It’s important to be adequately prepared for a trip this long and this deep into the wilderness. It’s equally important to be organized and try to maintain that organization as you jump around from location to location.

   We found the easiest way to do this was to organize all our stuff into tupperware bins–easily stackable and easily accessible. We had a food bin packed with dry foods, oils, spices, etc.; a cooking bin packed with utensils, a small grill, stove-top, propane cans, pots & pans; a shoes bin; a tools & camping materials bin; and a “fun/extras” bin with random stuff like tapestries, wishing lanterns, glow sticks, etc. (If you know us, you understand.) We stacked these bins neatly along one side of our Kia Sorento and had a couple of bins with our cooler on a rack hitched to the back of our car. Along the other side of the car was a memory-foam mattress topper folded in half with blankets and pillows, which we designated the “chill/sleep” zone.

Brad enjoying our luxurious lounge in the backseat. Very, very cozy for stretching out, reading, and/or sleeping.


Baby Kia, packed up & ready to roll!


[Sidenote: We did end up sleeping in our car twice, once on the way to the west coast and once on the way back. The first time we shared the little sleeping space together, which was pretty tight and not very comfortable. The second time, Brad opted to sleep in the front seat and let me have the whole bed to myself–cuz he’s the best boyfriend ever. We both got a great night of sleep the second time around, even Brad!! Right, babe?]

  As for the clothes, I had a seriously hard time limiting myself to just one bag. But due to space constraints and Brad’s guidance & rational, I did it!! I packed mostly active wear: yoga pants, running shorts, sports bras, tanks, flannels, a couple hoodies and a rain jacket, as did Brad (minus the yoga pants). I also threw in a couple of cute dresses to wear in cities and such. Layering is really the way to go. We also had a bag of “fluffies,” which included gloves, scarves, beanies and thick socks. We also packed a “toiletries” bag and four towels, which was very convenient when showering at the campgrounds.(Make sure to bring a water-resistant pair of flip-flops for showering, too! It helps.)

  We also brought along our bikes – which was the best decision we ever could have made. Great for giving Baby Kia a break here and there, and cruising around the cities and parks – fo free! Awesome way to experience both. A huge advantage of driving to your destination – rather than flying, etc. – is you can pack your car with all these necessary essentials, which will have you feeling very prepared & comfortable while out in the wild, as well as not having to spend lots of extra money purchasing all these things just for your trip.

  Before leaving, we also took care of all the necessary essentials, like: cleaning & preparing the house to sit for a while, paying our rent for the next three months (that hurt a little), compiling all our travel information and maps into a file folder, servicing Baby Kia one last time, purchasing renter’s insurance (which if you go through the same insurance company as your auto insurance, they typically give you a heavy discount for having multiple policies. $25k of coverage ended up being only $.30 more a month than what we were already paying. Even if you aren’t going on a extended trip, you should consider purchasing!), securing our valuables with friends/family, enlisting a friend to check-up on the house every so often, and contacting our banks to notify them of our trip so we wouldn’t get declined anywhere.

  You’re probably also wondering if we were employed prior to this trip? The answer is, yes – I had two jobs and Brad had one, too. We were both a bit nervous to notify our employers of this journey we were planning, but were surprised to find that our employers were excited and very supportive! I notified my employers 3 months in advance (not totally necessary that far in advance, that’s just me though), and Brad notified his 3 weeks in advance. Both were very excited and willing to offer us the time off and the security of still having a job with them when we came back. How amazing is that!!! I know that not every employer is as gracious as ours turned out to be, but all I have to say is, “You have not because you asked not.” Sometimes all you have to do is put the idea out there and see what comes back to you. If you’re a hard worker, respectful, and give plenty of notice so your employer can plan around your plans, they might be more open to the idea than you think!

  We spent two full days (on top of the weeks of planning and more significant, time-consuming preparations) making all the final preparations and could barely sleep the night before our departure. It felt like Christmas Eve!! I’ve never felt so giddy and nervous and excited about anything. We met up with all our friends for a little going-away party the night before, who shared our excitement and wished us well.

We love you guys!!!!!!!!!


   We could hardly believe all this planning and preparing was about to be behind us. The next day, April 30, 2014, we would begin our initial departure–a 10 hour drive in search of a few of our favorite things: JAZZ, FUNK, ‘N YUMMY CAJUN FOOD in the land of la, la, la NOOOO-LAAAAA! 🙂

The reality was even better than I dreamed . . .


And so it begins . . . The culmination of years of dreaming, months of planning, and days of preparing for this journey of a lifetime. It wasn’t easy, but it sure was exciting and all of the above turned out to be even more worth it than we could have ever imagined.

Things are about to get fun(ny). Stay tuned tenters.


xoxo, Tent Girl

LIATKarlene Baskind