Heather: You mention that your time on the road made you and Phil a closer, more connected, couple. You had to work together to handle a variety of situations and you had lots of time to talk, but you still made time to be apart whenever you needed it. What I want to know is ... what did you do every evening? There were many times at campgrounds or motels where you made dinner and had the rest of the evening free ... did you play cards? games? read? did you have a tv? How did you occupy your evenings, and was that different that what you would have been doing at home?
Carol: Good question! We actually spent many evenings working on our website/journal that we maintained during the year. You can see it here: http://home.att.net/~retirement_lifestyles/ If we were doing the trip today, there are many great services that provide a place to map, place your pictures, journal and keep email conversations alive - my favorite is www.mytripjournal.com and you can see our "converted" journal there by using this link: http://www.mytripjournal.com/roadtripdream
When we weren't working on those kinds of things, or chatting with the grandkids - we would often take a walk, go for a swim or partake in events around the campground. We are both avid readers, so that was often a good outlet for us on rainy or cold days - and there is always TV! Really not too different than being home - just a little more purpose each day. Sightseeing is tiring - we were usually in bed
Photo of Carol & Phil at Stone Mountain, Georgia (I've been there too!)
Heather: Although you didn't travel with any children, you met several travelling families along the way. Did they share any tips about keeping the kids occupied? We only have one child ... if we do a trip like this, I'm concerned about him being too bored after a while (with the travel, not the cool places we'd go). Do you have any tips or suggestions for us?
Carol: We travel frequently with our grandchildren - and we have found that after an active day of sightseeing they fall into bed dead tired! There is a great discussion group for families on the road here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fotr/. Kim provides all kinds of great ideas to keep the kids busy and learning. I also advocate keeping a photo and written journal - use the computer if they are old enough - maybe their own mytripjournal pages! I also believe that the kids should help plan the trip and make decisions along the way - they can help cook, clean the vehicle, police campsites, choose the next days activities and so forth. AAA (at least in Oregon) has a great kids section of car activities and books that I have used. You would also want to do the Jr. Ranger program put on by the National Park Service if you are doing National Parks as part of your trip. Learn about it here: http://www.nps.gov/learn/juniorranger.htmHeather: You met up with several friends/family members during your year of travel, and I think one (or two?) of them travelled IN the RV with you. How did having an additional person on board change your lifestyle? Did you consider taking your kids or grandkids along for a week or so? Why or why not?
Carol: We didn't actually have anyone stay in our van - it was strictly a 2-person vehicle - although they now have vans that will sleep a couple of kids in addition to the adults. See some examples here: http://www.roadtrek.com/ If we had had room, we would have invited the grandkids along - I think it is a great idea. We did have a couple of them visit us along the way, but we all stayed in motels during that time. We had one family join us in Washington DC and one in Disneyland.Heather: The book has been a wonderful success, and you've received tons of press and other attention for it. Has that required additional travel? If so, did those trips have the same "feel" as your dream trip?
Carol: LOL - Somehow "work" trips never feel quite the same, do they? No matter how much fun you are having along the way, it just isn't the same. We are now national spokespeople for the "Go RVing" folks and get to do some traveling on their behalf, as well as doing some travel promoting the book, giving talks around the country on road tripping and RVing. We are having a ball - something we never would have dreamed of when we took our trip. If you go here, you can see our trip last fall on behalf of the RV association. http://www.mytripjournal.com/east_coast_trip
Heather: And finally, would you do it all over again? Are you planning to?
Carol: ABSOLUTELY!! It has been the best experience of our entire lives - you just can't imagine how much there is to see in our great country until you get out there and explore it for yourself. You will never again look at the news the same way - because you know every part of our country - how the people think, what the geography is like, what kinds of work they do there, and so on. We could do a whole additional year and never see any of the same places. Our next big road trip will be Canada - but we haven't set our date yet - we need to do that! Our next big trip is to Vietnam and Thailand in January, 2009 and then to Kauai, Hawaii in March and April to be with, yet another, new grandbaby being born over there!
Heather: Thank you, Carol, for answering my questions. I loved reading your book. My copy is now making the rounds to several friends but I've told each of them that I want it back when they're finished! This book will have a permanent home on my shelf, within easy reach.
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