• sparkfireswan

A&A Answers To 10 Frequently Asked Full-Time Travel Questions

Updated: Mar 19

End of Week #37


Elephant Butte Lake State Park, Truth or Consequences NM > Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson Mountain Park, Tucson AZ > Verde Ranch RV Resort, Camp Verde AZ

Miles traveled since last week's post = 560

Total miles traveled to date = 6,909 with trailer


I'm so far behind already this week. :) Monday was a DAY, and aside from some snafu's in our travel plans, I also for some reason went through most of the day thinking it was Friday and not Monday... Ha! And I don't even know what happened yesterday, we explored our new RV park and I met some people across from us, and I totally neglected getting this blog post done. So here I am playing catch up with you all.


It's sad, but definitely not the worse thing ever, but we are in Camp Verde, AZ, a total of 4 days early due to a mix up in our plans to stay in Apache Junction, AZ this week. We arrived to our insanely beautiful campsite Monday afternoon, with just a nice and easy 2 hour travel up from Tucson, only to find out that I had somehow messed up our reservation I made online and we did not have any hookups. This really isn't the biggest deal ever, but we had just went with only electricity (no water and no shower houses) for 4 nights in Tucson and we were totally not prepared to go another 4 nights with absolutely nothing. We didn't even have any gas for the generator, and have still been experiencing issues with our kitchen slide, which could cause bigger potential problems in not having any electricity.


I called the office at the Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction and they were completely booked and unable to move us to a new site. We probably sat around for at least a half hour trying to decide what to do and how to do it - even looked at nearby RV parks in the area to switch too but they were all about 3-4x more expensive than the state park we were supposed to stay at. We basically came to the conclusion to try to call ahead to Camp Verde and see if they could take us early, as we were planned to arrive here this Friday, and then just plan to make a few day drips down to explore Phoenix over the next month...



Because now we are at our last planned point of stillness, for now. We are stationed in Camp Verde, AZ for a total of 35 nights, until March 16th. This is a good central location to Sedona, Jerome, Phoenix, the Grand Canyon, and basically a whole lot of exploring! And next Friday, February 21st, my dad and stepmom are coming to visit us here for a few days!


A&A Answers To 10 Frequently Asked Full-Time Travel Questions


1. How do you make money? How do you pay for everything?


Easily the number one question we get all the time, especially by random people we meet while we are traveling from place to place. Up to this point in time we have primarily been living off of our funds from selling our townhome, mixed in with a few cash jobs in various locations. We now also have tax season renewing our bank accounts for the time being, which is a great way to boost us back right now.


Back in October I started an online business in direct sales of high commission medical grade health products (and in social media marketing) that will set us up for the future, but can take time to learn all the ropes and get going. It is definitely a work in progress to start up a new entrepreneurial experience. Our goals are to have this sustain us by the end of the year 2020, but in the meantime we are exploring a handful of other options to keep us going. You can read more about my online opportunity here.


We are also looking into additional online work for quick cash, and possible workamping jobs where you would stay put in one location for a 5 month time period, however this is not my first choice at the current time. I'd love for us to do something like that in Florida next winter, but we are keeping most all options open right now to see what works best to allow us to continue living our best life.



2. How do you find places to stay?


For several months now, finding a place to stay has been primarily up to me to do - which I absolutely love to do! I research an area and look at what google has to say in terms of RV parks, also making sure to check the google rating and read all the reviews. I also use an app called Park Advisor to take a look at what it states is available, as it also includes all the BLM land, state parks, national parks, and other miscellaneous places. I cross compare those reviews to the google ones and usually start making a list in a notebook to "present" to Adam for his opinion. We also have a website to use for more boondocking type places, called freecampsites.net, and as another resource when it's tough to decide where to stay I will search our RV Facebook groups that we are in and see where people have posted they have stayed in said city.


As of late, I've been trying to plan things out months in advance, and for the start of 2020 I planned the first 3.5 months of travels all by the time the new year rung in. But last fall it was more like 1-2 weeks out, or even a few days in advance. And as of now we don't have much completely planned past mid March just yet.


3. What do you eat, and is it hard to prepare food in a smaller space? Where do you grocery shop?


We do often eat a lot of repetitive meals, out of ease to grocery shop and to prepare. I am currently only eating poultry in terms of meat, so we eat a lot of chicken and turkey based meals to include a variety of sausages, breasts, tenders and ground versions of it. Vegetables are extremely important in our diet so we also eat a LOT of green beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, potatoes, spinach, and some salad. Typically, we have a "brunch" about 11 AM on days when we don't travel, and Adam makes some type of egg mixture - egg sandwiches, omelets, scrambles, etc. Usually we are on our own for lunch and have sandwiches or salads or fruit - or if we are hiking we pack a lunch to have on the trail. At night we often eat a meat with a vegetable and then either potatoes or rice for a carb. We rarely eat pasta or mac and cheese, but it's in there once in awhile. And sometimes we will involve tuna in a pasta salad, a sandwich, or by itself even! We always have peanut butter, clementines, cereal (for travel and/or lazy breakfast days), almond milk, avocados, eggs, green beans, and a frozen pizza on hand!


I honestly don't think it's been hard to prepare food in a smaller space (although who am I to talk, because in reality I really don't do the cooking). We have a decent amount of counter space, and will utilize the stove and the air fryer at the same time to fast cook a meal and get everything done at the same time. The oven has worked great for pizzas, and we can even cook a few things at once on the burners. I would say confidently that we use the air fryer at least one time per day, sometimes multiple times, and we are both VERY glad we have it available to us in the RV.



Whenever we can, we try to shop at Costco and Trader Joe's, in combination with one another, to stock up on all our favorite organic meals. In the last few months we have been lucky enough to be by these stores often to restock. In previous months we shop at Krogers, Natural Grocers, Walmart, and other small town random stores. Whenever we are at any store we do our best to buy everything we can in an organic form and only resort to conventional when we absolutely have to. Luckily, with our Kangen water ionizer machine for drinking water, we can also produce 11.5 PH water that is used to emulsify oil and wax based chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, insecticides...) off of produce and meat, and we can also rinse these items in 2.5 PH water to kill bacteria. I often do both of these treatments even to our organic foods as organic foods also have a level of chemicals that are allowed on them by the FDA and frankly - I don't want to put that shit in my body.


4. How do the cats travel? Are they adjusted to the trailer?


I'm not quite sure that the cats will ever travel WELL, but I think we have come to terms with that and gotten to a point where it doesn't bother us anymore. I still remember the days I questioned if we would be able to continue on because of how difficult travel days were with them, but now days we aren't even phased by it at all. We have our systems and we stick to them and over time I do strongly believe that it gets the tiniest bit better with them, but I do know that it will continue to be a work in progress too. The cats are fully adjusted to the trailer and feel safe and comfortable in all aspects with that. They have more than made themselves at home here - the only issue that does still come up is travel days and having to move in the van. We now alternate having them in their crates and having them free roam the van while we drive, and this seems to be working well - especially for Roscoe's anxiety. Rahja on the other hand, she is so damn smart though, and she always knows what is about to happen the mornings we are packing up the trailer and she goes and hides somewhere and then screams bloody murder when we pick her up to put her in the van. :)


For the most part they meow a lot while we travel, but Adam usually puts headphones in and I honestly just tune them out and read a book or do some work on my phone. We still make stops for treats and water and for them to use the litter box and walk around. I sometimes hold Roscoe on my lap while we drive. And at the end of the day we always get through it!



5. Is it hard living in a smaller space with less stuff?


Nope. It's not. I'm not attached to anything and nothing is attached to me. I don't own much so my things don't own me. We basically live in a small apartment (in fact I've had many people tell me in social media that our space is BIGGER than their apartment). We have separate "quadrants" for "normal" living and we have the big beautiful outdoor space anywhere we go to call home, to explore, and to hang out in. The whole point obviously isn't to sit inside all day and we only do so when the weather is really bad or when we are really tired. I can also say without a doubt that I have not missed anything we have sold or gotten rid of from our "old life". We have everything we need to thrive. We have everything we need to be happy. We have everything we need right now.


6. What do you do all day?


Most days we are outside as much as possible, exploring new areas, soaking up the sun, hiking, going to state and national parks, and anything else you can think of that involves being outside. Typically at some point in the day I'm on my computer doing my own work, and Adam is either on his phone watching YouTube videos or he plays some video games with his friends. I try to do a workout outside every day, we make meals just like anyone else, we research things we need to do, places we want to go, where to stay next, and so on. We run errands to get groceries every 1-2 weeks and errands for anything else we need. As of lately we are seeing more people we know - friends and family, and spending time with them in new places. Sometimes we hang out outside and talk to our neighbors and make new friends. I like to read books. I have team calls with my business partners every week and connect with them in other ways every day. We phone call family and friends.


Essentially there is never a moment wasted and we are never just sitting around bored unless it is pouring rain outside or snowing for days on end - which has happened a few times, and then we eventually get a little stir crazy. It also just depends where we are and how much there is to do too!



7. Is it hard to always be on the move, and always in new places? Who drives? How many miles do you travel at one time?


It can be hard to always be on the move - especially when you are moving every like 4 days or so. I have been trying to break it up where we move a lot for like a month and then have a longer stay and I think this system will work well throughout the year. It can be hard to maintain a sense of balance and routine, but this is something we are getting better at every single day and are finding ways to adjust to and be flexible with. I actually just wrote an Instagram post about this topic the other day....you can find it here.


Adam always drives, and has driven every single mile of our 6,900 journey so far. We try to stick around 200 miles per travel day, but recently have had a few 400+ mile days (which we do not recommend to anyone!) and we have also had our share of 300 mile days. The 200 mile range seems to be the best for all of us and for the most part works out well to get to the cities we want to go to.


8. How long are you going to do this for?


The ever so loaded question of time... We really don't have a time limit or time frame on this experience, as this is our lifestyle right now, not just a "vacation". It will take us over a year just to see the west half of the country, maybe even longer, and another 1-2 years to see the east side of the country. All of this also depends on if we stop to do a workamping position in any particular place, and also if we end up deciding to drive through Canada to Alaska at some point. I would say that I could easily see us doing this for about 3 years, and then from there I could also see us establishing a "home base" property somewhere and staying in that for the summer months, and continuing to travel and move around for the winter months. We really love this lifestyle and love seeing new things in this country, and meeting new people along the way, and there is absolutely no reason that we would want to put a time limit on any of it.



9. What is your favorite place you have been to? Where do you see yourself ending up?


This question is almost impossible to even answer, because I feel like I find a new favorite place like every few weeks. I have loved SO MUCH of what we have seen. Some of my most favorite places so far have included:



& the list goes on and on! I do feel like it's still too early to tell where we would "end up" long term or to "settle down". These are still concepts that aren't even concrete to us at this time and there is still so much that we haven't even yet seen. I mentioned before, but ideally we would like to have a summer home base for awhile, and continue to travel around through winters for many years. There are so many amazing places to go to during the winter months!


10. Who does what - how are duties split? (Are you sick of each other yet?)


I would say that we have our routines and our systems down pretty well these days, and the work is pretty divided amongst the both of us. Primarily, this is how it breaks down:


Adam = Cooks, drives, handles all the outside things involving the RV, checks for RV/van maintenance, dumps the tanks, helps clean, splits dishes duty, checks us in at every campsite, handyman.


Amanda = Travel plans, takes care of the cats needs, cleans, splits dishes duty, works online, stocks up on items of need, makes grocery lists, manages finances and budget, handles all the indoor aspects of the RV on moving days.


You know, never in a million years would I have thought we would get to spend 24/7 together for going on 9 MONTHS now, but here we are! I would say that most days we really don't get on each others nerves at all, but of course there is the occasional day here and there when we do. We like to tease each other (playfully of course) and celebrate all of our milestones together. We still give each other alone time to do the things we each like to independently do and I honestly think that we have fought less in the 9 months we have lived in this tiny space then we did the like 8 years we lived together in Woodbury. Seriously though! We are also really good now at calling each other out when someone is projecting something onto the other person, and we are really getting great at our conflict resolution - both with each other and in all random situations that arise on the road!



NEXT WEEK:


For the end of week 38, I will be doing a travel review post of Tucson, Arizona! There was a lot we got to do in the 4 days that we were there, but there was even more that we also didn't even have time to see. This was our first time ever in Tucson, but not our first time in Arizona, and we definitely fell in love with the warmer temps, the surrounding mountains, and all the humongous Saguaro cacti!


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For more reviews, content, and other adventures, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Spark Fire Swan.

xoxo







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About Me

Hi, I’m Amanda. Thanks for visiting my page!

I was born & raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. I lived there for 30 years of my life, and always dreamed of warmer winters, mountains & palm trees, and life outside of what I always knew. 

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