Lessons from Last Years Road Trip

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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.

  1. 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.

    • Universal Devices

      – 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.

  2. 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.