But the Element is 12 years old and starting to show signs of aging. Its days of long car trips are behind us.
Now, we travel in a Nissan Juke. It is a great car with pretty decent cargo space (as a hatch back) but it is nowhere near as versatile as an Element.
So as we prepare to leave Asheville on February 4th for an entire month away from home, how do we pack everything we need for two adults and one cat in a Nissan Juke?
Luckily we have some practice. Downsizing to fit our lives in 120 square feet was a very helpful exercise. And, we also go on long camping trips each year. For those we need to bring not only our clothes but also a tent, kitchen stuff, and lots of beer.
We are also pretty good at packing for a 10 day European vacation in just a back pack.
So, here is a breakdown of what we will need on our adventure south:
- Enough clothes for 6-8 days. Three out of four of the places we're staying have washers and dryers so we only have to cover the span of about one week between washing. Of course, there is the weather question - we're on the beach but it is still February so we have to be prepared for warmish and coldish. Jeans are great for this kind of trip - just two or three pair will be plenty. Then it is just a matter of shirts, a sweatshirt, PJs, socks, and unmentionables. That's easy.
- Computers. I can fit my entire workspace into one relatively small back pack. Matt, on the other hand, has one work laptop and one personal laptop. It is still more portable than a large PC.
- Piglet's things. Things have gotten more complicated with Piglet now. Since her surgery she can't eat regular cat kibble so we have to feed her wet food. And, because cats are jerks, Piglet will only eat one particular kind of food that isn't available in grocery stores. So, we are actually bringing enough food for all 28 days. 28 days times 3 small cans of food a day.... well, that adds up. But its still cheaper than a pet sitter and, besides, we couldn't possibly be away from Piglet for a whole month. Besides food she also needs a litter box, treats, and bathing supplies. She'll basically have her own suitcase.
- Other stuff. Matt plays guitar and wants to bring both an acoustic and electric one with him. Still smaller than a drum set so that's fine. We also want take our bikes. We have installed a hitch to Juke and can use a mounted bike rack. Easy. What else do we need? Well, some weird stuff like our own shampoo, some extra pairs of shoes, and laundry soap. But those can be packed in smaller bags and take up little spaces in the back of the car.
So - for the TL;DR version:
- We need clothes, computers, Piglet's things, and some other stuff. All of which will fit in a tiny car.
What would you take with you for a month trip away from home?
(Stick around for more about our trip south for the winter. We leave on Wednesday, February 4th and be home Wednesday, March 4th. During that time we'll share our experience and what it is like to live on the road for a month.)