It is an unbelievable 17 days into the road trip and each of those 17 days has blurred together in one giant exhausting memory. I am more tired today than I have been since working two jobs in new york city. I’m sitting in Austin, Texas in bed in the guest room of two friends that have a good little buddy (dog) and a good little 5 months new babe. They’re getting more snuggles than I could imagine and, though I am tired, I feel so full and renewed.
My grandparents used to road trip and my nan said she wrote down how many miles they drove each day and how much they spent on gas and journaled a lot. I decided to do those things, but I haven’t been doing those things, so I can only tell you we’ve driven from Asheville to Chattanooga to Nashville to Memphis to Hot Springs to Fayetteville to Tyler to Denton to Plano to Dallas to Waco to Austin. We’ve stayed in 6 homes with friends or parents of friends, 1 campground, and 1 airbnb. The others were just places we passed through. Our dog buddy count is up to 6. Geographically, I suppose we’re about 1/4 through our trip. Have not and will not do the fractions for time.
This trip is not what I expected. I thought I’d go on the road and get to report that I’ve been so focused on zero waste and the environment and have come up with a lot of tips for you. Instead, I’m very focused on just making sure I remember to eat lunch, to make sure we have gas, and to try not to sleep away my days meant for adventure.
Of course, there are things I was already doing that I’m continuing to do on the road. I use a shampoo bar and a bar of soap in the shower instead of bottled supplies. I condition once a week with apple cider vinegar. I stopped using a hair dryer to save energy (and my hair frizzes less!). We brought about a billion reusable water bottles and keep them full instead of buying plastic bottles. I’ve recycled where I can. In some places, I haven’t. We composted for a week in the car and then we stopped because our compost bucket turned into a home for the dozens of fire ants we had to remove from our tent. It was tossed into a dumpster.
We’ve eaten a lot a lot a lot of peanut butter sandwiches and celery. We’ve eaten fresh fruit and vegetables instead of canned, which I buy without plastic produce bags. I either remember my reusable bags or I leave them loose in my cart. I do laundry without dryer sheets, though I’m still using detergent. I brought a few jars to store meals in and have reused a few of our new peanut butter jars for this purpose. Oh, and Matt is eating vegetarian for this trip. I stopped eating pork and fish. It’s harder for me to be full without eating bread AND meat, so that’s something I need to work on later. Not when I’m living in a car.
And what about money? That’s a big deal with our environmental steps too. We reached our monthly budget today, a week early. I’m not that worried because I think it will even out later. We’ve spent so much time with friends and I want to go out and experience their cities with them and it’s okay because I financially planned for this. We’ve stayed pretty on budget for our fuel cost expectancy and I’m thankful for that.
I’m still trying to decide what I can do to make up for using so much gas on this trip. I’d like to do something and it will probably be donating to a few environmental groups from cities we’ve passed through.
So anyway, this trip hasn’t met my emotional expectations either. I’ve been happily lazy (but not bored) in places I expected to go full speed. I’ve been in awe at places I expected to bore me. I’m learning how to be a better host when I get my own place again. I thought it would be harder to accept so many gifts and free nights in other people’s homes, but I feel thankful and loved and happy to receive. I’m happier in a car than I thought I’d be. I get bored really easily, but it turns out I enjoy talking to my husband on long rides and we’ve only had one car fight so far and that’s really unexpected. I feel really joyful and I haven’t felt like that in a little bit. Been having weird and worrisome dreams though, like anxiety is trying to creep back in. And it’s still here and I’m working with my doctor on it and doing a few things that help, but being the road is totally a big test for me and anxiety. It’s also making me miss my old stable life in Brooklyn. But I also like it. My brain’s a mess.
I guess that’s it for now. Once again, too lazy to put pictures in the post, but instagram is easily connected at the side. I’ve even sorted my highlights section by state, so you can’t miss a thing.