Hey everyone! It’s time to announce our latest adventure: WE ARE GOING TINIER. It’s no secret that we live in an awesome tiny house that we built ourselves (You know like those HGTV Tiny Houses), but it’s time for a change! We are ready to hit the road and travel full-time. However, our tiny house is 40ft long by 8ft wide, and that is just too big to take with us on our Great American Road Trip. So we have decided to change up our lifestyle and go even tinier. We purchased a travel trailer that we are moving into so that we can TRAVEL full-time as we explore everything that the United States has to offer us.
The plan is to take the southern route all the way out to California. This means that we will be able to spend time in New Orleans, see a TON of the amazing things Texas has to offer, and explore Arizona and the Grand Canyon before we even make it to our “starting destination.” We plan on taking around 2 months to make it out to California.
We are considering Los Angeles a kick-off point for our north-western United States road trip because Eric’s family lives out there, and we have a cruise (barring covid issues) that we are flying out of LA for in late March. When we return to LA after the cruise, we will be starting our road trip north to places that we haven’t had the opportunity of exploring before!
I’m personally EXTREMELY excited to be going to see the Redwoods and the Sequoia trees. I am a huge fan of trees, and since my trip to Yemen (Socotra Island) to photograph the Dragon Blood trees got canceled due to war/unrest/ballistic missiles, I’m excited to still be getting the opportunity to see some incredible trees.
After exploring California, our current plan is that we will drive up the Oregon coast and explore Oregon and Washington before heading east to Glacier National Park. After seeing Glacier, we’ll head south to Yellowstone/Grand Tetons and end our trip in Colorado visiting friends and family.
We honestly have no idea if this itinerary will stay the same over time. We are just going to go with the flow. The plan right now is to be gone for around 6 months, but we can always decide to come home earlier or change the trip up. We have decided to be flexible and just allow ourselves to go where we want, when we want within reason.
This flexibility will hopefully allow this trip to truly be the trip of a lifetime. If we decide to come home earlier than planned, then we’ll just go back out west next year.
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How We Are Making It Happen
I’m sure by now the thought has crossed your mind: “How the heck are they affording to travel full-time?” Well, I think that is a totally fair question to ask. I’m not going to hide our secrets or gate-keep this way of living. I’m going to tell you everything it takes to make a dream like this a reality. I think that if I can take the time to lay out exactly how we are doing it, maybe more people can find ways to add more travel to their lives as well. I know that what works for us might not work for other people, but it can’t hurt to share what we’ve found to be successful!
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So there are a lot of factors that come in to play when you are planning to travel full-time. The most obvious is money. How are we affording it? Well the answer is kind of simple:
We designed our life over the last couple of years to ensure that traveling more was going to be possible for us.
A lot (I mean a LOT) of decisions went into making this happen. I’ll list a few of them for you.
- We moved into a tiny house so that we could be paying towards something we own (rent is money down the drain) but have a short-term mini-mortgage. (We’ll own our home with nothing to pay but lot rent for where we place it in less than two years!). Also, we built the entire interior of our tiny home ourselves (ceilings, walls, floor, tile, etc.) which saved us about 50k in labor and whatnot.
- We take the money we save from paying less on a home and set it aside for travel
- We found remote work. Eric quit his job and found a new one that allows him to work remotely! We have even practiced navigating the work and full-time travel balance for a few weeks to make sure it is doable for him. (Practice makes perfect!)
- I quit my job teaching. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was lucky, but Eric is clearly the breadwinner in our family. Teaching is something I’m incredibly passionate about, but I’m passionate about a lot of things, and with the current education climate, it was time for a break. Now I find gig work online like virtual assistant work, web design, social media marketing, and photo editing gigs. Whatever work I can find to help fund whatever adventure I have my eye on next.
- We can’t buy as much stuff because our house is too tiny to fit it.
- We don’t have kids. We have more time and flexibility with our money because we aren’t raising a child. Props to all of the people out there who make traveling with children happen, but it isn’t something we see in our future
- We sold Eric’s car. We don’t need two cars when we both work at home so now we only have one.
- We used the money from Eric’s car to buy a travel trailer. We didn’t buy the nicest travel trailer or the newest. We didn’t do van life like I dreamed of (which is crazy expensive by the way!). We didn’t even buy the expensive but cute hipster teardrop trailers that are gaining popularity. We found a used trailer that cost the same as the money we got from selling the car, and we love it! Eric is handy as well so he has been making some awesome modifications to it.
- We plan to boondock a lot. Boondocking means “free-camping” which is really just finding free places to park and being self-sustaining with electric, sewage, and water. We have spent nights sleeping in our car, we have spent nights in Walmart parking lots, and we have spent a lot of time at Cracker Barrel since they offer overnight parking for free. All of these help spread out our campsite fees.
- I plan our travels roughly a year in advance. I try to plan out our traveling schedule as far in advance as possible. This allows me to start having a goal of how much money I need to have saved to make it happen. The farther out I plan, the more time I have to save. I usually figure out how much I need to set aside monthly to make that trip happen, and then I find a way to make that money. Currently that is a variety of odd jobs online. Beforehand, I was doing a lot of Uber. Even while I was teaching I was ubering on the weekends to add to our travel fund. I believe that if you want something, you should go out and find a way to make it happen. *I also recognize that I am coming from a place of extreme privilege to live the life that I do, and I consider myself very blessed.*
How You Can Make It Happen
Everyone’s life is simply a series of choices. I laid out the choices that Eric and I made in order to design our life around are dreams. Your dreams may not be the same as mine, but everyone dreams of something! My advice to anyone who wants to travel more is to simply take inventory of your life. What do you spend your money on? Where does your time in the day go? What small choices can you make in order to push your path toward achieving your dreams?
What About the Dog?
Xena is coming with us on our adventure! She is honestly an incredible car-dog. She finds a nice spot and curls up for the ride. We make regular stops on our long drives to walk her and get her moving, and when we are parked somewhere, we take her on hikes with us.
At our trailer, we actually have this really awesome tether set-up that allows Xena to run back and forth on a line and explore the area, all while being leashed up! If you plan on traveling or camping with a dog, this cool tether system is a game-changer for allowing your dog more movement and freedom. If you are crafty, you could definitely make one on your own as well!
While on our cruise, Xena will be staying with a family friend, and while we are in a few of the National Parks that don’t allow animals, we will utilize Rover to find great people to keep her company. Other than that, Xena will come with us everywhere!
What About the Tiny House?
The tiny house still exists! It is staying behind and being watched by our lovely neighbors. We love our extremely little home. Who knew that living in under 400 square feet could be so wonderful? We plan to continue using it as our home base. Plus, we have an incredible community of like-minded tiny house neighbors that we are going to miss dearly.
What Happens When You Are Done?
The plan is to go to Africa! I was supposed to go to Africa for 3 months in the Fall of 2021, but COVID caused the tour that I was supposed to go on to be cancelled. I did make my way to Africa (and hitchhike on a train through the desert)! However, I never go to go on the giant safari that I had planned on doing. I still hope to do this at the end of this year, but you never know how things will play out.
That’s it! That’s the update. Thanks for reading ya’ll.
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