In May, we spent 17 nights sleeping at friends' or family's houses, 7 nights in the van, 5 nights in a hotel, and 1 night camping. In June (for the nights J & I were together), we spent 8 nights sleeping at friends/family's houses, 3 nights in a hotel, 2 nights in the van and 1 night camping.
Overall, we LOVE life on the road. But, like with anything, there are pros & cons and things we only discovered once we made this our life. We wear and share many hats--presenters, schedulers, marketers, accountants, travel agents, drivers--which makes every day is a new day, that's for sure.
THUMBS UP: We have gotten to see TONS of friends & family in the 8 weeks we've been on the road. Approximately 70 friends to be exact (I'm a counter, remember).
THUMBS DOWN: How could there be a con to visiting with friends & family, you ask? Well, because time is limited. And we are always on the go somewhere. So, we are often "squeezing" in visits. Or masking a visit as mooching. "Hey so & so, it'd be great if we can grab a dinner, but can we also take a shower at your place?" We try to spread out our mooching … shower at one person's house, washing dishes at another, laundry at another, using a printer at another, sleeping in a bed at still another, stealing Internet wherever we can. And the honest truth is if you haven't seen us yet and you are on the East coast or Midwest, we have probably already driven through your town/city, but could not "squeeze" you in. Or didn't need a shower.
THUMBS UP: We feel like rock stars. People show up to hear us speak. And the feedback has been that they like what we say. What a feeling of pride and excitement we get from looking out into the crowd and hearing thank yous after the presentation.
THUMBS DOWN: We literally feel like rock stars. We perform by night, driving during the day (9,000 miles driven!) and everything else happens when it's convenient (i.e., showers, checking e-mails). We also eat at different times almost every day because of our wild and crazy schedule, which pisses off our GI tract.
THUMBS UP: We get to eat out a lot.
THUMBS DOWN: J & I have NEVER been the types to eat out, only when on road trips or visiting with friends. For us, it was more of a budget thing; we couldn't justify spending money on eating out unless it was attached to a social outing or necessary. Now, it is just very convenient to eat out. It's easy to make breakfasts & lunches (oatmeal, yogurts, sandwiches) on the road, but dinner is a whole other story. We've had small kitchens before, this one takes the cake (plus no oven to make the cake). Plus, with all the friends we are seeing … everyone wants to eat out!
THUMBS UP: With SmartPhones and multiple wireless signals these days, you can be readily available.
THUMBS DOWN: First of all, you know J does not have a SmartPhone. The day that boy gets one will be the day hell freezes over. So all responsibility of staying in touch falls on my iPhone. The problem is, I don't have unlimited Internet on my phone and we don't always have good service. Don't forget, we are driving to the deepest, darkest corners of the country. Oh, and did you know Panera Bread allows a max of 30 minutes for using their free wireless? Which is why we rely on friends' Internet. Which is why if you have e-mailed me in the last 2 months, it remains unreturned.
THUMBS UP: We don't watch any TV.
THUMBS DOWN: We have no idea what is going on in the world (but, did we ever really know in the first place?). While no boob tube for now is fine, I imagine we'll be spending a lot of time in bars on Sundays once football season starts.
Again, we love our life on the road and I think having the sweet van helps (rather than living out of an itty bitty car). I have definitely soaked up spending the last 6 days and the next 6 days in ONE SINGLE place that has a decent sized kitchen where I can cook, use a real bathroom and rely on nonstop Internet. Ah, the simple pleasures in life. And once we finish up the east coast in a week or so and head west, we will have less friends' houses and hopefully more nights of camping!
Labels: Backpacker, Reflections, Road Trips, Speaking Events, Van Life