Prepare to be Disappointed – Lessons Learned On the Road

I’m compiling some of the lessons and interesting tidbits I’ve learned with the hopes of passing along useful information to fellow wanderers. Especially families of travelers similar to ours.

Disappointment is a pointed thing. All your romantic notions of hiking along beautiful trails, seeing the wildlife and singing songs around the campfire are really just that; romantic notions. There’s not a lot of s’more making and animal watching as much as there are biting/ stinging bugs and footwear caked in mud forever.

It’s funny that no matter how we think things are going to be when we hit the road, we run into a situation that stops us dead in our tracks and leaves us scratching our heads. Sometimes its frustrating and a lot of times its just plain inconvenient. It could be anything really.

Nothing puts a damper on well laid plans than a wrench in the machinery. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.

CRAFTS: Did you set out thinking you needed some special skills before beginning your adventure? Think again. Bushcraft, firecraft, woodcraft… all the crafts! Unless you’re planning on spending days in the bush away from any kind of civilization, you might as well resign yourself to sleeping in the car. Face it, if you’re not traveling alone, you’ll never really use all that acquired craft (dies a little inside).

When the camping’s good, it’s good but then there are those times when you wondered why you even wasted your time, right?  All the  articles we’ve read and the videos we’ve watched. All the money and time we spent honing our skills and compiling the right gear only to find that we can’t do any of it for some reason or another.

CAMPING: I had all kinds of dreams of how we’d enjoy nature, one of them being sleeping under the stars! But noooooo… it was too cold, too windy, too many bugs, too hot, too itchy, raining, crazy dark and there are animals that want to scare you while you try to go potty. The kids would rather sleep in the truck than in the tents because it took less effort. We don’t have to fight the wind and the bugs and the dirt and the rocky ground. We have a huge tent that’s stood up to 20+mph winds but its a pain to set up and tear down so we just sleep in our seats and grumble all night. In the morning, my children look as though they’ve been throttled sometime in the darkness. Probably because of all the night farts – Hoe-nu isn’t exactly well ventilated, even with the screens up and the windows down a bit.

Some nights, when the tent is up, its perfect! We enjoy the cool night air and we can kinda see the stars (rain fly off). Then the next night we’re uncomfortable in every way imaginable. Or its great until there’s a sudden downpour in the middle of the night with hail and strong winds and you have to get everyone up to put the rain fly on.

It’s different when you’re planning a trip because you can watch the weather conditions and postpone if you have to. Living on the road might mean you’re driving headlong into some funky stuff that won’t hit until early the next day. But you didn’t know about it because you haven’t had any cell or WiFi signal in a few hundred miles.

THE HAMMOCK: HFA has a hammock and we all love it to pieces but we’ve only really used it in three of the sites we’ve camped in during the five months we’ve had it. We didn’t decide to make it anything more than a place to relax or take a nap, which is a good thing. In some places the trees were way too far apart, too large, too weak or there weren’t any trees at all. All I can say is don’t make a hammock your main vehicle for sleeping unless you’ve got some kind of backup.

FISHING: We’ve only had one successful fishing venture and it left much to be desired.  We didn’t intend to make fishing a big part of our lifestyle/ diet but we did expect to catch fish. So… don’t expect to catch fish.


I can’t say it enough, it can be very disappointing out there on the road. You’ll be surprised to know that your special skill may be worthless. The weather and conditions can keep you from enjoying the hiking trails and recreation areas. After all the hyperbole and accusations, I really don’t mean for you to stay at home. All the yin and the yang of adventuring with your family make the experience worth the trouble. I believe that in the end the experiences, disappointing or satisfying, bring us closer together. There will be lots of stories to tell, at least.

If you have questions, fire away. We would love to be a source of information and inspiration for travelers on their journey.

Go live your adventure!

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