We are Scott and Ren Fridenberg and travel is what keeps us moving.
In 2004 Scott and I visited Fort Worth, Texas, and saw a place full of beauty, history, and opportunities. Within 30 days of our visit, we moved to the area. From that move forward, we have allowed travel to have an effect on us as a couple and as individuals. These effects range from new experiences, making new friends, to finding surprises in history and activities.
Scott and I met through a medieval recreation society called The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). This is a non-profit organization that celebrates the culture, art, and history of pre-17th-century Europe. He was involved in what is called bardic which is storytelling, and I was becoming interested in period hand embroidery styles. This organization enabled us to make friends all over the Texas and Oklahoma area causing our move to the Fort Worth area rather simple. From 2004 through to 2008 we didn’t do much travel except to attend SCA events.
In late 2006 we moved from Texas back to Oklahoma for a while. We lived in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and it was there we discovered something very interesting, the back roads in Oklahoma were wrapped in history. It was at that time we put together our very first travel blog called Backroads Oklahoma. Unfortunately, we did not keep the site and all of the information is gone, but it was the very start of us deciding to do more with the travel than just “go”. On that website, we traveled throughout Oklahoma from Tulsa to Oklahoma City finding places like Ingalls where the famous shoot-out between the Doolin and Dalton gangs happened, the Washington Irving Trail Museum where the adventurer camped while surveying the area, and many other old forgotten relics of Oklahoma.
Eventually, in 2009, the moving bug bit us again sending us back to the Fort Worth, Texas, area. It was about this time Scott and I began to explore the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in full. We started finding places like fields full of sunflowers for miles and miles all around Waxahachie, hippos in the middle of Irving, and many different festivals. We then started to get further away from the maddening crowd of Dallas to find Texas had so much more to offer than just pavement, the Dallas Cowboys, and water features.
It was about this time Scott had started to learn to play the guitar and was wanting to play more and more Irish music. He had already been obsessed with music and the Irish folk scene, but it was starting to influence what he wanted to do. At one point in 2012, we went to Austin, Texas, for this very reason. He wanted to go to Fiddler’s Green Music Shop because it was a very active Irish Folk Music place. We explored the capitol building, the old downtown, and the famous Sixth & Congress intersection where many singers and songwriters have found themselves like Nancy Griffith and Willie Nelson. This was a huge thing for us because we had talked about going to the capital many times, but we actually found ourselves there in the middle of history for the state we had fallen in love with. We both decided to start stepping out of our comfort zone and travel farther away from home.
I, of course, have been crazy for hand embroidery for a long time and decided it was time to really focus on it. During the time Scott was learning to play the guitar, I started focusing on needlepoint canvas painting. I searched the internet for information to learn how to do the painting and there was nothing. Completely shocked, but I eventually found some experienced painters that were so extremely helpful. Between this, the commissions, and me learning new embroidery techniques I was very busy and enjoying my time. I often was able to do embroidery as we drove down the road to onto our next adventure or even did some work as we sat by the campfire in the late afternoons. It was a perfect set up for me and the embroidery.
In the fall of 2013, Scott and I decided we were eventually going to move into an RV and live in it permanently, traveling across the United States. We just were not sure how or when we would go through with this, but we were going to start moving that way; eventually. Less than a year later we discovered a whole new world, the Texas State Park world. We had visited Dinosaur Valley State Park in 2004, but we had not thought about them until 2014. It was this recent visit that we made the decision to go to every single Texas State Park. We would purchase a patch from all of them that had them and get a photo of us with the park signs. Once we were on number four learned there were 98 parks. This was going to be a task! Fortunately, we are not the only people doing this, there have been three people/couples who have succeeded in doing this and so we know it is able to do.
Spring 2014 we started sorting and purging everything in the 2,000 sq ft house. We had garage sale after garage sale and donated so much stuff, but we were finally able to get down to a small apartment amount of furnishings. In March 2014, we moved into a 547 sq ft apartment. What a bit of shock; it was so much smaller than the house! The apartment was small but we intended to spend as much of our time out adventuring so it isn’t a big deal. In 2016 we decided we needed to focus and make the footprint of our living space much smaller so we sorted and purged, yet again, then moved our lives into the bedroom area. Granted this did not include the bathroom or the kitchen, but it did help us to see we were quite capable of living in a very small space.
Then it happened! On February 24, 2017, we purchased our home on wheels. It was a 1982 El Dorado Firenza; she was an all fiberglass frame on an Econoline van chaise. We proceeded to do the minor renovations needed so we could live in it for two weeks while we assisted Eisenhower State Park with some Spring Break help to see if it was truly something we wanted to pursue. Packing up a few things, we headed to the Lake Texoma area and found we never wanted to leave the park; we were finally home.
In December 2017, we moved to our family hometown, Tulsa, OK, and tried to remodel the RV. Because there was so much water damage to the roof, we were not able to afford the renovation or able to physically handle the work needed. There was just too much mold and I was not in good health at the time so we decided to sell the Beast. We were able to sell it to a nice young couple who spent their free time with a lot of friends. They completely gutted the RV and put in bunk beds and seating for 15. It was a great new start for this 1988 RV.
For the past three years, Scott was able to continue working for his Texas employer while I worked on various projects and spent time with my family. We were able to live in a very small studio in a historical building called the Georgian Terrace, a mobile home outside of Tulsa with a lake view drive, and in a fifth wheel on Scott’s brother’s property 45 minutes from Tulsa. At each place, we were able to continue the travels that took us deep into the Arkansas Ouachita’s and up into Wyoming. But the pursuit of new counties was over five hours from where we were living and Scott’s position was ending, so it was time to move.
Scott’s company was not going to be continuing in Oklahoma so we decided it was time to move forward and move westward. We had visited Colorado Springs earlier in the summer and fell in love; it was the mountains, the mountains were calling us home. He found a position with the company he worked for, we filled a ten-foot U-haul, and headed west grabbing three new counties on the trip out there. From November 2020 until June 2021, we were living in a place where we were able to have so much to explore and see. Our apartment was small (400 sq ft), but we liked it that way; it enabled us to get ourselves outside of our box and find new, interesting places.
In April 2021, we lost our sweet travel partner Cordie to a stroke and within days Scott had one as well. This health issue went further than just a stroke. Less than a year prior he had bypass surgery and we thought everything was going well, but it was back to where we started; back in Oklahoma with a bad heart.
Fortunately, we found an amazing doctor who was able to reverse the damage, but it was a total surprise to us. Scott had given up his position in Colorado because he had been told he wouldn’t be able to continue to work. This, we found was not going to be the case any longer; they released him to go back to work within two weeks. So the hunt was on and he put in for many positions within Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. While we worked on our RV he interviewed and received an offer in Kansas City. Taking the RV to our new life, we have started our adventures in the Midwest.
Now we are enjoying our time in Missouri. Scott is doing work that he is enjoying while I am learning to make quilts and sew a lot of unique items. We are still traveling here and there to counties collecting the courthouses as we can.