A Slight Change of Plans

by jdroth on 05 September 2015 · 15 comments

“I’m going to be honest with you,” Kim said the other day. “I’m tired. I love our life on the road, but I’m ready to take a break. I want to pick a place and stay put for a while.”

I could tell she was reluctant to say this. Our year-long RV trip is a shared dream, something we’ve both always wanted to do. Now Kim was suggesting we pause for a while, and she was worried that I might disagree with her.

But I didn’t.

“I’m so glad to hear you say that,” I said. “I’ve been feeling the same way. This road trip is a blast, and I want to see the rest of the country. But at the same time, I want to take a break. You know I’ve been frustrated because I can’t find time to work on the new website. Well, it also sucks to see my fitness fade. I worked hard for that, and all this moving around has made me soft.”

“Me too,” Kim said. “I haven’t been this out of shape in years. It’d be great if we could make exercise a part of our routine.”

“What should we do?” I asked.

“Let’s think about it,” Kim said. “Maybe we can come up with some sort of plan to park somewhere soon.”

So, we thought about it. The bottom line is that after five months of constant travel, Kim and I have become a little road weary. What do we mean by that?

At the start of the trip, each place we visited was new and exciting. We couldn’t wait to see the sights and talk to the people. Although we still have some of that enthusiasm, the constant change has become almost mechanical. We’re numb to the new. We find ourselves wanting to skip places and people we’ve looked forward to seeing. Some days we stay put in the RV to read and relax rather than see the things unique to the area around us. (Hell, we’re doing that today!)

This isn’t a problem unique to us Rothwards, of course. Many long-term travelers run the risk of burning out, if they’re not careful. That’s why so many seasoned road warriors have a policy of slow travel. They stay put for weeks — or months! — at a time. By doing so, they get the best of both worlds: They enjoy the novelty of new places but also experience a sense of belonging, of community.

When we set out on this trip, our plan was to cover the entire United States in about a year. Over time, that plan has evolved. For instance:

  • Once we realized the U.S. was even larger than we’d thought, with so much to see and do, we changed our timeline from “about a year” to “about 18 months”. Even at that pace, things will feel rushed.
  • Although our expenses remain lower than what they would be at home, they’re still greater than we’d like. As a result, we decided to pause for a few months so that we could both earn money. Kim would find a job, and I’d launch a new money blog. Naturally, this extended our timeline even further.

Now our plan has changed again.

Instead of moving from New York to New England now, we’re driving south. We’ll spend a few days in Pennsylvania, then ten days in New Jersey. In mid-September, we’ll be at a conference in Charlotte, North Carolina for a week. When the conference is over, we’ll put the motorhome in storage for a while so that we can take the Mini Cooper up to New England for the fall foliage festival. When that’s done, we’ll return to Charlotte and pick a place to set up camp for several months.

In a way, this choice seems even more exciting (and scary) than the decision to set out on the road. But we love it. Who knows where life will take us next?

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Judie Ashford 05 September 2015 at 13:13

Travel fatigue! As former fulltimers, we were sorry to see you dashing about to so many places in such a short time, as this is exactly what happens. A lot of people leave the road completely.

We were probably far to the other end, spending months in a town, getting to know the place and feeling like a part of the community. Cancer cut short our fulltiming, but we still go out for a few months at a time, spending long periods in one place. A repeat visit to Santa Fe is next up. We spent four months there in 2003/4, and need to do it again!

You’ll find your happy place . . . it just doesn’t happen quickly.

Virtual hugs,



2 Dakota 05 September 2015 at 14:50

Good for you! Pausing takes more work than continuing on, in my experience. After three months cycling Europe, Chelsea and I are tired of go go go as well. Looking forward to some upcoming R&R in one place without the daily logistics of travel.

I hope parking over the winter treats you well. We’ll be in NY at the end of September near Woodstock/Ithaca, in case you’re in that area.

Ciao from Bolzano, Italy!



3 John W Thomas 05 September 2015 at 17:31

You are discovering what those of us who are retired and have travelled, and continue to travel and want to travel more already know: for many of us, it is important to have a “home” base to come home to: friends, connections, conveniences, familiarity.
My parents retired at 55, sold their home and full-timed it for three years with no “home”. After three years, they tired of no home and bought a small condo in a retirement community on the Pacific coast of Mexico, loving the winters there and bought a small A frame in the Colorado Rockies, spending the summers there. They were much happier having those two homes and they spent the shoulder seasons (fall and spring) travelling in the RV and enjoying the best of those two seasons – making long-term friends in both places , and found happiness. They would spend weeks at a time (as per the previous comment, with which I 100% agree) at one place and get to know it really well – that’s what creates memories that are long-lasting, which is why we return to SW Co every summer.
Home for you two may be Portland, and what a fantastic place that is, but as you are discovering, being on one coast or the other really makes travel to other parts of the country more logistically challenging…not that you can’t get past that. Best of luck with whatever road you take, just make it your own road and stay in touch with those who matter. Just my two cents…


4 Belinda 05 September 2015 at 23:44

I was just wondering if you would consider posting your monthly expenses …… for those of us who are heading in the same direction as you guys, it would definitely help us to realize a reasonable budget. I know that not everyone is going to travel at the same pace but posting your expenses is all part of the journey, especially when you are writing about finding jobs while out on the road. I always think that we will run out of money, after selling everything, and then find ourselves in a right pickle. When I get out on the road finally, I do plan to post my monthly expenditures.


5 jdroth 06 September 2015 at 12:33

Hey, Belinda. I do post a lot of our budget details on the trip stats page. You can learn a lot there. I’d be happy to do a more detailed post about how much we’re spending. Maybe once Kim and I have settled down for a few weeks?


6 Belinda 07 September 2015 at 00:04

That would be great :) I look forward to reading that post. Thanks!


7 Erik 17 September 2015 at 17:42

I would be interested also. Thanks, Erik


8 Rebecca 06 September 2015 at 09:21

I live close to Raleigh, NC, feel free to email if you’ll be in the Triangle/RTP area. When you head south again, you should check out the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the Tennessee whiskey tours at Jack Daniels and George Dickel. My husband and I went to all of the major distilleries on the bourbon trail (we’ll visit the craft ones on another trip) and it was interesting to learn about the different mashbills (recipes) and how they affect the taste. If you only have time for a few distilleries, our favorites were Four Roses, Maker’s Mark and Town Branch.

For fall leaf viewing, try to plan your travels for weekdays during the peak color season. If you plan on visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway, weekend traffic can slow to a crawl and the overlooks will be crowded. Linn Cove Viaduct is a beautiful section in NC, and it’s near mile post 304. For a great panoramic view of the area, take the moderate hike to Rough Ridge (parking area at MP 302.8). Another excellent view is at Deep Gap MP 276.4.

You’ll enjoy the views of the Blue Ridge and Southern Appalachians wherever you decide to visit in the fall. Safe travels!


9 kimmie 07 September 2015 at 15:05

Wow, great input, Thank You!!


10 Barb 06 September 2015 at 13:27

Your facebook posts started to hint that you were beginning to get burned out. Less joy and more irritations were being pointed out. I’m glad you are planning to a break and not stop the journey. I look forward to reading about the new money website and your trip when it continues.


11 Bryan 07 September 2015 at 20:47

This is an excellent and timely reflection of your travel experience for us. We are planning some extended travel beginning next year in our truck and 24 ft. trailer. I thing we will probably stay in the southwest and Pacific coast areas at first. We anticipate that about two months will be the longest trip for us away from home. I think it would be difficult for us to become full-timers.

I can relate with you about the travel, diet, and lack of exercise. It is difficult to get into a routine when you driving, setting up camp, visiting, tearing down camp, and moving on.


12 PawPrint 08 September 2015 at 09:03

My DH and I have enjoyed reading about your travels to date. I do hope you’ll continue blogging about your experiences in your winter “home.” Also, anything you can tell us about the new financial blog?


13 Claire 08 September 2015 at 10:06

As a native North Carolinian, I felt I should chime in on the “place to camp for several months” part. If you want a relaxing winter with no snow, it is a safe bet to stay south of Virginia; they always seem to have consistent snowfalls every winter. However, the mountains get lots of snow also and the Charlotte area does get snow. I am in the Raleigh/Durham area and we don’t get much (if any) snow, but the past couple of years we have gotten some (and there’s always the question of is it just going to be snow or will there be some ice?). Florida is a nice escape in the winters, but then you have to deal with all of the “snowbirds” that migrate down from the northeast to do the same thing.

It’s hard to predict winters. Here in NC, we have had a couple of fairly cold winters the past 2 years, but we had 2-3 mild winters right before that. You never really know what’s going to happen. January/February are always the coldest months, though.


14 Lisa 14 September 2015 at 15:10

I live in the NC Triangle. Have you considered setting up camp here? The Triangle (the area in the triangle formed by Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill) is just a short drive from the beach and a relatively short drive to the mountains. Each of the three towns has its own personality, and you could get to know each of them. I love this area. It has retained a lot of its small town feel while providing amenities found in much larger cities. It’s also conveniently located to be a hopping off point for trips throughout the southeast. It might be a good place to overwinter.


15 Justin 15 September 2015 at 16:39

Hey JD! I know exactly how you feel. Last year we set out on a five week road trip from Raleigh NC up the east coast (through Philly and NYC) then into Canada for a week each in 4 different cities. By 2.5 weeks in, we were worn out! We cut the trip short and enjoyed a few weeks at home as a staycation to decompress after the trip. We also had our 3 young kids with us, so that certainly contributed to travel fatigue. :)

This year we tried extended travel again and had a wonderful successful (and tiring!) 7.5 week trip through Mexico with the kids. By the end of it, we were ready for some relaxation back at home in Raleigh. Traveling is great but it can wear on you. That’s when it’s time to take a break!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: