Where did this madness begin?
Well, I moved around a lot as a child, and that probably had something to do with it. Some kids like to move, others dont. I was one that did. I was excited by new places. My parents were no strangers to travelling. My dad left Wisconsin when he was in his 20's with the military and moved to Hawaii. When his contract with the military ran out, he decided to stay there and moved my mom out, and really threw both of their families for a loop, sort of like I am doing with this trip. Cats in the cradle, I guess.
As for solo adventuring, I got addicted to that when I went to Alaska for a summer. I had NEVER done anything like that trip up to that point. I was supposed to go with a good friend, but he had to back out at the last minute, so I booked a flight to Seattle alone, and set off. When I got off the plane (and this is the first time I've openly admitted this) I was so scared I went in to the bathroom at the airport, in to a stall and cried. I had questions in my head like; "What am I doing here?, I have no idea where to go, where to stay, where to find a job or how to find a job, I have almost no money to my name and no-one to rely on for help here." I honestly didn't have a clue what to do. Yeah, I was scared. I expected to go through this with someone. I ended up telling myself that I was here by choice, and worst case scenario I would find a hotel, and book a ticket back. Now quit cryin, sissy, and go out and find your way. I went to a pay phone, looked up Hostels by accident because they were near Hotels in the yellow pages. I found one for $13 a night and had the best time of my life with the people I met there. It was then that I realized that everywhere you go, there are solo travellers. And you never really travel alone, you just travel with friends you haven't met yet.
Once I was comfortable with the idea of solo travelling, I knew I'd have to do it again. It wasn't until 3 years later that I got to do it again, and went to Europe for about a month. Again, it was one of the most incredible times I've ever had. I guess I'm just a kid that likes to move.
Won't you miss having a home?
Yes. I was going to keep my house and rent it out, but there were too many things to worry about with that. Too many things that would have to be taken care of. But part of the reason I wanted to do that, was to have someplace to call home. But instead, now I just think of Earth as my home. It sounds like a punchline, but its actually a good way to think of your place of residence. If you think of it that way, you really have the biggest lot of property of anyone. :)
Wouldn't you rather have a newer truck?
No, I could have afforded to have a newer truck to do this, but the older ones are so much better. The only things I miss having are intermittent wipers, cruise control and cup holders.
I suppose theres no room for a sound system with all your gear.
Blasphemy! Theres always room for stereo gear. I am a confessed audiophile. I have owned sound systems that have far surpassed the value of the clunker cars they were in. In the 4runner, I have a real simple set up. A CD player which can play MP3 files (more files per disc = less discs = less space taken up), which powers the dash mounted 4" Blau speakers and also feeds an Alpine Amp which will power a 6.5 inch JL sub. I will have a pair of speakers mounted in the back facing outwards so with the hatch down, music can be played out to the open. These will usually be faded off completely, which is then reversed when this feature is used and the fronts are faded off completely.
What do your parents think about this?
This is the MOST common question I get. I have been blessed to have the most wonderful mom and dad on the planet. They have always been 100% supportive in everything that I do. My parents aren't thrilled with the idea of the trip, but they are extremely supportive, and very happy that I am doing something that I am so excited about. I think most parents would like their kids to be getting married and having a family by the time they reach 30, and mine are no different. I can sense that my mom worries a bit, but that fact has been known to keep me from doing unsafe things in the past. My dad has concerns that a haitus will be bad for my career, and my mom I know would like to see me married before I reach 40. :) But all in all, they are behind me doing this all the way, as they know its what I really want to do. If it wasnt for the help that they are offering, with planning this trip, and taking care of any issues that come up while I'm away, I would NEVER be able to do this trip. My parents are both in reasonably good health, and I would consider my trip officially over if I ever reached the point where I didn't have the financial resources to fly back at a moments notice if anything happened to anyone in my family.
Do you plan to work?
This is probably the second most popular question. I won't really need to work, however, the more I work, the longer I can go. I also enjoy working. Having a job is one of the best ways to meet people. Ideally, I'd like to try to work in a bar or restaurant, but would do construction or just about anything. I'm even willing to work in exchange for lodging if the circumstances are right.
So you are going alone?
Not really. Like I said above, when you travel by yourself, you really travel with friends you havent met yet. You always meet people along the way, and often times change one or both of your paths to travel together for a while. I have set up the truck with the bed behind the drivers seat, so that if I pick up a passenger, they could comfortably sleep in the passenger seat reclined.
How can you afford to take a vacation for so long?
Generally, I don't like to talk money, but this seems to get asked a lot, so I'll address it.
The first thing to note is that there is a difference between travelling and a vacation. If you take a week vacation for 2, it will probably cost around $2000. Figure tickets, hotel, taxis, rent-a-cars, gas, attractions, fine dining, etc. Now remove the cost of tickets, and take out 7 nights of hotels and replace it with 3 nights of hostels. Then take out the rent-a-car, and replace fine dining with making your own sandwitches. Most thrifty travellers can last a month or more on what most vacationers can spend in a week. Besides, if you're a full-time traveller, you have no mortgage or bills accumulating while you are away.
But to answer the question more directly, I started a company a couple years ago and sold it. Using those proceeds combines with the equity in my house to fund my travel, and a knack for stretching the money out will hopefully let me travel for a while.
How much time do you spend updating the web page?
Its about the same as the commitment to the reserves. :) I seem to spend about an hour each week to writing the journals, then one day a month (sometimes 2) putting up the photos.
What type of equipment do you use?
I have a Canon Digital Elph, which is nice because of its small size, I take it everywhere without hesitation. I also have a small Sony Viao 505TR laptop. Its about the size of a 100 page notebook. Very tiny - not too powerful, but does what I need it to do. You can find them used on eBay for under $500 and work great.
What is with the "Song defining this leg of the trip" on each journal?
Music always takes me back to a feeling better than anything else. More than pictures or words. By hearing in my head (or playing) the song that defines that part of the trip, it takes me right back to that feeling again. Remember, these are basically just my journals, written primarily for me to read at a later date, but also posted for other people to see too. By listening to the song, it will take me right back there. I usually pick the song by something I hear repeatedly during that part of the trip, something that is in my head, something that was playing at a magical moment, or something that the lyrics seem to remind me of. Or just something random.