So we’ve made it through New Mexico, into Colorado, and back to Arizona since my last post. Phew! Before going into what we’ve done since Arizona (I’ll save that for another blog post) I wanted to give some more of my thoughts from the road. A lot of people have been asking what are the best and worst parts about living on the road, so I thought I’d share some! However, instead of “worst parts” I am going to talk about challenges we face instead, because I’d argue that there are no “worst parts” of what we are doing.
The best parts of living on the road (in no particular order) are:
- Wandering, in the true sense of the word
- Being able to spend as much or as little time as we want in a place, rather than being bound by time and schedules
- Arriving somewhere new in the dark and waking up to a whole new and beautiful place
- Brushing my teeth under the sky full of stars
- Meeting other van-dwellers and getting new information, tricks, and tips for living on the road
- Sleeping in the bug-free comfort of our van
- Sunrises, sunsets, and golden hour surrounded by the most beautiful landscapes
- Living a minimal life without the clutter of too much stuff
- Having ample time to explore some lesser known places such as hot springs or smaller parks
- Using our pre-paid annual parks pass to get unlimited entrance to national parks and national monuments
- Exploring viewpoints, hikes, and forests
- Finding awesome free campsites and often having them to ourselves
- Being in wonderful places during off season, off days, and off hours and being able to avoid crowds, which I never was able to do when I could only travel during popular vacation times
The challenges of living on the road (in no particular order) are:
- Being dirty and smelly between showers
- Getting used to our own bad smells until we hardly notice them
- Washing dishes without a dishwasher or sink
- Always having to figure out where we will sleep for the night
- Using gross bathrooms
- Not being able to find a bathroom
- Trying to stay on budget and not going to every single local restaurant and brewery we see
- Keeping the van clean and organized
- Going long stretches without doing laundry
- Eating a lot of bland meals and too many PB&J sandwiches
All in all there are plenty of challenges we face while living in a van, and there certainly are days that I miss the comfort of a steady apartment, having a clean bathroom, relaxing on a couch watching TV, and not having to deal with the ordeal of finding places to stay each night. However, the great parts of this trip immensely outweigh the challenges. I also believe that learning to navigate new challenges and pushing through discomfort is part of what makes this trip such an incredible experience.
If anyone out there has thought about doing something like this but has certain hesitations or worries that are preventing it from happening, please reach out! I’d love to chat.
As always, thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow along the adventures on Instagram @carrieoutdoors (the “stories” in particular have all of the behind the scenes weirdness and fun moments that aren’t always captured in this blog or my edited photos)!
Hi! I’m loving your journey.
You are exploring one of my absolute favorite parts of the world. Thank you for sharing this post! The challenges you describe are not things that frighten me. I have a steady apartment and job and often go long stretches without laundry and smelling my own funk anyway 😉 I’ve been dreaming of a mobile life, or at least doing it for a few months. The concerns I really have are around how to earn money while traveling – how to sustain the lifestyle.
You rock! Xoxo
Thank you so much for your kind message! It’s great to hear from you. Yeah the whole making money on the road is something we haven’t figured out yet either, we just saved up a bunch of money beforehand and are only doing this kind of travel short term. If I figure anything out I’ll let you know! 😃