7 things I learnt living on the road for 5 months
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A year ago my friend and I bought a sturdy Ford Focus, and with nothing but a trunk full of clothes and gear we hit the road to begin a 5-month road trip around the USA. In those five months we travelled from the east coast to the west and back again, through 37 states (and two Canadian cities), in just over 16,000 miles. When we began our trip in March we had been planning and saving for almost two years, so to finally see it become a reality was exhilarating and terrifying. I had never been away from home or travelled for that long before, I didn’t know what to expect or how I would handle it. As you probably figured, those five months ended up being the best experience of my life so far and these are a few things I learnt along the way: 1. You don’t need all that stuff Having to consolidate my whole life into a suitcase made me realise how much unnecessary bulk we accumulate over time, not just when we travel, but also at home, in our day to day lives. Living out of a suitcase was so liberating, I began to focus less on what I had and more on what I was doing in the moment. All my things at home, my books, keepsakes, clothes, well, I never missed them - and when I tried to visualise them, it was just a blur of all this ‘stuff’ I could only think of as a burden. 2. Embrace spontaneity One of the things I struggled with at the start of the trip was accepting changes in our plans, either spontaneous or due to ‘bumps in the road’, whether that be my friend’s sudden desire to drive an hour out of our way to visit Butch Cassidy’s grave, or a snowstorm that changed our route through the blue ridge mountains. Planning the trip was my pride and joy and when things suddenly didn’t go to plan I found myself incredibly frustrated. However, over time I learnt that these spontaneous changes we inevitable, and often led to wonderful discoveries, like when a detour through the backroads near Flagstaff, AZ, led us to find a natural waterslide and swimming hole. It was the bumps in the road that led to some of the best moments during our trip.
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