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Laurel DeLong: Eating Up the Road

Laurel’s recipe: [1] Purge everything.  [2] Put house up for rent.  [3] Buy a truck and camper.  [4] Live your truck camping dreams one delicious dish at a time. … … … … … … … … … …

Eating Up the Road, Laurel DeLong

There aren’t many among us who haven’t lamented, at one time or another, the rules that our society plays by.  You know, the rules that tell you to go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, work until retirement age, and then try to live it up as long as possible.  There are many generations of wisdom in this proven formula, and it certainly can be an excellent way to plan and live a lifetime, but what if it’s not for you?  Should you just keep on keeping on, or should you chart your own course?

Laurel DeLong wrestled with this very question.  Laurel was in her mid-40s, with no kids, and the recession had dried up her husband’s work, log home construction.  At the same time, Laurel had the tasted freedom of the road and hungered for more.  Should she keep her steady nine to five and suppress her appetite for adventure?  Or should she pass on the routine buffet and and order up a feast of fun?

Laurel and her husband chose the recipe of the road, with a truck camper, to go.  Ever since then, they’ve been, “Eating Up the Road”.


TCM: Where did you get the idea to live out of a truck camper for a year? 

Laurel: We had taken a few camping trips in Jake’s dad’s camper.  It was my birthday, and a four day weekend.  Driving home, we were talking about how we could do this full-time.  We wanted to be vagabonds on the road.  We loved the lifestyle.

We mulled over it for months and months.  In my spare time, I did some research and read about people who had done things like this.  Sitting in our hot tub having a glass of wine one evening, I broached the idea with Jake of hitting the road and traveling full-time for a year.  While we traveled, we could rent our house out.

Jake was a little overwhelmed by the idea at first.  Finally, both of us came to the middle and we said, “Let’s do this!”.  We’re in our mid-40s and have at least an additional twenty years to remember these times. 

A lot of friends looked at us and said, “What?  You’re doing that?  In a camper?”   I can be safe and secure and do what I’m supported to do or, I can step outside the boundaries, and live more.  I had a safe job for five years and I wanted to be challenged. 

My end product for this camping adventure is to produce something to teach other people how to do it.  I want to inspire people to get out there and live a little.

TCM: How do you have the means to pay for all of this without jobs?

Laurel: The income from our house rental pays for the house and expenses.  We are also using our savings.  People ask about retirement, but we respond with, “We have our limbs and joints now”.  It’s a trade off, and, in twenty years, we’ll find out how that will do for us.  We’re optimistic.

One of the responses to how we can afford this is to not have credit card debt.  We don’t have any debt.  I worked in credit counseling.  A lot of people can’t grab life by the horns because they are enslaved to it.  Some people can’t help to have debt because of health issues or other problems, but my advice is to not to accrue debt.

TCM: How did you get ready for the trip?

Laurel: First, we downsized.  I had duplicates and triplicates of things in my house and we had a huge food pantry.  If there was blizzard, were we going to have food.  Before we started on this trip, I couldn’t use the food fast enough.  I gave so much away. 

It’s cathartic to clean and purge the things that get in the way.  We got rid of so much stuff.  We left some furniture for renters to use and everything we have now fits into a one car garage.  While we’re on the road, we don’t buy anything from tourist shops, so we are free from consumerism.  We live in nine foot long camper.  We don’t have room.

I’m also not buying from Costco on the road.  I don’t need twenty-five pounds of flour.  Instead of buying the eighteen pack of eggs, we are buying the six pack because we don’t have the room.

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