Episode 9 – Hosting Couchsurfers

travelingchimps.comEver thought of hosting couchsurfers? Well my guest this week, Phil Hoover, has hosted 532 people from 97 countries over 38 months and amassed a coffee mug collection second to none.

Have questions about full time travel? I’m always willing to share what I know. I wouldn’t be plugging a mic into my laptop if I didn’t. Hit me up on social media or email me directly at: travelingchimps@outlook.com with all your family travel questions.

Each week I’ll release the next chapter of the book along with a supporting podcast, covering that chapters topics and highlights. Comments and questions are encouraged, so please comment and ask below. I’ll answer any questions either on the podcast or directly to you via email.

Link to the Fifth Chapter:

Family Vagabond Adventure, Learn Art Of Full Time Travel

Amazon Travel Accessory of the Week:

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Couchsurfing – Free online tool and community to find free places to stay all over the world.

This Weeks Guests

Phil Hoover – You can find Phil on Twitter and Facebook.

This Weeks Music & Art

Cherry & Orange by the Smacken Pappy

Two Souls Riddim by Alan Ulises Rhythm

Podcast Art by TR of Nomads By Design

Follow along on our adventure at Facebook http://www.facebook.com/travelingchimps Twitter https://twitter.com/TravelingChimps and YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/travelingchimps and now on Pinterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/travelingchimps/

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Episode 7 – Couchsurfing

travelingchimps.comEpisode 7 is all about Couchsurfing!! Travel the world for free or host travelers to inspire you to do the same.

I interview Jessica Chandler from ladyhobo.com She is currently in El Salvador and has been to all 50 states. She’s a frequent couchsurfer and a wealth of knowledge.

I also interview author/couchsurfer Thomas Mark Zuniga now living in Asheville, NC. You can find Thomas’ work at Thomas Mark Zuniga dot com. His latest book, Struggle Central, is available on Amazon.

Have questions about full time travel? I’m always willing to share what I know. I wouldn’t be plugging a mic into my laptop if I didn’t. Hit me up on social media or email me directly at: travelingchimps@outlook.com with all your family travel questions.

Each week I’ll release the next chapter of the book along with a supporting podcast, covering that chapters topics and highlights. Comments and questions are encouraged, so please comment and ask below. I’ll answer any questions either on the podcast or directly to you via email.

Link to the Fifth Chapter:

Family Vagabond Adventure, Learn Art Of Full Time Travel

Amazon Travel Accessory of the Week:

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Couchsurfing – Free online tool and community to find free places to stay all over the world.

This Weeks Guests

Jessica Chandler – You can find Jessica blogging about her travels at LadyHobo.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook. Go show her some love!

Thomas Mark Zuniga – You can find Thomas at ThomasMarkZuniga.com and on Twitter and Facebook. Go buy is latest book on Amazon.

This Weeks Music

Cherry & Orange by the Smacken Pappy

Two Souls Riddim by Alan Ulises Rhythm

Follow along on our adventure at Facebook http://www.facebook.com/travelingchimps Twitter https://twitter.com/TravelingChimps and YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/travelingchimps and now on Pinterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/travelingchimps/

Like what you’re learning? Please share it on social media.

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Family Vagabond Adventure – Travel Tools – Chapter 4

Travel Tools, Accessories & Games

Cell Phones & Service

Traveling ChimpsI would recommend having a decent smartphone, like an Apple iPhone, or Samsung Galaxy. This will give you access to apps like Priceline and Google Maps, while you travel and they also have nice built in cameras. You’re going to want to take a ton of pictures. Whether you’re writing a blog, posting your travels to social media or just want the pictures for yourself, a smartphone is a tremendous way to accomplish a lot, with a small tool.

Depending on where you are traveling, make sure to check your phones coverage. You’ll need an international plan if you are planning to leave the U.S. and the current go to provider is T-Mobile. Though this changes almost monthly, so do your homework. It may be smarter to bring an unlocked phone with you and buy a local SIM card for the country you are in. GSM type phones and unlocked phones, is the technology used at a greater frequency outside of the U.S.

A quick word on purchasing a smartphone. If you actually do the math, it is much cheaper to buy the phone outright, rather than rolling it into your monthly bill. You will probably pay at least double, if not triple what the phone cost over the course of the locked in 2 year contract. I know that it is a larger upfront investment, but financially it is a good hack.

And don’t forget good old Skype. It runs on the internet and is free to call from Skype user to Skype user. We use it a lot to meet with homeowners virtually during the house-sit selection process. More on that to follow. Remember even though you may have an international plan, the person you may need to call, may not and Skype is a solid solution.

Travel Apps

Traveling Chimps

Grand Canyon – North Rim

A must use tool, is Google Maps, a free app that can be used on all smartphones. Google Maps turns your phone into a GPS and will give you multiple routes to choose from. The best part is, it will alert you to traffic issues and even suggest alternative routes to get around the trouble. Unless you have an affinity to using old school methods, like road atlases, then Google Maps is a must.

Another great GPS for your smartphone is Waze. We’ve been using Waze more and more. Mostly because Waze will warn you of police activity, speed traps and cameras on stop lights. Its one short fall, for us, is you can’t put in a destination greater than 900 miles from your current location and we have completed some very long road trips. Waze knows about this and are working to correct the problem. Also, if you are traveling international, you may incur data roaming charges for using the app outside of the U.S.; however you can pre-load your trip on a Wi-Fi connection before setting out on your adventure. Keep in mind though, that you will not receive real time updates, including optimized routes and police activity.

If you have no internet, then this is the GPS app for you. It’s called Here and it works in over 100 countries. You can find nearby dining options, hotels and turn by turn voice guided directions with no data charges. Not a bad solution and one I will be trying out on my next adventure.

Another great app, unrelated to road trips, is TripIt, which takes all of your travel itineraries and organizes it in one view by trip. For instance it will take your air travel, hotel reservations and rental car info for your trip, which you forward your confirmation emails to their server and displays it in a usable way, based on time.

The most used app on our travel team at the moment, is Duolingo! Want to learn a new language fast? Then this is your solution. It’s available on Android and IPhone and get this, it’s free! We have been working on Spanish for about a month now with tremendous success. Just 10 minutes per day and it feels like you are playing a game. You will learn to write, read and speak 20+ languages and look for other learning courses with Duolingo soon.

Wi-Fi Service

Traveling ChimpsWi-Fi selection is going to come down to how often you need to use it and where do you need to use it? You may even want to look at apps like, Wi-Fi Finder, which will show you open Wi-Fi connection in your vicinity and best of all, it’s free. But let’s explore a few current options. Remember that Wi-Fi providers and their solutions change very rapidly, so like cell phone providers, do your homework.

A great solution for folks who don’t need constant internet connection is Skyroam. It works by daily rental. You purchase unlimited internet connection for $9.95 per 24 hours. You can either rent the hotspot from them or you may purchase one from them.

One provider you may want to stay clear of is Xcom Global. They work in much the same way as Skyroam, but tack on additional fees like, $30 shipping and handling on the hotspot, a $30 surcharge for each additional country beyond 2 plus a $50 cancellation fee when you’re done with your service.

Your best bet, much like cell phone coverage, is to buy an unlocked hotspot and buy a local SIM card for it. See the trend here?

A note on Wi-Fi service. It’s getting better. I was actually surprised at the coverage across the U.S., even in some very remote areas, but there is not 100% coverage and in some spots, you may get service, but it could be very slow. Something to keep in mind when the internet is part of your job. I spent a month in the Northern California town of Happy Camp, relying on my Wi-Fi to do my computer consulting gig. I was able to make it work, but it was very frustrating to say the least. Experiment with the placement of the Wi-Fi itself. I found that placing the unit in the kitchen window seemed to get the best signal. Keep this in mind when putting down roots for an extending amount of time.

Accessories

Traveling ChimpsWhen you travel with electronics, you need a ton of cables. It’s hard to use Google Maps with a dead phone, Make sure you have a charger. We used standard wall plug chargers in our hotel rooms, and USB/Cigarette lighter chargers for the car. Ours has two USB plugs that connect to a plastic charger which you plug into the cigarette lighter. We also used a 6’ auxiliary cord with a 1/8” plug to connect our phone to the cars audio system to listen to music, podcast and Google Maps.

Depending on where you plan to travel, you may need a travel adapter kit. Many countries power girds run on different voltage than the U.S. grid and the plug end vary greatly from country to country. Some adapters are even sold as an all in one unit, charging multiple devises at once with multiple plug adapters to cover most countries you find yourself exploring. They have built in surge protection and most charge via USB cables.

Sometimes clean cloths can be few and far between, making your vehicle, let’s say, not so fresh. The biggest culprit? Dirty underwear, who wants stinky underwear? That’s right, no one! That’s where antimicrobial underwear come to the rescue. There are a bunch of companies making these underwear these days, just do a quick Google search. These garments are made out of special material and a coating that is breathable, quick drying and odor reducing. They come in a bunch of different styles for men and women, boxers, briefs, thongs and full cut, to point out a few. Believe me, you’ll be comfortable and your family will thank you.

Traveling with kids? Then you’ll need some distractions! We allow our kids to bring tablets with them and we download shows, movies and educational apps on Wi-Fi at out hotel and many of the apps work offline. One non electronic game we have been playing in the Honda is, Travel Scavenger Hunt. Each player selects 7 cards and the first person to find all of their objects on their cards, wins the game. “I see a Post Office” or “a fire hydrant.” It makes the time fly by and occupies the little ones, and the not so little ones for a little while anyway.

Here’s the link to the corresponding podcast: Episode 4 – Travel Tools, Accessories & Games

Follow along on our adventure at Facebook http://www.facebook.com/travelingchimps Twitter https://twitter.com/TravelingChimps YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/travelingchimps and now on Pinterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/travelingchimps/

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Family Vagabond Adventure, Learn the Art of Full Time Travel – Chapter 2

Budget

Learn the Art of Full Time Travel

Red Wood Forest – California

Budgets are a personal thing. Some travelers may be independently rich, retired on Social Security, or completely broke with just a backpack full of everything they own. The good thing is there is a way to travel and see the world on limited budgets and certainly with unlimited budgets. I can’t say that I ever really had a chance to travel at the luxury level, so I probably won’t speak too much about it, however I have had the fortune of being a business traveler for many years. I learned a lot about travel and travel rewards programs that I will share in the coming chapters of this book.

I would classify my family’s road trip around the U.S. as a moderate travel budget. We spent the bulk of our nights living for free as housesitters, and nights between housesits we either stayed with friends or stayed in cheap motels, usually around $40 per night on average. We stayed for as little as $10 a night at a casino in Nevada and as much as $100 in the oil rich section of Texas, between El Paso and Dallas. All the contracted oil field workers have driven up the price of lodging in this neck of the U.S. Though I will say, that was the only place we couldn’t find a place for under $60 in 38 states.
We would keep our meals low budget by hitting grocery stores/farmers markets and keeping a box of food under my wife’s feet. If you’re going to travel with kids, you’ve got to have a bunch of food on hand or things can get real grumpy, real quick.

Most Americans have very little savings and live paycheck to paycheck, making traditional travel and vacations tough to fund, without going further into debt. The focus of this book isn’t to travel like you are on vacation, spending money like it’s going out of style and trying to get your money’s worth in a short amount of time, but rather to travel moderately, smartly and in which a way that can be sustained for weeks, months and years. The shoe string and moderate budgets are probably the most common budgets, and this includes retired folks on a fixed income. I’m focusing on this demographic because that’s what I know. Luxury Travel I don’t really know, other than some extravagant business travel at times and I’m sure there are plenty of blogs and books out there with folks that really know this market, I’m not one of them.

Learn the Art of Full Time Travel

Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco, CA

First of all when making the decision to jump into full time travel, don’t do a Pros/Cons list. It’s easy to make these list and easy to find a million excuses not to jump in. Focus on these lists, and you will never leave the house. Plus you’ll find out pretty quickly that all of the things you thought you know will go out the window in the first week or so. Including your preplanned routes, etc. More on that to come.

Now for the “real” first thing you should do, write out your current monthly expenses. Don’t be scared by your list of expenses, the next exercise will show you the true potential of traveling full time. Now subtract out all of the expenses you will no longer need to pay once you eliminate the rent or mortgage, the cost of rent or mortgage, utilities (Water, Gas Electric, and Waste), land line, internet service, cable television. My savings was around $2,000 per month. My worst case scenario would be to not have a house sit for a month. In this case I would need a cheap motel each night for a month, meaning I would need ~$1,500. Still $500 less than my rented townhouse. Not bad and should probably ease your fears a little, right?

Any remaining items on your list you will need to cover each month, using savings, retirement, social security and continued income. This could include, cell phone, Wi-Fi hot spot, health insurance, life insurance, car/RV payment, auto insurance, school loans, credit card payments, fuel and food. You may not have all of these, just listing out the possibilities. You may find substantial savings in some of these categories depending on where you plan to travel. For instance buying local health insurance in most counties is much less than U.S. health insurance. Also, you may be able to use some of the money you are saving each month to pay down student loans and credit card debt. Hopefully many of you don’t have this debt, but chances are most of us do, I know I do.

Learn the Art of Full Time Travel

Sea Lions on the Pacific Coast Highway – California

You now have a monthly budget to follow so you’ll now need a way to manage it. I actually kept my local PA bank, but make sure your bank offers online banking. I can’t imagine that there are any banks these days that don’t offer online banking, but make sure. It’s tough depositing a check in PA from Guatemala! Use bankrate.com to compare banks, it’s also a great way to find auto loans and credit cards.

If you’re planning to travel internationally, make sure you understand your banks fee structure on international transactions. Your bank may charge you per transaction on any purchase made outside the country. It may be a small fee, but over time it can add up to big bucks. For U.S. readers, and I realize that not all of you are, you may want to consider a Charles Schwab account, which refunds any international transaction fees to you, saving a lot of money over time. For readers from other countries, do a little digging, I’m sure there must be a similar offering in your home country.

We utilize an app called Mint, which is available on Android and iPhone, and tracks all of your bank and credit card accounts in one spot. You can set up budgets by category, making it easier for you to track how you are doing against your new budget. Your banking transactions load into the app and are auto categorized, though you have the ability to re-categorize any transaction as you see fit. More on other travel hack tools and apps to follow.

I hope that you have found through this budget exercise that you really do have options and I hope that you have found some savings that have inspired you to make the plunge into full time travel and homelessness by design. I can’t speak for all of you, since we all have different cost of livings, debt levels and geographic variation, but we found that eliminating a good chunk of our monthly expenses and hitting the road full time was doable, exhilarating and over all a cost savings.

Frequent Traveler Programs, stick to brands (flight, car, lodging)

Learn the Art of Full Time Travel

Pacific Coast Highway between San Fran and LA

What I learned from my business travel days, is that brand loyalty has its benefits, especially when you’re not footing the bill. I would consistently use the airline, American Airlines, the same hotel brand, Marriott and the same rental car company, Hertz. However; this loyalty was based on my company paying the bills, nowadays, you will find me on Frontier Airline, Choice Brand Hotels and Dollar Car Rental or using sites like skiplagged.com, that allows you to book flights using your connecting flight as your final destination, it’s a little bite risky if the weather is bad, you could end up getting diverted to your booked final destination via another connecting location and you probably don’t want to check a bag, unless you can talk the ticketing agent into checking your bag to your connecting location.

The benefit of brand loyalty is the rewards programs, and as you escalate a brands program, usually in a Silver, Gold, Platinum format, you unlock additional benefits and savings as well as the rate at which you collect points. For instance at Marriott, anyone above the Gold level receives free internet service in their room, as well as access to the Concierge Club, where you can typically get free breakfast and in some cases free dinner. The benefit of loyalty with the airline is, the ability to check bags for free, board the plane ahead of the crowds, and access exit row seats during online check in. Also, free upgrades to first class, become more frequent as you work your way up through the program.

An additional note about Frequent Travel Programs, you may be offered free magazine subscriptions for unused points, very common with Delta Airlines program and some programs, like Marriott, may send you a catalog of goods that can be purchased with your points. They offer televisions, spa packages and golf clubs to name a few examples. Not a terrible use of points in some cases. Can’t say I ever bought anything from the catalog, but I was able to book a very nice room, for a week, at the Marriott Vacation Club at the Marriott World Hotel in Orlando, FL just outside the gate of Disney, saving my family a ton of cash. The price you pay for spending most weeks away from my family, not so sure that’s the best trade off?

Make the most of your purchases, credit cards

Learn the Art of Full Time Travel

Swiss Family Robinson – Disneyland – California

Most brand loyalty programs, like the Marriott and American Airlines rewards programs, have their own credit cards, which allows you to earn more reward points with your daily purchases, that can be traded for free hotel stays or airline tickets. Many of the business travelers I knew, would pay for meals outside of the hotel with their Rewards Credit Card and then charge meals to their room when eating inside the hotel. Nice little trick to rack up additional points on your meal purchases. A similar approach can be used with Airline Reward Credit Cards. Use these cards for daily purchases and earn frequent flyer miles that can be traded in for free flights. Sometimes using the Airline Rewards Card to purchase flights will come with the benefit of lower cost or additional point generation to be used on future frequent flier trip bookings.

There are folks that spend a tremendous amount of time learning the ins and outs of credit card and points programs to maximize their benefits and in many cases travel for free most of the year. The forums at Nomadic Matt and Zero to Travel Podcast have sections dedicated to this topic. Rolling Stone recently did a piece on a gentleman, who has been manipulating the airline industry points system since the age of 16 years old. He now spends most of his time traveling around the globe from airport to airport, though it kind of sounds like he rarely leaves the airports. I recently read a similar story about a girl who lives on a train, traversing the US constantly. People have creative ways to put a roof over their heads. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Find a way that works for you and ride it till the wheels fall off.

Here’s the link to the corresponding podcast: Episode 2 – Learn the Art of Full Time Travel

Follow along on our adventure at Facebook http://www.facebook.com/travelingchimps Twitter https://twitter.com/TravelingChimps YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/travelingchimps and now on Pinterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/travelingchimps/

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Episode 1- Learn the Art of Full Time Travel

PlayPlay

Full Time TravelLearn the art of full time travel with the Traveling Chimps Podcast. The 2016 episodes of the podcast will focus on CJ’s new eBook, Family Vagabond Adventure, Learn the Art of Full Time Travel. I’ll share life hacks, full time travel tips and story’s to help you travel and save money doing it. Podcast #9 focuses on introducing the Traveling Chimps story, selling all of your material belongings on Craigslist, lifestyle design, typical types of travelers and safety.

Each week I’ll release the next chapter of the book along with a supporting podcast, covering that chapters topics and highlights. Comments and questions are encouraged, so please comment and ask below. I’ll answer any questions either on the podcast or directly to you via email.

Link to the first chapter of:

Family Vagabond Adventure, Learn the Art of Full Time Travel – Chapter 1

Amazon Travel Accessory of the Week:

Resources mentioned on this episode:

Sex Drugs Evolution Podcast -CJ’s other podcast.

Craigslist – Sell all your stuff for free.

Trusted Housesitters – Find housesitting and pet sitting opportunities all over the world. $99 per year, but probably the biggest data base. A good percentage are in Australia and the UK.


Housesitters America – Another website with housesitting and pet sitting opportunities. $30 US only opportunities. Ever improving processes including penalties for non-response.

House Carers – Housesitting and pet sitting opportunities. $50 to join and well worth it. We’ve seen a marked improvement in their site and are starting to use this more. We’ll report back on our success or not.

HOUSECARERSbanner

 

 

These sites pay for themselves in 1-2 nights stay. On average we paid around $50 per night for a cheap motel.

Follow along on our adventure at Facebook http://www.facebook.com/travelingchimps Twitter https://twitter.com/TravelingChimps and YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/travelingchimps

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Pet Sitting Check List

Pet Sitting Check ListHouse-sits are a great way to visit locations and live like a local on short change. There are literally house-sits all over the globe and you could actually travel around the world on house-sits alone. Not all, but many house-sits involve a pet sit. Pet owners need someone to feed, walk and care for their most loved furry, finned, feathered our scaled friends while they are away for extended amounts of time. I would say that 3/4 of the house-sits that we have completed have been pet sits, dogs, cats and fish, so I thought that I would share some good questions to ask pet owners to make your first pet sit a successful and rewarding one.Pet Sitting Check List

  1. Food – How much, how often? Is there anything you should absolutely not give them? If there are more than one pet, can they eat together? Is there a specific place in the house where they eat? Are they territorial about their food? Some animals can be aggressive when they are eating.
  2. Snacks – How many, how often? Are you free to give the pet a snack at will , or does the owner reserve snacks for special occasions, like after a walk? Cat nip?
  3. Water – Usually you will want to keep the water bowel full at all times. You try walking around in a fur coat all day, you’d be thirsty too. Just clarify with the owner, just to make sure.
  4. Physical Activity – Probably the main job of a pet sitter is taking dogs for walks. Again, How many, how far? Are you a runner? Then you may have a niche market. Some dog owners regularly run with their dogs and would like to keep their dog’s mileage up while they are away. Just be clear how far and how fast you should run? Note, I’ve yet to hear of any owner that runs their cat, but you never know.
  5. Veterinary Services – Where should you take the pet in case of an emergency? Does the pet have any upcoming vet appointments you will need to take them to? How should you travel to the vet, on leash, in a kennel? Depending on your arrangement with the owner, you will want to make sure they have a credit card on file to cover any charges for vet visits. Put the Vet’s phone number on the refrigerator to easily find it.
  6. Medications – Many pets have monthly medications they take to keep them healthy, like flea prevention or heart worm pills. Make sure you know how often to give the pet their meds and if it is an extended pet sit, you should mark on a calendar the date of each administration. It’s easy to forget when you last gave a pet a pill after a few weeks go by.
  7. Procedure for leaving the house? Can the dogs and cats stay in the house? Should you keep them in a particular room or are they free to roam? Are they allowed to be on the furniture? Do they run out the front door?

Pet Sitting Check ListAsking these questions will help ensure you meet the needs of the pet and the expectations of the pet owner. Email the list of question to the owner ahead of your house sit and review their answers before you get to the house, that way you can ask any follow up questions in person. I hope you found this article helpful. Please comment below with your pet sitting experiences or questions.

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Chimps On The John Guinn Travel Show

John Guinn Travel ShowOn Friday Andrea and I went on the John Guinn Travel Show, a podcast out of the UK, to share the Traveling Chimp story. It was the first interview we have done, and we thought it went pretty good. It was certainly good practice for our own upcoming podcast and we hope we inspired some folks to take the leap and see the world while your able to enjoy it fully, in other words, don’t wait till you retire. Here is the link to the show, we hope you enjoy it

If you have any questions about anything we talked about, comment below or email us.

Follow along on our adventure at Facebook http://www.facebook.com/travelingchimps Twitter https://twitter.com/TravelingChimps and YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/travelingchimps

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10 Things I’ve Learned As A Vagabond

Torrey PinesWe’ve now been on this family vagabond journey for 2 months hitting PA, OH, IN, IL, WI, MN, SD, WY, MT, ID, WA, OR, CA, NV, AZ, NM so far. As I reflect on where we have been and the great things we have seen, I thought I would put together an initial list of what I’ve learned so far.

1. I don’t worry about posting to social media for fear of people knowing I’m not home and breaking into my house. I don’t have a house.

2. You don’t need material belonging to be happy. I have one roller bag, my family has two duffel bags. We have two skateboards, helmets, an American Girl Doll and two backpacks with laptops and cords.

3. Sometimes you just have to step out of the box and go with the flow. Most days we don’t know where we are going to travel to, nor do we know where we are going to stay till around an hour before we get to a destination.

4. Don’t put things off till tomorrow, it may never come. Don’t wait till you retire to go see the world, it will probably be more difficult to check these places out when your old anyway. Related, stop saying someday, today is someday.

5. I only have a hand full of cloths and I respect having a washer and dryer.Del Mar Beach

6. It feels liberating to not have a plan. “Where are we heading today?” “I have no idea.”

7. You really can save money by traveling, if you stick to a budget. You can’t spend like you’re on vacation.

8. We have no room for anything, so pictures, vlogs and blogs are better keepsakes.

Route 669. The Earth is such a beautiful, diverse environment and we all need to experience it.

10. Motel 6 has a great logo and a great website; their properties suck!

What have you learned while traveling?

Follow along on our adventure at Facebook http://www.facebook.com/travelingchimps Twitter https://twitter.com/TravelingChimps and YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/travelingchimps

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The Chimps Go Squatchin

Happy Camp, CA

Happy Camp, CA

It was a brisk morning in February when my wife brought us the news, we had landed our first housesit in Happy Camp, CA! Happy Camp? I was thinking to myself this could be heaven or this could be hell, comment below if you got that reference. I Google mapped it and I remember thinking, “God, I hope I don’t need to travel anywhere and is there even internet there?” It turned out that I had to take one business trip using the Medford, OR airport, a 2 hour drive and there was just enough internet to keep my work going, though we couldn’t post any Traveling Chimp videos to YouTube.
We drove over the pass, an hour drive on a switch back that closes often do to snow, luckily, they hadn’t gotten much snow this year, though there was quit a bit of snow at the highest altitude. Our ears popped as we descended on Happy Camp, not sure what we would find. On recommendation we stayed at The Forest Lodge http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g32472-d271299-Reviews-Forest_Lodge_Motel-Happy_Camp_California.html for the night, where the warm smell of Bermuda raised up through the air, our housesit wouldn’t start till the next morning. We strolled over to the house we would be watching and had pizza with the owners. They were incredibly nice people and told us all we needed to know about the surrounding area, even leaving us maps to find the local spots.  They were incredibly hospitable baking chocolate chip cookies for the kids, leaving us recipes for easter, and finding out about an easter egg hunt in the area for the kids!

Happy Camp, CA US Post Office

Happy Camp, CA US Post Office

Happy Camp is located about 20 miles south of the Oregon boarder along route 96, in the Klamath River Valley. It is the Bigfoot capital of the world. There have been more sightings here than anywhere else and the town welcome this fact with open arms. There’s not a lot of business in Happy Camp, but the ones that are here are using Bigfoot in their name, like the Bigfoot RV Camp. The post office even has a Bigfoot statue outside. Every Labor Day the town throws their annual Bigfoot Jamboree http://bigfootjamboree.com/, I’d love to make it back there someday to participate. If it’s anything like their Easter Egg Hunt, it will be awesome. We were super impressed with how good their Easter Egg Hunt was, especially for such a small town. It was probably the best one we’ve had been to.
The center of town has a giant Bigfoot made out of donated materials and assembled by a local artist. Chilear and I wasted no time in taking a selfie in front of it.The town also has a large Native American population (Karuk Tribe) that is very welcoming and have their own museum http://karuk.us/, a must see. There are beautiful hiking trails, hot springs, swimming holes and some of the best white water rafting in the world. Even if you can’t land a house sit here, there is plenty of lodging and camp grounds to fit your needs. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. The people are extremely welcoming and everyone I asked had a Bigfoot story, reference the warm smell of Bermuda above. You probably have never heard of Happy Camp, but if you ever get a chance to check it out, it’s worth the snowy pass.

Did we ever find Bigfoot? You’ll have to catch that episode of Traveling Chimps to find out. Next up Southern California with a stop at Disneyland! What’s the most magical place you have ever visited?

Follow along on our adventure at Facebook http://www.facebook.com/travelingchimps Twitter https://twitter.com/TravelingChimps and YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/travelingchimps

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What Do You Know About The 50 States?

States1So I’m racking my brain trying to figure out how to make this trip more meaningful, memorable, and maybe a tad bit educational…shhh don’t tell the kids!!!  So I scour the internet trying to find ideas and voila notebooking!  Ahhh the power of blogs!!!  There are so many great ideas on homeschooling blogs and even if you’re not homeschooling you can find such cool ideas for fun with your kids with an educational twist.  Kids are always learning that’s what I’m learning!  :)  Everything can be a learning lesson.

So on with the notebooking idea.  I printed out sheets of info and activity pages off a few different blogs about each state..then as we are about to embark on that state we fill in the pages to learn more about it.  After we get there and get to experience things then we go back and write about things we learned, what we saw, and most important what was fun!!!  I also left a clear sleeve for each state so we can stick postcards, ticket stubs, and whatever else we collect along the way.

The verdict…..so far we are having loads of fun with it and learning some cool and strange facts I never knew and never knew I wanted to know..hah ha

Did you know you can’t back into parking spaces in Indiana…it’s against the law

Kids had a blast exploring Ohio and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!

Kids had a blast exploring Ohio and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!

Ohio had America’s first hot dog in 1900 and America’s 1st traffic light!

I certainly didn’t know that Akron was the rubber capital of the world :)

Looking forward to all the weird and crazy things to see and learn…off to look for the two story outhouse that Lincoln may or may not have used!!!!!  Illinois is apparently the land of Lincoln.

Follow along on our adventure at Facebook http://www.facebook.com/travelingchimps Twitter https://twitter.com/TravelingChimps and YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/travelingchimps

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