For a detailed account of our spontaneous road trip, you can check out my travel blog recording our adventures here.
A few years ago my family was a bit smaller. It was just my first born, my husband and myself.
We had been renting the upstairs of my parent’s house for years. We were mostly comfortable. I worked three days a week at a fine dining restaurant. We made all we needed to get by.
We decided we wanted to start saving. Using The Richest Man In Babylon as a blueprint, we were able to save very quickly. For more info on the financial steps we took, visit my previous blog here.
The Decision To Begin The Spontaneous Road Trip
We saved a decent amount of money very quickly. One day a major financial decision fell into our laps. It made us evaluate where we were. Is this where we want to be?
We could spend the money and continue living with my parents. Maybe we take the money to start settling where we were. Buy a house and stay in this area for years to come.
Or we could use the savings to do something exciting. Some say drastic. Why not travel? See some friends and family, make a decision to not get stuck?
Packing Up For The Spontaneous Road Trip
Our decision affected friends and family differently. Many were excited. Some were sad not knowing if we’d return or settle down somewhere else we fell in love with. Others were watching us like a movie. They were just interested to see what would happen.
We had already been downsizing for years after moving from a house to renting my parent’s upstairs. We constantly wanted more negative space, less clutter, space for our growing toddler to play and move.
This made downsizing down to a car full of belongings simpler. I was used to making decisions and letting go. This can be a huge challenge in the beginning of minimizing.
I think the hardest thing was my wardrobe. There were many attachments to clothes. I was forced to make practical decisions. We would be in sun and snow and needed a wide variety of basics. A lot of my cute, cotton favorites didn’t make the cut.
Hitting The Road
Our spontaneous road trip first led us to see friends in Missouri. We later learned that Missouri is also called The Gateway To The West- How appropriate!
Their home was backed by no fence and preserved forest. We spent time hiking together and enjoying the outdoors and cooler non Texan weather.
We also took advantage of more northern thrift stores to get some good snow gear for our toddler. A tent and other camping gear were also on the list.
Next we hit up Michigan to see my husband’s family. There we finally experienced real snow. We made snow angels, my son rode on a tractor and sat on grandpa’s horse. They have a huge gorgeous plot. We enjoyed quiet walks through uninterrupted woods in a snowy white world. It was magical.
Heading West On Our Spontaneous Road Trip
After that we headed West. We were excited to get to Colorado, where I got violently ill. My husband bought a pregnancy test. We were blessed to find we were expecting.
What a twist in the story!
We went back to Missouri to be with friends while I threw up for a couple more weeks and tried again. The first time I saw mountains I cried. They were so breathtaking and magnificent.
We kept driving West with California in mind. I made lots of mistakes. We saw Vegas during the day and missed the beautiful city lights. Drove over the Hoover Dam at night and couldn’t see a thing. We wasted money on hotels when I was too sick to be in a tent.
California Was Spectacular
It’s where we did most of our camping. We drove all the way up Highway 101 into Oregon. We got cold and wet and drove all the way back down (a completely different view).
An RV park in the middle of the Redwoods was my favorite stay. Our campsite was right along a crisp river with a small drizzling waterfall across the way. Just heavy enough to hear in the background.
Then I took us on a perilous adventure down a wrong road. And it was the lowest point of our trip. We were led on dirt paths around a twisting road with no barrier and huge drop. It’s a miracle the underside of our vehicle didn’t get destroyed by uncleared fallen rock. After hours of hopeless driving and fear creeping in, we found a major road.
We started heading back towards Texas on Mother’s Day. We were tired. There was a lot of fighting and silence. I had hoped to find somewhere to settle outside of Texas, but that’s not what happened. We needed rest and community.
It was all so spectacular. Sometimes dramatic. I thought it would be much different. That originally made me feel like the trip was a failure. But how silly. It was the experience of a lifetime.
Our spontaneous road trip inspired us to think differently about the future. Continuing to collect as little as possible is always in the back of our minds. I don’t know what God’s plan is for our family. But I hope part of it can be on the road, outside and moving. If not, we sure did have an adventure.