In the spring of 2017, I officially decided to leave my job as a high school English and history teacher and venture off into the unknown. I had been itching for change during the last year but had no idea what that change looked like.
At first, I tried manically searching for new jobs, which proved difficult since I didn’t know what I wanted to do but was fairly certain a break from teaching was needed (reasons for that is another post altogether). The job hunt was haphazard at best, deranged at worst. Eventually, I realized taking some time to explore my options while enjoying a less rigid schedule sounded appealing.
I decided to retrofit my Ford F-150 as a camper and set out across the nation. After perusing many posts on Pinterest and Instagram, I decided to find a good quality topper (or truck cap, depending on where you live), and build my own living quarters in the bed of the pickup.
Building my own mobile home appealed for multiple reasons, but the main reason I wanted to camp on my cross-nation road trip was so I could take my dog Zeus along with me. Traveling with a dog brings challenges, but the frustration would be worth facing since hiking and running and bar hopping is more fun with a dog. Many areas across the nation are boasting more dog-friendly locales, so I figured my road trip would be a good time to test just how friendly certain areas really are.
Now, I can be a dreamer at times, but, truth be told, I’m a realist. The gypsy life sounds great and is hip right now, but my eternal question is “how are you going to pay for that?” I am not one to throw caution to the wind when it comes to finances and believe “it will all work out.” No, things cost money and without a reliable income flow, I knew I had to start saving.
Cue my “rice and beans” winter. I cut back on clothes, household items, food, and even (gasp!) beer purchases. Every potential buy was prefaced with, “do I actually need this? Will this help me get on the road? Will I wish I had this cash in a few months?” All extra money left over at the end of the month went into savings, no excuses. When the dust settled, I had saved an additional $6,000 in six months on a teacher’s salary. Looking back, I should’ve been doing this earlier!
Coupled with some money I had squirreled away, I’m hoping my savings will cover the purchase and outfitting of my pickup bed camper, some mechanic work required to ensure my pickup is ready for a long haul, travel expenses for at least four months on the road, and hopefully a little international travel during an additional fifth month. We shall see!
For now, stay tuned for a blow by blow on the camper build and some hike recaps sprinkled in as I enjoy my last few months living in Valier and exploring the Rocky Mountain Front before heading across America.