I’m the type of person that handles life best one thing at a time – one goal at a time. My stress-meter goes up when I’m pulled in too many directions (like more than two! 😉
Being on the road has made life much simpler in so many ways. I don’t have to worry about cleaning my house. I am not pulled away from tasks by the doorbell or phone, even. I’m not trying to get the kids to soccer practice, music lessons, or chess club by a certain time. It’s been very freeing to jump off of the merry-go-round of routine life for a while. I really have been able to focus a lot more on just being a mom to my kids and a wife to Don.
But there are certain routines that I probably used to take for granted: where to sleep and where/what to eat. On the road, these become two of the highest priorities and basic needs of every day. They are also the most unpredictable because we are in new places all the time.
What To Eat
As a family, we usually like to eat pretty healthy at home, but don’t mind eating out occasionally with friends. So, while on the road, I’ve tried to jump into grocery stores as much as I can to buy fruit/veggies and ready-to-eat salads for our meals and snacks. I also buy a few boxes of bars and empty them out into a small canvas lunch sack that we keep in our car. When camping for more than a couple nights, we’ve been able to go grocery shopping and fill up our large ice chest with several meals. But when traveling from one place to another, we just keep a small ice chest on the floor of the backseat with the kids filled with water bottles and drinks.
Some of the easiest meals and snacks on the road have been:
Snacks: Yogurt, Applesauce, Cliff Bars, Cheese/Crackers, Apples, Carrots, Trail Mix
Breakfast: Sausage, Eggs, Potatoes, Oatmeal, Pancakes, Hashbrowns, Bagels & Cream Cheese
Dinner: Pasta, Hamburgers/Hot Dogs, Tacos, Chicken & Rice, Grilled Fish, Salad, Soup
As we’ve started to settle into homes for a month at a time, our meal routines have become more normal again, but it still has been helpful to have my snack bag stocked for outdoor adventures. While it so fun to try new local restaurants, there’s also still something special and grounding about sitting around a table together enjoying food and fun conversation.
What To Wear
We really skinnied down a lot of our clothes, so we only have one bag each. I did manage to fit 2 duffle bags of off-season clothes in our Thule Cargo Box, so we switch out when necessary. Otherwise, we just try to do laundry as much as possible, at least once every 4-5 days, but usually each day when we are in a home. We’re not picky with our clothes – light, dark, they all go in one load. Most of our clothes are dry-fit, so they don’t take long to dry.
The kids have a habit of keeping their clothes zipped up in their sack packs and Tom Bihn Backpacks. This makes it easy to load/unload and keeps our rooms neat when we are in tight spaces. The most practical clothes they own are the zip-off convertible type pants from REI. These have allowed for variant weather and don’t take up much space. Isaac also often wears a long-sleeve athletic shirt under a short-sleeve shirt to accommodate changing temps as well.
Most of us just have 2 pairs of shoes and one pair of flip-flops for showers. Since those are difficult to fit in their backpacks, I keep a strong reusable bag packed with our extra shoes in the back of our car. I call it our shoe closet. 🙂 It works.
In addition, we don’t always need our jackets, so I have a “hall closet” (a different reusable bag) stuffed with those! I make sure the kids always keep a hat and gloves zipped up in each of their jacket pockets so we don’t have to spend cycles fishing around for them.
And lastly, I also keep a big Lands’ End Canvas Tote filled with our beach towels, swim suits and goggles. We like digging in this bag when we stay at hotels with indoor pools. Otherwise, this bag will likely just always stay in our car ’til we hit warm temps again.
Where to Sleep
You know, I think some people just pictured us pitching our tents on the side of the road all around the country. While we could totally do that, it’s really been much less dramatic. Usually we are staying in hotels when traveling from one major city to another, but during the nicer weather, we did camp a bit.
And when time permits, we research where we wanted to stay – campsites, lodges, hotels – and plan out the hours of travel between destinations. Sometimes we cut it close, though, booking our hotel as we are pulling into the lobby drive.
But for our monthly stays, we just try to get something in place within the month before we arrive. We’re not too picky these days as we have learned to survive and still love each other while living in close quarters. The kids don’t always love their situation, but they learn to accept it and make-do, which is one of the best lessons of all.
It does feel like we will be house-hunting, though, about a dozen times this year! Which is exciting or stressful depending on how you feel about it! Mostly, it reminds us that we are “sojourners” and not really attached to a brick-and-mortar home anymore. We can enjoy where we are at, but then look forward to the next stop.