Dear Travel Mates,
It’s my very first entry on this brand new travel blog. I’m so glad you are joining me for this ride.
We officially leave on our year long trip on Thursday morning. I wanted to get in a post BEFORE we go because It’s always interesting to see how you thought things would turn out compared to how it all actually goes down.
At the moment we plan to book it to Yellowstone in less than 3 weeks. That’s right. We’re skipping over two thirds of America right off the bat. Why? Because we want to get to Yellowstone before it’s too cold. So many people say it is the most beautiful part of the US. We want to see it while we can.
We still haven’t figured out all lodgings. Well, we haven’t figured out any yet. You should know going into this journey with us that my husband and I are both last minute planners. Historically that has sometimes been an advantage and sometimes an impediment. Stay tuned to see if we end up sleeping on the side of the road because we can’t find a place to stay or if we sigh in relief when we reach a place we thought we wanted to stay but weren’t feeling it and said a spontaneous sayonara.
Before we take off, I wanted to take stock of all the maneuvers we had to do in order to make this happen. It turns out it takes a lot of work to make a dream a reality 🙂 No matter what happens from here, I want to give ourselves a pat on the back for getting this far.
Things we had to do to make this happen:
We had to make the decision to do this.
Although it’s always been a dream of ours to travel full time (particularly globally), it took us a few months to have the guts to say -now is the time. Corona is both a motivator and will also make this a MUCH bumpier ride.
We had to settle on schooling for the kids.
For me this one was a major obstacle. I tend to make life decisions guided by the needs of the kids. Is that the way of the modern parent? Perhaps. I don’t think my parents acted by the same north star. But what it meant was that before I could consider traveling an option, I needed to find a solution for the kids.
I dove into the homeschooling vortex. I explored the idea of it from every angle and joined Facebook groups to see how it felt. I quickly came to a realization – I am not made for homeschooling. I don’t know about you, but I’m a mom who needs A LOT (I can’t stress that enough) of ME TIME. I am not the mom who wants to do projects with my kids all day. I don’t feel motivated to find the best curriculum for each kid according to how they learn best. I’m creative, but my creativity is somewhat private. I need time and space to make it happen.
So right away I knew the trip rested upon finding a remote school that would structure the learning for us. I’m not sure I succeeded. I found Laurel Springs, but we have yet to see if the school can actually carry my kids through the learning without me needing to sit by them the entire time. I’m nervous. I’ll let you know.
We had to find renters.
That was no small feat in today’s market. For a minute we thought it might not happen At the last minute we found a lovely couple with a baby.
We needed to sort through all our shit.
I mean, we still have some boxes that are untouched from two moves ago when we moved from the east village to Washington Heights. (and then to Park Slope, and then to Carroll Gardens.) We threw so much stuff away and still we had enough to tightly pack a 10×10 storage unit in New Jersey.
We had to pack.
Isn’t it always the last 20% of any big project that is the hardest? With packing, it’s when you realize you still haven’t gone through the medicine cabinet and the movers have already arrived. And that cupboard above the fridge with all the hanukkah menorahs and jewish holiday stuff? Oops. We left that one for the renters. Chag Sameach!
Packing is a never ending task but we got through it. I mean, my husband did mostly. He’s the kind of guy who will unpack a box I packed just to make it that much tighter. My primary titles were Sorter and Trasher. I was fine with that.
We had to put everything in storage.
Nuf said with that one. But in case you ever need to store your stuff, definitely do it outside of the city where it’s a quarter of the price.
We had to buy a car.
Our 2004 beat up outback was literally whining at us, begging us not to make her do this trip. And then the air conditioner stopped working. Thus began the search for the car which was not a simple task. We spent three long days at dealerships checking out every SUV out there. Finally we reluctantly settled on the minivan that we knew deep down were always going to get.
We are thrilled with it. My daughter can actually stand up in it. The kids each have their own corner and mostly don’t touch each other. Of course they still find a way to poke even across the divide.
The minivan is HUGE! Feels like a mansion.
We had to buy stuff.
The latest shipment included a First Aid Kit, a new toiletry kit, a new computer (we only had two for the kids), a car vacuum, pepper spray and a keycharin siren for bears, a roof rack, new air mattresses, a laminated map with dry erase markers and a road atlas.
We have to pack.
As I write this we are still in the midst of doing this. Trying to only take the basics. 5 shirts, 5 shorts, 3 long pants, 3 sweaters, 7 underwear, 1 sneaker, 1 sandal, 1 boot, for each. We want to take the minimum. We got the kids kindles so we won’t be bringing piles of books. The guitar is obv coming. Is the rental saxophone that my son has been playing? Yet to be determined. The meditation pillow? I’m hoping it will be my portable anchor. Kitchen stuff? helmets? Games, art stuff (that they’ll never use?)
We had to plan our route.
At the moment, we decided we are not going to try to plan further than a month ahead. The first leg of our trip is going to be the roughest. A TON of driving. It will be a tough introduction into the year for the kids and I bet they will complain a lot.
As you can see from the map, we aren’t doing a straight shot. We decided to go through Asheville and Nashville. Will those places have the same allure during COVID times? Probably not. But we’ve been curious about them so they’re on our route. There is also something called the Blue Ridge Parkway around Asheville and the Great Smokey Mountains which sounds cool.
There are so many unknowns – how will the kids start school while we are driving so many hours a day? How will I do my groups? How will my husband work?
Don’t be surprised if I lead my next group outside of a Starbucks.
So now your task – know anyone along our route who we should visit from a distance? Let me know! Know of any great places we must visit? Let me know!
We are open to all suggestions.
So that’s my update for today. Stay tuned for the next installment.