Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Heading into unknown a challenge

This is continued from last week and concerns the year my wife and I took off from work to travel around the US.

The decision to take such action wasn’t made over night. The process took a year or two with a look forward to the fact that our only son at the time would be going to school the following year.

Nowadays we could just have claimed to home school him. After all, my wife was a top graduate in her college class and had already taught for two years.  She would have been well qualified.

But that would seem more like work to her during that year than a break.

We had purchased our Chevy van a number of years earlier and had already taken a 21-day, 7,000 mile trip with it.

We felt prepared. But there are always those ifs, ands and buts to think about.

Quitting jobs meant losing income for a year. What would we do upon return?

What about expenses during the year, etc?

Well, we saved some money and we knew how to live frugally. Planning to be out of work for a year, we decided that our budget would be $100 a week on the road.

Now, back in the 1970s that wasn’t too bad, although it wasn’t a lot either.

The weekly budget allowed for just one fillup for our 20-gallon van. If we ran out of gas before we ran out of week, we would just stay put. That worked pretty good.

Spending time with relatives helped and campground fees were pretty reasonable. On occasion, we pulled off and camped in the woods beside a stream.

We budgeted about $25-$30 per week for food, eating up what would  be the most spoilable things first and then at the end of the week eating meatless spaghetti or some can goods.

We enjoyed our coffee, tea and hot chocolate and also ended up eating out (in a restaurant)  usually once a week.

Steak was also on the menu at times. We enjoyed lobster in a Bar Harbor, ME restaurant. But we like Mississippi Blue Crab better, especially boiled in Zatarain’s.

Heading into the unknown is a challenge. But we were up to the challenge and survived, and after some 39 years, the trip marks one of the high points of our lives. (Continued next week)

Next post: Sept. 20, 2016

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