The time leading up to our departure from Tampa was a whirlwind. Five weeks to pack up our life, prepare to move into a school bus and travel across the country was quite the task. The sheer volume of items on our to-do list was overwhelming somedays, but we did it! Seven days ago we rolled out of Florida and started our adventure on The Big Blue Bus.
While we had accomplished everything we needed to in order to depart, there was one thing we didn’t do. We didn’t plan our trip home. We didn’t know which route we would take, or where we would stay each evening, or how long it would take. We knew we were heading north and that we’d be driving about 5000 miles, but that was it.
This is surprising, because I am a planner. But I had to prioritize how I spent my time leading up to departure, and the route home kept falling to the bottom of the list. When we left Tampa we headed north, not knowing how far we would get or where we would stop.
Normally that would make my anxiety tick – a lot – but for some reason I was calm. I suppose I realized I needed to embrace the adventure and that we would figure it out as we went. And we have! Today is day 7 of our journey and we’ve survived.
The first four nights we stayed at rest stops, it enabled us to drive until we were done, pull over, catch some sleep and then start driving early the next morning. Twice during those four days we visited friends and family along the route who let us shower and do laundry, and we figured in a pinch we could go every other day without a shower. Ha! Three teenage boys – a hot sweaty bus – ever other day showers – not so much fun!
Maneuvering through town, our bus seems ginormous. However, slumbering alongside the big boys at the truck stops, we seem absolutely tiny. Which is helpful when we pull into a truck stop that is totally full except for a spot with a street light smack dab in the center.
We fit right in with our rumbling motor and loud generator, and something about sleeping between these giant trucks is comforting. Go figure.
My sister Becky and her family lived in an RV last summer for 4 months and she gives me tips for this time of lifestyle each time we talk. She told me to make sure that everyone had a pair of dedicated “shower shoes” (cheap flip flops would work) for public showers. Smart girl. She also told me to get the All Stays app. It cost $9.99 and is worth every penny!
We used it to navigate to Walmarts to restock our pantry, for rest stops to pee and sleep, and for truck stops to fuel up. As we prepare to cross over into Canada, I’ve pulled out the paper road atlas knowing we won’t be using our data plan for maps or apps and we’ll be on our own, so to speak. I’ll miss the All Stays app for sure, as we still don’t have a plan for where we’ll stay or how far we are traveling each day. I’m embracing this fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants approach to travel. We’ll see how it goes!
I plan blogging as we make our way through Canada, so stop back and check in. Or you can subscribe to the site by entering your email address there in the upper right hand side. That way you’ll never miss a post.
Wish us luck as we continue on the next half of our journey!