The Bare Necessities For Traveling All Summer In A Pop Up Camper

The Bare Necessities For Traveling All Summer In A Pop Up Camper

This morning I started going through some of the writing I did this summer that I never got around to finishing or posting.  Because that is WAY more fun than laundry and unpacking.  (I shoved all the piles into Simon’s old room and closed the door.  It is Simon’s OLD room because do you think for a minute that after he slept in the pop up camper all summer with his whole family that he is going to go back to being ALL BY HIMSELF?  I mean, before I shoved all of our junk in there, it felt a big ol’ gymnasium!)

So, at some point near the end of our journey I made my thankful list for the summer.  And I thought I should share it with you because if you are going to travel the country homeless with your family, these are the things that you really cannot live without.

1. The Pop Up

Before these amazingly wonderful people lent us their pop up camper, we were planning to live in a TENT all summer long.  Do you have any idea how completely insane that is?  It would never have worked.  I would have thrown it into the ocean.  Or I would have turned around and come home.  Or something.  Anything.  So many nights I thanked Jesus for that pop up camper that was keeping me dry and off of the ground.  I’m telling you I love that thing.

2. My zero degree sleeping bag

I stayed in it on cold mornings.  I put Simon in it with me when his little 30 degree number wasn’t cutting it.  There were many nights I pulled the drawstring around my frigid cheeks with only one little breathing hole letting the icy air in.  I’m pretty sure it saved my life maybe.

3. A few key items of clothing

The icebreakers, one of which I still wore even after it was chewed up by a mouse.  A pair of jeans I stole from my sister last year, which meant I had two pairs instead of one.  In other words I didn’t have to stand around various laundromats in my long underwear.  And a t-shirt my mom bought me after my stuff was stolen, which I wore EVERY SINGLE DAY.   Someone might soon ask me if I even own other t-shirts, and yes, now that I am home, I have many to choose from, but I am just so attached to this one.

4. My hiking boots

Yes, the boots get their own number.  I wore them almost every day.  They are warm.  They are waterproof.  They did not wear out.  What in the world would I have done without them???

5.  Bookend Condos or my saintly mother-in-law

You might remember that we got to stay in HOMES for two weeks of our summer, one towards the beginning and one towards the end. Both of these were provided by Taido’s mom, who traded time in her vacation rental for them.  So please go and stay with her in Hawaii and pay her lots of money and love for me.

6. The DS

I hate to say it, but I couldn’t have lived without it.  I really can’t stand video games, and I have trouble getting over the fact that they are a TOTAL WASTE of time and brain cells, but on the days it was revoked, riding in the car with Ben and Cole was a lot like this:

One day on the way home I had taken it away from them and my mother (who hates video games more than I do) was BEGGING me to give it back to them.

7. Guidebooks

I really like information, so I bought a lot of guidebooks this summer.  About halfway through the summer, Taido cut me off.  No more guidebooks.  But I just loved reading them while we drove through places.  I would be like, Let me tell you about the perfect place to eat in this town.  Or, the dome on that building is copper because of the neighboring copper mines.   It was like having a secret everywhere we went.  Sometimes it became annoying because I would point out all the great things we were NOT getting to do because of time or money, but for the most part I loved having the piles of information.

Sidenote: I started the summer as an avid Lonely Planet guidebook buyer but I have TOTALLY come over to the side of Moon Guidebooks because a) I think fewer lonely planet authors have children and b) they are just SOOOOO much better.

8.  Coffee

Strong coffee is a huge part of my life anyway, but on a cold morning outside, it is a NECESSITY, I tell you.  And it tastes so good!  Both Taido and Daddy understand that the way to my heart is through a cup of coffee.  Or maybe they are just trying to get me out of my zero degree sleeping bag.  Taido always made the French press before he left to study and Daddy had it made and in the cupholders before he woke me up to drag the kids and mother out of the pop up so we could drive a bazillion miles.  Again.  And this is how I know they both love me.

9.  Anne

We read a lot of books this summer, but I think I will remember this being the summer of Anne most of all.  I read the first few out loud and then Mary Polly and I kept on reading them.  We watched the movies over and over again.  And on days when I just couldn’t cope, I would be encouraged by some sweet Anne-ism.  Her love of nature was a perfect accompaniment to our being always out of doors, and her positive outlook on life was so sweetly sincere that I couldn’t be cynical in the midst of it.  Now that I am home and surrounded by reality, it sounds absurd to me, but she was my imaginary friend this summer.  And she reminded me that sometimes we need imaginary friends, even at my age.

10.  YOU!

Seriously, the last thing and the one for which I was maybe the most grateful all summer was this little connection through various computers to the readers of this blog, who were living the insanity the dream with me every time I wrote about it.  If you are going to go on a journey, you should definitely start a blog and find readers like mine who will email and comment and cheer you on and even pray for sunshine.  I am pretty sure I can attribute any bouts of sanity I had this summer to this little window of love.  So thank you!


  1. school = not so bad (although it does get in the way of very fun summer stuff!), t-shirt = every time you look at it, you’ll be flooded!, friends = you can’t imagine how often we clicked, praying for an update. we missed you all so much.

  2. all that she said and so much more…thank you for taking us on your adventure!

  3. i don’t know about the others, but i read your summer blog for purely selfish reasons. i was kinda fun to live the adventure vicariously through you guys.

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