I remember as a child every year my Grandmother and Aunt would take my siblings, and I camping in a nice little park just outside of Three Rivers, CA. where the trees seemed to extend so tall they would stroke the bottoms of the clouds as they passed overhead. I was ready to experience that again, but this time I wanted it to be different. One of the truly enchanting things about Sequoia National Park is the fact that it puts the world we inhabit in to perspective. The magnificence of these trees towering hundreds of feet above in the Giant Redwood Forest coupled with a feeling of warmth from the day’s first rays of sunlight peeking through the trees, is a somewhat moving experience and evokes a feeling that can have lasting effects on the human psyche. This is the reason we travel, to try and reset the mundanity of our life’s perspective. I find that out here in the elements I gain a sense of happiness and comfort, it’s like having front row seats to the most exclusive performance in the world where the Wind and the Woods concert their magic. Being out here gives me a chance to re-examine my own personal and specific role in our world. But for every awesome and fun thing out there, there’s always that one looming question; how are we going to get there?
Being a college student and traveling on a budget has its challenges and can become quite a daunting task. Thankfully there are websites available like freecampsites.net which provide listings and directions to BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands which are free to camp on as public properties. These sites can be found nationwide greatly reducing the cost of travel, if you don’t mind roughing it a bit, I myself prefer it that way and so do my travel partners. Total costs spent on lodging $0. The experiences gained along the way sometimes help to prepare us for the unexpected happenings of Murphy’s Law (where everything that can happen, will happen) accompany us on these types of trips. Wether its snow, rain, or even just extremely cold weather, a night in the cold will reveal if we need more supplies or different types of seasonal gear. The one thing I cannot stress enough is to not skimp when it comes to picking out the proper gear that will be needed on the trip. Do some homework and find good quality products, places like REI and Sports Authority carry a few good, dependable products like North Face, Merrell, or Nemo that will not fall apart in the middle of a trip leaving us miserable wishing we would have spent that extra $20-$30 on a slightly better product.
There are a wealth of resources that we have available today to make the costs of travel more accommodating, some things that help are part of everyday Google search abilities like “cheapest gas near me” Total spent on gas $180, for a total of 1013 Mi. driven, or restaurants that are rated as less expensive by other Google users or on Yelp. The total spent on food and water $100 for three people. These tools come in extremely handy when trying to save a buck, or find something that is edible and fits into a well maintained diet. One of the easiest ways I find to rack up an expensive travel bill is constantly buying drinks and snacks at refueling stations and rest stops along the way, make sure to stock up on food, drinks, and travel snacks in the days prior to departing for the destination, the convenience and general stores along the way have a tendency to be a little more pricey than the local grocery store back at home.
It can really be the deciding factor in whether we get that souvenir shirt for the loved one or not. My best advice is to plan it out and make sure you go prepared.
Here’s to Safe Travels and a Happy Holiday Season.
Written by Justen Christensen