Entering Construction Zone

Camper

That’s me, sitting in front of my grandparents’ camper. I am pretty sure that is not my coffee.

I’m taking a break from traveling, although I don’t want to take a break from writing (there’s so much that’s happened that I haven’t written about yet!). I realize I’m already taking a break since there’s never any time, but I have hope for some open windows of writing time soon.

My house has been under construction for the last two years and it’s in the final stages (I can hardly believe it). Even though I’ve got a full crew of people working on it, I feel like I’m working on it full time too — getting all of the loose ends figured out and tracked down and fixed.

I’ve moved in and if you’ve ever lived in an RV or a house under construction, then you know the particulars of day to day living have a lot in common. I didn’t have a shower for the first month and a half, and I couldn’t drive my house to the nearest truck stop to take one. Instead, I relied on the gym and the kindness of friends.

There’s also only so much you can cook with a microwave and single burner hotplate, no prep space, no dishwasher, and only a tiny sink. And only so much you can store with a tiny refrigerator.

All of my RV experience has been put to good use, although I miss my snug cocoon Β and waking up wherever I want every day. Also countertops and running water.

Kitchen

 

10 thoughts on “Entering Construction Zone

  1. Vanessa, wonderful blog. I’m not sure if you’re planning on writing any more posts, but it would be great to see at least one more, with your retrospective thoughts about your trip.

    When I found your blog, I’d been researching the Roadtrek, and thinking about doing something similar, but wondering if I was out of my mind. Other than Tynan.com, a lot of the people doing this seem to be doing it more out of necessity than choice. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I was wondering if I might feed like I’d make a catastrophic mistake after a week. But it seems like you quite enjoyed it, overall.

    Did you find it lonely? (I work from home and live alone, so I’m not sure that working out of a Roadtrek would feel lonelier — perhaps it would feel less so. But did you feel “ungrounded” in a negative way?)

    Also, if you hadn’t been building the house, would you have ended your Roadtrek trip so soon? (Is it a way of life you could have seen yourself enjoying for a year or more?)

    Sorry for all the questions — would love to hear a bit more about how you felt about the lifestyle, vs owning a house or renting an apartment.

    • I didn’t find it lonely, but then I’m an introvert by nature. πŸ™‚ (And worked at home and lived alone for several years before starting the trip.)

      It seems that extroverts don’t really get lonely either as I noticed that they seek each other out and have great fun with that.

      I don’t know that I would want to do it forever, but I definitely could have done it longer. And I’ve since taken a large number of multi-day road trips. πŸ™‚

      I also wondered if I would be making a big mistake, but then I realized that it couldn’t be that catastrophic as if I hated it, I could just sell the RoadTrek! (There aren’t that many of them and are in high demand. I sold mine to someone who read the blog and have had quite a few others inquire! πŸ™‚

      I do want to post a few more updates. Hopefully I’ll have time soon!

      • Vanessa, thanks so much for replying. I’ll look forward to your posts when you can get to them.

        Interestingly, I just ran across this interview with Steve Maxwell. (I think Maxwell, among many other things, is Naval Ravikant’s trainer.) Maxwell also had a great life experience living full-time in a van, for three years. (And he also got to the point where he was ready for something else.)

        http://www.killingbuddha.co/blog/2015/7/30/steve-maxwell

        Thanks again.

  2. Great blog but unfortunately I’m over a year late for the party! πŸ˜€ I’m not sure if this blog is still being monitored but as a woman who is interested in taking a road trip (mostly on her own) it was very empowering to read about another woman who has done just that! I’m very fortunate that my employer has allowed me to take a year off work (unpaid) and in that year to want to experience as much as I can and I feel a North American road trip (that I never did take in my 20s) is something that would take me out of my comfort zone as I head into my 40s. Most of the road trip blogs I’ve read are written by couples, and mainly couples who are retired. The solo road trip blogs are written by mostly men. Safety on the road is a universal concern but is a more prominent issue for a woman looking to embark on her own (thanks a lot Criminal Minds)! I’ve read some suggestions like bring a dog or get a gun 😯 but my dog is a horrible traveller and as a Canadian guns are way outside of my comfort zone. Although your blog did talk about safety did you have any specific incidents where you felt you were in danger (besides the spider incidents)? Did you feel safer in larger cities or smaller towns? Do you have any suggestions for safety on the road (besides the obvious dog or gun route 😜)? Again, I’m not sure if you’re still monitoring this blog but thanks for the awesome read. I will definitely be referencing your website when I finally tell my friends and family about my plans! See, see she did it…..!!! πŸ˜‰

    • Hi – you will love your trip!!

      Regarding safety, there were lots of times I was scared for my safety, but every single one of those times were in my own head and not based on reality at all. πŸ™‚

      Certainly, you want to be smart and pay attention to your surroundings, but I never encountered any issues, and I stayed the night in lots of parking lots (Walmarts, rest areas…) and isolated locations (empty campgrounds, public lands…).

      If you think about safety pragmatically, overnight is really the only time you would be potentially in more danger than any other time you’re outside your house (tooling around for the day), right? And in those cases, how likely is it really that a dangerous person is in a campground, on the prowl for occupied RVs?

      And yet, there I would be, in a nearly empty campground, afraid of the dark. I’d wake up in the morning to a beautiful landscape, no one around, totally peaceful.

      I didn’t have a dog or a gun (I did carry pepper/bear spray fora while, but I was traveling in the summer and I got worried that all that was doing was putting me at risk for an explosion due to the heat!).

      The things I did to make myself feel safer were:

      -If I stayed the night in a parking lot (Walmart, truck stop, rest area, etc.), I wouldn’t get out of the RV until the morning. That way, I figured I wouldn’t tip anyone off that I was a woman traveling alone. (Again, the likelihood that anyone dangerous was hanging out at any of those places was remote, but still, it made me feel better.)

      -I would try to park under a light and if possible, backed up to a wall (or similar).

      -I slept with the RV ready to go (not a lot of stuff out that would roll around when I was driving) and with my keys beside me so that if I did get scared in the night (hear a noise or something), I could just drive away. (This was when I overnighted in parking lots; not at campgrounds where I was hooked up — although mostly I didn’t use hookups at campgrounds except electricity when it was hot and I needed AC.)

      -If I felt particularly uncomfortable, I would just go someplace else. Why have a sleepless night? I wrote about the main time this happened – when I was in the Walmart parking lot and some guys were partying in an RV there. I went to a nearby campground and paid the $25 or whatever. $25 was definitely worth feeling safe.

      I felt equally safe in small towns and larger cities, although larger cities are generally less practical to visit in an RV (it’s harder to drive a large vehicle through big cities and there’s typically no place to stay overnight). When I went to Boston or DC, for instance, I stayed in small towns outside the city and took the train in.

      I felt more safe in places with people around, although this was entirely emotional. For instance, I stayed overnight once on public lands in South Dakota and I didn’t see one person the entire time I was there. I’m sure no one was around for miles and miles (the land was all plains — no trees). All I saw were deer. And yet I felt totally scared once it got dark.

      I felt pretty safe at truck stops because they were well lit and had lots of people coming and going 24 hours a day.

      I guess my advice would be to know that the chance of ending up in the same location as someone scary is pretty remote but that there’s no point in sitting in the dark being scared because that defeats the purpose of having a fun trip. So think through what will make you feel safe and once you head out, try a few different places and see how you feel. If truck stops make you feel safer, stay at those a lot. If they make you feel uncomfortable and campgrounds make you feel better, stay there!

      I would not get hung up on things like feeling bad for paying $25 (or $50 or whatever) for an RV park for the night when you don’t need hookups and could just park in a Walmart for free. You’d paying for a stress-free fun trip!

  3. Thank you for your response! I absolutely agree that looking at fear through a more sensible lens would show that statistics of violent crimes have decreased (at least in Canada and hopefully the US too)…it’s just the anecdotal evidence of violent crime really sticks in your mind. It’s kind of like our fear of sharks…there’s a higher probability of winning the lottery than getting eaten by a shark, but I still won’t go past my knees in the ocean. Won’t take the chance…I’d rather win the lottery instead! πŸ˜„ I really do appreciate your advice and suggestions and also your honesty in how you dealt with your fears. One of the reasons I’ve thought of doing a solo road trip is to conquer the fears and insecurities I have allowed to develop over the past few decades. I think in the end the memories and stories that come from the trip will overshadow any anxiety I have going into it (except for my phobia of public toilets/shower facilities…they can be pretty gruesome😬). Thanks again! πŸ˜€

  4. This house looks beautiful. I’m late to the party as well and may well read where it is in other posts, but it feels almost like Puget Sound area from the picture? I may be dead wrong.

    What I’ve read thus far is very enlightening. I own a Sportsmobile and enjoy it, but bounced into your site on your Roadtrek Tour. Really well done and when my tribe is less I may go that route. It seems like the perfect set-up. Thanks.

    • Thanks! Yes, I’m in Seattle. Still working on the house and still taking lots of road trips. πŸ™‚ Hopefully will have time soon to start posting again!

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