Monday, May 6, 2013

On the Road Again...

So this is just a quick one, an attempt to get back at blogging. I finished my 6 months in Oregon and returned "home" for a brief visit and then it was on to my new location in central Illinois. It felt strange to leave Oregon; I had made a life and home there. Still, part of my new life necessitates the need to turn and walk away, and just appreciate the time you had.

I've been trying to have a healthier and more frugal life all around, as well as cut down how much plastic I have been using. I have to admit, while not as bad as going to Oregon, I found I had to leave/throw many things... plastics included... when I moved due to space considerations in my car. I will have to figure that one out. My ultimate goal would to be have one permanent "system" of items that all fit into my car and can travel with me, reducing the need to throw away and get new each time.

I did have one new challenge while on the road: produce less waste and spend less money. I'm terrible when I'm in my car- I live on soda, fast food, snacks... anything to make the miles go by easily. Not only is this terrible for my health, it increases my fatigue on the road and costs a TON of money. I set a goal to try and only eat 1 meal a day take out and to make this a salad. I packed all my snacks, breakfast, lunch, containers with me. It looked a lot like this...

The above items include:

  • Vacuum seal thermos: These are awesome. Mine will keep coffee piping hot for 12 hours. I usually just filled this once a day at the hotel, but of course gas stations and coffee shops will fill them as well. Plastic waste: 0
  • Life factory glass bottles: one of my favorite things. I have three and used them all. I kept them in a cooler with ice and refilled as needed at gas stations and hotels. I always offered to pay at gas stations, but they usually told me I didn't have to pay. Plastic waste: 0
  • Celery and carrot sticks: for times I was just "munchy" but didn't want extra calories. Plastic: got one more use out of the containers, but yes these were disposed of in the end.
  • Bread: I'm gonna miss Dave's bread in Illinois. (However, I can make my own now... more on that later.) This was used to make PB sandwiches. Plastic: the bread bag.
  • Snacks: GORP/trail mix, wasabi peas, grapes. Plastic: I re-wash my plastic bags now and try use them sparingly.
  • PB and J: for sandwiches. Plastic: 0
  • Cheese: for a snack with the grape. Plastic: the wrappers and bag.
  • MIO water enhancer: To wean myself from soda pop... and yes, I am able to resist soda with this. However, optimally, I want to switch to plain or lemon water, because MIO definately fits into the "NOT FOOD" category I want to get rid of. Plastic: the MIO bottle when I'm done, but an improvement over bottled pop/juice.
Other Items used not shown above:
  • Cooler: Plastic, but I'm determined to keep track of it and get good use out of it. I got the old-fashioned, hard, durable red and white kind.
  • Utensils: I just brought some from home in a cloth bag and washed them as needed at the hotel.
  • Ice: Free from the hotels.
  • Lindt dark Chocolate bars: In case I got a sweet tooth. I find Dark chocolates nip a sweet tooth in the butt, but they are a food I don't go crazy over. Plus the high-cocoa dark chocolates have some health benefits. Funny though, I only ate a bit of one bar... the trail mix kept me from reaching for sweets.
For my evening meal I got salads from McDonalds. I thought that I would go crazy if I didn't get one "real meal," but honestly I should have just packed that, too. They aren't very healthy, they're expensive, and they're wasteful. Also, after drive 12 hours a day... pretty much anything tastes good and you would rather get to the hotel sooner than waste time getting food. For some reason, cold food tastes good on the road. I think a cold pasta salad would pack great and would be just fine for the evenings. The ice in the cooler stayed all day and night (changed twice daily), so I have no concerns about it not staying cool. Plus most of my hotels had mini fridges. It was definately a success, and I would say I now prefer to travel like this. I felt better hydrated, more alert, and saved a ton of cash.

Other road successes:

  • Pod casts
  • Books on tape
  • The Stooges.... the whole trip was pretty much an Iggy Pop love fest. One of the audiobooks was even on Iggy. I finally bought Metallic KO on the second day to "refresh" my music list.
So, that pretty much covers the road trip from Oregon to Illinois. I've been in Illinois a little less than a week, so I'm still just adjusting. More updates on my new place later!