Three Lessons

traffic

Three days into our epic road journey (more about the trip here) of unknown destination and duration, and I have picked up three key principles of trailering around the country. Here they are, in no particular order:

1) Everything costs more than the estimates.
We are attempting to drive, feed, lodge, and entertain this family of three on $100 a day or less. Unless we travel two miles, eat peanut butter crackers, park overnight at a Walmart, and count blades of grass, it looks like most days will land more in the $110 to $120 range.

2) Simplicity sounds nice, but materialism is difficult to escape.
A tape measure. A door latch. A pad and colored pencils. A utility knife. All items I have acquired in the past 24 hours, all of which I deemed necessities at the point of purchase.

I brought my family on this trip to leave behind the exhausting pace of Atlanta life, to spend time together, to be in the present moment. But my mind constantly spins with the errands of the day, the repair list, the cleaning, and the groceries. Hopefully a routine will develop soon, creating space in our lives for a simpler way, but it hasn’t happened yet.

3) It is far better to be stuck in traffic than the cause of it.
Gales of wind whipped the Element / Shasta combo and buckets of rain whitewashed the view ahead. We barreled up and over the Horace Wilkinson bridge in Baton Rouge, knuckling the wheel and clenching my teeth as I drove the people I love most through one of the most harrowing driving circumstances I have ever faced.

A handful of miles down the road, we were idling on the highway, unsure of why. Instead of groaning my way through the snarl of vehicles, I recognized that I might as well have been the one with the overturned vehicle. And I was content to perch on my little piece of I-10, so thankful to be delayed instead of hospitalized.

Tonight we are camped in the thick of Cajun country in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, and we are looking forward to great food and music tomorrow, after my first day of mobile work wraps up. Thanks for following along, and stay tuned.

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12 thoughts on “Three Lessons

  1. I can relate to the later – drove a class C thru construction and rain and dark in Richmond and Charlotte when my son was about 10 – scary, especially the first time doing it. Actually…..I can relate to all 3 pretty easily. Sounds like yall are having a great time.

  2. If you are not on a time limit, why not stop and smell the roses? I know you only just left, but the beauty of having a moving home is that you can stop and park up for a couple of days and really enjoy life. It would cost less to stay put for a couple of days or so, and you could enjoy the less touristic sights the local areas have to offer. I”m not sure if I missed it,but what is your timeframe/plan? šŸ™‚ And yes, always better to be stuck in a traffic jam rather than be in the accident itself that is holding the traffic up,…

    • Actually, you are right on the mark. Our greatest expense is gas — by far. So if we stay an extra day or two in one spot, we can prolong the trip without draining the bank. Precisely what we are going to try today/tomorrow. Thanks for the idea!

      • Gas (or petrol as we call it) used to be FAR cheaper in the USA but now I”m not so sure. Plus RVs are thirsty beasts!!!! Here is a great little blog post I found about camping in a Walmart carpark (one free nite at Walmart = one extra night on your travels…) http://themorningfresh.com/2012/06/29/a-guide-to-car-camping-in-walmart-parking-lots/

        Also, in Australia, we have guides and books outlining free places to camp – check this out for your area. Often these are in national parks and are not powered sites (obviously) but again, a free night’s camping = another night elsewhere if your budget is your only travel constraint. The only cost may be entry to the National Park, but you can purchase an annual pass or limited pass or whatever for that and it can work out very worthwhile espeically if it is one that covers a large area.

        Another option might be “couch surfing” where people let strangers sleep on their couch. Now I’m not suggesting getting out of your comfy little home on wheels to stay with strangers, but perhaps, if you browse the couch surfing website, you might find somoene willing to allow an RV complete with residential family to park out front of their house or in their driveway for a night, and even use their showers and kitchen. https://www.couchsurfing.org/
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CouchSurfing

        When my sis andI travelled in the USA we had a little saying – “Cheap is good, free is better, but we will take what we can get”… and were naturally appreciative about anything we got for free, or cheap. We also tried to return the karma wherever possible, whether it was passing on an unused ticket to another backpacker who could use it the next day once we were long gone,or whatever.

        Well, best of luck with it all, and keep those stories coming!!!! šŸ˜€

      • This. Is. Awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to impart all of this knowledge. We definitely will try to prolong the trip as much as possible — using as many of your techniques as we can. Bless you!

      • I really hope that my comments and tips help out. Maybe other blog readers will also have some ideas. I am really loving your blog. xo

  3. Everything always does cost more than the estimates. That’s why in our personal budget, we only allocate 95% of our income. It gives us a buffer of a few hundred dollars per month in case of cost overruns in the unpredictable areas, like fuel costs.

    We’re in the process of purging our belongings before we move to a new apartment in 2 weeks, and I’m amazed at how much stuff we accumulated since we purged for our last (cross-country) move 2 years ago.

    So yes, I agree completely with all of your points šŸ™‚

  4. Thanks for your great blog, I’m really enjoying it. I can totally sympathize with, and recall, how those first few days feel frantic, full of details and anxiety and the “to do” lists. My daughter and I spent a month “caravaning” around Australia and that’s how the first few days felt, but we soon developed a routine and before long could pull into a new campsite, be completely set up and eating lunch in 15 minutes or less. And we had accumulated everything we thought we “needed” by that time, which we had to give away when we left Australia! Like the other comments, don’t feel rushed, take your time, stay an extra day. The world isn’t going anywhere. Enjoy every moment, I’m envious.

    • Thank you SO MUCH for the reblog and for following along. It is great to have encouragement from folks like you. The trip is great and challenging, all at once. And your notes make us want to journey on. Cheers!

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