When we decided to make this leap, we immediately started researching how to logistically make this life happen. We had the same questions many people ask us – what about your mail? What about Little Bird’s checkups? What about all of the things that make living on the road seem impossible? Below are just a few things we have done to solve these common issues.
Mail: Even though we are living on the road, we obviously needed a permanent address to receive mail, maintain our residency, register to vote, etc. Since we are only planning on traveling for the next year, we did not find it useful to invest in a service that would take care of these issues for us (though these exist). We already had our residency established and reregistering the truck and camper, along with everything else, was not a priority for us. So, instead, we bribed Will’s parents to allow us to use their address as our permanent address for the time being. We will be returning for visits every couple of months, and we will be able to get any mail that we need at that time. However, if anything comes in that we absolutely need, we have several options.
First, some of our family has plans to come visit us periodically along the way. If they are able to, they can bring anything with them. Second, we are able to receive mail at any post office via “general delivery,” if absolutely necessary. We have not tried this out yet, nor have we asked any of the campgrounds we have stayed at if we are able to receive mail or packages there, but if we are in a pinch, we do have options. Third, scanning and emailing important documents is a possibility, too. We have used the pick up lockers and locations for Amazon orders, which are incredibly convenient (assuming there is one nearby). We have only done this once and it took a few days for the items to be delivered, but it worked well, and I know it is something we will use again.
Doctor’s Appointments: Little Bird will have several checkups over the next year that include vaccinations. As soon as we were seriously considering this change, we talked with her pediatrician to determine if there was anything special we needed to do. Before we set off, we were able to get her in a few weeks early for one appointment, and she will be a few weeks late for her next one. Based on the vaccines she is set to receive, her doctor agreed this is not an issue at all. We hope to be able to make it back for visits regularly, though we are not certain they will always coincide with her well-child appointments (though that is certainly a goal). If necessary, her pediatrician will share her files with a physician along our journey. She has also told us that we can call with any questions or concerns, just as we would if we still lived around the corner. One positive thing that has come out of the COVID pandemic is the increase in platforms for virtual appointments. I continue to have monthly appointments with the therapist I have seen for several years, and if needed, I can video chat with my primary care provider. In many ways, our care will continue as it has over the past 6 months with these providers, regardless of our location.
Internet and TV: Having the internet is an absolute must for us. For my job, I need a stable internet connection to complete any task. We invested in a mobile internet service, and we each have mobile hotspot capabilities on our phones. Both of these depend on cell coverage, so we ensured that each option uses a different carrier to increase our chances of having good coverage. It is pretty sad that our mobile solutions often work better than the service we had in our house! For TV, we have a Roku that we have hooked up to our mobile internet service, and we are able to watch Netflix, Hulu, etc. Many campgrounds also offer cable, so we have plenty of options. However, even in our house, we did not much TV, and now that we are on the road, we watch even less. I think we are currently averaging turning the TV on about once per week, and I do not foresee that changing, but it is really nice to be able to settle in for a show when it is rainy out or after a long day hiking.
Bills and Other Things: Even though we are on the road, we still have a few recurring bills, such as our truck payment, cell phones, mobile internet, storage unit, etc. Just like when we lived in our house, we have everything automatically taken out of our accounts that we can and do not rely on bills coming in the mail. We have a couple of monthly payments that are not set up for direct withdrawal, so I have used a service our bank provides to automatically send checks when they are needed. We also have a shared Google calendar that reminds us when things are due so that we can confirm everything is paid on time. It is very easy to lose track of the day and date when we are on the road, so I heavily rely on those reminders.
Even though we made the transition fairly quickly from stationary living to living on the road, we put a lot of time and thought into how we could maintain the basic logistics of our life. With a little planning, research, and communication, we have made adjustments to our everyday ways of thinking to make this lifestyle work.