On Road Trips and RVs

Adventure will always be in my bones. If I ignore it, it harbors resentment, manifests itself into a restlessness that no 20-mile walk around the neighborhood could ever subdue. Wanderlust makes itself known and demands to be acknowledged until I find myself in a trance, packing my belongings to set out once again. The destination isn’t always known or even important; the key is to be on the road, in motion, engaging with this vast world that begs to be discovered.

Like many wandering souls, if there’s been a way to travel, I’ve found and used it. As a teenager, I would take my dad’s mountain bike through the city streets as far as my feet could pedal. Through the years, it’s morphed from my first tortuously long flight to Buenos Aires to trains in India, ferries to Morocco, buses throughout the length of South America, helicopters over the Nazca lines, and motorbikes throughout Vietnam. You name it, I’ve done it. And still, nothing lures me in like the simplicity of a road trip.

Betsey in the mountains

Maybe it’s the romanticism of the American Dream, of being able to hop into my own car, take control, and drive wherever I so desire. Perhaps it’s Kerouac’s lingering influence after reading On the Road the summer after I graduated high school. As much as I’ve traveled, I still yearn to do a cross-country road trip of my own. It could just be the freedom and autonomy, the ability to roll down the windows, blast my favorite Tom Petty song, and watch as the landscapes roll by. The hours pass and city streets metamorphize into windy mountain roads to oceansides dotted with palm trees to desolate sandy paths of the desert. There’s nothing more enchanting.

Perhaps, however, there doesn’t have to be an exact reason why a person is drawn to something. I’ve been going on road trips as long as I can remember. My parents used to stuff my two brothers and me into the back of their VW bug and the five of us would mosey down the barrenness of Highway 5 until we reached whatever national park or camping site they had chosen. Since then, I’ve been taking my own cars- from my dangerously fast Pontiac Grand Prix to my darling chili red Mini Cooper- up and down the lengths of the West Coast of the United States. From the last parking lot before Tijuana, Mexico all the way past the border into Vancouver, B.C., I’ve made that road trip happen.

road trip van mountains

While I’m currently living abroad in Bogota, Colombia, I’ve been dreaming of the van life for quite some time. Though I have traveled extensively throughout the world, there is still so much to discover in my country of origin, more concrete to conquer. I long to have a home that I can take along with me, wherever I go, without having to decide which books to leave behind or which clothes I should pack. By having a home on wheels, I could still adopt a furry companion, take all of my journals along, and roam the terrain on our own time. To be able to leave whenever the travel angels call, to not depend on bus schedules or flight prices- that is absolute perfection.

And so, as I enjoy my days in Bogota writing and soaking in Colombian culture, I dream of my future adventures. I imagine myself alongside my traveling cat or dog (perhaps both), driving from California to New York, getting to know the people and landscapes of the United States. We’d stop by vegan restaurants, visit sites of literary significance like Dean Cassady’s hometown in Colorado, explore national parks like Niagara Falls, and not have to worry where we lay our heads at night. This would be the ultimate road trip.

Big Sur Road

Some people dream but never dare to make those dreams into reality. I, on the other hand, am all about realization. Life can’t be taken for granted, and we need to do what fills our hearts with joy, what brightens our eyes, and inspires us not to survive but to feel alive in each moment. For me, this means going forward with my desire to live the van life. And while I’m not ready to invest multiple thousands of dollars on purchasing a van or an RV, I’ll begin by renting an RV.*

Who knows where the road will take me after that?

 

What is your favorite type of transportation while traveling? Have you done a road trip that is simply unforgettable? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

*Until recently, I wasn’t even aware that this was possible, but it makes sense that cars and trucks aren’t the only vehicles that one can borrow for a short period of time. In my research, I came across RVshare, which is the internet’s largest peer-to-peer RV rental platform. This U.S.-based service allows people to rent RVs and also to lease out their own RVs when they’re not in use. If you like to avoid large companies (and their atrocious fees) like me, while giving individual RV owners an extra source of income, this an incredible solution.

 

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16 thoughts on “On Road Trips and RVs

  1. Jenn and Ed Coleman says:

    I can still remember the day I packed the wife (this is Ed), cat, dog, and kid into the minivan and left Ohio for Seattle. We drove west until we hit the ocean and literally lived in a van down by the river. It was glorious and free. Eventually I found a job and put my education to use but not before I rolled the dice of fate and found and entirely new life. Road trips are amazing.

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  2. Inge says:

    I totally relate to your story! Traveling by minivan or RV is something we HAVE to do sooner or later. Whether we’re backpacking or at home, we talk about it all the time. It’s just such a dreamy lifestyle and I can see myself parking the van on some cliff with stunning sunset views over the ocean… Oh yeah! 🙂 The only thing I look up against is navigating large cities… You can’t really avoid them, right?

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  3. Nic Hilditch-Short says:

    I’ve also taken many trips on many different types of transport, but having a camper or a car is always the best. The freedom it gives you is almost intoxicating, you can stop where you want, you can take detours, you can stop and sleep anywhere, you get to see the small places along the way that really makes the trip authentic.

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  4. Navita says:

    Wish you good luck with making your van life dream a reality. We have used multiple transportation on our travels from flights to trains, to buses to shared vans.. whatever is locally available. Road trips are fun and for last few months we have moving from one place to another in our car – where we have all the essentials we need. The best part is flexibility of decision making based on our preferences. We love it.

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  5. 100cobbledroads says:

    While on a road trip, I truly relate to the thought that the journey matters more than the destination. Everything seems more beautiful than it actually is. Same goes for a train trip. Do you feel that too?

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  6. Drew Hannush says:

    It’s the journey not the destination. This is my creed. I absolutely agree with that need to be out there exploring! I did a trip in 2003 from Greenville, SC that was supposed to go to Monterrey, CA but my car broke down in Rocky Mountain NP in Colorado. I rented a car while I waited for mine to get fixed and took in Utah. Then returned to my car and drove up to Banff and back home. It took 16 days. Back then I took “vacations” and now it’s more about a lifestyle. A great transition. There are so many great places to visit in the US. You could probably spend years on that trip. Make sure to get an America The Beautiful park pass for the National Parks. At $80, it will pay for itself after 2-3 parks and you can explore a full year on that. Utah alone will pay for that card! Happy Travels!

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  7. Danik says:

    I love road tripping and do it a lot in USA/Canada and Europe. But never done it in a camper van. Love my cars too much. 😀 But maybe one day I will do this. Its the thought of all the extra work included compared to a hotel room puts me off 😛 Or am I totally wrong?

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  8. lisafjordsandbeaches says:

    2What an inspirational post! I love your sense of adventure and can totally relate to wanting a home on wheels so that one could feel safe and also explore. Would love to read your post when you make your dreams a reality, Cristina 💛

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  9. WanderingCarol says:

    I’m all about road trips! The feeling of freedom is unbeatable. I used to dream of driving alone through the States (though with a furry companion would be better) but then I went to Europe instead, so I hope you realize your dream soon.

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  10. Kathleen says:

    Road trips are one of my favorite things. We bought a camper and drug our kids around the US for about 7 years. That was so fun and I miss it all the time. I too blame my wanderlust on my parents taking me all over. I seem to have passed it on to my kids.

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  11. Astrid Vinje says:

    Taking a cross country road trip across the United States is so much fun. I’ve done it on 4 separate occasions, both without my kids and with them! While we usually do our road trips with a car, and staying at Airbnbs, hotels, or camping, we know many families who are either RVing or campervanning. We prefer the car, but I can definitely see how an RV would be convenient in terms of lodging.

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  12. Trisha Velarmino says:

    I love journeys where you never have to think about what to post or what kind of photos to take. As travel bloggers, we barely have moments like this and I am so happy you are having yours!

    Like

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