"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by. And it has made all the difference" - Robert Frost
People have a tendency to follow the path that is laid out for them; School, college, job, marriage, house, kids. Most people tend not to wander away from those preconceived expectations, this is how our population grows steadily throughout time. Outliers tend to be looked at as odd, because quite honestly, who would want to live any differently than the way modern life has provided for us? We have everything! Every convenience, every technological advance, hell if you want food it can be hand delivered to your doorway in 30 minutes or its free! Who would want to live a different life?
Well, we do. Sometimes the easy well-trodden path doesn’t lead you to the place where you could be the happiest. Sometimes, the well-trodden path is more akin to being stuck in rush hour traffic for your whole life. Joe and I have been handed a series of events in life that has led us to this defining moment, where we either choose to go on an adventure, or we follow the rest of the herd in to a predictable life pattern. One of the things I love most about my husband is his sense of adventure, so we chose to go a different course. That’s not to say it has been easy to do.
First, we had to decide just how we were going to travel this country. Do we trade in both of our cars and buy an RV? Do we purchase a pop up camper and tow it with the Element? Maybe just tow a regular trailer? We realized that the most important thing about our trip was that we had to be able to be portable. Truly portable. We didn’t want to not be able to park the RV somewhere, and we didn’t want to leave any trailers behind some place if we wanted to see an attraction somewhere. And we certainly could not afford hotel rooms for every night that we would be on the road. So, we did some research and settled on the idea of a car modification. We researched videos on what other people had done in order to convert their cars in to temporary / semi-permanent campers picked through what we liked and didn’t like about each model, and what we could afford to do.
Mostly we just had to figure out what we really needed in order to get through most days. Some modifications include a hatch release cord and close cord, an insulating curtain system, a removable platform for the bed, an RV mattress, roof rack, battery inverter / power system, and specific replacement engine parts in order to make sure our car was in the best position possible to make the journey across country. We also bought an SUV tent, which would give us a little bit more room to move around in while staying in one place for a little bit longer (kind of like an optional 2-bedroom apartment) a portable toilet, portable sink, water filtration bottles, and a portable washing machine with spin basket so we could stay clean. We had shelter, we just needed to figure out how we would feed ourselves. So we purchased a 2 burner electric buffet, a small pot/pan camping set, a camping utensil set, a 33 qt cooler, stainless steel mugs, and a camp stove percolator (I can be quite mean without coffee). We also agreed that such a long trip on the road meant that we may run in to medical troubles, so we purchased a Basic Life Support Go-Bag (being a nationally registered Paramedic, I also had a few other medical devices that I previously purchased that would be coming along).
The last thing we really had to figure out was did we have the gumption to actually do this? We knew that there would never be a better time in our life to go since we really had no obligations. The only thing we really owned was our car. A medical issue is preventing me from being able to stay in my current work environment and we have been talking about moving out of New York for years, but had no real idea of where we wanted to plant our roots. We couldn’t exactly afford the time or money to fly from place to place to figure it out either. So, honestly, what other option do we have? We opted to take the road less traveled by.
We are about 2 weeks away from our leaving point; we are thrilled and more than a little nervous. We are making sure to enjoy the last remaining days of creature comforts like a big kitchen, private bathroom with indoor plumbing, and laundry facilities. We have our National park pass, and a route that has been measured out on an app called Roadtrippers. Modifications to the Element are just about complete. The checklist is getting smaller and we are about as prepared as possible for our path less traveled. Check out our current travel itinerary - 13,730 miles of America the Beautiful.
The expanse of these United States is breathtaking. Every corner of this country is bursting with its own flair and flavor. Each state so proud of its roots and progressions. We are tired of seeing only one corner, of having one style (although to be fair, it’s a really good deal being in NYC backyard). There has to be more to this provincial life. So Joe and I have packed up our (modified) Honda Element and we are departing on the Honeymoon of a life time. Starting in New York (Long Island), we are embarking on a sustainable, organic, non-gmo, trek across America. The goal is the 48 contiguous states, and to have as small of a foot print as possible.
We will have blog postings about how we modified our car, and the way we made the curtains and the bed platform. And as it gets closer to our departure date we will have complete lists of what we bought and what we packed so that you might be able to go wandering on your own one day too.
We also will have recipes posted since we will be in charge of feeding ourselves on this trip. Bear in mind that the recipes will be small batch (enough for 2 people) since our cooking space will be nothing more than a 2 burner electric buffet.
We hope that this venture out in to the world will show us exactly what our needs are, and how we can meet them with the most sustainable solutions possible. We are responsible for what we put out in to the universe, and we are hoping that this trip will show us more about ourselves than we could have dreamed (for example, how important IS a flushing toilet?).
Stay tuned for our take on sustainable living and our exploration of a beautiful country.