The Beginning of A Plan

Shuttle on launch pad at Kennedy Space CenterWe’re about 6 months away from our departure date.

Of course, we don’t actually have an exact departure date, but we know we are planning to hit the road in June-ish.  Besides not having a departure date, we also don’t have a route planned or a vehicle secured or, you know, any of the logistics taken care of quite yet.

What we know is…

We’re leaving in June-ish. We’re letting the kids finish up this school year and our plan is to leave shortly after that.  Jared is counting down the days to when he can be not working and living on the road will actually cost us less than living in a big house while saving up for living on the road.  We are all anxious to get started.

In the meantime, we are selling the house and damn near everything we own. At least, we are in theory.  To date we have a) put the house on the market and b) sold exactly not a single thing.  I threw out some old medicine the other day though, so there’s that.  It is overwhelming to look around our house and realize how much stuff we have.  Closets, drawers and shelves pouring with stuff.  And we have to get rid of almost all of it in order to fit ourselves into an RV.

Oh, yes, an RV. Probably.  Most likely.  We’re looking at buying a van camper type RV, which is basically an over-sized van with a bed.  We’re looking at used models because our budget is very much less than $10,000. We decided (we think) on this type of RV because we want to be able to easily drive in cities and not have to worry about leaving our home in a campsite.  This trip is about freedom for us as much as it is about exploring, and having a house we lug along with us in the form of a detachable trailer does not sound like freedom to either of us.  So van camper it is.  Probably.  Most likely. OH MY GOD THESE THINGS LOOK SO OLD AND CRAPPY AND TINY ON CRAIGSLIST!

We’ve tentatively chosen a route. Basically.  Kind of.  Our goal is to avoid driving in a blizzard.  We’re planning to head up the east coast in the summer, back down the east not-exactly-coast in the fall, spend the winter months in the southern-most states, head up the west coast in the spring and back through the middle of the country the next summer.

We’ll still be working and schooling while we travel. Well, most of us will.  Jared gets to spend the year being in charge of homeschooling the kids through Florida’s virtual school system.  I will continue to work as a professional blogger and freelance writer on the road.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to support us. If not, well, Jared’s parents have a really big house and they’d probably never notice if we moved into the basement.

We have no idea what we’re doing when this year of traveling around the United States is over. We might try to find an apartment in New York City.  We might keep traveling.  We might go overseas.  We might go back to Orlando.  We have no idea, and we’re totally OK with that.

We still have to…

  • Actually sell our stuff – ideally, that includes selling our BIGGEST STUFF THING, also known as our house.
  • Purchase an RV.
  • Sign up (or whatever it’s called) for the Florida virtual school thingie
  • Figure out what we’re going to do about our mail
  • Figure out what we’re going to do about Internet on the road

And that’s it.

I mean, OK, fine.  That is kind of a lot.  But it’s not near as much as it could be considering we are talking about getting rid of the majority of our worldly possessions and becoming unemployed nomads.  THAT SHOULD TAKE MORE THAN FIVE THINGS!

It’d be awesome if it would take less than six months.  I’m the kind of girl who convinces her husband to let her open Christmas presents two weeks before Thanksgiving.  I cannot stand waiting.  I usually only survive waiting by employing the “I WILL JUST NOT THINK ABOUT THIS RIGHT NOW” method, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking (or talking) about this.  Everything we do or see or DO NOT BUY is so closely tied to the fact that we will soon be living in an RV.

But soon cannot come fast enough.

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  1. Poppy says:

    Can you sign up or the Florida homeschool thingie if you no longer reside in Florida? As in, don’t rent or own property there? Just asking… I have no idea.

    • Poppy says:

      @Poppy, typo fix: sign up *for

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Poppy, you have to be a resident. And there are some things you have to do to maintain your residency.

      • Poppy says:

        @Miss Britt, Are you waiting until the house sells to sell all the stuff? Are you putting it up on Craigslist? Yard sale? Storage container sale? :) Or “hey, want this home FULLY FURNISHED?!” Did you consider selling the home that way?

        • Miss Britt says:

          @Poppy, considered it, yes, but not doing it. No, we aren’t waiting – we just haven’t gotten around to it yet because it’s pretty overwhelming. And I haven’t figured out if we’ll do ebay or craigslist or yard sale or what.

  2. Sheila says:

    I wonder if you realize just how damned inspiring you are?

    Seriously.

    I’ve gotten the balls to pursue most of our big dreams for the future by watching you grab onto yours with both hands.

  3. Deborah says:

    Wow…just…wow! This is a very cool thing and I am so JEALOUS. :-)

  4. Avitable says:

    This is going to be such an exciting year for you – I don’t blame you for wanting it to happen already!

  5. Megan Terry says:

    This just sounds like the most crazy kind of fun ever! EEEK- makes me want to go out and buy and RV!

  6. Deborah says:

    I can understand why! :-) I am happy for you and can’t wait to read about your travels. You are so talented and special. You are going to be a STAR no matter what you are doing.

  7. So excited for you!!

    I was wondering the same thing as Poppy. Will it be complicated to keep your residency?

    As for internet, you can get one of those mobile cards that most cell phone providers offer. AT&T has one, and so does Sprint. I’m sure the others do, too. You’d have internet access as long as you have a tower signal — which means you’re pretty much covered!

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Elizabeth Kaylene, from what I’ve read it’s not too terribly complicated to keep your residency while you travel. And I’ve started looking into the different options for portable mobile. Just saw one on TV the other night for $50/month for unlimited Internet!

      • @Miss Britt, Oh okay, that’s good! That $50 a month doesn’t sound bad, either, especially for unlimited. I’m not sure what all the different prices are, but that doesn’t sound too bad.

  8. B.E. Earl says:

    A VW camper van sounds pretty sweet. They have those pop-up tops for extra bedding, I believe.

    As for the mail, can you have it sent to a friend or family member’s home? They can sort through the crap and send you the important stuff every few weeks to a mail service in whatever city you will be visiting.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @B.E. Earl, yep. There’s that and professional mail forwarding services, too.

      • Momma says:

        @Miss Britt,
        VW campers are wonderful, but expensive! Cheap to drive, though. The add on tent (you can leave it up and drive off) is great to keep your camping spot, and they are actual drive-every-day vehicles. We had one with 4 kids!

        Try -poptopheaven.com- a place in California to get good, guaranteed, dependable used campers -I think all types not just VW’s. They deliver all over Canada and the US or you can pick up in California.

  9. corrin says:

    Don’t stress about anything – I’m heaving heart palpitations on your behalf just reading the logistics. :-)

    • Miss Britt says:

      @corrin, you sound like my husband. I will show him this post and be like “Look! Just five things! So easy!” and he will be passed out from the stress beside me.

  10. I’m seriously going to have to take a Klonopin for myself just for reading all of this.

    You can send your mail here! And “move in” to my house to be a resident!

    There. I did my part.

    Now I’m off to take a Klonopin and rest b/c you’re seriously stressing me out.

  11. corrin says:

    OH! And the HTC Evo doubles as a wireless hot spot. My husband is working in the middle of nowhere-Louisiana and he’s been tethering his laptop to it for months.

  12. Debbie says:

    Mmm-hmmm, seeing the country from an RV is one of those things I really-really wanna do someday! (and yes, they’re scary on CraigsList) I LOVE the idea of having everything I might need right there with me and sleeping in the same bed every night, even if it’s in a different place!

    The internet on the road is super-easy, especially if you already have a wi-fi-enabled computer — my main at-home (and traveling) internet access is through Sprint Mobile Broadband (they don’t pay me, they just make me a happy customer), it’s about the same price as a cell phone, and I have this little thing called an “Overdrive,” it’s a mobile wi-fi hotspot that fits in my purse and works with any computer a whole lot easier than trying to use “mobile web” on a cell phone. :)

  13. Headless Mom says:

    Sounds like a great plan. You should just float through the holidays then hit it hard in January. Less stress that way. We’d love to have you here when you get to planning your CA leg of the trip!

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Headless Mom, yeahhhhh, think that’s what I’m doing. Plus it gives me a legitimate reason to NOT THINK ABOUT IT.

      And I’m absolutely going to hold you to that offer. ;-)

  14. Hockeymandad says:

    The Camper van thingy will be good for when the zombies take over. Much easier on gas and much faster to get around in. Of course, you’ll want to avoid major cities when that happens anyway. Am I a total loon or what? hahahaha

  15. OHmommy says:

    You are doing what? *shocked*

    I mean, I think of these things occasionally. How cool it would be to sell everything and travel for a year. But you are actually doing it? Incredibly inspiring. I can not wait to join you on your journey.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @OHmommy, lol, I keep thinking that this is all I talk about and everyone must be sick of hearing about it and then someone will say “I’m sorry, you’re doing what?” and I’m so surprised. It’s almost like people aren’t listening to every single word that falls out of my mouth at all times!! lol

  16. How exciting! I would love to do this one day as well – or at least travel for a few months at a time. You can probably find some really good bargains on the RVs these days – people are selling off lots of extra stuff like this to keep heads above water.

    I’m sure you already know about this – but just in case, check out http://www.goodsamclub.com/ for all sorts of tips related to your travels.

    Oh and if you are going to be in St. Louis along the way just yell!

  17. Mandi Bone says:

    Please say you are coming to Ohio. You can stay with us or we have a campground right up the road.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Mandi Bone, I’ve never been to Ohio! Where in Ohio are you? We’ll definitely be making some of our travel decisions based on where people we know live. Especially if there are non traveling beds involved.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Mandi Bone, my blog keeps eating my responses to you. BETRAYED BY MY OWN BLOG!

      Anyway, you’ll have to tell me where in Ohio as we get closer.

  18. Bitchin' Amy says:

    Wow, I didn’t know you were doing this! Congrats to you for handing off the home-schooling to your hubby. I would go mad if I was left in charge of schooling my kids…

    Also, a word of advice from someone who did a “big move” just over a year ago: don’t wait to go through all the stuff. It took me a solid six months to go through everything in our house and divide up the SAVE THIS from the SELL THIS from the STORE THIS. We’d lived in the house for 11 years and it was a nightmare. Do-able, but a total nightmare, nonetheless.

    Good luck!!! It sounds exciting!!

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Bitchin’ Amy, the last time we moved I thought I did such a good job of pruning. But… no. I need to set myself up a schedule to go through room by room, I think.

  19. WOW. I am in awe of you. How very exciting!

  20. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Miss Britt, Amanda Frakes-Bone. Amanda Frakes-Bone said: @missbritt is amazing.I want to be her when I grow up.http://miss-britt.com/2010/12/the-beginning-of-a-plan/ [...]

  21. Zoeyjane says:

    Awesome. My family had a similar plan, to country-hop throughout Europe, with Paris being a main landing-spot. But we have to get non-dysfunctional, first. Envious, woman.

  22. So excited that you are chasing your dreams. Having been homeless not once, but TWICE, I can’t fathom living in an RV for a year. I love my family, but being in the same room with them for a couple months was enough!!! LOL!

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Blondefabulous, you bring up an interesting point for me and maybe I should not use the term “homeless” to describe this, because that’s pretty insensitive to people who have been homeless NOT by choice.

      And I suspect we will all get very good at going for long walks. Alone.

  23. Becca says:

    It sounds like soooo much fun!!:)

  24. Laurin says:

    I think about doing something like this all the time. The thought of getting rid of all my stuff is very tantalizing.

    But, I can’t stop wondering how on earth you’ll ever have sex during that year if you’re living in a small RV. You don’t have to answer!

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Laurin, it has occurred to us. I’m figuring a) we’ll be staying in hotels (I edit a hotel review blog) for much of the time and b) the kids will want to go outside and play. Right? Probably? If forced to??

  25. the muskrat says:

    Re: the mail, in the Four Hour Workweek, there’s a case study by a lawyer practicing in Colombia, and it talks about a service that gets your mail and scans/emails it to you. Or, you could just fwd it to Avitable’s house and make him scan/email it to you. The latter option is probably cheaper. Speaking of AA, how will he replace you? You seem to be good at your job.

    As for internet on the road, you can obviously tether your phone to the laptop or get one of those USB thingys that connect to Verizon (so it’ll work anywhere). Or get an ipad and use verizon. Probably cheaper to use your existing laptop with the tether or USB wifi thingy.

    Good luck selling the house. We bought in ’04, put about $40k into it, and are going to sell (if at all) for less than I paid six years ago. Awful.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @the muskrat, yep, I’ve heard of those. I actually know someone who uses a service like that right here in Florida and she’s in Nepal right now. But I might have a friend do it. Still deciding because that’s a lot to ask someone to do for you.

      Regarding my job – I’m actually no longer an employee there as of the end of this year. Fulltime freelance beginning January – which is a whole other reason to freak the fuck out.

  26. DeannaBanana says:

    I will NEVER speak to you again if you do not make this part of North America, which is very close to the USA, a destination. Just so we are perfectly clear.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @DeannaBanana, well at the moment we don’t have passports, so we’re not planning on leaving the country if we don’t get that done before we leave.

      • DeannaBanana says:

        @Miss Britt, Okay…so plenty of time to get passports in the six month time frame. AND? It’s something concrete you can do that is easily attainable…therefore, needs to be done. Because you’d have another thing to cross off the to-do list!

        That, and the fact that we live just North of the Montana border in a beautiful part of Canada that would be well worth showing the kids…

        AND, I want to see you :(

  27. Lisa says:

    You’re still coming this way, right? Don’t make me stalk you because I totally will. Oh yes. I will.

    I hate selling things. I can’t let go of the idea of how much I paid for something when someone wants to give me a 10th of my cost. I fall in the trap of keeping stuff just to avoid selling it.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Lisa, and that’s why I haven’t sold a damn thing yet. I’m less worried about not having it than I am about how much money I am wasting by selling it!!!!

  28. Hey Britt I think what you guys are doing is amazing and I’m ssssooooooo jealous. My ex and I had always pondering doing something exactly like your plan but it just never fell into place.

    Read Jennifer’s blog if you want some real inspiration ~ she and her family sold everything to go live in the jungle and while they have had challenges they are doing ok ~ and there are many, many posts of hers about going through exactly what you are….selling off your belongings…the house…yadda yadda

    http://droolstreet.blogspot.com/

    Blessed Be! and more power to ya!

  29. Wow that happened so fast. I’m so excited for you guys. Please know that if ever you make your way here, our home is open to you – and D can cook up a storm!

  30. JackiPati says:

    Britt – for mail, you can set up a virtual office (we use one for Jim’s business in Orlando) and they’ll receive your mail (and phone calls if you want) and then ship them wherever you tell them to. email me for more details if you want!

  31. Jamie says:

    Wow. Don’t know what impresses me more, that agenda or the fact that you’re homeschooling. Never thought I could do that…but think of all your children will be seeing. Good luck in all your organizing..

  32. Megan says:

    The little RV part is what would be difficult for me. I don’t think my child would survive that… because I would end up killing him. And possibly my husband too.

    Then again those big RVs are scary too.

  33. Faiqa says:

    You know what? You’re not allowed to post about this anymore. I’m putting my foot down. I hate June. June sucks. :-(
    Yeah, yeah, you’re very inspiring and I’m proud of you, too.

  34. Neeroc says:

    I just keep getting more and more jealous. 1 – you live in Florida 2 – you have a country you can travel around and avoid blizzards 3 – this trip 4 – the rest of your life *g*
    Cannot wait to start reading about the adventure.

  35. sue says:

    You are pursuing something most people only dream about. Good for you. This will be something your children will never forget. You are an inspiration. All the best in your adventure!

  36. naomi says:

    You guys ROCK. Kudos!

    I know what you could do when you get done with your year across the US … come to India!

    Can’t wait to read all about it!

  37. so the rv…is it big enough for me to some stay with yinz every once in a while?

  38. Laurie says:

    You are so brave. I want to be you when I grow up.

  39. Lee Brookes says:

    If you come to Europe I’ll put you all up for some time :)

    Im not a murder but I might be a little crazy

    and referencing another post I would love to write but I cant stay focused

  40. peach says:

    i sold off everything i own except for two suitcases worth of belongings, loaded it in a truck and started cross country. it has now been 5 months and i am just now getting ready to settle down. you’re right. it’s easier (and cheaper!) than everyone imagines.

  41. martymankins says:

    Ok, now that I’m in the know now and have properly updated myself on these big plans, I have some suggestions.

    Internet on the road – find out if http://www.clear.com has good coverage nationwide.

    The UPS Store may be your best bet for mail on the road. They can transfer your mail to a store that’s local to where you will be (or so I’ve heard – check with them)

    Now for the RV thing, my wife and I talked about doing something like this after we retire. We looked at getting one of these:
    http://www.pleasureway.com/

    But those are a bit out of your price range. But you have to admit they are really nice.

    Try your local newspaper classifieds. Ours here in Utah beat Craigslist hands down.

  42. [...] see and do as a travel blogger with my family.  In fact, that’s one of the big reasons why my family and I decided to take a year long trip around the country in 2011 – I want to share my travel bug with [...]

  43. [...] see and do as a travel blogger with my family.  In fact, that’s one of the big reasons why my family and I decided to take a year long trip around the country in 2011 – I want to share my travel bug with [...]

  44. [...] prospect of travel, for example, makes me leap out of bed in the morning – but it might bore the crap out of you [...]

  45. [...] “We have no idea what kind of RV we want,
    so we’re just looking around today to get a feel for the
    different types that are available,” I explained after a
    quick introduction and explanation of our upcoming travel plans.
    [...]

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