Many of us, I say MOST of us, are what many would call “weekend warriors.” We are not blessed enough to be born wealthy, have won the lottery, or have careers that allow us to travel anywhere and everywhere. We live for the weekend. We long for Fridays and are amazing at how frequently Mondays roll around. When Friday afternoon arrives, we are packed and ready to hit the trails, the campsites and fulfill our Adventure Spirit. This time we have, even though how short it seems, gives us a breath of fresh air, a time where we can breathe, rejuvenate, and heal from the wounds of the long work week.
Then there comes a time in our lives were we have vacation time built up, we have Paid Time off, or where certain things happen that allow us to be away from home and spend that extended valuable time on a bucket list trip. I have had many jobs in life. Jobs where I have made a lot of money and jobs where I have had the opportunity to earn a lot of time off. I can assure you that time off carries much more weight with me, in this stage in life, than any amount of money they care to throw at me. If you do not get that time away, you will become burnt out, discouraged and cynical about your career and life in general. I value this time. Yes, the weekends are amazing, but being allowed to travel to a far away area or get away for an extended period of time is that booster shot that will keep the doctor away and prolong your life.
How do we plan for this? What steps do we take? What checklists do we have? There are many questions that must be answered in order for us to be prepared and not find ourselves out in the middle of nowhere without critical items that we need. Where are we going? How long will be we be gone? How will we get there? What do we want to do while there? Let’s talk about these questions and see where it leads us.
Where are we going?
Many of us have bucket lists. There are places we have seen on Social Media or the Internet that have captured our attention. These places may be popular among others, or they may be some hidden gem that we hope no one else discovers. Some enjoy going to events. Amazing events such as Expo West, Expo East, Jeep Jamboree and others entice us with incredible vendors, new gear, a place to meet those we follow on YouTube, and a place to visit with others we may only see once or twice a year. Others love to venture out in the middle of nowhere as their mantra is “the fewer people, the better.” Both places or events may be on your list. Either way, you must be able to get to these places in the allotted amount of time off, in order to get the most out of your time. Some places are attainable now, and some are well down the road. A trip to Expo West may be in the books for this year as you have a week off, but that road trip up the Dalton Highway in Alaska may have to come after retirement when you do not have to worry about getting back by a certain time. Organize your bucket list accordingly and do not wait until the last minute to plan. You want to experience as many of these places and/or events in your lifetime as possible.
How long will we be gone?
What is our allotted time off? Do we have a week or two or maybe a month? How long will it take us to get there? We have to allow time for travel depending upon how far away it is from where we live. Do we want to take the interstate to a certain point, then hit back roads, or do we want to have an adventure all the way there and back? Obviously, the latter will chip away quickly at time as you will be traveling slower and have less chance for restocking supplies. Some of us also have to compete with family vacations. Our families may not be as into Overlanding as we are, therefore they are vying for our time, planning a family trip to the beach while the mountains are calling us as well. We may have to divide our time between the two, which does not allow us to be gone quite as long as we had hoped. This may keep us closer to home. Try not to use all of your time up at once, but save for here and there and give yourself multiple breaks throughout the year. Depending on your situation, you may agree that is better in the long run.
How will we get there?
Our mode of transportation is most likely the biggest expense and focus in Overlanding. Countless amounts of dollars are spent on our rig in order to make it where we not only survive on Adventures but we thrive. Yes, some are seen as having everything but the kitchen sink, and the minimalists scoff at those thinking all you need is the bare minimum, but to each their own. Do what is right for you. Just make sure you make it right for you and you are not just trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” I cannot tell you how much gear I have purchased for my rig that I thought was “cool” or I thought could be useful and now is sitting in the garage covered in dust waiting to be put on Facebook Marketplace. Get out there on the weekends and get experience testing gear and your setup out. Make it just like you want it. Make it just right for you. It may not be anything like what anyone else has, but that is ok. Once you get it the way you want it, change the little things and not the big things. If you keep the main items in the same place, your setup will become second nature. You will be better at not forgetting something. If you change something, change the little things, or purchase some upgrades for what you already have. Test things out and make small changes a few at a time, but once you get your setup just right, leave it this way and enjoy it. This will make your extended trip much less stressful and much more enjoyable.
What do we want to do when we get there?
What is your goal on this extended trip? Do you want to hit some famous trails and cross those off your list? Imogene, Black Bear, Cinnamon and Engineer come to mind when I type that out. Those famous trails lingered in my mind until the day I was actually able to experience them. Do you long for time around the campfire. Are you a camp junkie that just likes to setup and piddle around camp? Do you just want to just relax and see the sights? Are their National Parks you want to visit or famous areas you want to take in? Do you want to find that perfect spot and park yourself and see what delicious delicacies you can whip up? We all know we eat better in the woods than we do at home. Will you be packing up and moving each day or will you base camp?
With all of these questions, there are different items that will be packed and others that will be left at home. With each answer to these questions, you will determine your plan in order to make the most out of that time you are finally able to get away for that extended period of time. Take time to plan. Take time to think about this trip and try not to just fly by the seat of your pants. You will be gain more fulfillment and make memories. You will gain experience and knowledge for that next time and the next. You will become refresh and renewed and already looking forward to that next time when you will be able to get away.