2017 was probably the biggest year of change and travel plans in our lives yet. We got rid of almost everything we owned, moved into a van, and started road tripping around the US. We created this blog and a few of you lovelies actually read it. Tom started working remotely as an eLearning Developer. We met new people, tried new things, and learned so much. Here’s our year by the numbers.
- 18,545 miles driven
- 21 national parks explored
- 29 states visited
- 4 new tires
- 2 new radiators
- 3 tows
- 2 new brakes
- 1 trip to the emergency room
- 2 rescue operations witnessed (one ours, one a pair of lost hikers)
- Thousands of gallons of water conserved (there are benefits to not showering or using flush toilets regularly)
I’m not all that much for resolutions. It’s more like I’m always making mini resolutions throughout the year. I am a list person though so we thought it’d be fun to document our travel plans and goals for this year. Then we can look back and see how much actually happened as planned and how much changed.
Our travel plans for 2018 fall into three main sections. Honestly, we haven’t nailed down all the details so some of this is a bit vague. We’re curious to see where the road leads us this year.
1. US South: In a few week’s we’ll journey south. We’re thinking Florida, but anywhere that doesn’t have negative temperatures sounds divine right now.
2. France and Italy: After that we fly to France and Italy. Originally we planned to spend a few months in SE Asia before Europe, but as we’ve learned this year, plans change. After traveling continuously for months in 2017 we decided that we’d enjoy our time more if we focused on one region at a time. SE Asia and France/Italy are undoubtedly two very different trips and doing them separately is a better option for us.
Now we’re planning to visit SE Asia next year instead. Also, we’re limiting our plans to just Italy and France. We could bounce to numerous countries while in Europe, but instead we’re opting to focus on these two and really explore the crap out of them. That’s not to say we aren’t flexible if an awesome opportunity arises.
Here are the places we’re planning to visit in each country. Our goal is to travel primarily by train.
2. Cinque Terre (A national park with trails connecting 5 fishing villages along the Italian Riviera? Um, yeah it sounds like heaven. We’re just a little excited about this.)
3. US Southwest: Once we’re back in the states we’ll road trip to the SW. The Grand Canyon is the only place we’re definitely planning to visit. Beyond that, our goal is to settle into a nomadic life instead of the constant travel of last year. We want to hunker-down in each place and max out the days we can stay before moving to the next camp. Our longest stop in 2017 was 10 days in Moab (during which we visited 3 different parks) so even after slowing our pace, we were still moving quickly. This year will be about traveling slow.
1. Expand our van cooking repertoire or as we like to call them vanipes. We eat fairly healthy on the road, but we could do even better. V8 counts as veggies in a pinch right? Also, we ended up eating the same thing again and again. Food boredom is a real thing folks and we hope to banish it this year. If you follow us on Pinterest, you’ll see we have a whole board of ideas!
2. Try astro photography. I’ve been wanting to dabble in this for some time now. We saw more stars last year than probably our entire lives before this combined. In 2018 I’ve got big plans to attempt taking night sky photos.
3. Focus on capturing moments and details. I feel like our Instagram feed has way too many photos of the back of our heads while hiking or big expansive views. This year I want to focus more on the small details and moments of daily life traveling. Expect more pics of Stan the Tan Van. More campsite shots. And more food snaps (assuming we follow through with item #1, otherwise you’ll be seeing a lot of tuna salad sandwiches).
4. Get comfortable not having a plan. This was part of our goals for last year and I think we’re actually making decent progress on it. I’m an anxious person and having a plan eases my mind, but I think this year will be about pushing boundaries and getting more comfortable with the uncomfortable.
5. Try rock climbing for the first time. I’ve been working to conquer my fear of heights. Hiking Angel’s Landing in Zion and not dying was definitely a step in the right direction. I always used to say I’d never want to rock climb. Well once you start living in a van I guess that whole “never” thing kinda goes out the window so here’s to reaching new heights in 2018! Sorry, bad pun. Don’t expect those to stop anytime soon😉
Thank you all for reading this blog and sharing your stories and thoughts with us. We’re so tremendously grateful for your support and encouragement as we continue on this crazy ride!
What are your plans and goals for 2018? Do any of them involve travel or trying something new?