It seems crazy but we have officially been on the road for a little over a month! We have had many questions come our way about our lifestyle, including a lot of good ones from our Instagram followers. So, our post is going to look a little different this week! We are tackling some of your questions this week in our blog post, but don’t worry, we will still throw in some pictures of us on our adventure! We have been enjoying Arizona this last week, and spending some time at the Grand Canyon, we will be sure to share more about that next week.
The most common question we have gotten is… drumroll please…….
What does “Microtourist” mean and how did you come up with the name?!?!
Microtourism is a relatively new term. It encourages environmental sustainability and the lower spending side of leisure travel. It would be the opposite of “Glamping,” a phrase coined to describe expensive, luxury trips, still geared to the outdoors. For example, if you described yourself as a “glamper”, you might pay thousands of dollars to stay at one of the Grand Canyon hotels on the rim of the canyon. It’s possible you would fill your free time with a helicopter tour over the canyon, eating at the steak house every night for supper, and having an expensive glass of wine for dessert. If you described yourself as more of a “microtourist” you may choose to stay outside of the park in a free camping spot in the Kaibab National Forest. You might make your own healthy lunch and supper, and crack locally brewed cold ones in the confines of your R-Pod or around a campfire (when permitted.) The latter is what we happen to prefer. The most applicable definition for microtourism that we have found is; exploring and promoting the lesser known areas and aspects of tourism.
Did it take you guys a long time to save up for this adventure?
Yes and no. We didn’t plan to do this adventure until about 9 months before we quit our jobs. That being said, we lived the regular, career path life the first three and a half years after college. We paid off student loans, bought cars, a house, even a small business providing tree work. Once we decided to take the adventurous route, we started saving roughly $500 a month to put toward the adventure. We already had about $5000 in savings and the rest of our funds came from selling a lot of our possessions, our house, and Ross’s small business. Tara also supplemented our income by teaching yoga classes on the side of working her full-time job and Ross structured the sale of the tree cutting business to provide a small monthly income, while traveling. We worked very hard in the years leading up to this to gain financial stability, but we think a couple could travel domestically on a budget of $2500, including, insurance (health and vehicle), phone, and a monthly loan payment (if you have one you need to pay off).
Knowing that our budget isn’t huge, and that we want to continue traveling as long as possible leads to how we travel, and back to “microtourism.” We’ve realized that there is a lot that goes into budgeting while we travel so we have decided to address that topic in more detail in a later blog post. Stay tuned.
Do you have electric, solar power or internet in your camper?
This question is a lot of questions rolled into one, we’ll break it down and answer each part for you.
· Electric: When we camp without an electrical hook up we have a Honda generator that we use. It gives us enough power for the outlets and to run the microwave. It doesn’t have quite enough power to run the air conditioner so we have to go without in that circumstance. The fridge, stove, and water heater run on propane, so as long as the propane tank is full we don’t have to worry about losing power on those.
· Solar: We have considered using solar panels as a quieter and more environmentally conscious alternative to the generator but we haven’t looked into pricing and such, it’s still just an idea. We would like to research and learn more about the renewable sources available and are definitely considering it as a viable future option.
· Internet: We don’t have internet in the camper. We both have unlimited phone plans on Verizon and use Hotspot when we need to connect to the internet in the woods. If we stay in town we usually go to a coffee shop for Wi-Fi and most RV parks offer Wi-Fi now as an option. There has only been a few times where we have been completely disconnected.
What do you guys for bathroom and shower?
· Bathroom: We have a very small bathroom in the R-Pod, which we use for #1 ONLY! If you have to go #2 and we aren’t in a campground or near a pit toilet, we grab the trowel and head for the woods. Yes, we poop outside. It’s easier, and with close living quarters it really cuts down on bathroom smells.
· Shower: We have a shower inside the camper but it is VERY small. Ross would not be able to move around and Tara would be pretty cramped. Fortunately, we have an outdoor shower on the back corner of the camper. We use this showering option the most when we are boondocking in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes we shower outside with our swimming suits on… sometimes we don’t. ;) It’s pretty liberating to shower outside in the nude to say the least. Otherwise, we will wait to take advantage of campground and RV park showers when we stay at those places. We certainly don’t shower as regularly now as we did prior to this trip. We love each other through our stank.
Do you guys sell merchandise?
We don’t currently, but Tara is working on a few designs for merch. We have had some prototypes created and we are hoping to have a shop feature set up on the blog by July. This would help supplement our income, (if only a little) and let all of our followers be part of our adventure with us.
We are also excited to announce that we are going to be doing some giveaways/collaborations on Instagram with both Real Healthy Living and Westbound Coffee. Keep your eyes peeled because we will be giving away some really cool stuff! Seriously, we are pumped about it. Tara will be doing a guest blog post for Real Healthy Living soon and we will be working with West Bound Coffee in the near future. We will of course keep you posted when those go live. We encourage you to follow both Real Healthy Living and Westbound Coffee on Instagram.