Written By Jennifer Duty
Traveling. I love a good road trip. It can be a couple of hours or a couple of days. Leaving the house is also when it can all go sideways for me. To maintain optimal health I must eat clean and stick to protocol. I feel that is the truth for everyone.
I grew up every weekend going somewhere. It was either a one day drive to the Napa Valley or a weekend at the coast. We had a family truckster. A Ford Station Wagon in a pale yellow with green interior. It was the best thing ever. Before seat belts were mandatory I could lay down in the back and look out the window. I could watch the scenery change and watch the clouds form. The family truckster was always stocked. My mother thought of everything. We never eat out. I mean, never. My father hated eating out and most of the places we went were rural. We would go hiking and see nature. Also, this was before there was fast food everywhere. We also had a travel trailer. It was quite large and had all the bells & whistles. My mother kept it fully stocked so we could leave at a moments notice.
Sometimes on Friday my father would come home and announce he wanted to go to the coast for the weekend. We would grab our clothes, hook up the trailer and go. In the winter, when my father was not working, we go and stay for weeks in places like Yosemite. It was amazing. We would always boondock. The trailer was our sanctuary. I remember one year it snowed feet. My dad had to go outside several times and push the snow off the roof of the trailer. We had icicles 5 feet long hanging off the back of our trailer. It was a magical time. It was the first and last time I walked on a frozen river. I was so small, but I will never forget. When I went back as an adult and saw the river, I thought my father was nuts. Always, my dad and I would come back to the trailer and soup was on. Soup and sandwich. I miss that meal. I no longer eat bread. Sad.
I am who I am because of my family. So, therefore, I am nomadic. Fuel is way more expensive, but that didn't stop me. Early in my marriage we would do the same thing, load the kids and drive places. Look at things. Like my mother, I packed everything. I did it for a different reason, we were poor. We could not afford to drive somewhere and eat out. Not even fast food. We did not have a travel, but we had a tent. A small tent and a Styrofoam ice chest. I would make ice cubes all week, because why waste money on ice and be ready to hit the open road. To this day my grown children talk about the best time ever when we moved to Arizona in a tent. We would homeschool during the day. Hike and bird watch. We would meet the most amazing snowbird travelers from all over the nation and Canada. In the evening I would fire up the Hibachi and cook dinner. We never once felt poor. I was happy. My children were happy.
There is great joy in simplicity. In our 30s we joined the rat race. Tired of just getting by we moved to San Diego. We did so in a borrowed motor home my grandfather no longer used. We lived in it for three months until we found a house we could afford to rent. During that time we homeschooled, hiked, and was dawn patrol with the surfers. The first time I saw a dolphin in the water and never swam so fast to get back to shore. I thought it was a shark. We learned about riptide and picking up other peoples' trash. We learned about closed beaches after a rain. We learned in the winter the beaches and hiking trails were ours to have. In the summer, not so much.
After we moved into the house everything changed. There was cable TV for the first time in our lives. Internet soon followed. Riding bikes in the neighborhood was way too dangerous so we packed them up and drove across town to a park. Suddenly, there was no time for nature.
We were busy. How does this happen? Slowly. It creeps in. Just like my disease.
With homeschooling behind me and my disease more controlled I can get back to things I love, like traveling.
We have our own family truckster now. A 12 passenger 4x4 Mercedes Van. It takes us everywhere. We also have a small trailer. I mean small. It serves us just fine. We lived in for 6 weeks when we were evacuated for the Valley Fire. We lived in it again for 6 months when we sold our house. I thought about going full-time RV before we found our current home. All of these things have prepared me for now. How to stay well and do things I love. Quality of life. The now, and not be completely derailed by a fast food meal.
I am a planner. I like things orderly. Clean & easy to find. The van always has handy wipes, water, napkins, some plastic silverware, sunglass cleaner, shopping bags, plastic bags, a warm poncho for me, warm coat for my husband, umbrella, fire extinguisher, golf clubs and our emergency go bags. With these items, we are pretty okay to just go for a drive. I just got a picnic basket. That carries snacks, canned fish, pickles, olives, paper plates, biodegradable silverware. Just add some fruit and you could have a quick meal. I have had to learn to pack a picnic and stay on protocol. Finding things that are shelf stable that I can eat was at first a mystery to me. I was making it too hard. I just needed to find things I ate and look at different ways to store them. I eat a lot of salmon. Salmon comes in a can. The chicken comes in a can. You get the idea. Quick lunch items I can eat that don't need refrigeration. I keep these things at ready so I can load and go.