Last year when I took off for my first road trip, I took only what would fit in my car along with my two canine companions, Zoe and Giselle. There were many lessons learned as I am planning for my next trip. And since I receive so many questions about how I did it, I wanted to share some of the pearls of wisdom with you.
Know Your Own Domain
– First and foremost, make sure that you have all of your services and safeguards set up and accessible online or through your phone. For instance, my bank account is set up for online banking and I can view my accounts using an app by Intuit called Mint. It allows me to easily see where all of my money is coming and going and how the budgets are working. Plus, I use another app that does not charge to transfer money between services, clients and friends to send and receive money directly to my bank account and it’s called Venmo. I also have a PO Box set up for mail that I can use for personal mail, or I can have it sent to my parents’ address which is my Home Base. Right now, since I am currently in Houston, I spent $1 through USPS to have the mail from the PO Box in Colorado routed to the address here so that I am not missing anything pertinent I need to know like a W2 or information to complete my taxes. You can have your mail sent almost anywhere for a specific amount of time. Plus, almost all services offer online billing access or provide messages via email, so just make sure there aren’t any loose ends before you go anywhere.
– On my journey last year, I ended up taking five different computers which was three more than I needed. Remember to consolidate what you need before you go so you don’t end up like me having to be concerned when the temperature in your car gets to high or to low. I had taken my Samsung phone with service through ATT and a tablet and three different computers. Of course I had a charger for the car so that I could use my phone for directions where ever I went. Plus, I activated the voice access so that I could just talk to it while driving. However, depending on your car, you may have more options plus hands free access. The main computer I love is my big IMAC and I set it up once I found a place to live and I even watched movies on it so it was perfect. The other two were an old Apple laptop that I loved to type on, but it was so old and unable to get online (which I liked as it kept me focused on writing) as I continued to work on the manuscript for my first book and the second was an old Dell that could get online so I could use it while on the road to Skype with my clients. Plus, I used the wifi access from my cell phone to pair with my other devices to access services like Skype which is free or NetFlix where I accessed my dad’s account.
Stay Connected in Real Time
– Utilizing social media is the best way I’ve found to stay in touch with great friends from all over the country and the world. And because I’ve lived in Texas, Colorado, California and France/Switzerland, I can instantly send and receive messages or contact friends along my journey. However, it’s always best to give your friends some time as a notice of your pending arrival rather than just showing up, but that’s your call. In the states, if you’re close to a friend then it depends on how you feel about calling them first or just knocking on their door. When I lived in France, it was considered highly unlikely that anyone would answer if you didn’t call in advance. In France, it just wasn’t done unless you were related in some way. Everyone is different. My best advice is to cultivate relationships by being authentic because you never know who or when you may be able to help them or they might be able to help you. Plus, whenever I finish or leave an area I always make sure to thank your friends or whomever was there to support you along the way. Gratitude goes a long way and there have been many times I’ve offered a safe refuge for friends along the way. It’s not about bartering, it’s about allowing and supporting while acting as a conduit for everyone’s journey.
Plan B is for Being Flexible
– When I left for my journey, it was a gut feeling to go. I wasn’t really prepared to be gone for six months, but it happened because I was flexible to allow things to manifest without judging and saying, No, sorry, I didn’t plan that. Don’t be a Goof! Your journey is what happens in between point A and Point B. Remember this. Everyone says it but when you are on the road and open to receive, you will have the most amazing experiences that were never planned. When you put yourself out there to learn and feel something new and different, the Universe will always provide. For me, I wasn’t sure where I was going to go first, all I knew was that I was headed to Colorado. Until a friend said, Come and visit me in Comfort, Texas. I immediately had to laugh, really? Comfort as in somewhere comfortable? Well, Of course, that is where my journey is supposed to start, so I said, Yes. I said Yes, even though I could not imagine where I was going or what Comfort looked like. again, it’s about the people and connecting the dots even if you feel as if you are going sideways or backwards instead of forwards. It’s all the same path. It’s all the right path. Always have a Plan B in the back of your mind, and then forget about it because you’ll come across a variety of alternative plans, but only once you are on the road. Remember, you just can’t see it until you come up on it in person.
Be Prepared or Be Prepared to Stop and Get Prepared
– This is from my childhood growing up as an adventurer and in the Girl Scouts, but it’s so true. Packed in my car with easy access when ever I stopped along the road every few hours was everything my dogs could or would need. From dog food to their leashes and I’d even printed out their shot records just in case I needed it, but now they are online. And located under the dog beds was a hanging bag with a few professional dresses and casual dresses with matching shoes, just in case I needed them. Tapping into your inner bag lady does not mean you are homeless, because you are on a journey you’ve chosen to accept. Yet, when I was staying at a local campground, I needed one bag for all the items I used for taking a shower, getting dressed, doing my hair or putting on my makeup. This also means that you need to choose what to take and not all twelve shades of lipstick, unless that is a priority for you. Leave the access at home, or in storage or donate it to someone else that needs it more than you do. Remember that while on the road, you can stop at any store to find what you may need if you don’t have it right then. For instance, I needed a tent and camping supplies so I stopped in Colorado to purchase what I needed and got an eight person tent and a queen sized air mattress so that the girls would have room inside the tent on the floor and we could camp throughout Colorado which was incredibly beautiful and totally fun! Remember, if you really need it, you can find it on the way. This is just a caution so that you don’t come home with a dozen books and a snorkel like I did when I returned which made me laugh. I was a little over prepared with the snorkel, and I actually came home with more books that I originally left with.
Know Your Comfort Zones
– Have a general idea of where you want to go. I knew I wanted to head towards Colorado, so I could roughly map out the direction and find stops along the way to spend the night. Knowing your zone includes many things. First, for me, I didn’t want to drive more than three hours before stopping to let the girls out of the car for at least ten minutes along our way. So, I knew my comfort zone for the dogs. Another zone was how long I wanted to drive in one day. I knew that I didn’t want to drive at night or on weekends because it would be busy and I am averse to traffic. My driving comfort zone was between 9am and 5pm. Once I had my comfort zones I could set off loosely translating them as I continued. Plus, my own personal zones of taking care of myself including eating around the same time every day, or at least when I was hungry I would stop. This included having an ice chest with basic items for each meal, just in case there wasn’t anything around me at the time I was hungry when I was on the road. This could also include watching your gas gage so that you can refuel easily because on my way out of Texas there weren’t any gas stations for over a hundred miles, so I ended up refueling whenever my gage got down to half a tank or when I was camping in the mountains.
SandySparkles is a Spiritual Coach and Intuitive Guidance Counselor urging everyone to get out and take a journey soon! When following your heart, sometimes you need to get in the car or take a flight to find the right environment for a better mindset. These are just some tips before you go. Thank you.
The Key to Happyness starts with Self Love and there are Three Steps to Accessing Your Inner Happyness Now:
- Whatever You Focus On Grows. This is a proven fact because as you focus on one thing, your energy wants to expand and so the thing grows. Be it your bank account or creativity, if you focus on one thing, you are in fact giving it your attention and that leads to your ever expanding energy.
- The Key is to Focus on all the things that you truly love! Focus on the things that you are excited about, people that make you feel good, jobs that bring together teams that feel like magic, or the one FB post that makes you smile. Picking and choosing means you have to discern between what you really want to bring forth your inner happyness. This includes news stories and other peoples opinions. You have always had the choice to choose happyness every moment.
- For me, I choose to focus on great things all the time. I even use my favorite silverware from France, and favorite tea cup from Japan almost every day and I even took them with me on my 8month roadtrip last year that included to Burning Man. We all came home safe and sound, but I wanted to take some items on my trip since I would be waking up at so many places, but would always be reminded and sometimes even comforted by my favorite items. The same holds true for everything else I choose to have around me.
- The Universe Always Provides. While experiencing my first Burning Man, this was the common mantra and it was true because there were 80K people who consciously chose to be in the desert living a life of non-judgment and offering love in the form of food, or classes or hugs, etc. The same holds true for life outside of the Burn when you truly need something and can’t get out of your way. Each one of us affects our surroundings and the Universe always provides us with what we need at that given moment, even if you didn’t think you wanted the thing or set of circumstances that shows up!
- The clearer you are about following your heart and living your own dream, the easier it is for the Universe to show up and give you exactly what you ordered. It’s when you aren’t sure of what it is you truly want that you get conflicting responses and even, sometimes, fired!
- For me, I kept saying that I was going to Burning Man, but on my road trip I had no idea how to get there or where to get a ticket. I reached out to a friend for help and it was at the tail end of our conversation that she offered to get a ticket for me, and the rest is history. I found a ride to the burn, and even a camp to join and within weeks I was there loving every minute of it. I had to witness a community without judgement and love offerings that had nothing to do with bartering. It was pure love. I’d secretly be wishing for ice cream and then someone would come up and say, Do you want some Ice Cream and hand us all our own bowl. My personal mantra before I went to Burning Man was, “Everyday is Christmas” because I am constantly surprised and elated over moments during my day with pure joy. Christmas doesn’t come once a year, it’s every single day.
- Self Love Starts With You. You are enough. Even if you have a large family, or an only child, or have children yourself, or are a caretaker for someone sick, you must take care of you first. This is no one else’s responsibility but your own. You must do your own work, even if you hire a coach. You can’t take care of anyone else until you show up first and foremost for yourself. If you don’t, you will start to repel people, places, synchronistic situations and even love because the universe is is always providing or giving you another situation in which to learn from.
- Stop rehashing the past, leave it where it belongs and decide to start anew now. It’s as easy as that because your mind will do whatever you tell it to. But first, you have to focus on the deep inner thoughts coming from your gut or intuition. Stop yelling over all the noise going on inside, wondering why it’s not working. Breathe, meditate, take a break and step into nature, our ultimate teacher. Remember, when in a situation where you need oxygen, you must first put on your own mask first before you can start helping anyone else.
- For me, fresh out of an international divorce, France gave me three months to find a job or get the hell out of their country, so I ended up back in Houston and in my parents’ guest room right before my birthday. I hated everyone and everything until I was diagnosed with breast cancer and that’s when I chose life for my self. Cancer actually saved my life. At that moment I didn’t care about anyone or anything but doing what I needed to do to finish treatment, and here I am today. Happyer than ever!
Sandy Castillo is an Intuitive Life Coach focused on those affected by emotional catastrophic incidents including cancer, divorce and relocating. She has been teaching evidence-based healing modalities for more than thirty-one years and combined with her love of personal advocacy, she offers private and group coaching both in person and remote towards a world with more laughter and happyness overcoming dis-ease and cancer. She is also a speaker and writer living in Houston, Texas.