Traveling when it makes no sense to do so
This blog post stems from a question posed by one of our readers and Hashtag 59 crew members!!
She asked in a comment if we had any guides or tips on how to travel and experience adventure still when there's a myriad of tasks that are in your way of getting out on the open road.
Specifically she mentioned the following three issues:
1. Being far removed from the outdoor adventure scene. Formally living in Washington and California she now resides in Northern Ohio.
2. Kids. Two kids in her case.
3. Money. As in it costs money to travel.
Here are my best thoughts and tips for her and anyone still choosing to travel when the cards are stacked against you and it makes no sense to do so.
Ohio is not California or Washington, however Washington and California are not Ohio either. I mention this in our American Road Trip Podcast but some of the best trips are just a few hours away from your home. We are forever drawn to the allure of Utah and Colorado when living in the Midwest but oft times forget that Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and Gettysburg are in our backyards. Same with the Appalachian Trail, the Buckeye Trail (1,400 miles of hiking that circles the state of Ohio), and gems of adventures in the upper regions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. All of these places let you leave the airplane tickets at home and load up the car for an American Road Trip. It's not Zion but maybe it can be just as unforgettable!
I would say just do it. Life is short and it's easy to get stuck in the "one week at the beach" mode when you have young kids. I don't have kids but I have plenty of other responsibilities (two side hustle businesses, one full-time job, part-time writer, going through yoga teacher training, training for a marathon, three intensive volunteer commitments, etc) that make it tempting to just go be lazy on a lawn chair for a vacation. Go to the beach for sure sometimes, but also go elsewhere! I have fond memories of long drives through Nebraska, climbing mountains in Colorado, exploring parks in South Dakota, and being blown away by geysers and buffalo in Yellowstone. Block off the time and take them out of school (easy for a guy with no kids to say) because the experience far outweighs a few days of textbook studies. If you really get creative you can make your trips almost like mini learning experiments for the kids.
There will always be another game, after school activity, or homework assignment. As a basketball coach of kids I never punish playing time if kids leave on trips, in fact I encourage it. They come back more wholesome and will be better players that season as a result of their experience I feel. I have also met and connected with people who travel the country in a van for a year with their kids, I journeyed to Hong Kong from Chicago and there were dozens of children on the flights, and I clung to chains at Angels Landing next to 10 year olds.
Commit to the time and drag them out of the house; you and they won't regret it and their teachers won't either.
I would say travel hacking and living below your means are the best ticket. I have been able to secure over 50 FREE flights the past several years (primarily through the Southwest Companion Pass) and several dozens of free hotel nights through travel hacking. Travel hacking has allowed me to have visited 50 states, 40 national parks, and 20 countries by the end of this summer at the age of 35.
I also have embraced tent camping. It's cheap, fun, and a great way to travel without you losing your savings account in tow. National and State Parks are also amazingly affordable compared to a resort or spa.
Comment below if you have basic questions on travel hacking.
Two great resources that taught me most of what I do can be found here:
1. The Art of Non-Conformity
2. Million Mile Secrets
I'd sum it by saying she shouldn't travel right now. It doesn't make any sense. However most of the greatest things in life don't make sense as to why they are so amazing (hugs, birds chirping, long walks in the woods, meditation, laughter to name a few.)
We should do things that don't make any rational sense every single day and traveling the world with kids, a tight budget, and living in a landlocked state would certainly be one.
Keep on traveling my friends, even when it makes no sense to do so!
What do you think?
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Because Adventure Travel Feeds the Soul,
Mike R and the Hashtag 59 Team