Quick—what do the following products have in common?
- Wi-Fi extender
- Crossbody fanny pack
- Microwave pasta maker
- Remote-controlled tower fan
- Clothes dryer
Well, yes, you might find all of these at the neighbor’s yard sale. But they are alike in another way.
They all whisper, “I’ll make your life easier.”
By “easier,” they mean “more convenient.” And each of these promises, and your response, will sway the direction of your future adventure.
The Siren Song
Get online from your couch. Carry stuff hands-free. Make pasta in a blink. Cool down quickly. Dry your clothes indoors.
We answer the siren song of convenience with each new purchase. We end up owning so many things, we need a house to keep these conveniences convenient.
Then, while eating freshly-cooked pasta, enjoying a cool breeze, and waiting for the laundry to finish, we pull our phone out of our fanny pack and connect to Wi-Fi. Scrolling through social media, it hits us. A desire for adventure. We suddenly want to see new things, try new foods, and meet new people.
But adventures come in all shapes and sizes. You could hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Ride your bike across the continent. Drive Route 66. Go camping for the weekend.
How do you decide?
The Adventure Formula
Our family of four spent eight years traveling the U.S. by RV. During our travels, we came up with a formula to help decide what type of adventure is right for you.
Adventure feeds on convenience.
The more extreme or longer you want an adventure to be, the more conveniences you have to feed it.
Finding a suitable adventure becomes a simple matter of deciding which conveniences you are willing to give up. And for how long.
Working the Formula
Can you give up daily showers, refrigerated food, sleeping in a bed, and motorized transportation? Feed them to an adventure of a long hike or bike tour.
Can you give up speaking the local language; paved roads; easy access to electricity, water, fuel, and supplies; and an indoor kitchen? Feed those conveniences to an overlanding adventure.
Can you give up most of your personal space and easy access to groceries, free laundry, all but one of your bathrooms, and long showers? Feed those conveniences to a long boating adventure.
What We Fed Our Adventure
Our family sifted through every aspect of our lives to decide which conveniences we could and couldn’t live without.
But we didn’t know if we could give them up for good, so we put a timeframe around it.
What conveniences could we give up for a year?
- Individual bedrooms
- Second bathroom
- Most of our belongings
- Familiar surroundings
- A hobby vehicle
But we had to keep:
- A house to go back to
- Motorized transportation
- Sleeping indoors in the same bed every night
- A shower
- A bathroom
- An indoor kitchen
- Refrigerated food
- Heat and A/C
- Speaking the local language
We fed our conveniences to an adventure and it grew into the shape of a one-year, full-time RV trip.
The Diet Changes
During that first year on the road, we learned another thing about conveniences. The longer you don’t have something, the less you miss it. Meanwhile, the taste of adventure can be addictive. As you adjust to a simpler life, you begin to question what your adventure could grow into if you fed it more.
We went back home and sold our house. Our adventure grew from one year to eight. We visited more states and enjoyed more experiences than we could have ever fit into one year.
When our kids became adults and moved out on their own, we gave up the convenience of a large fifth-wheel RV and truck. That allowed our adventure to change into the form of a Class B campervan. We could fit in a parking spot, get food at drive-throughs, and camp in places not possible in the previous RV.
Adventures Have Seasons
Our RV season ended. We’re back in a house. Little by little—couch by leaf blower by microwave popcorn maker—the conveniences crept back in.
But a new remote job brought opportunity with it. Our adventure was looking hungry. After spending months researching options, we were accepted into the Tulsa Remote program, which pays remote workers to move to Tulsa for a year, gives them a desk in a co-working facility, and plugs them into an active, nurtured community.
We’ll feed our conveniences of a single-family house, second car, and garage to a small apartment-based, big-city adventure filled with live music, social gatherings, and a busy tech/startup scene.
After a year of that, who knows what adventure-season it will be!
Michael Boyink recently published “Driven to Wonder, Eight years in an RV with two kids: A Memoir.” The book features a collection of 126 magazine-like stories and 500 photos from eight years of full-time RV travel as a family. Michael and his wife recently decided to feed the conveniences of a second car and a single-family home to a new adventure that will take them from rural-small town life in Missouri to an apartment-based, big city life in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Photo credit: Tyler Way