Earlier this year, I shared my plans to move into my car for a few months, so I could drive across Canada and back. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to experiment with long-term travel; living out of a bag, moving at my own pace and staying in cities for as long (or as short) as I want. And I’ve always dreamt of exploring more of my country, visiting friends all along the way and, specifically, spending a good amount of time in the Maritime provinces. This is still a dream of mine – and is hopefully one I’ll be able to make a reality next year – but it’s not something I’ll be able to cross of my bucket list in 2016.
Since the time of writing that post, a number of circumstances have pushed back my potential departure date for that trip. First, of course, I had to recover from my surgery. I was discharged from physio in mid-June, so physically I’ve been ready to go since then. However, then both my dad and sister left for the summer, which resulted in my needing to stay at the house and take care of our family dogs. I have loved the quiet mornings with them, and all the walks around my childhood neighbourhood – but having to take care of them for 6+ weeks has meant not being able to hit the road for 6+ weeks.
The further my departure date was pushed back, the more I realized I wouldn’t be able to go on the road trip I had originally planned. And while I could be disappointed by that, instead I’ve decided to plan a different trip – one where I’ll still explore and hike, visit friends all along the way and end up in San Diego for FinCon. I’m calling it the Great American Road Trip! And it starts soon…
The American (Road Trip) Dream
Aside from my dream of driving across Canada, I’ve also had another dream develop over the past few years: driving around the U.S. and visiting all the wonderful friends I’ve made since starting this blog. With only seven weeks to play with, this time around, I won’t be able to visit everyone or even cross half the states off my list. But I am beyond thrilled to say I’ll get to explore a few places I’ve been dying to visit (like Montana, Colorado, Utah and California!), spend time with some of my best online friends, and see their states in a way I couldn’t have if I’d simply flown to them.
While in the past I’ve done a lot of “big city” travel, what I’m most looking forward to about this trip is that I’ll be able to explore everything outside of the cities. I want to see the small towns, the countryside, the mountains and the wildlife. I don’t care about city life, architecture, fancy coffee shops or restaurants. I want to see everything that surrounds it – and the best way to do that is by car.
The First Leg of the Trip
Technically, I do have a tentative route for all the states I’d like to drive through, but I’m hesitant to share it because I’m certain plans will change somewhere along the way – and that’s exciting! The biggest benefit of travelling solo is that I’ll have the freedom to go where I want, when I want, as well as stay somewhere as long as I want, or leave as quickly as I want. I also love knowing that friends will be able to suggest places to go (or skip). My friends Paul and Lisa have already done that for me, and shown me hundreds of photos from road trips they’ve done before.
As of right now, the only thing I have planned is to spend a few days in Montana by myself, then book it over to Minnesota so I can have a good visit with all my friends there. (Also, how is it that I have so many friends in Minnesota!?) Unless I decide to go through North Dakota (doubtful), I’ll drive through seven states in the first leg of this trip:
- Washington (driving through, will explore more on the way home)
- Idaho (just driving across the top)
- South Dakota
- Minnesota (stay with Anthony and Amy, hang with Jeff, Travis, Kayla and more!)
- Wisconsin (have frozen custard with Nate!)
From there, I’ll dip down a few states, then head back over to Colorado (where I’d like to hangout for a week) and make my way down to California. The only city I must arrive in by a certain date is San Diego, where I need to be by September 18th. Two girlfriends and I have rented a cottage there for three nights, before we head over to the hotel for FinCon (so excited to see them and relax before the conference!). After that, I want to drive up the California coast, visit some more family and friends, and then drive over to Bend, Oregon and head home from there.
Altogether, I estimate I’ll drive through 18 states in just seven weeks; that’s less than 3 days per state (and realistically, there will be many states I drive right through, so I can spend more time in others). It’s not the original trip I had planned, and I know living on the road for seven weeks won’t always be easy, but I am sooo excited to begin this adventure. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share more about how I’ve prepared for this trip (especially work-wise), what I’m packing in the car, and some ways I plan to save money and stay healthy on the road.