3 Lessons Learned from my Recent Travels

by Tammy Strobel on September 26, 2012

Over the last few weeks, Logan and I have been traveling all over Northern California. We went to Chico to see family, to Sebastopol for my first author event and to Novato to meet the folks who published my book at New World Library. In-between all of the travel, I’ve been working on my new class and trying not to stress out. I discovered long ago that I am a creature of habit, so lots of travel makes me a little anxious.

To give you an idea of where we’ve been, here’s a quick run down of our itinerary . . .

  • September 4: Moved the tiny house to the ranch.
  • September 4 — 11: Put the house together, visited with family, and helped prepare for Pat and Blair’s party.
  • September 11 — 14: Left the ranch and headed to Chico to visit family.
  • September 14 — 17: Came back to the ranch for a weekend at home.
  • September 18 — onward: Book launch day + blog tour + author events!
  • September 17 — 20: Left the ranch and drove back to Chico, picked up a rental car then headed to Sebastopol for an author event, then to Novato, and back to Chico again. Dropped off a rental car, in Chico, and picked up a new one for a one way trip back home.
  • September 21: Returned the rental car to Yreka.
  • September 22: Yreka author event.

Luckily, Tyler (my amazing brother in-law) loaned us his car for some of our travel and in-between we rented two cars in Chico. Yreka is the closet “big town” to the ranch and they only have one car rental option. Since they have a monopoly on rental cars, Yreka prices are double when compared to Chico. Traveling by train and bus would have been ideal, but the logistics didn’t work out because of my tight schedule, radio interviews, and other family obligations.

I’m grateful that we were able to travel and rent cars over the last few weeks, but I’m happy to be out of the car and on my bike again. For example, on Saturday we cycled from the ranch into Yreka for an author event and then home again. It was a 25 mile, round-trip, bike ride and it was lovely. My knee acted up a little bit, but it was worth it. It felt so good to move my body because it hurt after spending so much time in the car.

Over the last two weeks, I learned a lot about myself and I loved spending so much time with Logan too. I’m happy that he’s taking a sabbatical from the work world. I couldn’t imagine going to author events without him.

And speaking of things I learned over the last few weeks, below are three tips I took away from two weeks of travel:

1. Scheduling interviews on travel days is a bad idea.

I had to reschedule a Skype interview with the lovely Caroline, from A Wish Come Clear, because I was stuck in traffic last week. Also, we had planned on taking the bus back home but I forgot about an early morning radio interview that I’d committed too. I didn’t miss the interview, but it was a close call. Ever since, I’ve been triple checking my calendar.

2. Plan ahead.

This is a really simple piece of advice, but it’s so important. Neglecting to look at my calendar made the return trip more stressful and expensive because we couldn’t take the bus home. Instead, we rented a car.

3. Double your travel time & cost.

Traveling by car always takes longer than I expect. Usually, there is traffic or construction to deal with and the costs are always more than I expect! Since I cycle so much, I forget about the expensive gas prices.

Parting words . . .

I don’t know what the future holds, but right now I’m happy to be back at home. Luckily my next author event is close by in Ashland, on Thursday evening. Ashland is only a 45-minute drive from the ranch and we’re going to car pool with my mother in-law. It should be really fun.

A lot of people have asked where we’re going next. I don’t have the answer to that question. For now, we’re planning on staying at the ranch. Logan and I are loving it here, despite the transportation challenges. There is so much to look forward to over the next few months, including a few more author events, my upcoming writing class and lots of cycling too.

Be well,
Tammy

A quick post-script . . .

Writing in the Digital Age. Registration closes for my writing class on Friday. There are only fifteen spots left and it’s filling up quickly. I hope you’ll join us.

You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap) Blog Tour. In addition to my real life book tour, I’ll be touring the virtual world too. Over the next few weeks, you’ll see a variety of articles and interviews about happiness and living simply on a wide range of blogs. Explore the articles and interviews by clicking here.

You can buy my book from: Amazon.comBarnes and NobleIndie BoundNew World Library, and Powell’s.

1 Karolien September 26, 2012

Hi Tammy,

I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago and love it!
It gave me the strength to declutter my home and really think about what’s important in my life and how I would like to live it in the future.
As I live in a 400 square foot apartment (8 years now), I need to declutter ones in a while (stuff just keeps on creeping into my home), but still I wasn’t able to get rid of a lot of stuff, even if they didn’t have any purpose anymore. Then I started reading you’re blog and something just clicked in my head. I’m getting rid of a lot of stuff (some things I sell, most of it goes to charity) and just love how it makes me feel! So light! :-)
I love your tiny house, a tiny house is my dream house, but I don’t think I will ever be able to life in one (bad laws here). Anyway, I keep dreaming (what’s a person without dreams?!)
Just bought your book this weekend and loved it!
So I want to say: keep up the amazing work and keep on inspiring people! :-)
Greetings from a happy reader in Belgium,
Karolien

2 Christie Primeaux September 26, 2012

Hi I got your book on IBooks. Its great so far, I’m a slow reader but your book excited me so much that I’ve been reading it every chance I get. I first heard about it either from Jay Shaffer or the tiny house blog. I downloaded a sample and could not stop reading so I bought it. Its been a truth explosion both inspiring and exposing. Being a slow reader is sometimes annoying but in this case its helpful. Your book is like eating a rich piece of chocolate I wanna wolf it down but can’t, it taste better if I go slow. I’ve been on a simplicity journey my self. I had hit a wall but after starting this book the wall seems to have vanished. I once again see my goal clear. Thanks!!

3 Paul - The Kind Little Blogger September 26, 2012

The hire car idea is a good one.

I have never owned a car let alone got a licence. People always ask me how have I coped for so long. Sure, where I live now, I can cycle everywhere. But what about when I lived a long way out of the city? You adapt.

You and Logan have done great not owning cars and adapting. Well done embracing cycling–it’s so much fun! Sure, you may be required to go on long drives sometimes, but there are ways around that, even if one doesn’t own a car, as you have learnt. I’m sure it cost you a lot less to rent a car for a few days than it would in constant loan repayments, refuelling, maintenance, depreciation, etc.

My partner still has a car. We travel in it maybe a couple of times a month–for convenience rather than necessity; we could just as well cycle or catch public transport for the journeys we make in the car. Yes, he holds onto it for that “rainy day”. In the meantime, it’s costing many hundreds of dollars to keep running.

There are also some wonderful car sharing programs, the one in my city is called GoGet, that give one further ability to adapt.

4 Tammy Strobel September 28, 2012

Paul – You are right. So far we’re adapting to rural life and loving it. I’m excited to see how we do in the winter. Unfortunately, there are no car sharing programs in the Yreka. However, we have family in the area and we might be able to car share with them. :)

And thank you so so much for the amazing book review. I HAPPY that you enjoyed the book.

Best,
Tammy

5 Dave Crannell September 26, 2012

Hi Tammy
Carol and I got your book the other day. Carol is reading it first. She says its great!! Glad to hear your traveling has been a success. Take a rest and enjoy. Look forward in seeing you. Unk

6 Sarah-Mae September 26, 2012

Hey Tammy,
I just finished your book (and returned it to the library so that one of the other 8 people with holds can get their hands on it too!) and loved it. Oh Tammy, I’ve been pursuing minimalism and the art of living more simply for the past several months – we live in a 700sq ft wooden cabin on 12 acres and have never had much compared to others, but it was always seemed like too much for me – but your book made it all “click”. Since finishing you book I’ve realized how much my time is worth, and that I am tired of working at a job I dislike in order to pay for our dream house that costs too much for us to not work, and for cars that cost us so much money just to commute from our expensive dream house to the jobs we dislike. Not to mention, our dream house is so far from town that no one comes and visits us.
The conversations regarding the possibilities of moving, leaving our current jobs, relocating closer to those we love, and/or building more community where we already are have begun, and it’s all thanks to you. What we do or where we go is still in the dreaming stages, but I’m aware now and open to change. <3 thank you!

7 Caroline McGraw / A Wish Come Clear September 27, 2012

It was such a pleasure to speak with you last week, Tammy! :) And I can totally relate to your #1 ‘Lesson Learned’ — I’ve scheduled phone interviews for traveling days in the past, and have had to miss calls because cell phone and Internet service cut out. (That’s what I get for trying to bring work ‘with me’ to a remote lakeside cabin.)

Like you, I’ve learned to be cautious in committing to calls unless I’m sure I’ll have the reception, equipment, and time to allow things to go smoothly.

That said, life happens and I was totally happy to reschedule with you – in part because I know how grateful I’ve been when others have been willing to be flexible for me! Xoxoxo

8 Tammy Strobel September 28, 2012

I loved talking with you! It was a great chat and I really appreciate your flexibility. xo.

9 Frank | Shelf of Wonders September 27, 2012

Hey Tammy, Read the book cover to cover over the course of a day or two last week, posted some thoughts to my blog (click my name to take a look) and have found myself going back to reread bits ever since. Really enjoyed it, and will definitely be rereading and giving some of the Micro-Actions a go!

10 Cheryl September 28, 2012

Hi, Tammy — I just wanted to tell you how much I am loving your latest book. I downloaded it to my Kindle prior to a recent business trip and have been reading it during evenings and long hours spent at the airport or on a plane. This is by far one of the most well-written books on the subject of downsizing (and life in general) that I have read. Kudos to you on such a stellar book! As a budding writer myself, I can appreciate how much time and effort went into your book and truly am looking forward to your next venture in the writing world. Stay happy!

11 Tammy Strobel September 28, 2012

Thank you so much! If you’re so inclined, please leave a book review on amazon.com. :) I appreciate your support!

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