About a year ago I read an article about a retired couple who sold their house and traveled all over the world for five years with only one roller suitcase and a backpack each. It really caught my imagination although I knew I didn’t want to travel that way. I think they were house sitters for most of their time. Ever since Walter retired in 2015 we’ve talked about traveling more. Although we loved our house in San Diego we found it hard to leave empty for any length of time (and have peace of mind). We’d been thinking about a move anyway so we decided to sell the house while the market was strong and see what happens.
Because we’ve seen so little of the USA we decided to start our travels here rather than abroad. We talked about ways to accomplish this, i.e., motor home, small camper van, car, etc … We decided to try it out with our car and see how it went.
We have a Kia Sorrento which has a lot of room and gets pretty decent mileage. Most of our belongings went into storage and we left San Diego with clothes, a few household items and our bikes. We have a good bike rack that actually pivots and allows you to get into the back of the car without taking the bikes off. This is essential as it is a giant hassle to be constantly moving the bikes. That being said, it’s still a hassle having them with us and we decided next time we won’t take them. We’ve enjoyed riding them but most of the time they’re just in the way. I do think they make us look cool though, like we’re those really active senior types you see in the commercials for cholesterol medicine. So that’s a plus.
We didn’t take any camping gear on this trip. We only have tent equipment and although we’ve invested in comfortable cots and mats and stuff we decided not to go that route. Too much hassle to set up and take down all the time.
The plan was to stay in airbnbs most of the time and fill in with hotels. I wanted to have a kitchen whenever possible. I don’t like eating out all the time because it’s so hard to find healthy food and also it’s expensive. So we usually booked to stay in a place for about 3 days. Although the places had kitchens they weren’t always well stocked enough to actually cook so that plan didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. We do carry around snacks and fruit and water. One of our best purchases was a cooler that plugs into the outlet in the back of our car (like a cigarette lighter outlet). The cooler runs while the car is running and when we get somewhere we can bring it in and plug it into a regular wall outlet. We had to buy a converter to do this but it was worth it because we never have to hassle ice. This allows us to always have some food handy, which is a must. I like Trader Joe’s for travel food. They have a good selection of things already prepared, as well as good crackers and stuff.
We’ve stayed in all kinds of places, some nicer than others. I have to say, my favorite was the funny little cabin in Chama, New Mexico. I don’t know if it was my mood or what but that day was the best for me. It was so peaceful there. We just sat outside by the river in the afternoon and the following morning until we had to check out. The only time we left was to go eat in town and that night Walter had elk and I had trout. Both were really good. I’ll definitely go back someday and stay longer. The place was called Spruce Lodge and cabin 12 was the only one that backed up to the river. Heaven, but not fancy by any means so if you decide to go don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So far what we’ve learned is this; we don’t like driving more than 3 or 4 hours between places. We usually only went about 2 hours between stops. I’m definitely not exercising as much as I planned to. My yoga mat is with me and I think I’ve used it twice. We sometimes hike or ride our bikes but I had hoped we’d do more. We’re pretty sure we don’t want any type of camper van or motor home. Even hotels and studio apartments feel too cramped so less space wouldn’t be so good for the marriage. It’s hard to be in such close quarters all the time. When I want to have a nice long phone chat with one of my sisters I usually go sit in the car for privacy and to not bug Walter. In fact, as I write this in our hotel room Walter is sitting on the bed watching a movie on his iPad with headphones on. That’s how we get our space. 🙂
All in all it’s been a great experiment and we’ll do it better next time. We’re now looking for a little place to rent in Jackson to use as a home base and then we’ll plan more trips from there. That will give us a rest between traveling and allow me to be near my family. I won’t be posting as often for a while, unless we do something really interesting. This has been a fun way to document our trip and stay connected to everyone. I’ve really appreciated you guys reading and commenting and hope you’ll still check in once in a while. Bye for now and I hope to see you all soon.