I don’t know my blood type, but I’ll be shocked if it isn’t type A. I leave in thirty-three days. At one point, I had four to-do lists (now I’m down to two). I’ve budgeted down to oil changes.
In mid-March I pack up and head to see family in D.C., Virginia, and West Virginia. I’ll hit Tennessee by April to WWOOF for a month, then mosey to the Ozarks to spend two at a yoga school. Afterwards it’s off to Colorado by way of a southern detour through White Sands National Park, then north to Wyoming to meet up with friends. Plans get fuzzy after that, but I’m hoping to spend at least a month WWOOFing in Montana before heading northwest through Washington and Oregon. Eventually it’s south to Santa Cruz, and then…?
Everything could change on the road. For that reason, detailed preparation feels both a little silly and also grounding. Things that are mostly complete:
- Figure out how to fit a year’s worth of clothes, books, and gear in my car.
- Remove my car’s backseats. This one I owe entirely to my boyfriend (see also #8 and #13). No #vanlife for me—I’m bringing too much equipment to fit a bunk.
- Sell the stuff that I’m not painfully attached to.
- Pack the stuff that I am painfully attached to for long-term storage.
- Donate the rest.
- Replace my old paddle board with an inflatable. Toting my board inside the car rather than on top should save (some??) gas.
- Research insurance. This is the really, really fun part of going on an adventure!! I had to find a new auto policy to cover me in all 50 states. While I was at it, I got my personal property insured (mostly camera gear). Insurance feels like a rip-off/bullshit, but I’m sure I won’t feel that way if a dickhead swipes my whole life out of my car. Least favorite to-do list item by far.
- Replace my blown out car speakers. Did you know that cars are actually just Legos?
- Back up my data—I’m leaving a hard drive at home.
- Finally get zippers fixed.
- Buy things. As much as I’ve been trying to get rid,* there were still things I needed/wanted: a new lens, a National Parks pass, just a couple of books…
- Work freelance (see #11).
- Learn how to not get lost in the woods.
- Narrow down my wardrobe. I found Project 333 right before getting started, and while I haven’t gotten my clothes corralled to just 33 items, I’m not far off. This shedding/streamlining feels very good.
- Somehow stay sane amidst the news cycle.
- Meditate. 10 minutes a day, every day. It helps. A lot. Yoga, too.
- Cuddle with the dog.
Things still on the list:
- Learn how to change a tire, check my oil level, and check my tire pressure.
- Build a platform to even out the car floor for easier storage and maneuvering.**
- Do my damn taxes.
I’m not someone who easily uproots, but in what’s difficult is growth.
See you in March!
*The theme of preparing has definitely been STUFF. For a while the Kinfolk/Marie Kondo-fueled minimalist movement made me feel really shitty about my things, but in the process of assessing what I’ll keep and what I won’t, I’ve determined that it’s OK if your belongings feel like a piece of who you are. It’s also OK if you can’t afford to throw away your stuff. Ask yourself the hard questions that you need to in order to get rid of what isn’t worthwhile: Why am I holding onto this? What do I believe this thing will give me? What does this thing represent? Do I really use or need it? Ditch what feels stale and embrace the rest.
** By which I mean watch my boyfriend build me a platform to even out the car floor for easier storage and maneuvering