We’re currently sitting in Bakersfield, California after the second of many weeks to come on our Gap Year adventure. Despite quitting our respective jobs in order to road trip across the country for an entire year, I’m not sure that significant life change has sunk in yet.
If you know anything about this area of California, you’re probably wondering why in the world we would be spending multiple nights here. As far as I can tell, there aren’t a whole lot of sights to take in this far from the coast, somewhere between San Francisco and Los Angeles, but that’s exactly the reason we chose it.
The first couple of weeks of our road trip have been fairly busy and involved a good amount of driving to get us all the way down here from Seattle, so we decided to slow ourselves down.
Let’s take a look at where we’ve been so far.
The Gap Year Has Finally Begun
After ~6 months of brainstorming and planning this crazy idea, we’re finally on the road!
The actual “start” of our Gap Year is a little fuzzy, but here are some important dates:
- Last day of work: January 23, 2018
- Last day owning furniture: February 1, 2018
- Pre-road trip family vacation to Cabo: February 2-6, 2018
- Last day spent in our Seattle townhouse: February 6, 2018
- First day of the epic road trip: February 7, 2018
For bookkeeping purposes of tracking our expenses during our trip, I think I’m going to declare February 1st the official first day of our gap year adventure.
Summing Up All of Our Possessions
After months of liquidating almost everything in our house, we (and by we, I mean Becky) finally sold our final two pieces of big furniture on the first of February. Before we took of on a plane to Cabo, every single one of our possessions was either in our 5ft x 5ft storage unit in Seattle, or it fit in the Mazda 3 hatchback we would be taking with us on the road. Nothing was left in our house (that will hopefully be rented out soon).
From a minimalism perspective, it was extremely freeing to get rid of a lot of things in our lives, especially those we never used! On the other hand, some of the things that we sold, gave away, or donated did seem a bit wasteful in the grand scheme of things. When we eventually settle back down somewhere, hopefully we remain mindful of all the things we accumulate and bring into our house to minimize waste in the future.
The First Two Weeks Have Been Busy
Our family trip to Cabo was awesome! Both of our trips to Hyatt all-inclusives in Mexico have been fantastic and I can definitely see repeating a similar trip in the future, assuming we can keep accumulating points to cover the costs. If you have either Chase or Hyatt points and aren’t sure what to do with them, booking a Hyatt all-inclusive would be near the top of my list.
Check out my respective posts on booking both the Cancun and Cabo locations for more information:
- How We Booked 4 All-Inclusive Nights in Cancun for $160
- A Cabo San Lucas All Inclusive on Points, Miles, and $164
After returning to Seattle after the Cabo trip, we spend a final night in our empty townhouse before hitting the road. As all of our furniture was gone, we were basically camping on our living room floor which was kind of fun.
We also made a day trip out to Cannon Beach (one of the places they filmed The Goonies!) which was a little gloomy, but that’s par for the course in the Pacific Northwest in February.
The Redwood Forests of Northern California
Our next stop was Klamath, California where we spent a couple of days checking out the amazing size and beauty of some California redwood trees. The “Trees of Mystery” attraction was awesome and it was even pet friendly!
The San Francisco Bay Area
After the brief stop to explore northern California, we packed the car up again and drove all the way to Alameda, just east of San Francisco. This was going to be the place our dog, Bogey, would be spending the next year with his loving aunt while we gallivant across the rest of the US.
It was sad to say goodbye for now, but we know he’ll have a blast playing with all of the other dogs, something that was more of a rare treat up in Seattle. Did I mention that Bogey’s cousin (and new roommate) is an Irish Wolfhound? They make quite the pair:
After spending time with Becky’s sister on Alameda and driving down “the crookedest street in the world”, we spent a couple nights with a friend in San Jose before heading off to our current location: Bakersfield.
San Jose was pretty awesome because we did the combination of visiting the Winchester Mystery House and seeing the brand new Winchester movie in a theater no less than 1 block away!
Needless to Say, We’re a Little Tired
Ever since the start of this gap year, we’ve been busy driving (1,600+ miles so far), hanging out with friends, or seeing sights, and I’m not sure that frantic pace is sustainable. All of those things are fun in their own right (well, the driving is alright), but it’s not something I can see ourselves maintaining for 12 straight months.
For that reason, we booked ourselves a little getaway to Bakersfield between SF and LA to relax and do a good amount of nothing. I honestly don’t know much about the city (it might be secretly awesome), but we got a hell of a deal at 5 nights for only 40k Hilton points. Whether we spend most of our time in the room reading and binging TV shows, or explore the city a little bit, it should be a chance to recharge a bit before our next destination.
Overall, It Doesn’t Feel Much Different Than a Long Vacation (Yet!)
As I mentioned in the title of this post, the reality of this year long trip we’re taking hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
Maybe it’s because we’ve only been on the road for a couple weeks and we’ve taken longer trips than that in the past. Maybe it’s because my final paycheck arrived at the end of January and the next time I would have received a paycheck (end of February) hasn’t happened yet.
Maybe it never will feel that different from our “normal” day to day lives of the past several years. As the old saying goes: “Wherever you go, there you are.”
We’ll be in new places, meeting new people, and experiencing new things, but at the end of the day, we’re still the same two people spending time with each other.
Or maybe it just hasn’t kicked in yet and we’re in for a world of change real soon!
Regardless, we’re nowhere near the end of this adventure and we don’t plan on giving up anytime soon. I’ll be sure to keep you updated here on Money Metagame as we wander around for a while trying new things and pondering life. Cheers!
P.S. Becky and I started an official Instagram for the blog that can be found here: Money Metagame Instagram. We’ll be posting there on a regular basis with quick updates and cool pictures of what we’re up to, so be sure to follow us!