Now that we are leaving our familiar turf of the west coast and traveling east into uncharted territory, it is both exhilarating and terrifying.
Sure, we each have traveled east before with work. There were hotel reservations, and flights booked and transportation arranged between the two. Pretty straightforward.
We are also planning a trip to Ireland in our near future. International travel is definitely new for us. But again, there will be a schedule; exactly when we arrive, how many days we’ll be there, a departure date, airport locations.
Planned travel is completely different from our nomadic lifestyle. We have a very broad idea of the direction we’re going, the states we want to visit, the seasons we want to be there (or avoid). But to put together a daily itinerary for the next six months is next to impossible. Of course Tom would be much more comfortable heading out on this next leg of our trip if we did have a detailed schedule!
I’ve talked in the past about our travel style differences: Tom’s a detail oriented planner, I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of person. This can create friction.
Especially when you’re planning a cross country trip in a rolling metal box pulling a Jeep – a combination that can’t be maneuvered just anywhere – and trying to keep the whole trip budget minded.
We have traveled mostly in less populated states like Montana or Wyoming where it isn’t hard to find space at an RV park last minute. Unless of course it’s at the Grand Tetons at the end of a day in the peak of the season: We had a near disaster with my winging-it plan when we visited there several years ago, and Tom often uses that as an example of what un-planning can cause.
When we talk with other nomads about our travel destinations, any destination in the vast west is greeted with “Oh, that’s nice” or “That sounds fun.” But when you mention “East Coast” as a destination, more often than not they’ll say “Good luck.” Not exactly encouraging.
So from conversations with others, this is what we know: It will be heavily populated. The roads will be narrow with no shoulders. There will be low clearance underpasses. The mosquitos will be the size of hummingbirds. We’ll have to pay for toll roads. There will be bugs everywhere. The humidity will be stifling. There will be little to no boondocking or free camping options. The RV parks will be expensive. Spring break is to be avoided. You have to have reservations months in advance in Florida.
Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? So why are we going? I’ve been asking myself that lately as well.
Especially now that we’re headed back to big city traffic and crowds. San Antonio will be the largest city we’ve been in since Tuscon. We’ve been spoiled by being in desert and deserted BLM land for so long.
But the whole point of having this lifestyle is to see the United States – all of them. And I’ve been over-the-top excited to see the deep south and the north east. We’ve heard wonderful things about Alabama and Maine – among others. (We’ve also heard it’s easier get to Maine from the top – traveling through Canada.)
But adventure is what we signed up for so adventurers we must be. I will have to think ahead. Tom will have to take things on faith. We will have to work out our travel style differences in order to keep our relationship in tact.
Most of all, we will have to remember that life isn’t about the destination – it’s about the journey. And making memories together. And living life in the moment. And all those other fitting cliche’s.
And when things don’t go as planned, at least we’ll have stories to tell around the next campfire.
Peace & Love, Joy
I’m the planner in our rolling household and am more comfortable having reservations. I can change them if I need or want and sometimes it costs a few bucks. It is worth it to me to not worry about being able to find a place. It helps me enjoy the trip to have it covered. Everyone has to find their own comfort zone.
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Good for you! I wish I could be more like you and a better planner.
We started our travels (having never spent a night in a motorhome previously) in the northeast, so it can definitely be done. Yes, there are more roads you can’t drive on and low overpasses to contend with, but we didn’t find it to be that much of an issue. (We have an RV GPS that we use to route with and double check stuff beforehand.) What I would say is an issue are reservations in popular places. It’s not everywhere, but certainly around Acadia National Park in the summer, reservations are a must, and we ran into many crowded campgrounds in parts of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. And the prices are definitely higher – though, really, we haven’t found campgrounds in the west to be all that much cheaper. Really, the cheapest and nicest campgrounds are always the state parks and those are always popular no matter where we go. Anyway, the point is, I would seriously consider making some reservations if you want to be in the most popular places at the most popular times, and definitely if you want to stay in state or county parks, but I don’t think you need to worry too much about driving around on the east coast. It’s busier, but other than a handful of places, it’s really not that big of a deal. Good luck!
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Thank you for the encouragement. We are currently in New Orleans and we did make reservations ahead of time. So I think we are learning!