Notes From a Hired Pen

On the Road with Jen: FAQ’s

Hello again! I’m frantically getting ready for my departure (which will be either Sunday or Monday – we’ll see). I’m excited and nervous at the same time. As I said in my last post, it’s hard to imagine what it will be like because I’ve never been on the road this long before. So instead of trying to see what it will be, I’m just going to get ready to go.

You guys had a bunch of questions – some left in the comments, some emailed to me, and some asked in person in very gentle yet concerned tones. So here are those questions, and answers.

1. Where will you sleep? Lots of places. I hope to camp most, but I’ll also be sleeping on friends’s couches and in their spare rooms, staying in hotels and using Airbnb. I anticipate flipping back and forth between living in the great outdoors, and stopping in a spot for a few days or week so I can work and have ready access to a shower and laundry. My goal is to spend less than $1,000/month on places to sleep. Sounds like a lot, but that’s still less than my mortgage had been – and that’s not factoring in taxes, insurance, utilities, and everything else that goes into owning a home. We’ll see if I stick to the $1000 budget. There’s a reason I’m going on a road trip and car camping instead of a through hike. If I have to make the decision between going over budget and sleeping outside in a thunderstorm, I’m going to go over budget and get myself into the closest Holiday Inn Express (though I have many many points to use up there too).

2. Where’s your stuff? What I didn’t sell, donate or purge is in a very small storage unit.

3. Will you run? Of course! It’s what I do. I plan to both run and hike (sometimes on the same jaunt out). I prepared for the 50K I ran in September by doing this, and I’m hoping that I can do the same this summer and maybe drop back into the same race on my way back. I’m not in my best shape (see: dog dying and me not being able to get out of bed), but I think this trip will help me get back to it. Also, what better way to see the country than to cover it on foot? I can’t wait to get to the Rockies. My hair stylist predicts I’ll come back looking like Tom Hanks in Castaway. I think I’ll skip talking to a volleyball though.

4. Is your Jeep OK? Yup! The incident with the very bad clutch and the very bad dealership was an isolated incident. My mechanic has looked her over twice and said she’s ready to go. For those who are new here: my car is a 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ, and yes she’s stick. She still doesn’t have 100,000 miles on her yet (though she will soon into the trip). I thought about getting a car more suited to road tripping, but with a hard top on and back seat out, my box of a car has more room than I could have imagined.

4. What do your parents think about this? That I’m a 36 year old woman who can make her own damn decisions? Just kidding! This question is still a bit surprising considering…I’m an adult. I often reply “would you ask that to a man?” But like it or not, because I’m female and not married and don’t “belong” to someone, a lot of people still see my parents as my keepers [Giant Eyeroll]. But I am close to both of my parents, and my friends know that so it’s not that odd a question for everyone. They both think it’s going to be an adventure, but of course they’re worried about me. However, these are also the same people who sent me off to college in Florida because it was cheap. One of them might have asked if they could “chip me like a dog.” No…but I am teaching them both how to use their “Find Friends” app.

5. What’s your route? That’s for me to know and you to find out! Also, I’m not even sure. I’ve done a few long road trips and know that I need to be flexible to make it work. I have more than three months to get this done. There’s a lot of wiggle room. There’s also the safety issue. Most likely, I won’t post about something I’ve seen or a place I’ve camped since I’ve already moved on. People are weird.

6. Where will you live after? Let me go do this first!

Got more questions? Drop them below!

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