Focusing my life: How to Travel

Tent camping with a truck My blog may still be unfocused, but I’m starting to gain a bit of that elusive edge in my life. I’ve finally quit straddling the fence on what I plan to do next with my life. I’ve spent my last multi-hour session on eBay salivating over RV options for the foreseeable future. I’m no longer going to be visiting all the forums and blogs dedicated to the “on the road lifestyle” and conversion vans will no longer catch my eye… at least not for a few years.

Last week I bought a small truck. It’s an old one, but it’s solid. I will be replacing the transmission before long, but the body, interior and engine appear to be in fantastic shape. If I get a wild hair, I may paint it. Time will tell. (I always have wanted a seriously purple truck!).

Confession: I love driving a small truck. It makes me happy. I prefer a stick-shift, but this little automatic is still pretty darn sweet. The truck gets excellent gas mileage and I don’t believe in keeping up two vehicles, so once the truck is on the road, I’ll be selling my car.

With that truck and a relatively inexpensive topper, I can do most of the travel/camping stuff I want to do — without the need to purchase an expensive RV and learn to maintain all the systems onboard. I’ll go more simple in my plans and will actually be able to begin the traveling (at least the shorter trips) sooner.

I’m already planning a woodworking project with my father, the moment I have the truck and topper ready to travel. He’s going to help me build a bed-frame in the back with storage space underneath for holding all the camping stuff. I’ll be able to fit a marine-grade cooler, my kerosene cook stove and my good-sized tent under one side with food, clothing and supplies under the second half.

At some point in the future, I may invest in one of those tents that connects to the topper to make a “living space” while retaining the truck bed for the sleeping area. I’m not sure at this point that it offers anything worthwhile over having one of the two tents I already own pitched right beside the truck. Heck, since I prefer the one that is large enough to permit me to stand up, I may give the smaller one to someone else. After all, simple camping will soon be possible without even PITCHING a tent! I’ll only pitch the tent if we are staying put or more than a couple of days — at which point I’ll prefer a larger one with more creature comforts.

If I’m feeling particularly inspired while building my little travel thingee, I may even do long “drawers” so there’s no crawling back in the hole to pull out stuff — and so nothing gets lost. I already have a memory-foam mattress that I think will make the sleeping experience pretty darn awesome. And if I like it and use it alot, I may even insulate it for more “all season” use.

It should also break down easily for storage outside the truck, so I can still use my truck to haul wood, move furniture, bring in fruit trees for planting and whatever else inspires me.

I figure the truck will buy me quite a bit of independence/automomy without much sacrifice. It has three seatbelts, so Alex and Prince (my puppy) and I can travel in comfort — and if it’s necessary, I can squeeze in one extra person from time to time.

I’ve listed Serenity, my airstream, on Craigslist and will (hopefully) have her sold within the next few weeks. I posted her on Facebook marketplace a few months back, but had continued to battle with the “do I want to sell, do I want to keep” decision. There was basically no traffic on the marketplace, so I was able to continue with my internal battle. It was a tough decision, but selling her is the right one for me now. I’m simplifying!

With my new emphasis on the 80/20 rule as it applies to my life… I figure using the truck and setting it up like this will give me 80% of the joy of being able to travel, camp, take off and be free at a moment’s notice with only 20% of the expense, effort and hassle.

One major life decision down, a few dozen more to go!