We are a bit over one month into our Road Trip. Here are some things I’ve learned
First, I am hella privileged. This trip is made easier and indeed possible by these privileges. I’m healthy. My partner is healthy. We are both white. I am traveling with a man, who, by his mere presence makes my traveling easier. I am aware of all these things, having traveled alone and as part of a bi-racial couple who’s husband had severe health problems. I still find myself taking note of the locations of clinics and hospitals “just in case”, but there is no case anymore. I walk through rural Texas, a very white world, without worrying about how people will look at us. I book AirBnB accommodations regardless of whether the single male host may or may not be in residence (a fellow woman traveler mentioned this worry to me, although she had no problems herself). I am hella privileged. And I appreciate that fact every day.
2. Flexibility is key. We spent the month learning to balance between planning ahead and spontaneity. After traveling with my disabled (and control freak) husband for years, I am letting go of the need to have everything planned. We missed the wildflowers in Death Valley because I was obsessed with booking a place near Joshua Tree. Now we know the Priceline.com app really works for last minute bookings, there is less concern.
3. AirBnB rocks. For $50-$70/night (average), we have been staying in lovely places. By not staying in motels, we are getting the local flavor of the places where we live. We book places with kitchens, so I’m able to do a bit of cooking, so we find grocery stores.
4. Going local is a mixed bag. We look for local restaurants, and prefer them over chains. Sometime this is a great thing, sometimes one gets really mediocre food. Really, really mediocre. And now that we’re in the South, food is fried, served with cheese or cream sauce or all three. Sometimes it’s yummy and sometimes it’s just heavy. So Activia is my new best friend :).
5. It is mildly irritating to never know which side of the toilet the flush handle is on (this is a girl thing).
6. Travel is a wonderful, wonderful thing. People are friendly and helpful. We’ve seen so much natural beauty that it is often breathtaking. The BF is learning a lot of history as we go and I’m learning new things as he learns. I like sharing my knowledge (which is going to run out soon as we move into the South), and he likes finding things I didn’t know.
7. This country is fucking huge. Huge. ENORMOUS. We’ve been on the road a month and we are just barely 1/2 way across. We thought 5-1/2 months was going to be plenty of time, but now I’m not so sure.
8. The elevator at Carlsbad Cavern will not be operational until June. God evidently does not want me to see Carlsbad.
9. There is hella crazy weather when you get out of CA. I’d forgotten. We see it on the news, but it is different to be IN storms and watching the weather channel (which, BTW, is not that accurate). The Weather Channel tosses up “possible tornados” casually, but we who know how to manage in earthquakes wonder what to do to be safe. Also FLASH FLOODING!!! does not necessarily mean that you have to be trapped in your house because the most of the flooding happened two hours to the south in Houston.
10. You really can live out of one suitcase full of clothes. It helps that we haven’t stayed in one place for very long, so when you wear the same top (again) the people around you haven’t seen it yet.
11. Bug spray and suntan lotion are necessities.
12. “Sweet Tea” means tea that uses sugar to obliterate any possible taste of tea. People look at you funny when you request unsweetened tea and always serve it with a side of sugar and sugar substitutes.
I’m still having a blast. I miss people back home, so some of you may be getting phone calls soon. But this is a fabulous adventure and we can’t wait to see what happens next.