“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?