March 3, 2016 -Plan for the travel bug

No matter how far you travel from your original starting point, most people discover that there is never enough time to see everything and do everything that you want to do.  No matter how often you talk about wanting to visit a new place, it seems like something always gets in the way of your plans.  Travelers learn that no matter how well thought out your travel plans are, there is always going to be something that you missed or forgot about somewhere along the way.

During our journey to arrive at this destination, we saw many things that were interesting, informative, and even some things that were scary (like many rattle snake and falling rock warning signs).  And along the way, we made stops where we learned of even more places we would have loved to have had the opportunity, time, and money to have explored.  It doesn’t matter where you end up, there will always be another place you would like to be.  That doesn’t mean we haven’t found joy where we are at, it simply means we realize that the opportunities to learn and see more are limitless.  Once you start on the road to traveling, you soon find that you want to see and do more than you ever imagined.  Inevitably, someone will ask if we stopped at this spot or that spot and when our reply is “no”, then we end up listening to all the reasons why we should have went there along the way.  That would be great if you had an endless amount of time and money but most of us don’t.  What is great though is meeting people who have been to all these other places that can give you a good run down of what you might find so that you can make an informed decision as to whether it is something to add to your future travel plans.

Sometimes, we hear of places that sound intriguing only to find out that they are total tourist traps and not all the worthwhile to put a lot of effort into getting to.  It doesn’t mean we have totally crossed them off our future to-do list, it just means they drop in priority.  The best advice I can offer is to really research your travel paths and make sure you plan on stopping at the really major sites along the way and hopefully you will find out about some of the minor places that are truly worth spending time to find and visit.  Don’t be afraid to ask the locals about the history of the areas you travel through because you will learn things that are never taught in any schools.

Also be aware that you have to plan for the unexpected when you travel.  You can have the best laid out travel plans but if you’re not flexible, you will create a huge amount of stress for yourself unnecessarily.  Life is really short, take advantage of opportunities as they arise and you will live a much fuller life and most likely find happiness along the way.

So if the travel bug is nipping at your heels, do not wait until your too old to enjoy what this world has to offer.  Look closely at your life, decide what is truly important to you, then make your travel plans and go enjoy the trip.  After all, if you’re not enjoying your life, chances are, your spending your life energy so that someone else can enjoy their life at your expense.  That was what set our journey into motion and caused us to be living in a tent in a campground thousands of miles away from the former life we felt we had been trapped in.  I know it sounds very radical, but hasn’t freedom always been a radical thought?

 

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March 01, 2016 – Travel and Campground Hygiene

When you think of hygiene the first thing most people think of is personal body hygiene. And while that is extremely important if you don’t wish to become offensive and smell like a goat, it is also important to consider hygiene of your vehicle, tent, camp site, and any area you may spend any amount of time at.

Personal hygiene can be attended to any time you have access to water. But remember it is more important to have water to drink than it is to bathe with. If water is hard to come by, plan on picking up unscented baby wipes which are reasonably priced at most major grocery stores and do a great job of a quick freshen up in any restroom stall. Its amazing what you can do with one gallon of water if you carefully use it for bathing, tooth brushing, and hair washing. Of course if your lucky enough to have a shower available, by all means make use of it.

Vehicle hygiene is about keeping your vehicle free of debris that can get underfoot when your driving (bottles are the worst), food wrappers and half eaten food items that can attract wildlife to your vehicle in rural areas, dirty clothing that makes your vehicle smell like the dead goat, or even worse, those loose pieces of paper that end up flying out the window as you drive down the road and which end up on the road side (if your lucky) or on someone else’s windshield (if you’re not so lucky) which could cause an accident. Use trash cans when you stop to take a break to make sure your vehicle is safe and clean.

Campground hygiene is also more than just personal hygiene. Whether you are sleeping under the stars, inside a tent, or using an RV of some sort, the area you are spending time in needs to be kept reasonably clean for your own health and safety. Food that is left lying around can encourage a lot of unwanted visitors from the animal kingdom. Food containers, wrappers, and half eaten foods can not only cause health issues but it can look very unsightly. Clothing and towels draped all over the place looks just plain trashy and most campgrounds have a policy against it. It’s not just what is outside your sleeping area either. Having clutter inside of a tent causes stress and the possibility of trip and fall problems. Leaving clothing laying on the floor or ground makes it hard to move around in the darkness of night even with a flashlight. Most tents have little net pockets which are great for all those little things that you would struggle and stress about if you had to spend your time searching for them every single day.

A good idea is to find ways to keep items organized into boxes or totes for easy access. The less time you spend searching for things, the more time you have to enjoy your day. We all know that we need to do this and yet it seems to be the biggest struggle for most people to make it a habit and to stick with it. I found it best to go a step further and use different colored totes so I didn’t need to spend time opening a half-dozen totes of the same color. It did not take long for me to remember which items were in which colored totes. Of course clear totes are a bonus as you get a sneak peek of what’s inside.

The interesting thing about giving hygiene consideration in advance is that it also provides a sort of mental hygiene as well. When you have an organizational plan, your mind has less clutter and you will feel better. It’s a form of having less stress in your life. Less stress leads to greater peace of mind, gives you more energy to focus on other more pleasant activities, and can actually make you feel younger. Sounds like a great game plan to me! Alternative living in a tent in a campground can have enough stress of its own, anything I can do to reduce or remove stress is worth thinking twice about.