a good thing, we want to share it with everyone we meet so we use the website, Facebook, and YouTube to help us get our message out. This is a lifestyle and we are embracing it, even if it means we have to stop and do a little housekeeping on a regular basis.

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Enjoying sundown at Davis Mountains State Park.

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