And I’m back!

 | March 17, 2011 9:37 pm

It’s been about over a year and a half since I last posted here, but I’m about to take off on the road again so I may start posting again regularly.  I was recently contacted by someone from my college who’s doing a project about alumni who have “checked out” of society.  I responded that I wasn’t sure I’d use the term “checked out” to describe my life, but that I was happy to answer any questions he had.  I then described my situation and what’s been going on over the last couple years and I thought that for my first post back I would just give you the same information.  So of as a way to explain what I’ve been up to for the last couple years as well as an introduction to any “new” readers.

So here we go!

Basically, about 4 years ago I started a new job at a public radio station.  I work for them for only part of the year, but when I do, it’s full-time on their fundraisers.  We hold 3 pledge drives a year and I start work on them about a month before and then go through a week or two after they finish.  In between drives, I travel as much as possible.  By living in my car, I’m able to save enough on rent that I can work for only about 5 months out of the year and still afford to travel.  I’ve done mostly road-trips around the Western half of the states, living in my car as I go, but have also spent a month in Australia and New Zealand, two months in Hawaii and just recently a month in the UK.

For me, this job was a means to being able to travel.  I’d originally been planning to quit my job and take off for a year on a massive road trip and then come back to a regular job and regular schedule.  Having a job like this means that I’m able to take off for a few months at a time and not have to worry about running out of money or finding a job when I do.  We’re never more than 4 months from the next pledge drive.  I started the job in May of 2007 and moved out of my apartment at the end of June.

Over the last year and a half or so my travel has been a bit more limited because I’ve acquired two apartment buildings in Yuma, AZ.  I spent a couple months out there when I first got them.  Then this last September I started a Masters program in Accounting in San Diego, so I’ve been spending a fair amount of time there, (staying with my parents).

I have a website about living and traveling in my little Prius at AYearInACar.com.  I stopped posting in it in July 2009 because my computer was stolen in Reno.  I took about a month to get around to replacing it and by then I had gotten out of the habit of posting.  Since I was basically living in one of my apartments in Yuma for a couple months, I didn’t really feel I had much new to say about living in my car.  When I went back to LA I was still living in my car, but wasn’t traveling by car, (my traveling in 2010 was basically “fly and stay” trips to the East Coast, Seattle and to the UK. Each of those for a about a month).  I couldn’t figure out how to get started again in writing for the website, especially when at the end of the year I began my Masters and stayed at my parents’ house for a couple months.  (And yes, they charged me rent.  The first rent I’ve had to pay in over 3 years! I have to admit that living in a car had spoiled me.  Even though it was just to my parents, that first rent check was hard to write.)

All that being said, my upcoming April-June classes will be online so I’m going to be hitting the road again at the end of this week (just finishing up our latest pledge drive.)  I’ll have about 3 months to drive up to the Pacific Northwest and work my way around back down. I’ll be taking my classes, as well as working on a few projects for the station so it won’t be “full-time” travel, but I’m really looking forward to being back on the road.

So there you have it!  An semi-explanation of what I’ve been up to for the last year and a half.  Like I said, I’ll hopefully be hitting the road at the end of the week so more to come.  In San Francisco I’ll be meeting up with a friend who moved into a van about a year ago so I’m interested in seeing what he’s done with the place.

 

 

 

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And here I thought July was going to be a slow month…

 | July 29, 2009 3:36 pm

I can’t believe July is almost over.  I’ve been in Yuma, AZ the last three weeks (business stuff, long story) and I thought I’d have some time while I was here to get caught up on some projects.  Some progress has been made, but not all in the direction I expected.

I think if I had made a list of “things to do” at the beginning of July and compared now it to a list of “things done” at the end there would be only a few things that overlapped.  Feel like I’ve been amazingly productive for as few things as I’ve actually gotten crossed off my list.  Ahh well.  At least I already know what I be working on in August.

I’ve been living in an apartment here in Yuma for the last couple weeks.  It has been nice to spread out a bit.  I’ve only brought the stuff that’s normally in my car with me, but I’m amazed at how much floor space it takes up.  I really do pack up the little Prius tight!  Astounding how much I manage to get into the car comfortably.

I should spend some time reflecting on living in an apartment (however briefly) as opposed to a car, but I can’t think of anything philosophical about it at the moment.  It’s different.  Some things are better about living in an apartment, some things are better about living in a car.  The weather, however, makes the apartment a necessity while in Yuma.  112 degrees is not uncommon right now. Even walking outside at night feels like an oven.  The only plus is that there’s very little humidity and almost always a breeze.  If you can get some shade and don’t have to move at all it’s not too bad.  I’m very happy with the AC, though starting to get a bit stir crazy.  I’m craving the chance to go for a walk, but it’s just not going to happen here in Yuma for a while.

Lucky for me then that I’m leaving tomorrow for a little while.  I head up to Vegas where a friend and I will be roadtripping up to Reno, NV for their big street festival “Hot August Nights”.  I know very little about it.  Another friend will be meeting us there and we’ll spend a couple days before Friend #1 and I head back down to Vegas.  After that I’ll go to LA for a few days work at KJAZZ and then head back to Yuma for a week, THEN back to LA again for about a month and a half. Will be both good and strange to get back on the road for a short trip to Reno like this.  Looking forward to it though. I expect August and September to both be quite busy.  I need to map out everything on a calendar.  I’m starting to get confused about where I’m going to be when.  :)

Any Reno/Tahoe suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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Catch-up post covering April and May

 | July 13, 2009 2:34 pm
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My favorite picture from this trip. Taken in Point Reyes National Seashore.

Despite the fact that we’re now halfway into July, and plenty has happened since my last roadtrip in April and May I wanted to go back and post about it.

This trip felt a bit more choppy than the other ones I’ve taken.  I think because I tended to travel in big spurts and then stay put for a while. I had a hard time seeing the trip as a while.  Actually, that seems true for my whole life in general at the moment and I think that’s part of why I haven’t been posting.  I wanted to work it out in my own mind first so this journal wouldn’t be too all over the place.  Well, that and also I was lazy on the road, then sick and then busy with work.  Now I’ve finally got the perspective, health and time to write it up.

So here’s a quick run down on the April/May trip.  I want to come back and write more about each part separately, but at least this is a start.

I worked my way up to the Bay area along Highway 101 which roughly follows the second half of the de Anza Trail.  Spent a few days visiting with college friends and then on to Point Reyes National Seashore (still one of my favorite spots in the US). I volunteered at The California Artisan Cheese Festival in Marin Country and had a very fun there weekend and then I spent a few days in Sacrament researching the Pony Express.

I zoomed up to Portland to visit with two new friends I met in Hawaii in January, and explore the end of  the Lewis and Clark Trail.  Then had about two weeks in Seattle visiting with more old college friends and another new friend from Hawaii.  I broke up those two weeks with a trip up to Vancouver during the week while they were busy with jobs.  Then I headed out to Spokane for the Shuttlebirds tatting conference.  More great fun was had visiting after which I made my way out to Missoula and then started up to Glacier National Park.

glacier.jpg

Glacier National Park

This is where things took a turn for the worse.  I got sick with stomach pains and spent a day in bed in the Walmart parking lot in Kalipsell, MT trying to move and eat as little as possible since both seemed to turn the dull pains into sharp pains.  This day in the Walmart parking lot was only about half as much fun as it sounds.  I tried to sleep through as much of it as possible.
the next morning my stomach still hurt, but I could walk around better so I continued up to Glacier where I discovered it probably would have been a good idea to have done a bit of research while still in Missoula since everything was still mostly closed for the winter.  I was about three weeks too early to travel the Going to the Sun Road.  So I took some photographs, sat by the lake and wondered if I should be concerned that the pains were coming back, (though still not as bad as the day before).

Later that evening I had a ridiculously long and heated internal debate between heading over the pass to Great Falls (Lewis and Clark trail) or making my way back toward highway 15 the way I came.  Concerned the pain might be something serious I decided it would be a good idea not to be in the middle of nowhere if I needed to have my appendix or gallbladder removed.   I gave up on this side trip to explore Montana and started heading south.

The ultimate goal was Las Vegas where I could stay with a friend and I pretty much drove straight down there, which meant skipping all the rest of the exploring of the Lewis & Clark and the Nez Perce Trails in Montana and stopping in Salt Lake City to check out all the trails that went through there (the California, Oregon, Pony Express and Morman Trails).

I probably could have stopped in Salt Lake City, since by the time it took me to get down there I was feeling better.  At that point I was so sick of driving I just wanted to keep going and get most of it over.  I wanted to get down to Las Vegas where I could hang out with Roberta and know that I was only a few hours behind the wheel away from Los Angeles.  Besides, I hadn’t contacted or arranged anything with the people I wanted to interview about the trails.  So I kept driving.  1100 miles in less than 3 days.  Way too many.

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Berta about to start her riding lesson.

I spent the next week at Roberta’s starting work on the next pledge drive while she was at school (high school bio teacher) and hanging out with her in the evenings.  I was feeling pretty much completely better in time for our college reunion in the next weekend.  More fun was had hanging out on campus and I started up again at work in Los Angeles on Monday.
The postscript is that on Tuesday the pain came back (with lots nausea this time).  I moved the general check up I had scheduled for Friday to Wednesday and headed down to San Diego.  I’ll spare you the details, but the next two weeks were a long boring story of intermittent stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, doctors visits and blood tests, but it all came to nothing.  I feel fine now and the last round of tests came back completely normal.  Current theory is some sort of infection.  I think it’s gone for good this time, but it certainly complicated my schedule trying to get ready for the next pledge drive (starts this Wednesday!)  I so rarely get sick that when I do it completely throws me off.  Having a doctor in San Diego while trying to work in Los Angeles didn’t help much either.

There’s the run-through!  I have a lot more free-time this month and semi-regular internet access so there’ll be more to come, including pictures of the coolest wedding cake ever!

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Curtains installed already!

 | June 20, 2009 7:42 pm

I have a friend in the bay area who is selling his volvo station wagon on ebay.  267K.  Already been outfitted for living in.   Read the description carefully, there’s some drawbacks, but maybe it’s just what you were looking for in a new home.

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Self-powered Travel in the US article

 | June 2, 2009 8:36 pm

img_5567.jpgMy most recent article for the Indie Travel Podcast is a VERY quick run through of some idea and resources for self-powered travel in the US.  Hiking, biking and Kayaking.  Would love for other people to post their suggestions in the comments.

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I'm happy to use Increase Sociability.