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Welcome to our new road trip blog!
Hello! I’m Camp. And along with my wife Lillian, we are the traveling duo that make up Maps Over Coffee. And we are so excited to share this little adventure with you.
First of all, we would like to thank you for reading our first blog! We have so many stories to share about our own road trips. And we know you will learn some new resources for planning your own adventures.
We are constantly researching the best websites, gear, and blogs to find the top destinations and how to get the most out of each of our own getaways.
Road trip as a metaphor….
To start, I wanted to address the title of this blog: Welcome to Our New Road Trip Blog. In case you didn’t figure it out, we mean it literally and metaphorically.
You see, a road trip is an adventure. It comes with tons of research and planning. And with enough of the specifics worked out, you can have a smooth ride.
However, one of the best parts of road trips are the flexibility they offer. It’s heading into the unknown that makes it feel like an adventure. You are free to change your route at will, but still wind up where you wanted to go all along.
And I think that ties in nicely with this whole blog post. Because, this is brand new territory for us.
…To road trip as a blog
By that I mean, we have no technical background. We have avoided social media to this point in our lives. We have no Facebook, Instagram, Twitter presence at all.
And yet somehow we are tackling this enormous project of compiling all of our experiences and publishing it for the whole world to see.
It’s exciting and overwhelming at the same time to be starting our new road trip blog.
But when we consider how much traveling has shaped our lives, we feel we have something valuable to offer.
And although this is going to be a huge learning curve for us, that is one of the best parts of the journey. We know that by the end of this we will know more about blogging, about ourselves, and we will meet some amazing people along the way.
In short, we will be better for the miles we put in.
So again, thank you for joining us on this journey. Now, let’s explain how we got to this point.
What made us want to start a new road trip blog?
We have both been traveling since we were very young. For me, cross country road trips were an annual event at a minimum.
We lived in Kansas, so everything was at least a day’s drive. Denver and the Rockies were over 8 hours, California and the Pacific took more than 24 hours.
Some of my earliest memories are of watching the miles of western America slip by my window. I fell in love with maps and geography. Because I was able to see them in real life, laid out like a story you don’t want to end.
And Lillian had a similar upbringing on the east coast. As most New Yorkers, she had family in Florida and New England that they would visit. And never by plane.
So when we started dating, we knew that traveling was just going to be a part of our lives. And we haven’t been disappointed.
All told so far, we have visited more than 20 countries on 5 continents. We have been to all but 4 states in America. And most of these we have taken some sort of road trip to explore.
In short, we have thousands of miles of road trips under our belt. And we tackle them as a team.
How we plan road trips as a team
You see, Lillian loves to plan out the trips. She can spend all of her free time looking at places to go, where to stay, how to get there. You can imagine her Pinterest boards.
She takes care of all of the details that I am a little too scatter-brained to keep track of.
Meanwhile, I consider myself a hobby photographer. I would like to be a professional, but that will be a lifelong pursuit.
On the upside, I have tens of thousands of photographs. Some of them are actually good.
So, while Lillian is busy checking us into our accommodations or campsite, I am busy taking and retaking dozens of the same picture. And every once in a while I hit a gem.
Anyway, that is a long way to say that we have years of research and travels that we want to share with you. And hopefully a few pictures will make it into future road trip blogs as well.
We hope that you can use our knowledge for insight and inspiration so that you can plan your own perfect road trip.
That being said, we are nowhere near finished with traveling. There is so much of this world that we want to see.
However, we are trying to find the best way to keep our traveling sustainable. We have both worked extra jobs and side work to make enough money to be able to travel.
But during some recent research for an upcoming trip, we came across a blog that suggested writing about travel for a living.
It had never occurred to us to write about traveling in order to keep traveling. Genius! That sounded like the perfect match for us.
In case you haven’t noticed, I like to write as much as I like photography. Maybe one or two lines will be gems if I write enough.
By the way, I would like to write about some of the resources out there that have helped us to get this blog set up. But quickly two shout outs:
Goats on the Road is what got us motivated and started on this journey.
Then we joined Nomadic Matt for a little more hand holding. The Superstar Blogging Course has been invaluable.
I don’t get paid to recommend either one of these. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention them.
Hopefully I can write a full article about how we started this blog and why we chose to focus on road trips at another time.
At any rate, it has been a lot more work than what I thought it would be. But I have already learned a ton, so it has been a lot of fun. I think hard work makes the reward that much sweeter.
We hope that you find our blogs both informative and entertaining. Our aim is to inspire and motivate you to tackle your own highway adventure. And we want to help guide you to further advice to get you to your ultimate destination.
Let’s get started with a little background on some of our own travels.
When I was seventeen when I set off on my first solo road trip. That seems young now. But in retrospect, this was the inevitable result of my childhood.
All of those road trips made traveling seem like a normal thing to do. Not only do you get used to it, but you also begin to crave it.
I always loved the feeling of excitement when the car was packed and you lay down for a few hours of sleep before heading out of town. Just knowing the adventure awaits made it so hard to fall asleep.
But when you did, the next thing you knew you were getting into the car at the wee hours of the morning. Wide awake as you pull out of the driveway.
But my favorite was being on the open road so early in the morning. Watching the city lights fading, hearing the highway drone by as we got up to cruising speed.
So, by the time I was 17 a road trip was just what you do.
Even so, I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for my mom. I have nieces and nephews that age now and would be worried about them driving across country.
Yet, this wasn’t just a road trip; it was a quest! A quest for knowledge… of drywall.
There was a one week class in Atlanta waiting for me. And all I had to do was get there. That noble goal was surely enough to assuage her worst fears.
Or I was a pain in the neck. Either way, she let me go.
Maybe I will sort this out in another post. But I didn’t make it to Atlanta that time. In fact, six hours in my car broke down. However, the significance bears itself in this undertaking.
You see, this website begins the same. We are setting off on a new adventure. There is something to be said about the strength of naivety and the boundless optimism that accompanies it. If we knew better, we may not even attempt this. Let alone be so open about our plan.
The aborted quest at seventeen taught me a valuable lesson. That trip was not the first I had ever concocted. I had many plans with some of my closest friends. The key difference between those intentions and the one to Atlanta was one simple word: Go.
While many of my dream destinations were way cooler than a drywall class in Norcross, GA, they never transpired. We never made it one foot out of the door.
Even though I didn’t complete my first lone journey, it gave me the courage to pull the trigger. Not just to dream about it, but to move.
And when I didn’t make it, I regrouped a few months later and set off with two of my cousins. But again, that is another story.
The point is, I’m not sure whether or not this website and road trip blog will be successful. If it will reach it’s destination.
But that’s ok. We’ve got our foot out the door and we are merging onto the highway.
Wherever this goes is an adventure. That being said, let’s take a look at where I am hoping to go with this.
What is our plan?
There are hundreds of travel blogs out there. And if you are on this page (which… you are), then you have likely read many of them. What will make this one stand out?
First of all, there are a variety of ways to see the world. From luxury to budget. Adventurous to relaxing. Jet-setting to backpacking. Hotels, vacation rentals, hostels, and campgrounds. There are limitless ways to see the world.
And while there are many travel sites that specialize on one style or the other , Maps Over Coffee is a blending of all of these into one main category:
The perfect road trip.
A road trip can be undertaken anywhere in the world. And with the flexibility they allow, the possibilities are almost endless.
Liberal baggage allowances. Flexible itineraries. Spontaneous deviations. You have so much customization for a road trip it should be illegal.
Where do you stay on a road trip? The same place as a 400 lb gorilla – anywhere you want! (Actually, gorillas are frowned upon at many Bed and Breakfasts).
Seriously, do you want to stay at a nice hotel for the night? Go ahead. Wanna rent a house for a few days? Entirely doable. Car Camping? Definitely! In fact, here’s our guide to camping on a road trip Wanna backpack to a remote campground? Just park at the trailhead and presto! You are on your way.
What about food? Stop at a grocery store and pack for a few days travel. Or stop at some local favorite you randomly find on Yelp!. Fast food? Why not? You are on vacation. You don’t have to call in sick the next day.
These are just a few of the advantages of a road trip. Obviously we will be exploring more reasons in future blogs.
The point is that Maps Over Coffee is all about the joys and benefits of road trips. Our hope is to inspire and help you plan your own epic highway adventure. And we want to do this in an entertaining, yet practical way to enhance any of your own future plans.
Additionally we will have resource guides and links for:
- Packing efficiently
- Hiking and camping gear
- Camera equipment and techniques
- Food and drink
- Where to stay and how to find the best deals
- Reasons for choosing a road trip over flying
- How to make money writing a blog
These are things that we obviously have experience with (except the make money part…). But we have had guidance along the way. And by pointing to those we have learned from, your opportunity for learning will be expanded.
A student is only as good as their teacher. We want to make sure you have the best ones available.
Maps, Coffee, Music
What are essential elements of a perfect road trip? Maps, coffee, and music.
Maps come in so many varieties. From the classic road atlas to the latest apps, maps are quintessential for finding your way on or off of the beaten path.
We will make as full use of road and trail maps. They help plan our way and become a part of the stories we come back with. We will extoll the beauty of maps. And we will explore all of the nuances in the latest technology to get the most out of them.
And coffee. Oh, Coffee! Is there anything that is more integral to a trip? When we sit down to plan it, we pull out a map and pour a cup of coffee. Thus the name of our website.
And when we are driving, we have a fresh mug as we move along the highway. And wherever we find ourselves waking up in the morning, coffee is the embrace of the best part of the day.
Finally a soundtrack. Any time we hit the road, you can bet that we bring our favorite artists with us. Every song is tied to an experience. Not only does the right song or album set the tone for the trip, but it will also be an indelible part of the memory.
Complications from Covid-19
I really did not want to bring this up. You are reading a travel blog to escape for a moment from the reality that has struck us all. Unfortunately, we are not traveling at this time. And we only hope that all of you are being as safe as you can.
However, that doesn’t mean we will never travel again. We will simply have to adjust our tactics. Or at least plan our road trip for when this whole Covid-19 and lockdown situation ends. We will just have to be cautious and judicious.
For many of us, hitting the road will be part of the recovery process. We are prescribing a name brand getaway at generic prices!
We also want to find ways to make these excursions affordable. Times are tough. Many of you have lost your jobs or been furloughed lately. The future seems unclear for sure. This is not a time to be taking on big expenses for many of us.
So when we plan these trips, we need to do so frugally. What are some of the best deals on accommodations? How can we save money on our food budget?
What is the best way to save money without sacrificing the memories that are ubiquitous to a great trip?
We will uncover some ways to make your next trip affordable without sacrificing the quality of it.
It’s worth mentioning that this doesn’t preclude some indulgences. We don’t want you staying in a nasty hotel. Unless you want a traumatic story to write about later, it is not worth the money you save.
However, you can make up for spending a little more on lodging by saving money on eating out for every meal. Or buying the cheap souvenirs that end up in a junk drawer for years before you finally have the heart to throw it out. Seriously, what are you going to do with a decorative plate that says “Galveston, TX” on it?
While we do promote “conserve and splurge“, splurging is not necessarily spontaneous. Rather, it’s knowing what you will truly value about the experience in the future.
You will never regret the rejuvenation from the right kind of vacation. You will not remember the hardship of eating a bowl of cereal in the morning so you could go out for a beer and burger that night.
But you will question your judgment when cleaning out your junk drawer.
Buckets of bucket lists
Finally, we want to share some of our own plans. Places we would like to go in the future. We have by no means been everywhere we want to go! The world is huge and there is so much to see.
So let’s dream a little. Because that is the beginning of all great journeys.
And when we begin to finalize our plans, we want to take you along with us. We will (ahem)…
Well, Lillian will sort through volumes of research. She will browse websites and blog posts. She will comb through hours of YouTube videos to find the hidden gems.
Then we will get out the maps. Pour ourselves some coffee. And watch as these possibilities turn into concrete plans. In time, these plans will go from the bucket of things to do to the bucket of things we have done.
So, to wrap up our first blog post we want to summarize what we look forward to with this blog. This is by no means an exhaustive look.
Especially since we are so new to this, we don’t know what will be the most effective way to go about this. But this is our mission statement. At least for now:
- Highlight some of our own experiences
- Offer guides to reliable information for your own road trip planning
- Discuss maps, coffee, and music to enhance the adventure
- Best budget to conserve and splurge
- Bucket list ideas
We are so excited to start this journey. And we can’t thank you enough for coming along with us. There is adventure around every corner. Something to explore down every road. All we have to do is Go!
If you are ready to plan your own road trip somewhere in the USA, check out our article The 7 Best Road Trips in America.
We would love to hear from you. If you have any feedback, please let us know. Or if you would like to sign up for our email list, please fill out the form below.
That’s it for now. We will see you down the road!