I didn’t know if we would actually do it–if this grand scheme would really happen. It seems like so very long ago, only a few months in reality, that I felt the pressure of our home not selling, and our window of opportunity closing. I questioned whether we would actually get to take this trip of a lifetime we had always dreamt of.
And so here, the day after we returned from a seven week road trip to the Pacific Northwest with our three (and counting) kids and our Labrador retriever, it all still feels a bit like a dream. Did we really do this crazy thing? Sell our home and pack our life into hardly 200-square-feet of mobile space and hit the road for nearly two months? We did. And we are forever changed because of it. Or rather, each of us, and we as a whole, are more of who we were always meant to be.
During our three-day drive home, my husband and I began talking through the numbers that went into this trip, and how much they speak of the experience. And so here they are—the real numbers behind a 7-week road trip as a family of 5 and counting.
The Trip Statistics:
3.5 Kids (Ages 6, 4, 2, and a new little one coming in March!)
20-foot travel trailer (25 feet when the beds are popped out)
3,600 Miles traveled
Our Trip In Numbers:
Cost of our trailer: $8,700 (Which we will sell for the same once we are back in a house)
Living expenses for seven weeks (Includes groceries, eating out, gas, utilities, rent–or camp site fees–, household items, entertainment / outings): $6,422
What those same living expenses would have been at home (for 7 weeks): $6,914
Savings of: $492
Number of times the car and trailer were towed: 1
Number of things Grayson replaced on the car throughout the trip: 4 (Fuel pump, wheel bearing, spark plugs, battery)
Amount spent on fishing gear and licensing: $287
Number of fish or crabs of legal size caught: 0
Number of places we stayed: 7
Longest we stayed in one place: 3 Weeks (Orcas Island, Washington)
Shortest we stayed in one place: 1 Night (Middle of nowhere truck stop in Wyoming)
Friends’ yards we camped in: 3
Number of new states visited for Eryn and the boys: 3
Amount spent on utilities for a family of five for seven weeks: $40
Spent on coffee: $179
Miles Grayson ran in the woods: 74
Number of ferry passings: 10
Number of mountain passes: 5
Average gas mileage while towing: 8 miles to the gallon
Lowest gas mileage while towing: 4 miles to the gallon
Number of date nights: 1
Number of “Is-this-urgent-care-worthy?” injuries: 4
Number of trips to urgent care: 0
Days we ran our friends’ Bed & Breakfast while they took their own adventure: 5
Souvenirs purchased: 8 Books, 3 Pieces of art for a total of $166
(Because this was also a work trip)
Manuscripts finished: 1
Magazine article submissions: 4
Blog posts published: 10
Interviews conducted: 2
Chapters for new book written: 3
Not knowing exactly how to project and budget for a trip like this, we ended up going over what I thought the trip would cost. However, when all is said and done, living on the road cost us a bit less than our regular living expenses. And really, what mattered to us was the time cost. We spent 7 weeks of the 936 weeks we have with our kids exploring mountains, beaches and waterfalls.
They asked great questions and we pondered the same kind of questions ourselves as we watched sunsets over the Puget Sound. We talked of God’s grand creation, what makes up a life that matters, and what is truly important when deciding how we spend our limited days. We invested seven weeks that we will never get back–but I wouldn’t want them back. They have done their job and played their roll in leaving us never the same because of our journey.
Traveling with kids is not easy or cheap–but I stand here on the other end of seven weeks living all squished together with my favorite people and I implore you–do it! If not for seven weeks, then seven days. Or start this weekend by packing a cooler and heading to a nearby nature area for an entire day. These days are painfully limited, but we can stretch them. We can expand them and pack them full of moments with legacy power, leaving us never the same again.