Escape Campervans Blog Post: California

The Back Story: 

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S.T.U.C.K.

That word alone, perfectly described where I was this time last year. 

I was S.T.U.C.K doing a job that was beneath me and that literally s-u-c-k-e-d the living soul right out of me, just so that I could “fit in” with societies definition of “success.” 

I was S.T.U.C.K with having to choose between dating again—after 4 glorious years of being alone— to please my parents or remain single. 

I was S.T.U.C.K with having to put my happiness aside, so that I could focus on “adulting.”

I. Was. Just. S-T-U-C-K………… 

But, on May of 2017, something out-of-the-ordinary happened to me. After I graduated with my Master’s degree, I booked a one way ticket to Europe and aimlessly wandered around various countries..…solo.  I marveled in awe at the beauty of Iceland. I devoured authentic Fish & Chips amongst strangers in Ireland. I ate lush gelato in Italy. I saw the breath taking views of Greece and fulfilled my dreams of horseback riding on an Arabic horse and sailing the Aegean Sea on a sunset cruise. 

Then……..I  did the unthinkable: I booked a ticket to the Middle East and found myself laughing and crying tears. of. joy. while indulging in Turkish delights and sharing stories amongst the Islamic community.  

My solo-trip last year, led to a transformative experience. I began that journey in search of self-discovery and I found that and so much more. I saw the true beauty of this world, not only in nature, but in strangers too. I forged relationships and built bridges of peace and hope. After that adventure, traveling quickly became a way of life for me……. It became a priority, which led to my second solo adventure of spending an entire month backpacking down the West Coast from Washington, to Oregon, to California.  

So, that is my back story, just an average girl hungry to see the world. 

The - In - Between

What led you to book a trip with EscapeCampervans?

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After my wild adventure in May, I. wanted. M-O-R-E. I wanted to see more nature. I wanted to travel more. I wanted to meet more people. I just wanted to do M-O-R-E……

But……. there was one problem….. I was broker than broke. 

So, I excitingly looked for ways to make extra money (photography :) ) to save for my next BIG adventure. Upon doing that, I stumbled upon a Groupon add: Escape Campervans

I Marveled at the advertisement and eagerly swiped through all of the glorious images which depicted colorful vans in the coolest locations. 

For months, I literally dreamed of booking the Campervan; I did all I could to save up enough coins to make my dream a reality. I even listed my photography services 50% off so that I could collect enough change to give myself the experience of a lifetime. 

Finally, as my 26th birthday was approaching, I decided to give myself the best. Birthday. Gift. 

E-V-E-R. 

On January of 2017, I eagerly scrolled through Groupon’s and purchased my 1 week Campervan rental from Escape Campervans. 

How did you like traveling by campervan vs other forms of travel?

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When the time came, I picked up my rental in San Francisco and the process was extremely easy. The Campervan was the B.E.S.T form of transportation that I have ever used. It was easy to maneuver and it came with all the amenities that I needed: A GPS, phone charger, loads of maps, a bed, sheets, blankets, and cooking supplies etc. The Campervan gave me the freedom to go anywhere as I pleased, I had no time constraints, no set agenda, just me, my music blasting, hair swaying, and the open road. 

It was a whimsical dream come true. 

Tell us about your trip! How did you plan your route? What worked, and what would you have done differently?

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Saying that my trip was amazing would be an understatement. I visited so many local and state parks and traveled to over 15 different Californian cities. I can honestly say I’ve seen ALL of Northern California. 

I didn’t plan my route. I kind of went with the flow and relied on the advice from locals in the area on places that I should see. I didn’t want to stress myself out by having a set agenda, but everyday I woke up extremely early and explored at least 3 new locations a day. 

Everything worked out well from me, on a majority of my hikes, I was always with my friend(s).

If there was one thing I would of done differently, it would of been booking with Hip Camp. I never knew about it before my travels and the tough part was trying to find a place to park my Campervan. So, I usually just camped in Walmart parking lots or in nice residential areas. But, now that I know about hip camp, I will be using them for my next trip to Phoenix, AZ.  

What were some of your highlights from the trip?

Some of my favorite locations included: 

Highway 1/ Big Sur Area: Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP, Pfeiffer Big Sur SPAndrew Molera SP

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The BIGGEST Highlight for me was having the freedom to visit my best friend who I hadn’t seen in over 10+ years. Escape Campervans made this possible for me and it was such an emotional and happy moment in my life. 

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Any tips for future renters?

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Don’t stress out over having a set agenda, jot down a few places you really want to see and just go with the flow. I would suggest that you get the option of having a GPS because there is NO cell-phone service in the Big-Sur area and that GPS saved me SO many times. 

Check out HipCamp for cool places to park your Campervan, I didn’t know about them at the time of traveling and I wish that I had. 

For food, I lived off of Beans, Franks, and soup :) 

If you’re heading to the Big Sur area be very cautious when driving on the super narrow roads! Take your time while driving. 

Skip out on paying for the parking fee to the parks by parking on the side of the road, that will save you loads of $$$. 

Also, if you have time, head to Sausalito, California it is a TRUE hidden gem. You will thank me later ;) 

Lastly, enjoy. the. ride. And if you get lost….take a deep breath…..because it is all part of the adventure. 

Would you do a campervan trip again?

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I would do a campervan trip again in a heartbeat. I’m really trying to plan my next trip to explore and photograph the parks in Phoenix, AZ, but I have to wait to save enough money again. 

BONUS: INSERT SOMETHING EXTREMELY INSPIRATIONAL

Words From My beating Heart: 

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I have been fortunate enough to live for 26 years, but I didn’t feel alive until I was 25. So much of my life was spent doing the “norm.” I worked a soul-sucking 9-5, because I wanted to “fit in” with societal norms. I obtained two degrees, because I thought I had to in order to succeed in life. I jumped in and out of toxic relationships because I was constantly looking for my identity and purpose in another human being. 

But, travel opened up a new way of life for me, what I once deemed as a luxury became my priority. I stopped focusing on “fitting in” with the world and focused on the things that made my heart sing. 

I was born to stand out: to defy societal norms and encourage and inspire other like-minded individuals that it. is. O-k-a-y to choose another of way life. It is ok to put your happiness above anything and anyone else. Your 20’s are your glory years. Your selfish years. Your book-a-one-way-ticket years. Your book a campervan and live like a gypsy type of years. 

As a millennial and avid solo traveler, I’ll leave you with this: Don’t wait until it's too late to do everything you’ve ever dreamed of doing. Don’t let life slip from your grasp and slide off your fingertips. Don’t wait for the routine of your existance to get in the way. Do it now. Do it Right Now. Life is just a fleeting moment; It has its twist and turns and ups and downs, I only hope that you will make it your own. You are more than capable.

TAKE OFF

Do What Makes Your Heart Sing

“Be Safe. Live the life you’ve always dreamed of. Do what makes your heart sing. Always remember that you have a home here……and Diane…….. one last thing……. I hope you find whatever it is that you’re looking for. I will always love you.” - Mom 

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Those were the last words my mother said to me prior to embarking on my month-long-solo- journey down the West Coast. 

Proclaiming that “I travel” would be a huge understatement. In fact, I don’t just travel, but rather I roam. I wander. I trek on the off-beaten paths. 

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In the simplest sense, I often like to refer to myself as a nomad: A person that moves from place to place and travels freely without ties holding them back.

I quit my soul-sucking job 6 months ago and ever since then I have been living the life that I have always dreamed. I traded materialistic possessions for experiences and that has made all the difference. 

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Traveling, both domestically and internationally, made me realize that I DO NOT have to be like a majority of my peers: (i.e rush into marriage, settle for a soul-sucking career, purchase flashy materialistic items for “the gram” etc. ). 

In fact, I am the complete opposite: I enjoy living at home with my parents, I don’t work a 9-5 (majority of my tiny income comes from photography), I drive a beat-up Honda-civic, I frown when I even think of the word “relationship,” and I spend a majority of my time planning my next big adventure. 

People have often looked at my lifestyle and questioned “why I’m running away from life?” However, I’m not running away from anything, but rather I am running towards freedom. Towards adventure. Towards happiness. Towards hope. 

The life I am living is not for everyone and I understand. I have friends who find their purpose in a relationship, a job, and or some form of label and that. is. Ok. 

For me, I feel completely alive when I am alone…surrounded by my own solitude. I truly enjoy venturing off into the unknown and expanding my horizon and of course my taste buds. 

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Traveling alone has awarded me with a profound sense of self-worth and confidence. For years, I used to listen to everyone’s advice on how I should live MY life; well it’s safe to say…..I’m no longer listening. 

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With that said, to anyone one whose reading this, you owe it to yourself to follow your dreams. Live the life that makes your heart sing. Get out of the routine. Do something daring. Be bold. S-E-E T-H-E W-O-R-L-D. Embrace fear and uncertainty. And ALWAYS A-L-W-A-Y-S remember that there is a WHOLE world out there just waiting to meet you. 

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Stay adventurous my friends,