Kevbot likes to say I take the highlights from a dozen different people to make a super, unattainable goal. That I overlook everyone’s ups and downs they rarely tell Facebook about. It’s really easy to get swept away by what you read on the internet, and feel like these stories of travel are filled with non-stop fun, checking things off bucket lists, and personal growth. Sometimes travel can be very romanticized.
We have one week left in Portland, and it’s about that time to start packing up our life again. It’s one of the most frustrating parts of this journey. I feel like I’m stuck in limbo waiting for the right moment to pack up our belongings. The trouble is, in our goal to be organized and save the most room, everything has a specific place. I can’t very well pack away the skillet we’re still using, and therefore, I can’t pack everything else that goes on top. My brain runs on an endless loop of things I need to do but can’t.
We started with way too much stuff. In Albuquerque we sent back at least 5 boxes to be stored in Nashville. I have sold bags of clothes to Plato’s Closet. We’ve both made major cuts in our wardrobe to the bare essentials, although I will say my workout attire is still out of control. Each time it gets easier to load up the car, but I still feel the need to purge more. It’s actually thrilling to only own things we really use and need.
Just in case you’re curious, these are the things we use weekly:
- Shun chef’s knife – never underestimate a good knife
- Spice rack – we cook a lot and many of the places we stay lack a good supply
- Nonstick skillet – they also lack quality cookware
- Food scale, Sports bottles, Magic Bullet for protein shakes
- Sensing a pattern?
In addition to the loading and unloading, I also spend so many hours in search of lodging. We are about to embark on the longest leg of this journey.
Portland to Montreal Itinerary
- Portland → Idaho Falls (10 hrs drive)
- Idaho Falls → Grand Tetons (2 hrs drive)
- Grand Tetons → Yellowstone (1.5 hrs drive)
- Yellowstone → Mount Rushmore (7.25 hrs drive)
- Mt Rushmore → Sioux Falls (5.5 hrs drive)
- Sioux Falls → Chicago (8.5 hrs drive)
- Chicago → Cleveland (5.5 hrs drive)
- Cleveland → Montreal (9 hrs drive)
Almost 50 hours on the road! And if that doesn’t make your brain hurt, I have to book accommodations for each stop… within budget… and they must allow dogs. It’s not an easy task by any means, and I spend hours researching the areas to stay (I really don’t want to get eaten by a bear in Yellowstone or shot in Chicago). Then I price check, verify pet policy, and email a potential place, only to find out it’s already booked and have to start all over.
For our long term stays we’ve been relying on sites like airbnb.com and homeaway.com. They usually have better rates, and we get to stay somewhere with a kitchen. But on the road we run into another complication. Staying healthy when you have to reset every 6 weeks has been a challenge. Every time we drive to a new city, it seems we get off track and lose ground. We eat fast food and stop working out. Add on another week after we arrive to find a new gym, re-establish our routine, and get back to batch cooking meals. It’s frustrating when it feels like my fitness goals are unattainable, and I’m constantly taking the same one step forward and one step back.
I know I am extremely lucky to be on this adventure, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it’s also important to remember it comes with sacrifices . It’s a struggle to be away from home. My heart hurts every time a friend needs a hug, my gram is sick, or I miss a family birthday. With so many miles between us, I sometimes feel helpless. We are still trying to maintain some sort of consistency. We are still focusing on health, fitness, and accomplishing goals. We just want to see the world while we do it.