When my love & I first started dating three years ago (!!!), we shared our ideas and dreams for the future. Magically, most of our visions aligned with one another–one of the many reasons we are together today and thriving. Some of our ideas and dreams have caused us to be apart here and there, but it just makes our time back together that much better. One dream, however, was one we were able to bring to fruition–together. It happened to also be our greatest dream thus far: to travel this beautiful country we are so lucky to call home. Individually, both of us had always dreamed of fleeing to the west coast to play in the Pacific, stroll the vineyards, climb the peaks and graze the valleys in between. How lucky are we to dream the same dreams. What began as a playful conversation turned out to be the greatest adventure I have yet to find.
The Great North American Journey destinations included:
- New Orleans, LA
- Austin, TX
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
- Prescott, AZ
- San Diego, CA
- Sequoia National Park, CA
- King’s Canyon National Park, CA
- Yosemite National Park, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Mendocino Headlands, CA
- Redwood National Park, CA
- Jedediah State Park, CA
- Crater Lake National Park, OR
- Umpqua National Forest, OR
- ~ The Oregon Coast ~
- Portland, OR
- Columbia River Gorge, OR
- Mount Hood National Forest, OR
- Mount Rainier National Park, WA
- Olympic National Park, WA
- Seattle, WA
- Glacier National Park, MT
- Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada
- Minneapolis, MN
- Rothbury, MI
- Blairsville, GA
I’m exhausted just typing all that.
Basically, we made a great loop around the United States and even popped up in to Canada for a day. We spent two and a half months on the road and in a tent, traveled 11,000 miles, and spent about $2,500 each. Yes, that’s right, you didn’t mis-read that little fact. Aside from gas & food, there wasn’t really much else to buy! Let me tell you that the American highway system is the MOST AMAZING THING about this country–we traveled seamlessly and beautifully, trekking mountain and country roads, breathtaking bridges, and even did some off-roading in our Kia Sorento–(which we called Baby Kia since it was our baby and we loved her like a child the whole way through. She has since graduated to Mama Kia). We are lucky enough to be at a point in our lives where we can manage to abandon most responsibilities and do such a thing, and if you find the opportunity to do the same, it still floors me at how absolutely doable such a trip is. Hands down the best decision of our lives. The moments and memories we now share are enough to last us an entire lifetime.
We are also lucky enough to have AMAZING friends that popped up along the way. (If you’re one of them, THANK YOU! I love & miss you already!) Most of the cities we stopped in happened to be home to a friend or two, so not only were we able to crash & dash (hehe), we got to see all their familiar faces along the way–faces we hadn’t and probably wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise. Beautiful people that became a part of this long journey, making it that much greater. Plus we got to experience their city through the eyes of the locals! Doesn’t get much better than that!
There’s just something so amazing about waking up someplace different each day, knowing you are free as a bird to travel any direction the wind blows–and that no matter which direction you choose, you are going to see something AWESOME you’ve never seen before and you may never see again. That concept is what kept nudging me, every time we had to set up and take down camp, every time we had to wash dishes in a bowl and slap the mosquitos away, every time we filled up the gas tank, I reminded myself of this. We kept asking ourselves why more people don’t make a trip like this, and kept arriving at the answer that truth is, it’s not easy. It’s not a typical vacation where everything is planned and you just flow merrily from luxury to luxury. It took work. It took planning. It took patience & improvising. It took positivity. It took a lot of hugs and reminding each other the reason we decided to do this in the first place–because we love adventure and we love traveling new places and exploring new things. We also happen to be very, very, deeply in love–which was the true driving force that brought us successfully around the country and safely and soundly back home.
If you’re intrigued, please, please..do this (or your own version). Follow this blog and use all our tips and do some research and GET OUT THERE! Because that’s ultimately what it comes down to–just doing it. GET INSPIRED!! There’s a great big world out there, and you can see so much natural and man-made beauty without even leaving our country!!!! DO it. Let us help. Share this journey called life and this sanctuary called Earth. Write your own stories and leave your mark. Make some goals, work your ass off, explore your little heart out & fall in love.
I promise it will change your life.
xoxo, Tent Girl