As I've mentioned in a couple of recent posts we are taking a very special holiday this year that we have been meaning to organise for over 10 years. Now our daughter is of an age which makes travel much easier, we are finally heading off to explore the West Coast of the US and we are really excited. I know that this holiday is not exactly an example of frugal living, but we do try to live reasonably frugally and carefully on a day to day basis, to enable us to enjoy our lives and have interesting holidays, as we all love to travel. Whilst I greatly admire people who choose to pay off their mortgages early and have freedom in later life, my philosophy is definitely geared more towards enjoying the here and now and doing what you want to do as and when you can afford to as none of us know if we will get the chance later on in life, as was sadly the case for my own mother.
Last year, because of the Olympics and having builders working on our house, we caught a week in Majorca, which was very nice, but this year we wanted to go a bit further afield and explore somewhere we've always wanted to go to. Everyone has different priorities in life and I am a great believer in respecting peoples' choices in life whatever I personally might think or whatever my personal priorities might be. We don't live our lives or choose our holidays to impress or keep up with anyone else, we just do what we want to do and live as we want to live and we realise we are fortunate and are grateful that we are able to do so, especially when many people struggle to have a holiday at all.
So, we're flying off to the US and Las Vegas later this week and staying in a hotel for a couple of nights before embarking on a big road trip in a Camper Van for 10 days, hopefully visiting such sights as the Hoover Dam, Death Valley and the Grand Canyon, before heading for the West Coast cities of Los Angeles and San Diego. We're not sure of our itinery just yet, but now I've managed to find a copy of a road atlas, a guide to Los Angeles and another to San Francisco if we have time to visit there too we should be able to start planning. We are planning to live relatively frugally whilst there but still enjoy our holiday. We will be shopping in supermarkets and elsewhere for food and making our own meals much of the time but will also enjoy some meals out in restaurants and diners.
We decided to hire a camper van for the simple reason that we like to travel independently. We find that it is so easy to overeat and overspend when you stay in hotels and motels with large breakfast buffets and restaurants, etc. and we want to be able to choose whether to eat out or cook for ourselves. Most of all we want to be able to make our own salads and lunches or picnics to take to the beach, all whilst being able to travel about and see as many things as possible.
The camper van and flights have been booked and our visas have been granted. A dog sitter has been arranged for the puppy who also happens to be a dog trainer, so we're hoping to come back to a very well behaved dog. We have our insurance organised and have acquired some currency and we're ready to go. It is very exciting.
I've watched the video for the camper van which is very detailed and there seems like an awful lot to remember with generators, batteries, sewage, water supplies, gas etc. etc. I'm sure we'll get the hang of it, but it is a bit daunting. The caravan parks are supposed to be pretty good, many with pools and lots of facilities which should be great and when we get to the coast there is of course the ocean. We haven't yet booked any, but hopefully we shouldn't have too many problems.
As anyone who has been to the States knows, it is a vast country and it took us over a week to travel from Boston to Chicago over 10 years ago now when we last did a road trip there. We had a fabulous holiday, but ate far too much and spent far too much time sat on our backsides in the car. We had some late nights driving to find a motel and we stayed in some places that we wouldn't have chosen to, but were desperate and literally had to stop so that OH could have a rest from driving. Hopefully with the van, we shouldn't have to worry too much in this regard as our room is travelling with us and we can always stop and make some food if we need to, or bed down for the night.
What I'm looking forward to most is just living the journey. Shopping for food, moving from place to place, seeing new things and enjoying another culture, experiencing life in the US again.
There was quite a lot in the news a couple of months ago about the heat wave that was sweeping Nevada and Arizona at the time and I was very saddened to hear of the 19 brave fire fighters who were tragically killed whilst trying to control a wildfire. Our hearts went out to their friends and families at such a terrible time.
I will be taking a two week break from blogging during this holiday as I won't have access to a computer and am not sure how to post blogs from OH's phone, but normal blogging will resume on my return and I will make sure that I take lots of photos and post about our adventure on our return.