This post is coming to you late, since we hit our one year anniversary on October 16th, 2018. I’ve been struggling with exactly how I wanted to write it. As you’ll see below, I opted for a bulleted method to try and keep the points precise and not get to wordy.
If you are reading this I’m going to assume you know at least a little of our story. The “why’s” that got us traveling and keep us traveling. But what has it been like traveling the United States for a full year?
I’m going to blow the secret right off the bat, it has been amazing (shocking, right?)! We both got to see a large portion of this country that neither had seen before. I mean Utah alone could have made the trip as far as I’m concerned, but no, we got to see 27 states! The technical stuff is as follows:
Twelve Month Tally
- States: 27 (Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, Tennessee)
- Mileage: 30, 715 (according to Google, that’s more than one time around the world)
- Towing Mileage: 11, 896
- Cities Visited: 118
- Places Visited: 273
As you can see, we’ve made it to a lot of places in a year! We even slowed down and started spending much more time in locations as well (we spent a month and half just in Utah). So, with all those incredible places visited, what are our favorites? As you might imagine we get asked that question a lot. It’s not really an easy answer since it has all been great. But of course we still have our favorites but we give them by category. So here are our personal highlights for our first year on the road.
Our Personal Favorites
- State: Utah
- National Park: Bryce Canyon
- Museum: Natural History Museum in Houston, Texas.
- Attraction: Kennedy Space Center (with Johnson Space Center a very close second)
- Sunset: San Diego
- Campground: Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, AL.
- Boondocking Location: Upper Teton View in Jackson, WY.
- Wildlife Refuge: Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge (some GREAT birding there)
- Military History: Patriot’s Point in Mount Pleasant, SC.
- Best Dinner: Oceana Grill in New Orleans, LA. (Jason) – Corralito Steak House in El Paso, TX (Misty)
- Best Breakfast: Cowboy Cafe in Roswell, NM.
- Night Sky View: Utah
Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of our favorite things, what did we learn while on the road?
- We can live in a small space and not kill each other.
- The nomadic lifestyle suits us.
- We were surprised by how quickly this became our new normal.
- Many American towns look very similar.
- If we had to buy a new RV, we’d probably get a fifth wheel this time. They are more spacious, but more importantly have more cargo capacity. They also tow easier.
- Working from the road is pretty awesome.
- We prefer to boondock. Not only for the cost savings (as most of the time it is free) but because it’s a better outdoor experience (for us).
- Full-time RVing, while fairly inexpensive, is still costly. If you move regularly gas costs get you. Food and gas have been our biggest expenses.
- Netflix streams just fine over a 3mb hot spot.
- Internet and cell access wasn’t as bad as we thought. We did, however, pick up a cell booster for 2019.
- RV service as a full-timer can be challenging so we prefer mobile techs that come to you.
- It’s strange how quickly you lose sight of what day of the week it is when not working.
- We prefer to stay put on the weekends and visit things during the week when less people are there.
- Don’t believe what you see in the news. Things are pretty good out here with LOTS of great people.
- RV’s have a lot of maintenance so you must be somewhat handy.
- We wish we would have invested in solar and lithium batteries earlier in our trip.
- The vacation feel to the trip subsided quickly.
- 1 out of every 3 keys will likely fit your RV so security is lacking.
- We have found that adaptability is key.
- Experiences are more valuable than “stuff”.
- We miss our friends and family.
- Military showers are a way of life (conserves gray tank space).
- One must embrace the “clutter” (there just isn’t enough space for everything).
Other things we learned include things about ourselves. For instance, Misty started working from the road after only six weeks. Not because she needed to financially, but rather because she quickly realized she needed to for herself. She doesn’t have the hobbies to keep her busy like I do and she likes to feel productive. It’s obviously a good thing too since I’m still not working and she is helping to keep our trip sustainable (for the most part). I will eventually figure out a way to do my part. It will probably come by way of doing work camping. Work camping is when you do work for a park and they give you a free spot to camp (and usually some pay as well).
I’ve learned to live a little more simply. I’ve always been one for the nicer things in life but on a beer budget. 😉 Life is much easier and simpler when “stuff” isn’t a motivator any longer. Yes, I still drool over camera gear. It’s a passion of mine and as such I will always keep abreast of the latest and greatest gear. The difference is that now I know that a lot of work and saving must take place before making any major purchases. That really helps to make sure that you truly need something rather than just wanting it.
So there you have it in a nutshell! We hope to add a long list of new things learned and experienced this coming year!