Looking for a truly offbeat adventure? Rachel of TreePot Travels tells us about her experiences “truck living,” aka living in a truck bed during a six-week trip from Florida to Nova Scotia, Canada. Warning: This interview inspires truly intrepid and beyond the guidebook travel.
1. Please tell us a bit about your experience traveling for 6 weeks from Florida to Nova Scotia living in a truck bed. What drove you to embark on an adventure like this?
To say it was an amazing experience wouldn’t do it justice! Although at times it was a bit uncomfortable (small living quarters, cold nights) it was a great way to travel slow, visit the places we wanted to, experience nature in full and save money. We decided to choose this particular means of travel because we wanted to be able to travel on our own time while being as adventurous as possible. With the set up that we have, we can travel and car camp any time of the year. It also allows us to forgo camping fees by camping out in Walmart parking lots and over passes.
2. What was something that surprised you about living in a truck bed for 6 weeks?
Honestly, how easy it was! We didn’t have big challenges like we prepared ourselves for and we’re able to keep all of our electronics (laptops, cells phones, etc.) charged without problems. We were even able to get internet access from restaurants and rest stops.
3. As you made your way from Key West to Nova Scotia, what were some of your favorite stops along the way and why?
Although we saw a lot of amazing things, Acadia National Park tops the list. Located on the coast of Maine, this park drips in adventure. We got the chance to camp there for 2 nights. We also loved Anna Ruby Falls in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northern Georgia. We went there right in the middle of Fall and the contrast between the falls and the autumn leaves were unbelievable.
4. What was one lesser-known attraction or destination you experienced along the way that you enjoyed and probably wouldn’t be found in a guidebook?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. We don’t really look at guidebooks and therefore don’t know what’s in them. I would have to say some of the hikes we did off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are trails everywhere and when we were there the winter was rolling in, causing for few people to visit.
5. Sleeping in a truck bed… How does that work?
It’s actually simpler than many would think, first you have to build a set up for your bed, clothes and other essentials. Mike designed a drawer system that held our items underneath the bed. We used a thin mattress and piled on different blankets to keep us warm through the night.
6. What are some major factors to plan for when embarking on a truck living journey?
First, you want to make sure that this is really what you want to do. If taking a long trip, you’ll be living in a small space for a long time, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. For us, it worked out great. Second, really look into the design of the back of your truck (or SUV/car) and try to come up with a plan that will allow for the greatest amount of room or storage. Third, put into a pile all of the items you plan to take, then cut that in half. That’s how much you’ll want to take. Otherwise you’ll end up having too many supplies which could hamper your trip.
7. What would you tell someone interested in trying truck living but who is on the fence about it?
It’s a great opportunity to save money while giving you the option of traveling slow or fast. It also makes for an easier travel then hauling a big set up behind you. With track living, we were able to save over $2,000 dollars during our 6 week trip.
8. What are some of the safety precautions one needs to take when embarking on a truck living journey?
Some people think that it is really dangerous to just park your truck and sleep overnight. All you have to do is keep your wits about you and stay out of bad neighborhoods. We didn’t have one single incident where we felt unsafe.
9. What was the most rewarding part about traveling and living in a truck for 6 weeks?
Being able to share the experience with my husband. This trip has brought us closer together than we were previously. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with a love one or close friend and experience the world together.
10. What was the most challenging part about traveling and living in a truck for 6 weeks?
The most challenging was having to sleep through cold nights. The coldest night on that trip ran us down to 6 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily we had a little heater that helped out a bit. Since then, we have slept in the truck on a night that reached down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rachel is one half of the TreePot Travels team and travels the world via House sits and road trips. An avid adventurer and nature photographer, you can find her hiking, freediving or looking for that one prefect picture. You can follow her adventures (as well as order prints of her beautiful nature photography) on TreePot Travels as well as on Facebook and Twitter.