Once You Go Free it is Hard to go Back

I went hiking again today at Joshua Tree National Park since such a beautiful park. I could pay $15 for a campsite in the park with no electric and water where the campsites are very close to other campers or I could park outside the park (like two minutes outside the park) for free on Bureau of Land Management land with lots of space between me and my neighbors. I think you know which one I chose. Once you get used to free camping on beautiful and spacious government land it’s really hard to pay for a campsite again, especially if you are like me and have solar power and a big container of water under the sink (I always find places to fill it up). I can easily afford to pay for campsites but I enjoy camping on BLM land more and now it seems like a waste of money to pay for a campsite 💸. People that say they can’t afford to travel should ditch their apartment or house and use the money they were using to pay rent or a mortgage to buy a van or camper and see this wonderful country that we have staying for free on government land. There are plenty of jobs that can be done remotely on the road with technology these days. I met someone that teaches science working remotely from her van, another who is a creative director for videos working remotely from her truck camper, another who transcribes for close caption television working remotely from her car and another that runs a successful RV website working remotely from his van and this was just at the last place I was camping at. Of course there’s also me working as a lawyer remotely from my van. Gotta love technology!📱💻img_4600

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California

I got the urge to wander again so I left Arizona and am now in California. My last backyard in Arizona was very close to California and the time zone change. I rely on my phone to tell me the time when I’m traveling between different time zones  because it changes to the new time automatically but out in the desert where I was at my phone kept changing the time  back-and-forth between the two times zones just while sitting in my van so I never really knew what time it was, but it doesn’t really matter I guess if you don’t have to be anywhere 😀. I went hiking today at Joshua Tree National Park in California which I really enjoyed. I am going to head back to Ehrenberg, Arizona to hang out with the same group again in a few days probably. We are all hanging out there waiting for the Rubber Tramp Rendevous to begin next month in nearby Quarzite, Arizona. A rubber tramp is a person who travels and lives out of their vehicle. Proud to be a rubber tramp😁

I Found My People

I have been camping out in the desert the last couple of days with a group of other van dwellers, rvers and  other vehicle dwellers in Ehrenberg, Arizona on Bureau of Land Management Land, which means free camping.  The area here has tons of  little rocks on the ground and there is a rock quarry nearby (like Fred Flintstone worked at) where they sort the rocks to make gravel for driveways, etc. I have met so many nice people here and lots of women that are also traveling solo. There  are people here from all walks of life, all ages, some that are retired, some that are on disability, some that are working on the road or remotely and others like me that are working remotely that are hiding from their clients that they are working remotely and living in a vehicle in the middle of the desert😉. It is nice to meet people that are like me and that also love the outdoors. Everyone seems so happy and relaxed here, I guess because we are in such a peaceful setting outdoors and not stuck in an office all day. I have the coolest office ever with the best views. At 5 o’clock every evening a group of us have been gathering to take a walk and watch the sunset together and walk up to others camping nearby to see if they want to join us. They have the most amazing sunsets and sunrises here. After the sunset today a few of us sat outside and watched the full moon rise over the desert. Absolutely beautiful. I tried to take a picture but my storage is full on my phone. I need to back up pictures online and delete a bunch on my phone. I plan on staying here until I get the urge to explore somewhere new again. There are some national parks nearby that I might go to and then come back here afterwards. I think it’s pretty cool that I can just camp in the middle of the desert with no electric or water hook up. All I need is the sun to power my solar panels (no shortage of sun in the desert), some food and my water jug under my sink filled up. Pretty Cool.

Awesome Arizona Hiking

I spent the day yesterday hiking at Saguaro National Park in Tucson and today hiking at White Tank Mountain outside Phoenix, where they have petroglyphs (rock drawings) that are  up to 10,000 years old. I enjoyed walking up and down the hilly terrain. I can tell from the way my clothes fit that I have lost weight, probably because of the hiking and not watching TV at night mindlessly snacking on food. I am actually surprised that I don’t even miss watching TV. Lovin’ the van life 🚐

 

America the Beautiful

I stayed overnight in a Walmart parking lot last night with other travelers in Las Cruces, New Mexico. After stocking up on groceries I headed out this morning to the White Sands Monument in New Mexico that is in the White Sands Missile Range where the military sometimes closes off the area to test missles. It is beautiful sand dunes for miles and miles that are made from gypsum which is used to make drywall. I never knew that drywall came from something so beautiful. I bought the America the Beautiful Pass for $80 for unlimited entrance to all the national parks and monuments including Grand Canyon which cost $30 alone if I didn’t have a pass, so well worth it for me. Staying at an Arizona rest area right now for the night. I just watched a nice sunset over the mountains. I need to spend the day tomorrow catching up on work. I keep forgetting I have to work 😬.

 

Hi and Goodbye Mexico

I met a nice couple at the campground I was out last night. I was telling the husband outside that I was thinking of stopping in El Paso and walking across the border to Juarez, Mexico. His wife came running out of their RV and yelled “Do not go to Juarez!” She did and said it was pretty scary. So I settled on seeing Mexico out my window while driving down the interstate. The interstate is very close to the border where I could see the small river and the very flimsy fence separating Mexico from the U.S. I also met a woman at the campground that is around my age that is doing the same thing as me but she is living in a Prius. She was headed East to see family and coming West later so we exchanged numbers and I are going to meet up later, probably in Arizona. It was nice to finally meet someone doing the same thing as me and that’s also passionate about exploring new places and the mobile and minimalist lifestyle. I know there’s many more like me that I just haven’t met yet. I love traveling solo because it brings with it a lot more freedom to do what you want, when you want and go where you want but I also love meeting people too, and then moving on again to do my own thing🙂

I can see you but you can’t see me.

I got the side and back windows tinted as dark as possible so I have a lot more privacy now. I can see people but they can’t see me and I don’t have to shut my curtains anymore do use my toilet 😎 I also had them install an alarm system that has a way for me to set the alarm off while I am in the van too. I’m glad I stayed in Tint World’s parking lot the night before (they had no idea I slept in their parking lot) because rush-hour traffic in the morning in San Antonio was bumper-to-bumper. Instead I watched the traffic jam through my van windows while eating breakfast. I stayed at a Texas rest area last night. I drove a beautiful uncrowded stretch of Texas highway today without hardly any towns around. I drove 80 mph all the way (the speed limit on that road) so I covered a lot of Texas today. I am staying at a Texas State Park right now looking at the mountains outside my back window. Took a short hike a little while ago. I am loving my road trip exploring the U.S. and the fact that it doesn’t have to end. I am so so glad I did this. One of the best decisions I ever made, after having my son of course 😊img_4464img_4462

Remember the Alamo

Last night I stayed at a rest area that was the closest to San Antonio. Usually it’s just me and the truck drivers staying overnight but last night it was a whole row of us  (hobo row?  I wonder if they are living in their vehicles also🤔).  I went to the Alamo today which I really enjoyed because I forgot the history of it and they had a beautiful museum and film to watch. I also took a walk down to the Riverwalk. I met a nice police officer who said I could park overnight at the parking spot I was in downtown but after seeing a homeless woman pop a squat and pee on the sidewalk right in front of my van in broad daylight I change my mind. So I moved on from her bathroom area and am now at a laundrymat doing a much needed load of laundry.

Beautiful Sunrise

December 2, 2016 – this is the correct date -Wordpress enters the wrong date and I don’t know how to change it 😦

I woke up to a beautiful sunrise. Watched it from my van. I did some yoga and meditation, something I told myself I was going to do every day but just did it today. Very relaxing.  I needed that for getting through the insane traffic and roadways and fast drivers in Houston. 75 mph speed limit and everybody was driving way faster than that and everybody was passing me, even the senior citizens. I am staying overnight at a rest area in Texas recuperating plus I have to catch up on work again today and tomorrow. Doing the rest area thing again tomorrow night.IMG_4356.JPG

My Travel Adventures

I am starting this blog so that my family and friends can look online for the status of where I am and to share my adventures in my van. The name ‘Hobo Lawyer’? Because I think it’s funny.

I am going to start this blog with my adventures so far.

November 25, 2016 – Traffic was crazy and I wasn’t feeling well so I didn’t drive far and stayed overnight at a Cracker Barrel. Lots of businesses allow free overnight parking off of the interstate in hopes that travelers will use their services, which I do, such as truck stops, Cracker Barrels, Walmarts, some state welcome centers and rest stops, casinos, etc. I always ask first before staying overnight. I can afford a campsite but free is always better and I don’t need electric or water hookups because I run everything off of my solar panels and I always have a tank full of water. Rather save the money for retirement than spend it on campsites everywhere I go plus I may need the money if I give up the lawyer gig.

Stayed overnight at this funky truck stop called the Oasis Travel Center in Robertson, Alabama that has it look like a train derailed into the place. I ate at the Derailed Diner and parked outside of it. The fake train crossing light made noise all night but my sound machine app drowned it out.img_4253

November 27, 2016. Drove just a little ways to the Desoto National Forest in Mississippi. Stayed for free at a campground in the middle of the forest. I had the whole place to myself, not even an office or any employees there. Very peaceful. Took a nice hike. Loved waking up there the next morning with just the sound of the birds.img_4275

November 28, 2016. Stocked up on groceries, got gas and went to Home Depot in Gulf Port Mississippi for screen material to make screens for the van to keep the bugs out when I leave the doors open. Super friendly people everywhere I went in Mississippi. A customer at Home Depot came up to me and said “I hope you don’t mind me saying this but you are beautiful”. Of course I didn’t mind. There were high winds that made it difficult driving in the van so I stopped traveling for the day when I saw a Cracker Barrel sign in Covington, Louisiana and asked if I could park there for the night of which they said I could as long as I parked near the store that they pointed to. When I went to park I didn’t know if I was supposed to park in the last spot in their parking lot closest to the store or at the store’s parking lot. I chose their lot which was the wrong choice. Later that night two police officers were knocking on my van window stating that Cracker Barrel called them to make me leave, not sure why Cracker Barrel couldn’t tell me I parked in the wrong spot. The police officers were looking at me suspicious so I said to them “I am not a weird van person. I am an attorney on a road trip and this is a cargo van converted to camper inside with a bed and kitchen and everything”, which made them smile. Of course I left out that I actually live full time in the van because I don’t want them to think I am a weird van person 🙂 They were real nice and let me move over to the store’s parking lot which was only 5 parking spaces away.

November 29, 2016 – Stayed overnight at a campsite on a river in Sulphur, Louisiana near the gulf watching boats go by out the back of my van doors. Only $4 a night since I didn’t need an electric and water hookup. Adjacent to a beautiful park.

November 30, 2016 – Spent the day at the Texas Travel Center in Orange, Texas after crossing into Texas since they had free wifi and I had a lot of work to catch up on. An employee there joked around that they should start charging me rent since I was there so long. They also had a beautiful boardwalk that led into the swamp. They have a rule that you can stay up to 24 hours at all Texas Travel Centers and rest stops, so I stayed the night.img_4313

December 1, 2016 –  I am currently at  Galveston Island State Park in Texas. Took a nice walk down to the water and watched the sunset through the back windows of my van. It is beautiful and quiet here.