Traveling Recap: Month One
It's hard to believe it's been one month since we sold our house to begin traveling the world! We've cruised over 3,000 miles already and have experienced so many AWESOME places. Every day is a new adventure filled with twists and turns and we've learned a lot in 30 days. Plus we've met a lot of great people who dream of doing what we're doing. It's been fantastic but we've also had some challenges.
Every month we'll share a monthly recap so we can look back on our journey as we get older, but also so we can help others who want to live their dreams by traveling full-time. Let's get to it shall we?
Our First Month On The Road
Since documenting our road trip is completely new territory for us, this will be an experiment until we learn the ropes and find our groove. If you have ideas or suggestions, they are always welcome.
Places We've Been
As previously announced, we decided to choose a route that would take us northwest and north of Oklahoma towards some of the best national parks in the United States. Our goal was to visit places we won't be able to access in the winter and find cooler temperatures. Unfortunately we didn't escape the heat!!
We'll write in-depth posts about these places but here's a recap of stops so far:
- Odell, NE
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Manitou Springs, CO
- Webster, CO
- Estes Park, CO
- Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
- Rapid City, SD
- Mount Rushmore, SD
- Sturgis, SD
- Huron, SD
- De Smet, SD: Laura Ingalls Homestead
- Watertown, SD
While each place we've stopped at has been fun, the best moments were spending time with friends in Nebraska and "getting high" in Colorado. Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park were my favorite scenic places, with Mount Rushmore being my least favorite.
The only negatives were hotel issues including bugs and the herd of elephants above us. Other than that, it's been good.
Lessons We've Learned
As with any new pursuit, we've had triumphs and failures. A friend once told me you can't learn everything from blogs or videos and that's certainly the truth. The only way to learn is by doing it.
Be willing to change plans.
Military people have to embrace the fact that things don't always go as planned. The same goes for digital nomads and full-time travelers. We've had to change our plans a couple times due to exhaustion, work needs, Covid 19 closures, or simply because we wanted to stay in a place longer. Our new motto is "All Things Subject to Change." Fortunately, we never had a concrete agenda so adapting to each day hasn't been an issue.
Be prepared for budget increases.
When we set out on this adventure, Donetta and I created an estimated budget for hotels, food, gas, entertainment and other expenses. It has gone well for the most part, but due to my thirst for local beers and variances in hotel rates and gas prices, we've blown the budget a few times. Hopefully expenses will drop as we settle down in places for longer periods of time, but right now it's costing us a bit more than expected. Still there are zero regrets.
Be flexible with work schedules.
The hardest part has been getting into a groove with our work schedules. There have been days where I expected to be productive only to discover we spent more time driving or hiking than anticipated. This has added some stress and required us to work some late nights to keep up. Because you don't always know how your travel day will go, it can be impossible to meet self-imposed deadlines. My advice is to add a couple extra days to your projects or deadlines.
Be open to going slow.
In years past, we were always in a rush to get to the next place when traveling. We had an agenda or timeline to keep with so it was always pedal to the metal. It's amazing what you miss in life when you're always trying to arrive at the next destination. This is why I've decided to slow down on the road and enjoy the ride. We've been able to see some majestic scenery and wildlife simply because we reduced our speed. Sorry Sammy Hagar but I can drive 55!
Traveling the World Starts with Believing
I can't tell you how many people I've met recently who have expressed the same desire to travel full-time while working from the road. They hope they'll be able to live their dream some day. We can certainly relate; we spent 12 years saying maybe this year will be our year. Yet we always believed it would happen and that made all the difference.
If traveling the world is your passion or interest, you have to believe it will happen. Sure you will have to plan and save and take a leap of faith, but hope is not a strategy. You can't achieve your dreams with wishful thinking. It just doesn't work.
There will be challenges no matter what.
No one could have predicted the challenges we'd face as a global community in 2020. Between the political and cultural firestorms, the Covid 19 pandemic, and economic uncertainty, most people would consider it crazy to leave the safety of home to explore the world. Despite these obstacles, we've been able to thrive and have the most amazing time doing it.
If I can leave you with one piece of advice it would be encouraging you to go for it, whatever it is. There are going to be challenges and trials no matter what your dream is. There is never a perfect time to follow your heart or passion. So why not try now?
Where would you love to go?