You’re thinking of hitting the road, escaping the cubicle, seeing what life is like under open skies. You have a romantic vision of wind in your hair, beautiful camp vistas and easy, carefree adventures. And you will have that—if you’ve got the funds to cover it.
The rest of us have to get creative.
Living on the road means that covering the basics of life—food, shelter, water—can get a little tricky. And then there are the things we take for granted such as entertainment, staying clean, and exercise. After two years of shunning four walls and traveling under strict income restrictions, I’ve learned a few tricks to making this all possible. Want in? Read on.
It’s not as easy to come by as you may think. To make sure you’re never without water, get a few space-saving large-capacity water containers. I prefer screw on lids (no spills) and hard cased-containers (puncture resistant). Whenever you have an opportunity to get water, fill them up.
Eat easy. Almonds and craisins snack well and are perfect for keeping you awake on long drives. Seaweed sheets (used for sushi) taste great and provide lots of micronutrients. Water, cocoa powder, peanut butter and a healthy shake mix (I use a nutritional powder) are perfect for breakfast and lunch or dinner — just stick it all in a BlenderBottle. Shake, shake, drink.
Not only do none of these have to be refrigerated, but they provide everything I need to fuel skiing, climbing, mountain biking and trail running.
Camping at National Parks is pricey. National Forests often border National Parks and generally have cheaper (even free!) campsites. If you’re in an urban setting, check out Walmart, a 24-hour fast food chain or a hotel parking lot. Open to meeting people? Give “couchsurfing” a try. You might find a new adventure buddy in the process.
1. Personal Hygiene
Just because you’re road tripping and your coworker can’t complain, don’t get too lazy about this. Personal hygiene is a must. Use wipes or showers as often as possible to remove harmful bacteria. Brush & floss to keep plague and cavities at bay. Clean under the finger & toenails and keep ‘em clipped. You know, all the stuff your mom told you to do. In this environment, it’s even more important.
Packing the car so full so there is only space to drive will make your car feel like a cage—fast. Keep aesthetically pleasing things and items you reach for most (snacks, a duffel bag of clothing, books) in the main part of the car and use the trunk for the unruly items—gear, cooking items, etc.
3. So Fresh & So Clean
Keep your mobile house fresh. Crack the windows to keep air circulating. If you’re traveling longer than a couple of weeks, empty the car completely, then vacuum and wipe down the surfaces. While you’re cleaning the interior, open up blankets, sleeping bags, towels, etc. and hang them on the car doors to air out. Your space will feel amazing after this.
It’s easy to become a recluse when out on the road. Don’t! Part of the joy of traveling is experiencing local flair. Grocery stores, visitor centers, post offices and gear shops usually have bulletin boards and local magazines showcasing local events. Check out a free concert or a pork rind festival (yup, it’s a thing in Ohio). You’ll meet new friends and bring home fascinating memories.
On the days when playing outdoors is out of the question, grab a fitness video from YouTube or iTunes. It’s like having a personal trainer but without the heavy pricetag. There’s everything from yoga and Zumba to bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere.
Think of your car as a mobile university. Study a language, brush up on a subject, explore new interests, or finish a book. Covering hundreds of subjects and often free, podcasts and audio books can be downloaded from apps like iTunes and Librivox.