Rubber Trampin’

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I gotta say, it feels good to have wheels again. Don’t get me wrong, hitchhiking is a cool experience – but spend 4 months doing it in Florida and you’d probably feel the same. Between the Bible thumpers, judgmental a-holes, and prickly everything, I was ready to pull my hair out by the time we finally got out of the state.

Traveling with a car definitely has its downsides, though.

1) Our little whip isn’t exactly in tip-top shape; we’re going to have to do a pretty fair amount of work to it once we make it to Vermont if we want it to last for a while. Luckily, the only trouble we’ve had so far is a tire blown from dry rot. It was scary at first, but – as always – the universe serendipitously provided!

2) In addition, we now have to come up with cash constantly in order to keep the car fueled and oiled. When we were hitchhiking, it was okay if we ran out of money for a while because we could find other ways to get by. Now, having enough money to travel is a constant concern.

3) It’s also a little harder to find a place to stay on the road. Luckily, crashing in a Wal-Mart parking lot is almost always a surefire option, but it’s still more risky than dipping into the woods on the side of the road.

4) Lastly, we’ve sadly steered away from the responsibility-free lifestyle. We have to find a way to pay off the car, and there’s insurance to worry about every month. A big part of our plan to stay in Vermont this summer stems from our need to make money (sadface) to take care of these responsibilities.

Even though traveling this way is a little harder, I find the positives to outweigh any perceived negatives.

–  We can now be more picky about where and what we eat – instead of being dropped off at a Wal-Mart for ease of hitching, we can sniff out farmer’s markets and natural springs to stock up on REAL food and water.

–  We can also camp at any national forest across the country without a problem. Instead of sticking to highways and highly populated roads, we can take our time exploring the countryside and scenic drives. I feel a lot less restricted traveling in a car of our own; during our hitching months, I struggled to let go my prized sense of independence. It was hard for me to travel on other peoples’ terms – and strangers at that! It was definitely a learning and growing experience.

–  Having a permanent shelter is also kinda comforting. We’ve learned to love the rain, but it’s nice to know that we can keep our backpacks dry without having to run for cover.

–  One of my favorite pros, however, is that we can now be the hitchees instead of the hitchers! Our teeny car is a little full right now with some extra stuff we have to get rid of, but we’ve already been able to give a guy a ride down the road. After having so much trouble hitching, I gotta say it felt pretty good to be able to help someone out in that way!

 

All in all, I’m a pretty happy travelin’ camper (see what I did there?) We’ve made it about halfway to Vermont so far, and have been able to spend time with friends and family along the way. Our drive from southern Mississippi to central North Carolina has been full of adventure – with so much more to come! As usual, I’m pretty excited about what new, wonderful experiences our journey will unfold :) being in a constant state of excitement is so ecstatic…I really do love it. <3

meet Natalia (aka Nat Geo), our little turtle car! She's full of personality and pretty badass. I'm glad to be able to include her on our adventures :)

meet Natalia (aka Nat Geo), our little turtle car! She’s full of personality and pretty badass. I’m glad to be able to include her on our adventures :) also, Raven’s face is pretty priceless.

 

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About claireaudient

North Carolina girl, born and raised, though now I consider Vermont to be home as well. I guess you could say I'm a migrant gypsy farmer, if you were prone to saying such things. I've played the whole society game; I've been to three different colleges, have an Associate's Degree (in Liberal Studies, or something like that), and have worked more restaurant jobs than I care to admit. Through a curious series of events, however, I've formed a different perspective on what life means to me. Instead of slaving away at a job I hate to eke out a mediocre life staring at a shiny screen, I'm living out my dream to travel while learning organic farming and sustainability practices. It's not always easy, but leaving the comforts of routine to experience the wonders of the universe was a choice I will never regret. <3

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