Over Christmas, we announced the purchase of our truck. No, it wasn’t a joke.
Since then, we’ve had a lot of questions like, “what are you doing,” “why did you buy a truck,” and “WTF, where will you park a truck in the city.” If you’re one of those curious about what is happening, here’s the rough outline:
- Step 1. Buy a truck.
- Step 2. Buy an RV.
- Step 3. ???
- Step 4. Profit.
It’s a bit of a long story to explain how we got here. If you don’t have time for all of that, here’s the quick explanation. Read on for more details!
The Full Story
After finishing grad school in the spring of 2014 and discovering that I had more free time than I used to, I wanted to find a new hobby. I decided to give sailing a try and signed up for lessons. Unfortunately I got started just as the sailing season was ending, but I jumped in to researching the topic and immediately discovered a world of people who live on their boats and travel around the world full-time. I was hooked, and I declared that my new 5 year plan was to buy a boat and sail around the world. It might sound ridiculous, but I really was serious. I took advanced sailing lessons, joined a sailing club, and enjoyed two, week-long, live aboard sailing trips in the Caribbean.
Sushila was never exactly on board with the plan, but she let me have my dream. She would humor me when I talked about my five year plan, but we never really had a serious discussion about it. After hitting the three year mark, I was starting to feel antsy, and I finally pressed her on it. I wanted to make more concrete plans. To no great surprise, she came back with a pretty firm, “No, I’m not going to live on a boat.” I was discouraged, but even if we weren’t going to be moving onto a boat, I wanted to do /something/. Almost as a joke, I suggested the idea of buying an RV and traveling the country instead. Sushila paused, thought for a moment, and then said,
Yeah, I guess we could do that.
And here we are.
I don’t think the allure of the original 5 year plan was ever really the sailing, per se. I was primarily attracted to the possibility of long-term, affordable travel. Of seeing more of the world. Of not spending the next 30+ years of my life commuting to an office with, at best, a couple weeks of vacation sprinkled in. After I learned that the option was out there, it was hard to let the idea go. Even if it didn’t shape up exactly as I originally imagined, I think we ended up exactly where I wanted to be 3.
Now that we’ve made the decision, we’re beginning to figure out the details of the trip. Here’s a quick rundown of where we are:
The kitties already have some traveling experience. They don’t particularly love their carriers, but they adjust quickly to new locations, and they don’t get car sick. We’ll continue harness training in the apartment, but once we have the RV, it will probably take some time to get them comfortable being outside. We’ll take it slow, though, and hope that they’ll adjust to an adventure cat lifestyle. If not, we’ll fake it in the photos.
Currently we are hoping to spend May preparing the RV and set off in June. Visiting Alaska is a big priority for me, and there is a limited time window where you can really do it, so we’ll do that in the summer of 2019 and finish up the trip afterwards. The total time should be ~15 months.
We don’t have a firm itinerary, and I’d like to keep it that way as much as possible. I don’t want the stress and pressure of being tied to a plan or forced to go faster/slower than we want just to meet a schedule that we think makes sense months in advance. For detailed plans, I’d like to keep it to no more than a week or two of planning ahead. We want the freedom to change plans on a whim and discover places that we’d otherwise have passed by.
That said, our very rough plan is as follows:
- Summer 2018: Northeast / Midwest
- Fall 2018: Midwest / Northwest
- Winter 2018: West / South
- Spring 2019: Whatever we’ve missed
- Summer 2019: Alaska!
On the way, we want to visit as many National Parks as possible. One of my bucket-list goals is to visit all 59 of them. We won’t be able to do that in a single trip (even if it is a year long!), but we can probably get close. There are a lot of great National Monuments/Forests and State Parks/Forests, too, so we’ll visit plenty of those as well. We also want to visit as many friends and family as we can. We would absolutely love to have people visit while we’re traveling, so if anyone is interested in meeting us at a particular time or location, let us know and we’ll get something planned.
Based on extensive research, including attending an RV show last fall, we’ve narrowed down the list of RVs we’re interested in. I’ll do a separate post about exactly what we’re looking for, but it will be a 5th wheel 4. We bought the truck already, and we’ll hopefully buy the RV in a couple months. We’ll keep them at my parents’ place in PA until we’re ready to go.
To sustain our trip without burning through every bit of savings we have, we’ll work part-time while we’re on the road.
We rent our apartment, and the lease ends in June, so that will be easy. We aren’t going to sublet or try to hold the place since we don’t really know when we’ll be back. We’ll pack what we need in the RV, and the rest of our stuff will be sold, given away, donated, or trashed. We have some small things that we’ll probably store in my parents’ basement, but we’re using this as a good opportunity to minimize.
We’ll use this blog to record our progress as we prepare for our upcoming trip. Once we’re on the road, we’ll use it to document our travels and experiences. Hopefully this will let all those who are interested follow along.
Door-in-the-face Technique - Suggesting something extreme (like sailing around the world) so that a second, more reasonable request is agreed to.
The hidden cost of value-seeking: People do not accurately forecast the economic benefits of experiential purchases
To be clear, I still haven't given up the dream of sailing around the world. I'm happy to put it on hold for a while, though.