2021 – From Workaholic to Playaholic, a podcast interview and more

I had an awesome career; however, I wasn’t very successful at the work/play balance. I was all about achieving goals, much like focusing on destinations such as mountain summits or some cool waterfall, rather than enjoying all the other wonders along the trail. In late summer 2014, I said goodbye to the office and hello to opportunities. A few years earlier I’d discovered this new passion called hiking and backpacking. Little did I know it would open doors to travel and living more nights in my car than my tent or house.

My home on wheels . . . Crazy cool (or just plain crazy) to realize I’ve spent around 400 nights sleeping in my car over the past 6 years, with 123 nights in 2019 being the record. Over the past 5 years I’ve averaged 150 nights annually away from home. Want to know all the details? I have an entire section on my blog dedicated to exactly this, Me & My CRV (link).

Meanwhile I’ve spent an average of 56 days per year over the past 6 years backpacking with 2015 being my banner year at 74 days. Those days closely mirror time spent in my tent. I’ve written several blog posts about my decade of lessons learned (link).

After listening to Zoe Langley-Wathen on a Trail Dames podcast (link) talking about saying YES more, I realized listeners might be interested in how I transformed my life by saying YES more as well. I reached out to Anna, Mud Butt, and as a result this podcast interview came to be (link).

As I prepared for the interview I thought about those little life events that became ah ha moments, eventually pushing me away from my career and into this new playground.

  • Perimenopause was not kind to me. I started the insomnia cycle which led to poor performance, lack luster enthusiasm, and spiraling health status.
  • Driving a forested road woke up so many senses and stirred a desire for something more.
  • Getting shot while riding my bike in a drive-by shooting was a serious wake-up call about regrets.
  • Watching family and friends face ailments that removed quality of life and their retirement dreams.
  • Finding adventure groups who knew how to fill their calendars with adult play.

Did I feel financially prepared to retire without income? Did I know what retirement would look like? Absolutely NOT! However I felt compelled to take this career break before my health declined further. I lived frugally and didn’t have debt. I decided to take a leap of faith. It didn’t happen immediately. For a few years I reduced my work hours while training my replacement and taking care of some neglected projects. When I couldn’t focus any longer, I knew the day had come. 

My last day of work was 8/7/14. I took a couple weeks to settle things at home before leaving for 3 weeks in Washington.

Those trips were affirmation of my decision to say YES to play more work less

This inReach map with over 2,600 check-in messages provides a good visual of my playground.

Travel Summaries:

Motivational:

Previous Podcasts:

Me and My CRV – the Ah Sh*t Moments

If you don’t laugh, you might cry . . .

There was a mouse in my house!

Expensive cup of coffee

That was an expensive cup of coffee

I got screwed

After a near miss . . . on a remote beach . . .

Dinner with an unexpected guest

More posts about Me and My CRV

 

Me and My CRV – Showers, Laundry and Recharging

There are necessities that need to be addressed occasionally such as cleaning yourself and your clothes, but just as importantly making daily decisions and being constantly on the move is exhausting and you’ll need some downtime. Trust me! Furthermore, if you’re traveling solo, you may find the need for human contact.

Networking

A major benefit of social media, is making connections with people all over the country and world, that is if you’re willing to (1) invest in building these relationships, (2) reach out when you’re in the area, and (3) take the risk of meeting strangers.

This has been by far the best part of my new lifestyle. In 2016, I spent about 50 nights with friends, mostly strangers who hosted me or met me for hikes and who are now forever friends. It doesn’t happen magically. You truly have to cultivate these relationships and go in with an open mind and heart. Every experience is different and I’ve never regretted the chances I’ve taken.

Tip: Use removable tape to mark your map with contacts and their numbers so you’ll remember when in the vicinity. 

If you do stay with friends, family, strangers, be a most-excellent guest. In exchange for a bed, laundry, showers, food, be sure to give back generously. Some of the things I’ve done include helping with chores, errands, providing gift cards, money, cooking meals, backpacking gear, etc. Figuring out the right amount of time to stay can be tricky. Keep the channels of communication open and be sure to ask about expectations, and reaffirm if you’ve stayed more than a few days. Watch for signals, some people feel uncomfortable telling you “it’s time to leave.” Get everything ready for the next guest before you leave.

Tip: Travel with thank you cards and stamps. Send them out timely or leave as you depart. 

Low Cost Laundry and Shower Options

Many campgrounds and RV parks will allow you to use their showers and laundry facilities, some small towns have laundry facilities with shower rooms, and hostels are another good option.

Tip: Travel with laundry detergent (I carry the pods) and quarters. I also use OxyClean for my hiking/backpacking gear especially socks. 

Reset, Recharge, Regroup

There will be times you just need a day or two or three off the road and you don’t have a nearby contact or just need some quiet time. Spending a day in your vehicle when it’s raining or snowing is just not fun, unless you have it planned as a travel day. On these days I might visit a local coffee shop or library, somewhere I can have internet access to catch up on my blogging and correspondence. I’ll also use it to accomplish town chores; I keep an ongoing shopping list just for this reason. Budget for occasional lodging. Many times I found myself needing a second night. I tend to stay at motels offering a laundry room, wifi and hot continental breakfast. Many times its worth the free membership to earn rewards for multiple nights or stays. Also consider using discount apps or sites such as HotWire.

Tip: If you’ve been backpacking, this is a good time to sterilize all your water containers. I carry denture tabs for this purpose. 

Package Delivery

If you need to order something or have something sent  from home, have it shipped to places you’ll be staying (if motel call first), or you can pay a small fee to pick it up from a UPS or retail mailing store. Sending Amazon packages via USPS General Delivery tends to be problematic so I’d avoid that option. I noticed during the Christmas season Amazon was offering alternative delivery locations such as grocery stores. That may prove to be a great option in the future.

Tip: If you need to send something home that requires special packaging, travel with the box (i.e. snowshoes).

More posts about Me and My CRV