How to Live Out of a Car for 32 Days

Over Hill Under Tree requested that I write about my packing list: what I took, and what I picked up along the way.  Before I left, I wrote “Packing for a Month-Long Roadtrip,” but I like the idea of sharing what I took that was necessary, and what I could have left behind.


Every time I stayed with someone, I took three bags with me into their house:  my purse, my laptop bag, and my 14 x 22 inch suitcase.  This meant I always had my phone, computer, clothing, and toiletries with me.


A 14 x 22 inch suitcase is not huge, and I fit a month’s worth of supplies in it.  What exactly did I have with me, and what would I have changed?   Continue reading


I am home!!  This is both a wonderful and horrible thing, like most of life.  While I am so excited to be back amongst family and friends, I am sad to say goodbye to many MORE family and friends elsewhere in the United States.

That has been the biggest takeaway of my road trip:  I have family and friends everywhere.  I had so much fun visiting people, seeing their cities with them and living their lives for a night.  I was overwhelmed with how generous people were, changing their schedules to fit mine, offering couches and beds to sleep on, and giving me food to eat.  It really made me feel grateful for all the wonderful people in my life.   Continue reading


It’s another round of the Oh Hey, Friday! link-up from September Farm and 5 on Friday from A. Liz Adventures!  

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 4.06.47 PM


1|  Make plans, but stay flexible

Before I left on my trip, I made calendars, lists, and overly detailed schedules for daily travel that included what time I needed to leave one place in order to get to the next place down to the exact minute.  I didn’t end up using those insanely comprehensive plans after the first day, but it made me feel better to know that I had a general plan for how things could go down.

I needed to know who I was staying with and for how long, but twice I changed plans for the better.  Once was to stay with my second cousins in Spartanburg, and the other was to stay another day in Dallas and recharge.  Because I am ever-so-slightly anal-retentive, it was hard for me to accept that plans are changeable.  But being flexible made my trip so much more enjoyable, so make changes when necessary.   Continue reading

Selfies with Penguins

I am NOT okay with my road trip being (essentially) over, but if it has to end, I’m glad it ended with today.

I left Erin and Tim’s apartment to meet Kaitlyn for brunch.  She was friends with Michal in Austin, and when she moved to Dallas, Michal told us to be friends.  She’s back in St. Louis (where her family is) after going through some truly hellish months.  It was nice to hang out, catch up in person, and support each other.  I’ve always liked Kaitlyn because of her Strong Independent Woman attitude, but I found yet another commonality between us today.  Neither of us are very interested in mastering anything; instead, our passion is in learning enough to be competent and then moving on to something else.  She’s always such an encouragement to me, and I hope in some small way I was the same for her.   Continue reading

Awkward Conversations with Old Roommate(s)

Chrisette woke me up this morning at 7:00 so I could enjoy a three-course breakfast with everyone before they left for school/work.  It was absolutely delicious, and it felt really normal and not all that sad to hug Anju and Ketan goodbye.  Maybe because I knew I would get to see them in just five months, when we all get to hang out in Athens!

As I was making trips to pack up my car, I accidentally locked myself out of the house.  I had to call Chrisette, who had left for work five minutes earlier, and she graciously returned, saying, “I always knew you were one of my children,” as I neurotically said, “thank you thank you thank you.”  We’re family now, I think.

And then I drove for ten hours!  My cold has gotten much better, and although ten hours was a little TOO long, I did enjoy hitting the road again.   Continue reading

Two of My Favorite Dallas Families

I’ve got to jump back to Sunday night in order to catch up.  Sheesh.  I’m having a hard time blogging every day lately.  I think part of that is because it’s felt more like real life instead of a vacation, and I haven’t blogged about real life in real time for a couple years.  But I’ve also been sick, so I’m going to ride both of those excuses for as long as possible!

On Sunday night,  I went over to Mike and Libby’s at 5:00 to hang out with Libby and her two sons Jonah and Graham before our connection group.  It was great to hang out with Libby while vaguely driving a toy car over a carpeted road map and calling it “playing.”  At 7:00 our connection group gathered, and it was SO GREAT to see everyone again.  This group is one of the things I miss most about Dallas, and I want every small group I ever participate in to be just like them.  I love that we are a group of old and young, male and female, conservative and liberal, married and single.  Our commonality is pretty much only in loving God and loving each other, and because it is always so encouraging to spend time with them.   Continue reading

Sick Day

I’ve been coming down with a cold, and I finally reached the stage where every part of my face is either is pain or is doing something disgusting.  I was supposed to drive to St. Louis today (10 hours), but Chrisette suggested I stay another day with them and take advantage of a free day of rest and sleep.  So that is what I’m doing!

I’m really glad I wound up canceling flights and just driving to Dallas, giving me the flexibility to do this.  One more reason road trips are awesome!

I haven’t written about the last couple days in Dallas.  I will do that hopefully later today.  But who knows: my priority is napping.

Keeping Busy in Dallas

I was not prepared for Dallas to feel so much like home.  This stop has really messed with my ideas of My Ideal Future, and the role a certain Texan city might have in them.

On Thursday night, Sanjay said, “Take a deep breath.  Now…do you think you could take us to the airport tomorrow morning at 5:00?”  When I agreed, Chrisette said, “I can’t wait to see how you function before the sun comes up!”

I functioned well enough, driving them to DFW without accident.  We talked during the 20 drive, and at some point Sanjay said, “Blah blah blah–when we’re in Greece next year.”

“WHAT?” I said.

Chrisette laughed.  “I guess we thought it was so obvious we would visit you that we forgot to tell you we’ve already bought tickets.  We’re going to Athens during the kids’ spring break.”

How crazy that I found this amazing family by “chance” on  We’re going to hang out internationally, AND they let me stay at their house while they vacationed in Portland.  Continue reading

Back in Dallas: Reunited with Anju and Ketan

I did not expect how much being back in Dallas would feel like coming home.  Four months isn’t that long, but a lot has happened since I moved at the end of June!  I was unprepared for the massive nostalgia of being back.  I could drive on auto-pilot, I had my go-to bank to make some fundraising check deposits, and my library card still worked when I needed to waste a little extra time.  This is my home.  It’s going to be too short of a stay, I can already tell.

At 6:00 I pulled into the driveway behind Sanjay and followed him inside the house.  Ketan greeted me with a massive smile and a hug, and I said, “It’s weird how not-weird this feels!”  Anju and Chrisette came home, and my Dallas family/bosses was complete!  Once again, it felt like nothing had changed.   Continue reading

A Change In Plans

A couple weeks ago I decided to cancel my flights and make this road trip a true road trip.  Back when I was planning #32DaysInMyCar, I thought it would be fun to mix things up and fly from Memphis to Dallas and back.  Later I realized that this would mean extra planning, like renting a car in Dallas and finding people to drop me off and pick me up from the airport in both cities.  Compared to the simplicity of just taking my car and having freedom all the time, it was an easy choice to cancel the flights and start dreaming about using my $82 at Southwest some other time.

The last few trips (Birmingham to Nashville, Nashville to Jackson, Jackson to Memphis) have been less than so short!  I was really quite sad about not having any more massive driving trips ahead, so this way I get a 7 hour trip and a 10 hour trip back in my life!  Turns out this month has just solidified my love of alone time with audiobooks and not eliminated it.

So today I am driving to Dallas, which is just 6 1/2 hours away from Memphis.  I get to take all my stuff and go where I want at my own pace!  FREEDOM.