Not too long ago we had the pleasure to lunch with Jim and Jane Collins. Yes, we are talking about THE Collins. They were in the Netherlands on their way to a Chautauqua 2019 in Portugal (note, that’s not until September!). Yes, that is taking slow travel quite literally to get there :-). Besides being all-round great people, they also invited us to stay with them if we ever got to the other side of the pond.
They are actually not the first ones to invite us to stay with them if we make it to the good old US of A. When we spoke with Miss Mazuma earlier this year when we were staying in a castle for a FIRE meetup. She actually also invited us to look at her uhm..caboose… Interesting folks these Americans 😉
But this got us thinking when we were on our short holiday last week, which we primarily centred around our little girl (read: swimming pool, play areas, kids activities, etc.). Why not plan something big again for 2020? Something for us all. So the Cheesy goes America Tour was born!
So what’s the plan? Our daughter get’s out of school on Friday July 17, 2020 and needs to start again Monday August 31, 2020. This will give us the opportunity to fly out on Saturday and return on the Sunday before school begins. This gives us 6 weeks to have some fun!
We can do a lot in 6 weeks. But it’s also not that long for a good road trip. Especially not if you plan to drive from coast to coast 🙂 Say from San Francisco to Boston (or the other way around). We might cheat a little bit and spend up to 3 weeks in the area between San Francisco and Denver, hop on an Amtrak train to get from Denver to Chicago. In the remaining 3 weeks we will drive to Boston or NYC to catch a plane home. Lot’s of options to consider, but we have some limitations.
Since we have relatives living in the USA, we have been there on plenty occasions. So far we have seen about 26 states, many of the big cities and more than half the national parks. Therefore we want to focus on people rather than attractions/parks/cities this time around. We also want to visit our relatives of course (and some friends), hence the desire to visit the Chicago/Boston/NYC areas and the greater San Francisco area.
We are (still) not FI, albeit currently both enjoying some (temporary) RE. This since I quit last year and Mrs CF last month. Both of us are going to look for a new job, but this time the job(s) have to be really good (and part-time) before we will even consider. That being said, our journey to FIRE will come to a standstill in the next little while (heck, we might even will reverse and go backwards depending on when money flows back in from paid work).
As we do not know what will happen in the next year, we need to be a bit more careful how we spend our money. This includes our plans for the Cheesy goes America tour! Fortunately we are frugal. So we will check out the options for the flights, car rental, train tickets, etc. But even when you carefully search for options (travel hacking with credit cards hardly exists here), it will likely cost us at least €5.000-6.000 for transport alone. Some of this we will offset with renting out our house on Airbnb for that period of time
However, we still need to eat and sleep somewhere too, plus there will be various activities. This is where we might need YOU!
We need Your help!
Don’t worry, we are not going to ask you to fund our road trip. We are frugal, not cheap! Since we want to focus this trip around people, we are looking for (non-)bloggers that can help us with a place to stay and/or to do an activity (I can have a beer again too by that time!). So if you have a spare bedroom available, or a swimming pool (or know someone who does) or you own a brewery, let us know! We would love to meet you.
But we also want to do something back for your help and hospitality. We cannot bring gifts (nor do we really want to from a minimalism perspective), but we can help cook, clean the yard, mow the lawn, do groceries, help put up some dry-wall, paint a room, etc. All within reason obviously, as we have lots of miles to make and people to meet. So bBring it on 😉
Our goal is to have roughly 80% of our accommodations covered for this trip by amazing people like you! Even if you cannot commit yet, like our buddy Cubert, we also like to know if you want to just consider hosting us. The details will follow at a later stage anyways.
But what about the environment?
We have not flown since 2015 (not for personal reasons anyway). Primarily because it’s a very polluting way of getting around. Unfortunately, considering the lack of time, we cannot row or sail our way to the USA. However, we do want to limit our impact on this planet. I simply cannot look at our daughter and just say, sorry honey, we fuck up this planet, now you go an deal with it. Seems rather unethical to me.
So we have to find a way to efficiently offset some of our carbon footprint for this trip (and ones we taken in the past). Not sure yet how we will do this, but we are still seriously considering buying a plot of land and growing a perma-culture garden and/or small forest. This will cost some money obviously, money we currently cannot miss yet. Also available land is limited here in the Netherlands. But we will find a way!