Making a List, Checking it Twice

Unpacking after our Trip to Devil’s Lake 2016.

Ask yourself: if you were going on a year-long trip in a motor home, what are a few of the essentials you couldn’t live without? Are there certain supplies that you need for work, stuff that you need on the trip in order for you to make money? Maybe you really, really like crocheting. Could you go without hooks? Or maybe it’s fishing. Or baseball. Or Pokemon. Or dolls or dress-up or matchbox cars.

You see, this is really gonna be the hard part. How are we going to tell our kids they can’t bring all 10 Beanie Boos with on our trip? Hence the list begins.

As a performing songwriter (yeah, I’ve been doing almost zero performing in recent months, but have kept up with writing a fare bit), having instruments with me isn’t optional—it’s a part of what I do and how I make money. On our trip, I’ll need to pare down the rig. (Right? I can’t bring all 11 of my guitars with on the road? Or how about my four amplifiers? Pedalboard? Recording gear? Microphones? If yes, how many? What about the rest of my recording studio gear? We’re talking 10’s of thousands of dollars.

I think it’s fair to say that we’ll have to spend a lot of time over the next couple of weeks deciding what matters most.

Here’s another example: How do we make coffee? French Press, stovetop espresso/percolator, single-serving pour-over, or instant (I just shuddered). Quality of life here, people!

As far as music goes, I think it’s fair to say that I’ll likely end up with two acoustics, one electric, an amp, a pedalboard, and enough recording gear to do the real thing on the road. And, I’d really, really like for our kids to continue learning piano, so add a compact weighted keyboard to that list. (Yikes! That’s a lot of stuff just related to music!)

For the rest of it, I’m working on a short mandatory list. Here’s where I’m at so far:

  • Kayak (yeah, seriously.)
  • Fishing poles (for the kids. I don’t really need my own.)
  • Rock climbing gear, including two crash pads
  • Hiking and camping gear (a couple packs, a tent, flashlights, first aid, boots)
  • Bicycles! (can’t you see now we’re really starting to build quite the list!)
  • Coffee brewing gear (haven’t settled on a method yet)
  • Basic tool set (it all takes up space…)
  • Laptop, other devices
  • Cast iron everything* (it’s heavy, but it’s versatile.)
  • Beer brewing equipment (now this one is gonna be reeeeeaaaaally tricky….)
  • Low-CC motorcycle (okay, okay, now we are really pushing it)

But seriously, what do we do about board games and card games and coloring books and supplies (Eleanor just loves to draw and craft and she’s great at it), and school supplies and… diapers. And the kids’ stuff? Seth is doing *awesome* in baseball this season. He easily could have played up a league. I want him to continue to improve. That means baseball gear, too!

When it comes right down to it, my list is already too long. Where can we cut? We have to decide as a family what “stuff” we truly want to bring with us, remembering that all of it is “just stuff” to begin with. Almost everything else is going to have to get stored while we are gone, we think.

If you were planning this kind of a trip, what are some of your essentials and what would you forego?

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