The First Part of The Trip is in the Rearview Mirror
The first portion of the trip is in the bag. It was about 7,300 miles in 30 days. While that sounds like a lot, it was actually smooth and easy. There were a few days of heavy driving extended hours behind the wheel and big pushes. But those were the exception not the rule.
Generally, I was able to go with the flow and follow what unfolded in front of me. That worked extraordinarily well. And I’m grateful for going into that process of trust and flow. The last week of the trip, covered some distance starting in southwest, South Dakota, going through Minneapolis, and then Wisconsin back through Ohio and ultimately home to Pennsylvania. It was a lot of driving in a short time.
Coming Home was different this time.
It felt more foreign slightly out of place and not as connected. I arrived in town on Thursday night at 730 and called a few friends. We met at the harmony and for drinks and connections. It was truly an enjoyable evening with a few of my closest friends. That felt known and safe and comfortable. The next few days were spending cleaning up loose ends, making repairs around the center and just doing the stuff that I may not have gotten to on the trip. Catching up on those lingering to do in tasks felt great.
Necessary Builds and Adjustments to My Travel Setup
The first month on the road provided a lot of lessons. Daily use and access of gear and food became a bigger issue. There were a few small modifications that would make road life much more convenient. Here are a few of the improvements.
Travel Tip: The Right Duffle Bag
The other “Big” improvement was my duffle bag. This one surprised me. I had a nice, large canvas duffle bag from LL Bean. While it held all of my clothes and toiletries well, I found myself having to repack it everytime I left a place. Without dividers and being round, I had to dig for socks and undies. This shuffled the clothes and just got annoying.
Target had a decent rectangular duffle bag and some zippered organizers. These were exactly what was needed. The larger organizers weren’t as helpful. The small ones for socks and underwear were fantastic. It was a huge shift in the daily conveniences. You’re welcome for that travel tip!
Food Storage and Access Improved
A quick build remedied one of the challenges I found along the first leg of the trip. That challenge was cooler access and ease-of-use. In my truck, which is a 2018 Ford F150 super crew, there’s a power inverter under the back passenger seat. I chose to place the cooler on the passenger side because I keep my camera gear and clothes on the rear driver side.
This has been a lot more convenient for me for daily access. I built a platform 6 1/2 inches high so I could have a storage tote slide in underneath. There’s a metal bracket that protects the power inverter and it has a notched place where I was able to sit in a small block to secure the platform from shifting.
The final touch was to add two rails to keep the cooler from shifting. Overall, this build took me about 40 minutes and was done with scrap wood that was laying around. I am very pleased with the results and look forward to road testing it this week.
Dry Goods and Access to Supplies Improved
After I had built the sliding drawer for my storage totes, I had some space and found the perfect storage system to fit it. It was an old trunk organizer that my son had in his Ford focus. It was a relatively firm soft sided organizer and it fit perfectly in the bed of the truck. This holds my dry goods and canned goods. As well as some utensils.
While traveling I was in and out of the storage container quite frequently. The one issue that I had was pushing it back into the bed of the truck. It would crumble and compress and was a little difficult to shove back in. With 20 minutes and a few scraps of lumber to spare, I built this easy fix. By attaching two slats of plywood to the bottom and screwing the storage divider to it, it created a set of rails that made it slide in easy and consistently every time.
Family Time with my Son
It was also nice to see my son, Christian. He’s doing so well. The apartment is clean, he’s happy. His job is going well. His girlfriend Bella is a delight, as always, that warms my heart.
One of the funny things about returning this weekend which was the Fourth of July weekend. Was that my son had asked me before I left if I would be around the Fourth of July, because he had plans. He wanted to have some friends over and watch the fireworks and needed the extra room. Heading back the week before. I told him that I would be in for the weekend, and I could feel his sense of questioning, almost unease but not quite. I knew what he was thinking it was his weekend and he had plans. I played with that a little bit, but I told him pretty quickly that I knew that he had plans, and that I would be out of the apartment for him.
And that was our agreement. However, it was truly a funny moment when I was asking permission to stay in the bedroom, and it was his decision, yes or no, giving our kids the ability to say yes or no. is a great tool, and I understand in that reason, and respect that with him.
Wrapping Up and Heading Back Out
Well, it’s Sunday. Everything’s wrapped up. I’ve packed up the truck made a few modifications to my setup which I’m truly excited about. And I’m back on the road. I’ll be heading south this time for the next two weeks to spend a little bit slower pace in Virginia, in North Carolina, really checking out the area, and starting to look deeper into real estate, or at least living options that area of the country is what I felt called to even during this first part of the trip.
There are a few friends I will be connecting with and I am looking forward to that. And I hope to do some more camping along this stretch. Before I dive into that I am going to visit my friend Hope, and her daughter. Spend a day or two there, and just lend a hand and enjoy the time together, especially with the youthful energy of a four year old. It’s also probably something that’s good for the Soul.
On The Road Again, A New Sense of Being
What I really wanted to share was the sensation of being “home”. It felt odd to me when my friends or neighbors or acquaintances greeted me and said, Welcome home. That didn’t sound right or feel right to me. While the house is still there, and my son has his apartment there. It doesn’t feel like home. I am home free at the moment. And what feels like home is the road, what feels like home is my hammock or my truck.
The quiet time in the expansiveness of the road and the country, with my thoughts to entertain me, or just the stillness of the moment. That to me feels like driving out the turnpike. I’m questioning if I will find that sense of hope again. Or if it’s going to shift, and become a rolling home. Something where I feel most comfortable in motion, or in new locations. I don’t have to figure that out right now, but it is up, and it is a consideration. And it’s truly a possibility. If that were to be the case. It’s okay. I know. I feel lighter and happier and more in peace.
When I’m traveling. So for the foreseeable future, I’m going to stay in that sensation. Follow that feeling and flow, first part was epic. And I wait to see what comes next.