Jake and I (Andi) have been friends since childhood, so in 2005 we decided to go all in and get married! That first year, Jake got an old pop-up in exchange for some labor. After lovingly restoring it, we began boondocking in northern Missouri. The hobby quickly became a passion, and we spent most weekends in most seasons camping.
Then we had children, Audrey, Charlotte, and Madisen. Hobbies all had to be reevaluated for parent life. Jake and I modified the way we camped, and upgraded to a trailer so we could camp with 2 babies a little more easily. Then every parent's biggest fear became their reality. Charlotte began having seizures. Not just a few seizures, but catastrophic seizures, many types, hundreds or thousands per week. It was a new disease, no one had heard of it, and they had no answers. Life became a series of seizures, hospital stays, research, and medicine. Forever stuck at about a 5 month old level, Charlotte would never sit and play, learn to walk, or even speak a word. Yet she would teach us about joy and love deeper than we could imagine.
After a year of intense research and still finding no answers, Jake and I decided that even though we had no control over Charlotte’s disease, we did have control over our quality of life. We decided to focus on making our time together as good as possible, so as a family, we started camping again. This time in an RV with room for Charlotte’s wheelchair and equipment. Every year we would take several short trips, and one long trip we called “Charlotte’s Bucket List”. It was a time away from the busy life of jobs, hospitals, and sickness and just a time to focus on each other. Charlotte has been to both coasts and the Gulf of Mexico. She has hiked (on Daddy’s back) up waterfalls, and down into canyons. Our family has seen natural wonders, and man made marvels. Life was lived, memories were made.
Charlotte went home to the Lord in 2019, at just 7 ½ years old. She is so loved, and so missed. But memories abound, and life is bittersweet. Soon after Charlotte passed, Covid began. With Covid came the loss of Jake’s job. So Jake and I decided to load up the family and the RV and take a drive, lick our wounds and heal from the difficult year. For 5 weeks we traveled from spot to spot, boondocking and seeing the East Coast. From Savannah, GA to Florida, then over to the Gulf and back home. The beaches were empty, the world was ours! During that trip dreams began to form, we talked about how we would choose to move forward now that Charlotte was gone, as a different family unit. Without the need to be so close to the hospital, where would we go? What would we dare to do? How could we start a new dream while keeping her with us? We stopped at an RV park to dump our tanks and fell in love with the idea of an RV park, how wonderful to help others live their dreams while building a community around our passion.
After 2 years of searching and working, and finding just the right location, our dream is becoming a reality at Lake Life Family RV Resort. We hope you will join us for a weekend or for many seasons!
-Jake and Andi Elliott
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