The Breakdown

I spent the other night adding up all our totals from the two months that we were on the road. I decided I’d like to share them with all of you so you can see that with a little intuition, trust and thoughtfulness you can just about make anything happen (without expenses getting in the way).

MA – NY – PA – OH – IA – IL – WI – MN – SD – WY- CO – UT – AZ – CA – OR.

Two months and 14 states later we landed in Oregon where we spent the next 2 months.

Here are the totals from the trip, 2 months on the road :

Total Mileage: 6,272 miles (!!!)

Total Gas: $641

Total Food: $1,210

Total Lodging: $462

Overall Total: $2,313

Broken down and split between two people that’s $1,100 each = $550 a month for food, shelter and gas… that’s pretty awesome. Back in February, when we first pulled out my big road atlas of the states, we started to plan out the trip and we didn’t expect our estimates to be so spot on. After I did a bit of research on farms, parks, and traveling itinerary – Rory would calculate the mileage and estimate on expenses for gas. Turns out our estimates were pretty close to accurate – even with taking our time traveling through the states – the timing/arrival of getting to each of the farms, our friends homes etc were surprisingly spot on. Before we left we had a pretty good plan mapped out to Colorado – after that we had a rough idea but were just going to see what that next month would bring.. after all neither one of us had the intention of coming home (at least anytime soon).

When you’re on the road priorities become simple… as the sun goes down all you are thinking is shelter, food and safety. I’ve always loved camping so it was a conscious decision on both our parts to camp when we weren’t visiting with friends or working on farms. We also opted to make most of our own meals. We only ate out a handful of times – I think I can count them all on my two hands. So we stocked up on soups, beans, pb&j, rice and fresh produce. We drank lots of tea and water.

The great outdoors was our own sense of entertainment – going on hikes, reading in parks, biking around town, sitting by lakes, streams and the ocean, swimming, etc etc – so we didn’t pay to go out. We went to 10 National Parks, over 50 beautiful state parks and stayed on several beautiful farms.

Half way through July and into September we were living in Portland (very cheaply) – so that didn’t get factored in. But we were able to sustain on the little money that we did have still saved (I lived there for two months and still had money left over to drive back across the states… where Danne and I spent very little money).

Other expenses included our monthly bills that followed us state to state – the car, student loans, insurance etc. We managed to get by without worry and more importantly we got to see and experience lots of amazing things. It seems amazing to me that whether you be on the road or living at home that your expenses don’t need to be so high. Your lifestyle changes when priorities become simple. It’s not just about spending less money but being free from the burden of stuff that seems to clutter our everyday lives. You also don’t take for granted the small things.. such as a hot shower or a warm meal or having a candle to read by at night. There would be days when we wouldn’t have a shower and when we did they were 2 minutes and under. I loved taking 10-minute showers but now I am in and out of there in my 2 minutes.

We became aware of how much we waste – whether it is the several gallons of water we use in the shower or how much trash people make or how often we do laundry or the amount of electricity we use – we became directly aware of the effects that our solitary actions have on the outside world. I was conscious before but I am even more so now by living so simply. So, more than just a breakdown of expenses (those are all just numbers) it has been a deeper consciousness, awareness and lifestyle change. Those nights I slept out beneath the stars I realized there wasn’t much else I needed but to be safe and warm with a belly full of food and a roof over my head. I feel so fortunate because I have confidence, new found understanding and skills to take care of myself. I no longer feel weighed down by fear or uncertainty. I know what’s important and my eyes are constantly open to the possibilities… there is no longer a list of excuses why I can’t but solutions to figure out how I can…

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1 Response to The Breakdown

  1. Anonymous says:

    you are a wise old soul, jess — you must have traversed this planet many times before 😉
    hiya rory — you may not remember me — “tony’s” mom…

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