With one week left to go before I set out on 2 1/2 months of traveling, final preparations are in order. The closest thing I’ve ever done to this was a couple of years ago when I drove from Chicago to see my sister in San Diego, stopping in Denver and Phoenix along the way.That whole trip was about a month long and involve my cat, Ashford, as a traveling buddy. With a car it was easy, letting me stop whenever I wanted or needed. This trip’ll involve only public transport, making things a bit trickier, and more epic.

While several sidetrips are still possible, here’s the current details:Map of 2014 Endings and Beginnings Tour

  • Approximately 12,744 miles over the course of 80 days
  • 9 planes
  • 7 trains
  • 4 buses
  • 1 long car trip via a friend

The main issue in all of this for me is food. I am a vegan, as well as allergic to gluten and nuts. That doesn’t leave me much to choose from in standard bus stop/train fare. Here’s what I’ve come up with so I’ll at least be able to get my nutrition while traveling. What will actually fit in my backpack is yet to be determined, but here’s the list:

Vegan/gluten-free/nut-free snacks
vegan/gluten-free/nut-free stash for the road
  • Amazing Grass Green Superfood – orange dreamsicle
  • Chocolove strong dark chocolate bar
  • Kids Gourmet Organic Squoosh Orangobango fruit and veg pouches
  • KIND Maple Quinoa Clusters granola
  • NuGo Dark Mocha Chocolate protein bars
  • NuGo Dark Chocolate Chip protein bars
  • NuGo Organic Double Dark Chocolate protein bars
  • PowerBar Banana Blueberry fruit pouches
  • Vega One all-in-one nutritional shake chocolate
  • Vega Sport endurance bar mocha

Since I haven’t had a job since the middle of December, another major restriction is cash – everything will have to be done on the cheap. For this reason, as well as for the sake of simplicity, I’m taking only a large backpack on loan from a friend.

Inspired to finally take this trip that’s been in my head for some time has come from friends who’ve engaged in long-term travel, as well as from the writings of Nora Dunn, AKA The Professional Hobo. Her site, while aimed more at overseas travel, has been a wonderful resource. I love the spirit that keeps her going and highly recommend her site if you’re not familiar. Even if you’re not planning a trip, it’s always an interesting read.

Besides seeing old friends and new places, my main goal for the trip is to finish the novel I started in 2009. I’m currently at 77,000 words and about 90% done with the first complete rough draft. Of course, that remaining 10% is the most difficult and is taking a long time. Plus I’m the sort who will revise a number of times before I can be happy with anything I’ve written. Once I get back on June 19 I’ll need to start making some money fairly quickly, leaving little time for writing, so hopefully I can make it happen.

Inspire me, America.