Against all odds we’ve made it to our final destination. After 3 months on the road, about 10,336 miles, 2 breakdowns, and 8 national parks we’re back in Michigan. We’ve fielded a lot of the same questions now that we’re home. Examples include: “Where was your favorite spot?” or “What was the hardest part?” and our personal favorite “Now what are you going to do?” While we’ve gotten good at answering all these questions and more, it’s easier to just boil down the top 10 things we learned from the trip:
1. Living out of a van, while awesome and adventurous, does get old.
2. We were a lot less smelly than we thought we’d be.
3. You never have as much time as you think – commit to specific locations instead of trying to see them all.
4. It’s nearly impossible to disconnect these days, no matter where you are.
5. Old vans are fun, but expect their reliability (or unreliability) to change your plans regularly.
6. Don’t have any expectations and you’ll never be disappointed.
7. You can travel without making any plans ahead of time and still do almost all of the things you want to do.
8. There is beauty and adventure on every corner of this world – just go out and see it.
9. With a little bit of modern technology you can do almost all of the work you’d normally do from an office.
10. Mobile apps have made traveling so much easier.
Digging into that last point a little bit – our lives would have been way harder without apps like Airbnb, Uber, Hipcamp, Lyft, Priceline, Hipmunk, and Google Maps. When you breakdown in the middle of nowhere and you know it’s going to be a while before you are on the road again, it’s so comforting to know you have the technology at your fingertips to plan your next moves in a matter of minutes. Case in point – our van broke down in the middle of the mountains of northern California. Within minutes, we had a tow truck on the way, a shop identified with great reviews, a rental car booked, and a last minute airbnb rental reserved near our location. I can only imagine what this would have been like even a few short years ago before all of these on-demand travel technologies were in your pocket.
Our original goal with this trip was to see as much of North America as we could while maintaining a connection to the working world. I would say that mission has been met and then some. It hasn’t always been easy working from the road but with a little extra effort, and apps like FoxDen and Ubimeet, you can contribute in a meaningful manner to any office job. If you’re considering an extended road trip and travel trip anywhere, learn from the many, many people out there who do this full-time but more than anything – just try it, you have very little to lose.
Our North American travels and van dwelling may be over, but there is more travel to come. Stay tuned for more tales from the future of work. In the meantime – what are some of your favorite apps and technologies that make your mobile life easier every day?