Commonly Asked Questions
Where are you going?
I recently discovered this awesome Google map option where you can pinpoint places on a map. Here is our tentative map for the trip. Note that there is no definite route yet. I’m not sure that we will ever commit to one… But my Type A personality may win over on that decision.
How did the trip idea come about?
Dave and I (Kristen) first decided to go on this trip after coming back from a week kayaking down the Escalante river in Utah. We were relaxed. Completely relaxed. And we realized that we hadn’t felt that way in a long time. I was finishing my Master’s degree, Dave was teaching four preps at a local charter high school, and both of us were over-committed, over-stressed, and over-stimulated. That trip on the Escalante with a couple friends was one of the first times that whole semester that we had time to see each other and really talk. Not just talk about our day or surface issues, but really talk. Dig up difficult moments in our past, address current issues, and delve into why we are who we are and what we wanted from our lives. These realizations were what brought us to committing to the trip (after much discussion about its feasibility).
Who are you planning on interviewing?
All sorts of people! Academics at universities, activists, authors, artists, and many others whose titles apparently start with the letter “A.” Please, please, PLEASE comment and suggest people you love/admire/generally-want-to-be! We may be going to the East for a short stint to get Chomsky if he will have us, so even if the person is on the East coast, we may be able to swing it.
How long will the trip be?
Around 10 months, but we are playing it by ear, so maybe more, maybe less.
Why the West?
The original plan was to travel around the entire U.S., but after careful consideration about what we wanted from the trip, we realized that the West was our best bet. Going to the Midwest (where we are both from) and the East coast, while tempting because of all of the wonderful and awesome people who live there, wasn’t ideal because of the lack of wilderness areas and the weather. We want to live out of our truck, mostly tent camping, which would be expensive because there are very few wilderness or public lands back East, so we would have to pay for campsites. Also, regarding the weather, let’s be honest. It is sunny so much in the West. We can live outside there, explore, go on backpacking trips, regularly go running, do yoga outside, and live in the outdoors. That simply wouldn’t be possible in the Midwest or back East as there are mostly suburbs and cities and the weather is fickle.
Don’t you have to be rich or have a ton of money saved up to do a trip like this?
It helps to have money saved, but we are planning on working part-time in remote positions while traveling. We will tether to our phone for internet (as well as visiting coffee houses and libraries) and have figured out that we can live on a little more than $1000/month (we have started cutting back our spending already to make sure that figure is sustainable). I will try to give a more specific price breakdown in a post at some point.
Where are you going to shower? (my mom’s favorite question)
We are setting up this awesome system on the truck. Stay posted. Before that happens… we will be petsitting/housesitting, couchsurfing, and generally being scrungy humans. Which is okay, because we only have to deal with each other for the most part :).