Thursday, May 25, 2023

Are We Having Fun Yet?

I remember when I first started my store, there was little time to analyze whether this was actually what I wanted to do. Existential questions are for the leisure class. When you're hard driving, you are focused on the thing directly in front of you and in some fuzzy way, the goal in the distance. There's not much better in life than that, in my opinion. In the moment is all there is. We had some time to relax last night and discuss how the trip was going, in the midst of our hard charging, RV style (very slow), down the coast.

What we discussed was a reminder of what we had originally decided:

  • The trip is compressed. I wanted six months. We have four. 
  • The season is wrong. This is the off season, and it's "off" because it's too damn hot driving through the desert. My buddy is having technical difficulties with his air conditioning that he didn't have in the US, and that is effecting our travel plans somewhat. The heat requires AC, the AC requires RV park power, RV park locations are limiting our travel options. My legs have about 100 bug bites and when we arrived at a new beach yesterday, a tropical paradise, I just wanted to sit inside and relax, rather than undergo another attack.
  • My rig is big. We knew my trailer would limit our options. His school bus is surprisingly maneuverable, agile, and takes up half the space. Still, I can park the trailer on hard packed sand on the beach, so we're mostly fine. With one household extension cord worth of power, the RV is a very nice home, regardless of where it is.
  • Our schedule is set. We have people flying in at two different times to meet up with us, creating deadlines. Deadlines create schedules. Schedules create stress. I really want this option in the future, but I don't want to race to meet people.
  • Learning. I'm still figuring out my rig and developing a routine. The trailer hitch is still a bear and I've learned not to disconnect, if we're not going to use the truck that day. That saves about 45 minutes, +/- 15 minutes something unusual happening with the hitch. Coming up with a routine for dumping tanks, understanding power, figuring out laundry and shopping patterns, is all ongoing. I had to deal with "sewer flies" in my black tank, a story for another time that involved a potentially dangerous concoction of bleach and human waste. I had to do an emergency dump.
  • Mistakes were made. My paperwork problems cost us a few days. We have avoided mechanical delays, thankfully. Last time I was in Mazatlan, our destination today, I had my Jeep fixed both on the way down and the way back up. Mazatlan, not surprising, is the Mexican city I'm most familiar with.

What we discovered from this discussion was this is a lot of damn work, but we're having an awful lot of fun. Everyone agrees. We are on the trip, but not in the trip. Our goal was to visit these magical towns, Pueblos Magicos, and we've managed to visit one, and sadly drive by around five (in the last couple days). Those five were an enormous pain in the ass to get to, which is part of the reason why this Pueblos program exists. To get people (Mexicans) to go out of their way to visit these gems.

Our current RV park has the jankiest of power receptacles (yet most reliable power)

Our next two stops are cities that will act as base camps for day trips into Pueblos Magicos, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. As I've mentioned, the cradle of Mexican civilization is the Central Highlands, so not surprisingly, the magical towns are clustered strongly in that region, where we are headed. We are on the trip, but that will be in the trip. I've been on the road for nearly three weeks, which is usually the entire length of a typical vacation. The idea that we're just starting now is exciting, frustrating, and a little daunting. We're looking forward to weeks of staying in one place.

If you're looking for a business parallel, I think it matches my experience with profitability. I worked for about five years, growing and expanding before finally becoming solidly profitable. That's a really long time to spend struggling in your life to get to zero. It's also a really exciting time to imagine possibilities for the future. That five years was not scratching and clawing while being undercapitalized, it was expanding and growing and creating a foundation. This trip is a bit like that. This is the hardest way to have that experience, but only if you look at the path towards it as something not part of it.

Driving with a trailer in Mexico

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