We planned out our route to take us down the Baja Peninsula and then up the west coast to Alaska, but based on the nature of our video production business, our route in reality is going to be a criss cross of the U.S. as we travel to our filming projects in between our other planned destinations. We knew this would be the case, and planned to just make the decision to fly or drive to our gigs base...
We move into the camper in one week. Our lease is ending, so that makes September 1st a firm start date for our new lifestyle. That means we have to have everything out of our rental house, packed into our camper, and ideally, our camper and truck functioning, driveable, and safe. Over the past 10 months, we’ve been making endless lists of everything we need to do to get ready. This included a few necessary repairs on the truck, improvements to the camper, and deciding which personal items are coming with us. You would think that 10 months seems like a long enough time to get everything on our list done. But somehow, the last ten months have gotten away from us quicker than expected, and as it stands, we have 100 things to do in the next week.
I quit my job a month early so we’d have all the time in the world to get ready- but then we actually both ended up traveling this month, and taking on a few big film projects to complete by our move out date as well, making our final weeks super rushed to get everything done by September 1st. Luckily, this also meant I got to jump right into my new role helping with Blake’s video productions, and it barely feels like I had a break of unemployment.
This has been the general plan of attack for us:
- Pick a general outline of our trip: We’ve mapped out a lot of places we want to see in southern Colorado, National parks in Utah and Arizona, Baja Peninsula, Southern California, Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and Alaska, in this order. The general plan is to make a loop of North America over the next year, but the most we’ve done is say where we want to be in what months, because we think our route will be thrown off at any minute by accepting client gigs anywhere in the country at any minute. If the gig is relatively close, we’ll drive and continue our route from there, or if it’s across the country or international, we’ll park the camper and fly. We don’t want to be tied down to specific camp spots for each night. The goal is to travel where life takes us.
- Get rid of all our junk: Slowly over the past few months, we’ve been getting rid of everything unnecessary in our lives. This is a tough one. We are balancing our desire to live a more simplified life versus the fact that Blake and I are super frugal. Blake and I were fortunate enough to inherit quite a bit of nice furniture and power tools from relatives for free, so when and if we want to come back from this lifestyle, we don’t want to buy it again. So my parents have graciously offered to store some of our items in their third bay garage and my old bedroom. So right now, we’re making 4 piles: donate, trash, storage, and camper. If we decide in a year to stay on the road, I’m sure we’ll come back and wonder why it was so important for us to keep half the items we put in storage.
- Make the camper livable: This is still a work in process, and I think it will continue to be a challenge as we settle in over the next few months and discover what makes the most sense. Our biggest improvement has been decking the camper out with a solar setup. We are so excited this means we can charge all of our computer and camera gear and run some essential household items- vacuum, fan, microwave, crockpot. We are still figuring out how to organize everything-clothes, kitchenware, camera gear, climbing/dirtbike/kayak equipment- and will be sure to update as we learn what works for us.
- Select our activities: We enjoy a variety of activities, but there’s not room in the camper for every piece of gear we already own. So we’re bringing the dirt bikes, which is our main hobby, and which will also serve as a second mode of transportation if we want to explore nearby towns, grab groceries, etc, when we don’t want to move the camper. We’re also bringing the climbing gear and our inflatable kayak for some variety. There’s potentially a few places we’d like to backpack, but we’re still debating if there will be room for backpacks, tents and camp pads, which we haven’t used since buying a camper anyway. Mountain bikes and river tubes didn’t make the cut either.
- Figure out logistics of being a nomad: This has included endless hours researching vanlife blogs for topics such as how to get mail on the road, where to receive packages, best health insurance for fulltime RVers, how to insure our personal artifacts, getting an internet service that works out in the wild so we can maintain our business, etc. We’ll still be around towns and we have to return to Denver a couple times the first month, so while we’ve been rushing to figure all this out, what we’ve realized is that not everything has to be done Day 1 living in the camper. We’ll still be figuring out some of these logistics, and making changes based on how much we end up working while on the road.
We’ve got a few rough days ahead of us to finish everything we need to do to be camper ready in the next 7 days.