Eunice in Astoria
I’m happy to announce that I’ve gone full nomad and now on the road! It’s been a month since I’ve been laid off and a month can speed by fast, especially when your life is about to change. A month is the amount of time I gave myself to tie up loose ends and grab ample amounts of quality time with Beau before heading off. The date of my cousin’s wedding (that I recently attended) was set a month after I got pink slipped, so I planned to leave shortly after then. Yesterday, I left Connecticut and a filmmaker friend of mine had me as a guest on his popular podcast, New York Cine in Astoria to discuss films, my gypsy lifestyle, and plug my blog. What better way to leave the Northeast with a bang than right after a joyous celebration and a broadcast of my launch?
Latest New York Cine Podcast wrapped up!
I had much to do, most of which entailed just figuring things out like receiving my mail and packages while on the road. I have a P.O. Box with street addressing, but their mail forwarding service is too pricey for my budget. I get mostly junk mail anyway, but gave my key to Beau in case anything important arrives. With the exception of my Utah Concealed Firearm Permit coming through, I expect nothing more and will let my box expire when the term is up in a few months. I’ll officially change my address when I finally get to Texas at the end of the summer.
For ordering goods off the Internet, I’ll simply have packages sent to the Post Office in the town I’m in and pick it up there. This is referred to as General Delivery. To have mail and packages held for you, have your sender write, “General Delivery” under your name. For Internet orders, I’d use the address line on the order form. Write the town, state, and full zip code and be sure to include the extension. The Post Office will hold your mail for 30 days. Finding out this piece of information will save me a lot of money and time since I was seriously considering using one of the many mail forwarding and pick-up services catering to RVers and travelers.
Since I’ll likely be in areas that are not populated with parked cars on the street, stealth camping overnight on a curb could attract the wrong type of attention. Rest stops are out of the question because they’re spooky to me. With a little research, I’ve found that gas stop facilities, which cater mainly to truck drivers (Travel Centers of America, Petro, and Pilot), are an excellent alterative to boondocking. They are RV friendly, offering free overnight parking, nice pay showers (around $12), sewer tank dump stations, convenience shops and really good restaurants… some are buffet! It’s great to know that these beacons are everywhere, in just about every state and situated right off the highway.
Another quick option (especially if you’re starting to get dangerously tired on the road) is to park at a hotel or inn, preferably with a lot of cars so you can to blend in. It would be a good idea to find a spot out of view from the check-in desk. Most seeing your van or small RV will assume you are renting a room. I picked up this tip from a video and did this successfully just last night! For those who prefer peaceful solitude and aren’t fearful of being deep in the woods and surrounded by nature in pitch darkness (like Beau), there are government-owned parks throughout the country where people may camp for free. Don’t expect any of the conveniences of paid camps like water or electric hookups. However, that can be part of the fun! And let’s not forget the retail boondocking staples: Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Cabelas!
A word about finding water without staying at paid campgrounds, I’ve read on a forum somewhere that you can fill up your tank at most gas stations if you simply ask nicely… and tell them that you only need a few gallons. We’ll see how this works for me.
Fast food, take-out, and dining on the road quickly adds up financially and on the scale. Since I’m unemployed and many pounds overweight, this needs to be a concern of mine. Most days, I’ll be drinking my Walker Diet low-carb powdered shakes for breakfast and lunch. It tastes good, has a thick consistency, and mixes with water, so I don’t need to worry about refrigerating milk. A can of it will last me a week and it’s pretty affordable at less than two dollars a serving. For dinner, the simplest option is to go with canned food and veggies. I’ll try my best to eat out no more than twice a week. Good food is a weakness of mine.
With the burden of figuring out the logistics of long-term road travel out of the way, I was able to focus my attention on other things. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was forgetting something. I quickly realized that this feeling was due to not packing belongings, something one usually does when picking up and leaving behind everything they know. I had to wrap my head around the fact that I was leaving and not coming back. I drove through the center of my town and thought to myself, “I may never see this place again… and if I do, it may look totally different than what I see now before me.”
I queued up lunch and coffee dates with a hand full of friends who mattered to me, in one way or another. It occurred to me, that if I were to ever see them again, they too would be different than how I remember them now. Fortunately, the goodbyes at the end of lunch and coffee were not as solemn as I feared… with people connected on Facebook, to each other, they no longer have to be.
In contrast, parting with Beau, though temporary, was not as easy. We spent nearly everyday together since we met and now, we will not. The morning of my journey, he cooked me a simple and delicious breakfast and cut me a fresh, fragrant bouquet of roses from his garden to carry with me. Beau had also given me a mint amethyst pendant… it’s beautiful! Before I hopped into the driver’s seat of my van, we must’ve kissed, hugged and said goodbye at least five times… painfully lingering. The final time we embraced, we prayed for God to watch over us and to keep the other safe while we are apart. There was a heavy lump in my throat and one coming up again as I write this. As I drove down the interstate, I realized that Beau (the strong silent type) was the only man whose eyes teared up over parting with me.
We managed to get some good quality time together and worked out a plan (and alternatives for that plan) for when we reunite in Texas at the end of the summer. He has a few projects and obligations to square away in preparation for his move. The up side is that since there is much for both of us to do, three months will, hopefully, go by fast.
So what’s on the itinerary? I’d been asked that a lot and the answer is that I really don’t have one. However, I have a short list of places I’d definitely like to visit. I’ll simply roam about in between those places of interest… after all, that’s what gypsies do.
It is somewhat surreal that I’m writing this entry from Pennsylvania. It’s been roughly a year ago since I decided to pursue the nomadic lifestyle and it’s now a reality! Because of you, my readers (who have kept me focused), a lot of grit, and a touch of luck… I’m HERE! Houston, we have liftoff!
Side Note: I had a blast being a guest on New York Cine Podcast, co-hosted by underground filmmaker, Thomas Edward Seymour. Have a listen and let me know what you think and be sure to subscribe, especially if you love film… even bad ones!