It’s Coddiwomple Time!!

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Aka – Wanderlusting’s less known sister.  The one that takes the desire to travel and rolls with it.  I stumbled across this word a few weeks back and as soon as I read it, I knew it was created for me.  And today I roll…

THE BACKGROUND

I have always loved a nice long road trip.  The wind in your hair, tunes on the radio, random sites like a giant Paul Bunyon and The Worlds Biggest fill in the blank.  When I was in high school I got my first taste of road life while following The Grateful Dead on a summer tour.  I LOVED the idea of packing up, driving out, settling down, hanging with friends, selling my crafts (I was really good at sewing patchwork clothing and crafting hemp jewelry 😉 ) listening to music, sitting by bonfires, and camping at night.  If it wasn’t a two-night city, we got to pack up and do it all over again the next day.  The Dead community gave me my first insight into van life and all that came with it.  When Jerry Garcia died, I switched to Phish tour (cool, but NOT THE SAME).  Town after town, parking lot after parking lot, grilled cheese after grilled cheese…I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT.  Even the gas stations and Walmart bathrooms.

Soon after high school, I took to the road with my best friend Marisa.  The plan was to drive her 69 VW bus across the country eventually making our way to Boulder CO, aka the hot hippy guy mecca of our world.  The VW never made it.  Apparently, 4 bald tires, a bus with no heat (in February) or working windshield wipers, and a starter on the fritz is a recipe for disaster.  Not to worry, though the bus didn’t make it, Marisa and I eventually did…via a Greyhound bus.  I am happy to report that indeed there were a ton of hot hippy dudes to be found.  😉

Fast forward 20 years and I haven’t been on a road trip since.  I mean, I have gone on long drives with specific destinations – when I moved to Ashland OR or visited my sister in Bar Harbor, Maine.  But I haven’t driven just to drive.  I haven’t had a chance to turn left on a whim instead of going straight…until today.THE IDEA

Many moons ago, I bought a 2001 Honda CRV, affectionately known as The Beast.  I had one specific purpose in mind when signing those papers – ROAD TRIP!!  But it never happened.  I have had some amazing adventures, but most of them involved planes, trains, and feet to get me there.  Somehow the road trip fell by the wayside. 😦

Since purchasing The Beast, I have aged and so has she, though my aging has cost nothing in comparison.  In 2016, it was her radiator, then brakes ($894.08 total).  Last year her exhaust went, soon after the starter, and in September she got two new tires ($913.54 total – not including the 2 tires which were a birthday gift from my mom.  Thanks, mom!).  Basically, her internal parts are similar to J$’s Franken-Caddy’s external parts – they would have been a match made in car heaven (may he RIP – Franken-Caddy, not J$).

A few weeks back I took The Beast in for an oil change and a new battery – all the things midwesterners do to assure not getting stuck in the dead of winter.  A half-hour later I received a call from the mechanic explaining that The Beast was not safe to drive.  In addition to the oil change and battery, she now needed new ball joints ($870.41 total).  I returned to find her suspended in the air with her undercarriage on full display for all to see.  After a quick walk around with the mechanic poking and prodding, pointing out all her issues and flaws, I whispered the words no one ever wants to say, “how long?”.  How long could she (we!) continue to live this way??  Thankfully, his answer was more optimistic than my thoughts.  With only 150k on the odometer, the mechanic assured me that after this repair, she had plenty of life left.  With that, I decided it is time to give her the life I bought her for.  It’s time for a road trip.

THE EXECUTION

Van Life is all the rage right now.  But you don’t need a van to join the party.  You can make use of whatever vehicle you have (yes, even hatchbacks and sedans)…all you have to do is google your make + camper and I can almost guarantee at least one result similar to what you are looking for.  Here is an example of what came up when I did it:

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After that search, I went down the rabbit hole of all things Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and blogging to find the perfect combination of small footprint/lots of storage.  I settled on a modified version I found at A Great Wandering Affair.

Last weekend I met with my newly retired Dad (Congrats, Dad!) to turn my CRV into an RV.  It took us two days of planning and tweaking, but we eventually got it perfect…

 

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Me being helpful…

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All that bending down…no wonder our backs hurt!

The platform is 46 wide and 72 inches long – big and wide enough for 2 people…or one person plus a 65lb dog, as is my case.  The total cost of the platform itself was $77.53 which included all the wood, screws, hinges, and turnbuckles (to secure the whole thing to the car – safety first!). 

And then I got to beautifying…

I used two yoga mats for the base (no carpet since Bubs is coming along), made curtains, designed and installed a pulley system for the seats to go up from the back seat (hard to explain, but necessary for stealthiness), cut window shades out of Reflectix to insulate, made a ramp for Bubs to access the platform, and found a way to make every inch of space useful.. and I have a ton of space left!

I haven’t taken pictures of here all packed up yet (too cloudy), but here she is with the mats partially installed:

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And with Bubs in her new bed (again thanks, Dad and Pam!)…

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I will fill you in on more of the details (final costs and pictures!!) in a future post.  We were due to hit the road 3 minutes ago at 10 am central.

THE PLAN/ROUTE/FINANCIALS

In my last post, I spoke about my Lean FI goals nearly being accomplished. With the market being what is has been, I feel financially stable enough to stop working for a month and enjoy this journey. I’m still tracking my expenses (obviously, what else would I write about?? 😉 ), but I am more looking forward to tracking my experiences and sharing them with you all (as well as the financials)!!

First stop, Springfield IL to visit my cousin.  Upcoming stops include Austin, Denver, El Segundo to see my other cousin and friends (Waffles on Wednesday and Tonya), San Francisco, a 3 day stop in Sonoma for a girls wine tasting bonanza, hot springs hunting, Redwood hugging, Ashland Or (my old stomping grounds), and whatever else comes my way.  No actual plans (besides Sonoma!!), I am traveling in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.  And it better have sun!!

I plan to be gone for one month, returning back to Chicago on the 23rd (just in time for our Rockstar Finance Forum meet up!!).  If you are interested in following along on my journey, I will be most active on Instagram and of course, Twitter.  I am hoping to also get a ton of writing done but I won’t make any promises.  😉  If you happen to be along my route, email or DM me and I would love to meet up…provided you are not a serial killer.  If you are, you should know I am armed with mace, my dog is trained to sic and doesn’t like strangers, and my mom is tracking my every move via Find Friends (seriously).  You do not want to feel the wrath of the Italian mafia.  Trust me.

So ta ta for now, friends.  I hope to see you on the road or in the near future!!

Until next time…

62 thoughts on “It’s Coddiwomple Time!!

    1. I know – it’s such a great benefit to my job…well, minus the fact I won’t be getting paid. Maybe we should move to Germany where they have more paid vacation days! I will see you in a few weeks… 😉

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  1. Your trip is really exciting. I love the SUV “van” conversion idea. We have a travel trailer and have done many trips, but not yet as far as you are going. I’m in Stockton CA and I’m not a serial killer, so I’ll email you.

    I can totally relate to your asking the mechanic “how long”! I just did my 3rd post on my old Mercedes that I got 500,000 miles on. These cars become our companions! Happy travels.

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    1. I got your email and will definitely keep you posted when I make my way through…provided your promise not to kill me was sincere. 😉 And 500k miles on that Mercedes?! They should give you a new one gratis for that kind of publicity!!

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  2. I’m not sure why this makes me so happy, but it does. Probably because I’m jealous as hell! I would LOVE to do this and will be living vicariously though you via Instagram and Twitter. Goes without saying, but if you find yourself in the Seattle’ish area then Mandy and I would love to meet you in person (finally). Have a great time!

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  3. Oh WoW, this is awesome! You’re living my dream. I love road trips too. It’s so fun to jump in a car and meander. Let us know when you hit Denver and if you want a place to stay in Boulder County.

    We have a 2003 Honda Element, the cousin of the CRV. The last time the Mrs. went out of town with the girls, I took out the back seats, threw my bike in the back and headed off to the mountains.

    See you maybe in Colorado and/or Omaha!

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    1. If you can spare the kids playhouse, I may actually take you up on that!! I was thinking of passing through on the 2nd to see the WoWs when they are in town. Then I will be back through again on my way home that time staying for a couple days (I think I have somewhere to stay at that point). Let me know if the 2nd works. If not, I have a Plan D… (and SOOO excited for Omaha!!)

      The Honda Element has some AWESOME conversions on youtube. Some dude created a pop up system for it and surely made a killing…until they stopped making Elements. If this trip goes well, I would love to upgrade to a larger vehicle for my next go around. An used Element is a likely option.

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  4. Sweet set up! I want to do the same and put a platform in my Subaru Outback but my problem is that I’m 6’4″. So I can technically sleep in the back, but not fully stretched out. I have to stay in a bit of a curled up or fetal position. Being tall has some disadvantages.

    But I still plan to do it one day. I’ll have my suby for a long long time so it’s on my list.

    Good luck with it and enjoy!

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    1. 6’4″ definitely is a problem…in some cases. Perhaps if you take the front side passenger seat out as well? I am sure our great minds can come up with something!!

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    1. YES!! I need people with me in spirit for all the nights I am shivering in a Walmart parking lit wondering “What the fuck am I doing shivering in a Walmart parking lot??” 🙂 And then I will think of all you kind people and rejoice in the fact that my worst case scenario is changeable in an instant. Turn on the car for some heat, head into Walmart to buy a blanket, or start driving South for warmer weather. I am extremely grateful I have a job that gives me the flexibility to follow through on some of my crazy ideas. Happy to have y’all along for the ride!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Julie!! I have missed your writing – I hope all is well with you and you are in good health. I will definitely let you know when I come through that way. I would love to have you check out my digs and maybe grab a cup of tea or something. 🙂

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  5. Wait a cotton-pickin’-minute! You are way too young to have followed The Dead around! But looking at that purple yoga mat/bed I’m wondering if perhaps you’ve been influenced by the psychedelics of that era?

    I’m loving the spontaneity. Safe travels and have fun!

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    1. Haha – I was certain we had chatted about this before! I indeed followed them and was even at the last show at Soldier Field. My dad wondered why the heck I wanted to follow a bunch of old men around but, what can I say? My first time at a parking lot I fell in love with the community. And yes, that purple yoga mat “spoke” to me. Could have been an acid flashback…hard to say. 😉

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    1. A sacred literary God…or some old English dude. They say the darndest things!

      I don’t know how long I will be in SF but I do know I am obsessed with Andy Goldsworthy and he has 3 pieces there that I have never seen. You are free to join me as I go about trying to find them. I will even let you ride up front and Bubs can ride in her bed in the back. 🙂

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  6. I am overwhelmed with jealousy. I have been researching camper van conversions, or possibly a Honda Element conversion, for over a year now. I need to make this happen! I swear, you are living the life I would live if I was retired. I am about 90% sure I will do this when I move to my next duty location, now I just need that to happen!

    The leading contender for me is a full DIY conversion of a Sprinter – turn it into a Class B RV. However, I’m thinking starting smaller/easier might be a good idea, especially since I will only need it for the occasional short trip and not living in it full time. More to follow!

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  7. Margie

    Hi Miss Mazuma! It was so nice to meet you at Camp FI earlier this month.

    This sounds like an awesome trip. I’d never heard the term coddiwomple, but the concept of wandering sounds wondrous to me and something I have thought about and not put into action.

    I am also addicted to watching camper van conversions and wandering travel videos on YouTube. Someday I should do this! I am impressed you are doing this alone.

    It doesn’t sound like you are coming anywhere near Florida, but if you did it would be nice to meet up again.

    I sent a picture of your carpe diem sock to some friends and everyone loved it!

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    1. Such a pleasure to meet you too!! Those socks are the best and definitely a great inspiration for this trip. 🙂

      I got hooked on The Nomadic Movements videos. If you haven’t check them out, do so…makes me want to be 25 again!! 😉

      My original plan had Florida included but it doesn’t look like I’m heading that way now. I’ll keep you posted if that changes again!!

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  8. Damn, this is super cool and I am PUMPED for you! I have looked into similar builds for adding a platform to the back of our Honda Fit and it seems like a really awesome approach. Looking forward to reading about your experiences and eventually getting around to making my own.

    One word of caution (totally not trying to be a debbie downer here!), I spoke with a friend at the EPA when researching my build about the off-gassing that occurs from plywood. It’s not something to be too terribly worried about, but since it’s a confined space, I’d recommend letting the car air our with open windows whenever you get the chance (and it isn’t too frigid), just to keep the air quality good in there. It’s also more of a concern when it’s hot and humid- that increases the rate of off-gassing.

    Have a great adventure!

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    1. When The Beast kicks the bucket I’m aiming for a Honda Fit – I love those seats!!

      Thanks for the heads up on the off-gassing. I was already concerned with carbon monoxide and condensation so I planned to keep the windows down a crack…this gives me even more of a reason! Thankfully we have the windows open quite a bit during the day – Bubs enjoys sniffing the fresh air. 🙂 Hope to see you guys soon!!

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  9. Seriously, your dad needs a work bench… or even something less permanent like a couple saw horses and a old door!

    Looking forward to following your adventure Ms Maz!

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  10. Chris @ Keep Thrifty

    That sounds like an awesome trip! I love how the RV turned out – it looks amazing. Have a great time!

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    1. Thanks, Chris! I am hoping to get some interior pics out in the next post. I had a few minor adjustments to make but after one week I think I am settled with it. 🙂

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  11. Wow! So cool! We have a 2006 Matrix and now am intrigued by the idea of using it to camp in, too! Great tip on googling our car model & camper.

    Have an incredible trip and let us know if you pass through Phoenix.

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    1. I will most definitely be passing through Phoenix. I will give you a shout when I am coming through. I think having a camp van and being able to call it The Matrix would be AMAZING!! Get out there!!

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