After travelling around Asia for 10 months, I found myself back in Canada for the summer. My main inspiration to come back was the exciting news of my sister’s wedding. As mentioned in my previous post, (Go Home & Find Your Feet) I hadn’t lived in my parent’s house, or in my hometown for over 10 years. You can imagine how it feels when you come home to a fully made bed, fridge full of food and a home cooked meal. Not to mention, the irreplaceable warm greeting from your parents, who offer a special kind of unconditional love. It was good to be back!
Though, after 3 months of catching up with friends and family, and working a seasonal job at a factory in Walkerton, the road was calling once again. As it turns out, the cheesy term, ‘ you got the ‘travel-bug‘ is actually pretty accurate. While I love coming home (both to Canada and Australia) the idea of leaving again is undeniably exciting for me. I get butterflies, I get passionate and once I hit the road, I feel a strange sense of liberation. I seemingly become unattached to places, people and possessions. It’s just me, the bag on my back and of course my main man, travel buddy and partner in crime. For me, it feels like the ultimate freedom, not knowing what you might come across, whom you might meet, and what you might learn.
USA road trip
With USA being our neighbouring country, I never really felt much intrigue to travel there, assuming the culture wouldn’t differ that much from Canada. Instead, I sought out different continents, eager to experience something entirely different from what I knew. However, the more Americans I met on the road, the more I was drawn to exploring the country. Being back in Canada was a perfect opportunity to jump on the idea. Jack and I bought a 20-year-old Van from a friend of a friend. We took out the seats, built a timber frame, and threw a mattress in the back. We were about to embark on an 8 –week road trip, starting from Toronto, to Boston, and all the way to LA. But first, we needed to get a few things in order, including car insurance, ownership, and license plates. Plus, we needed to brainstorm what would be useful in multi-climates like the dry desert, snowy mountains, and humid coastline.
Without listing the obvious (i.e. tooth brush, soap, undies, and a good playlist) Here’s a list of necessities for a multi-climate road trip:
1. Comfortable bedding:
Since you’re going to be spending much of your time sleeping in the Van, make sure you have a cosy and comfortable sleeping arrangement. Find a mattress, foam top, sheets, duvet, pillows, wool blankets, sleeping bags and window curtains for privacy.
2. Organised storage:
With such a small space, cleanliness and organization is a must. Build a timber bed frame for the mattress that’s high enough to put items underneath it. Measure the inside of the van, your cooler and plastic totes. The plastic touts are great to use as drawers. This will enable you to easily get things in and out when required.
3. Emergency Back Up:
Travelling over land leaves much room for error, especially when travelling through barren lands and National Parks. It’s good to be prepared in case something goes wrong, like a flat battery. Be sure to pack some battery cables, arrange roadside assistance (CAA), and have a basic first aid kit on hand. Depending on the area, gas stations can be hard to come by. Fill up a jerry can for long distances, just in case.
4. Food & Snacks:
You know the stereotypes about American food (unhealthy and fatty) well that’s pretty accurate, at least on the highways. You pretty much have 4 options on the interstate: Burger King, McDonalds, Subway and Denny’s. Bring some healthy snacks like mixed nuts and fruit. Pack some cups and cutlery as well for roadside meals. Consider throwing in a souvenir gift to offer to friends and family you meet along the way. I chose mini bottles of maple syrup, the perfect Canadian gift!
5. Assortment of Shoes:
Prepare for a variety of occasions where specific footwear is required. You’ll need nice shoes for going out to bars and restaurants, flip-flops for coastal climates, trekking shoes for the mountains, and running shoes for daily activities.
6. Seasonal Outerwear:
Be prepared for hot, humid, cold, wet, and windy weather conditions. With so many diverse landscapes, the climate changes frequently. You will need winter outerwear including a warm coat, hat, mitts, and thermal underwear and socks. Pack a water and windproof spring jacket. Also, I highly recommend getting quick-dry towels and cloths for bathing. You won’t regret it.
7. Beach Attire:
Consider your perfect beach day. What would you bring? Have a beach blanket, roamer chairs, sunhat, bathing suit, sunscreen and a good book on hand. Maybe even pack an umbrella for extra sun protection.
Being organised makes the whole road trip experience more enjoyable. Plus, it saves time if you find yourself in a bind. I hope my list of ‘necessities for a multi-climate road trip’ was useful. Our 8-week road trip across the USA was one of my favourite adventures thus far. I’ll get further into those details in my next post.
Until next time!