I can hardly believe it’s been a month since we left Olympia, Washington for this trip of a lifetime. For this leap of faith. For this dream of ours.
I remember our first day on the road so clearly – how nervous I was as we left the comfortable, predictable house and moved into a shiny, tiny home with wheels. As we pulled that home over Snoqualmie mountain pass and set up camp for the first time the emotions shifted between excitement, fear, anxiety, excitement, fear, anxiety, exhaustion, excitement. . . .but we just kept on trucking and it’s gotten much easier as we go. The more we tow, the more we set up/take down the trailer, the more we see – the more comfortable it gets and the more confident we become. The emotions these days are mostly excitement and lots of joy. And for me especially, contentment.
We’ve taken it slow – after only 30 days we were still only about 10 hours from where we started! But the beauty of this trip isn’t about the distance or the miles logged – it’s about the experiences we’re having along the way, the family and friends we’re seeing, and ultimately that we’re enjoying the view along the way.
The FAMILY part has been the highlight. Without the distractions of housework, yard work, a 9-5 job – we’re all present and participating in this adventure as a unit. I’d be lying if I said it’s been roses and rainbows every single second – we have had to adjust and adapt, but at the end of the day we’re a stronger, closer family – creating memories that will last a lifetime.
And the family we’ve seen along the way – how blessed we’ve been in just four weeks to spend time with – my grandma’s sister and husband (Clarkston, WA), my grandma (Coeur d’Alene, ID), my aunt and uncle (Post Falls, ID), my cousins and cousin’s kids (Post Falls) and my sister- and brother-in-law and their kids (Glacier National Park, MT). I had people ask us about missing family when we move – and we do miss our Puget Sound-area family very much – but we are getting the chance to see family and friends we haven’t seen in years during this journey!
Biggest challenges so far. . .
- Finding reliable wifi to be able to work along the road. We have a Verizon JetPack that allows us to use WiFi through our phone – but it’s expensive, so I’m always worried about using the data. Wifi in campgrounds just isn’t reliable – especially when the campgrounds are full.
- Finding inexpensive campsites has been tricky, even state park campsites in Washington were costing us $35+ a night. Ideally we’d find a spot where we could get a weekly rate, but because it’s the busiest time of the year with summer travel – we’ve had limited options for places to stay longterm or inexpensively. I expect this to get easier as we head into fall.
- Meal planning has been a learning process – without my pantry and stockpile at home it’s harder to be creative with last minute, easy meals. I’m getting better at finding recipes that work well on a grill or are easily whipped up in the trailer – and hope to share more about this as I get better at it.
A few thoughts on this past month . . .
- I don’t miss anything we sold or gave away before starting this journey. Not a thing.
- I’ve actually downsized even MORE since leaving Olympia, giving items to family/friends and donating them along the way. You really need so very little material things for day-to-day needs.
- I love that it takes me 20 minutes to clean my entire house – including rooms organized, floors mopped, kitchen scrubbed, fridge organized and bathroom cleaned.
- I don’t miss my dishwasher as much as I thought I would.
- It’s nearly impossible to LOSE anything in this trailer. I spend a lot less time looking for things! 🙂
- I drink a lot less coffee when we’re using a french press instead of using a 12-cup machine.
- We spend an exponentially more time OUTSIDE than we ever did in our house. Even with a liberal covering of 70 SPF I’m dotted with freckles I haven’t seen since I was a kid playing for hours in the yard – and it feels good.
- This country is a BEAUTIFUL place.
- I LOVE that the view out my window changes often. That the birds and plants are new. That there is SO much to learn at every place we stop. It’s invigorating and exciting.
- You can plan, research and prep until the cows come home. But it’s faith, bravery, patience that really MOVE you to action.
- I’m braver than I ever imagined possible.
When we were planning this trip, I would share our plan carefully with people – always with a clause – just in case we hated it and ended up turning around. I don’t know why, but perhaps because I didn’t want to feel like a failure if our big dream turned out to be a bad choice.
Today I feel differently. It’s our dream. We’re chasing it. And we LOVE it. Whether it lasts 2 months, 12 months or longer – I know this was the right choice for us and there are no regrets. We’ve taken more leaps of faiths than some people do their whole lives. We’re stronger, braver people for that.
Who knows where this journey will take us. . .but I’m grateful for every day along the way.
I am enjoying this blog SO MUCH! Thank you for continuing to share your adventures, the good and the bad 🙂
My daughter lives on the Olympic Peninsula in an area where no Internet service provider will go. She is finishing her college degree entirely online, using a Verizon JetPack. You are right — it is horribly expensive, especially when professors require downloading and watching videos. We haven’t found a good solution either.
Lorna Hoff says
Once again you have brought a happy tear to my eye, and a heart that is full of pride, love and admiration for you and your family. So many will talk about living the “dream” (myself included), but so few are brave enough to do so. Adventure on Clarke Family!
so love to read of your adventures. It inspires me to get off my duff and at least go camping for weekend! I am so impressed with being only 10 hours away and what you have packed into it. As they said back in the day, ‘Keep Truckin’!!!!
I hope you inspire more people to chase their dreams, travel or otherwise. God bless your family. And French Press coffee is THE ONLY way to drink coffee! The best!
We live in Tacoma, during a trip last weekend we had a few hours to spend in Spokane not sure what to go see. Thinking of your posts you inspired me to look into the local library. Found that the Mobius science museum (which is $7 a person normally) had a traveling exhibit located at the downtown library for pay what you can!! It was a perfect activity for a couple of hours. We learned about circuits, magnets, a cross section of a real brain, saw different materials under a microscope, and so many other activities! So glad we got to take advantage of it, thanks for the inspiration!
I’ve enjoyed your coupon blog for years and now your travel blog. You might consider purchasing a 2 qt. crockpot as it makes 4-5 servings so you don’t have to store a lot of leftovers. I use mine for potato soup (4-5 potatoes), chicken enchiladas (5 tenderloins will fit for 6 enchiladas), etc.
I’ve followed your coupon website for a couple years now, but this “Take that Exit” site is the first one I check every day. I wish you could post things every day. I just love it. I feel like I’m traveling right along with you. Thank you!!
I am loving watching your family transition to freedom. Its like watching a flower blossom. Such a rare but beautiful spectacle!
In reference to findkng campsites have yall thought about thousand trails or other like memberships, that can often be bought used? It may help to hone in a tighter budget?
I have struggled with my meal planning since we started FTing. We graze more so now than hhave full meals. But when we do have meals the amount is severely less, that we consume each month.
We were at glacier np last week and LOVED it, we worked our way back out west after a stay in Iowa.
Happy trails yall!
You guys have done well to pace yourself. We got rolling and felt like we had to put the miles on all the time and we drove drove drove for the first year.
On the meal planning – my wfe is trying a ‘Capsule Kitchen’ idea that might be of interest. She blogged about it for 30 days – and describes the overall idea on this day one post:http://ditchingsuburbia.com/blog/capsule-kitchen-Day-01
De'Etta @ Choosing Joy says
You’re posts are so encouraging. We are retiring from the Air Force Chaplaincy in 4 weeks and going full time. We KNOW it’s what we want to do – most think we are very odd – and everyone is asking what we’re doing “after retirement.”
We envision the benefits to be what you described – and are so happy to hear from someone starting out that they ARE what we envisioned.
Back to sorting and donating.
http://grillgirl.com has many yummy recipes for the BBQ. Maybe you can find some ideas there for your family. And have you tried McDonalds for wifi? Usually their wifi is fast enough to do up/downloads.
Margie Lundy says
Great lessons! We’re still learning after 5+ years on the road and loving it! If you want to connect with other traveling families as you go (always fun for the kids in the campgrounds!), check out fulltimefamilies.com. There are hundreds of us out there. Hope to see you down the road somewhere!
Kelly B. says
This was such an inspirational and “REAL” post. I loved it!
Daniel and Georgianne says
Thanks for all of that info that you have shared with us, We are still thinking about doing the same thing.
we had a Airstream back in 1978 for a year or so in our hippie days LOL.
We bought our son a F350 Diesel he pulls there 5th wheel on summers when they are not teaching school,The truck has been great but the 5th wheel has been a total diaster a total of 10 flats and still counting brakes and this that and the other.
We really love the Airstream idear and traveling but dont want to be moving from lot to lot every 2Days that is one concern that we have but we will still keep talking about that,
If your are planning on coming to the Florida Panhandle anytime soon let us know we can let you in on some nice places to stay in our area that my son stays when he comes down.
Destin Beach is a great place to visit in the fall months the the gulf waters are still warm the sugar white beaches are beautiful hear and the tourist are gone home again,
anyway enough for now.
Daniel & Georgianne Phillips
Jess Curren says
LOVE this post!! Totally reminds me of Tangled and to “Go! Live your dream!”