I feel like the only thing I ever talk about is the epic road trip my family and I are taking. I imagine massive eye rolls and impatiently mouthed “is she talking about this again?” being exchanged over my head.
But apparently the entire world has not been hanging on my every word over the last several months.
I’ve been surprised at how many times I’ve mentioned my trip – both offline and on – and been met with “I’m sorry – what? You’re doing what?”
This. This is what we’re doing:
On June 1st, we – me, Jared, Devin (11), and Emma (6) – are moving out of our home in the Central Florida suburbs and into a 24 foot travel trailer. Voluntarily.
We’re taking off to travel around the United States for a year. Our first scheduled stop is in Savannah, Georgia and our plan is to end up in Parkersburg, Iowa. We have a tentative route that’s designed to a) cover the parts of the country we haven’t seen much of and b) avoid cold and snow.
One of my main goals in life is to limit my encounters with cold and snow.
We will be staying in campgrounds, with friends, and in hotels when necessary for my job as a travel writer. We also have the option of spending the night in a Wal-Mart parking lot if needed, so, you know, yay.
I’ve put together a page on this site with our Schedule So Far.
Some other questions people have asked me:
What about the kids?
We’ve decided to take them with us. They’ll be enrolled in a virtual school for the year, will each have their own bunk, and have been allowed to bring almost no toys with them. They seem to be excited.
What about your husband?
Jared gets to take the year off work and will therefore be responsible for the kids’ schooling. “We” anticipate an interesting period of transition as the three of them get used to that new dynamic. We like to say that this is Jared’s chance to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up.
How can you afford this?
It usually takes about two warm-up questions before people eventually get around to asking this, which I totally understand. Jared and I are only 31 years old; we do not have a retirement account to cash in, a “life savings”, or any other impressive investments to live off for a year.
In the fall of 2010, we made a budget to determine how much we thought it would cost to travel for a year. And then we started saving. We cut off the cable, started using the envelope system, and quit shopping. We sold almost everything we own. We were able to accumulate about half of what we expect to need to live for a year in an RV.
The RV we are living in cost $6,000. We decided to purchase a tow-able travel trailer because we already owned an SUV that could (supposedly) provide the four wheels and engine we needed for the trip.
We estimate it will cost us about $46,000 for the four of us to live on the road for a year. I based that number on our current spending habits, a little research, and a lot of guessing.
I’ll still be working as a professional blogger and freelance writer while we travel. Ideally, we’ll have the bulk of that savings left at the end of our trip because I was able to support us with my writing. We shall see.
Speaking of which…
What are you going to do when you’re done with this trip?
We don’t know. We have decided not to decide because a lot can happen, we imagine, when you’re traveling the country in an RV for a year. We’re kicking around the idea of moving to New York City or taking our travel overseas, but we may just as easily stumble across the perfect neighborhood in a city we never thought of and just know that we’ve found home.
Our grand plan, in other words, is not to think about that right now.
Why are you doing this?
There are several reasons we decided to make this dramatic lifestyle change. I loved the freedom I had in my work and personal life, but hated how little freedom my husband and kids had in their lives as they spent their days in traditional school and work environments.
Jared and I came home from a trip to New York City in the summer of 2010 and I found myself wishing we could “just travel all the time.” Thanks to the power of social media, especially Twitter, I was introduced to people who did just that.
I’ve always been the type of girl who thinks, “if they can do it, so can I.”
What does this trip have to do with Happiness?
This blog is about Happiness, not travel. But this trip is the real-life manifestation of everything I write about on this blog. It’s about throwing out old ideas of what we “should do” and deciding to focus on what we want to do instead.
Your happiness might not be found in a tiny tin can on wheels, but the steps for finding it are the same.
Ask yourself what makes you happy.
Go do that.
We’d love to meet you!
As we make our way around the country, we’re hoping to be able to meet up with readers and friends. We also hope to save money where we can by parking in your yards. Seriously.