The Perpetual Road Trip | My Lifestyle of Travel

A lifestyle change that fits my brand as a travel writer - welcome to the Perpetual Road Trip.

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Written by Jason Barnette
Published on June 22, 2021

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Affiliate Disclosure here.

“Where are you based?” This is one of the most common questions I’m asked after explaining that I’m a travel writer and photographer. And for the past few years, I’ve roughly had the same answer, “My car.” They would laugh, and I would laugh. But, of course, I wasn’t based out of my car! But now, things have changed.

2015 was a bitterly cold winter. A few days after New year, I packed everything from a three-bedroom townhouse in Abingdon, Virginia, into a 26’ moving truck. I drove it to Myrtle Beach – and later Charleston – and put it into storage near my parents’ house.

This was the beginning of full-time travel – I have not had my own place since then. Instead, I used my parents’ house as my base while enjoying road trips, weekend getaways, and media tours. I only traveled a few months the first year, but soon enough, I was traveling nearly nine months of the year.

One of my first adventures of full-time travel was a trip to Beaufort, South Carolina in late winter. It was a gorgeous time to visit!

But in between each of those trips, I returned to the parents’ house. I had a bedroom. I did my laundry. I caught up on editing photos and publishing content to the website. I would stay a few weeks at a time, and then I would travel again.

I spent the year of the pandemic at their house in Charleston in a 400 square foot room over the garage. I built my dream home office – a feat that took nearly a month to complete and included a small library for all my travel books. The office was glorious, comfortable, and downright invigorating for productivity.

I will forever miss this home office with my accent lights, Sertapedic desk chair, and my own photography hanging on the walls. Did I mention the entire office was controlled via Alexa?

And then they sold their house. They had grown weary of the hustle and bustle of the Charleston area and yearned for some peace and quiet in the countryside. They sprang the news on me – I had less than two weeks to once again pack everything I owned and take it to storage.

My base for the past six years was gone – at least temporarily until they closed on the new house. They emphatically invited me to bring the home office to their new house, but I took this as an opportunity and a bit of motivation for change.

I decided to move my base of operations onto the road full time – but more so than ever before. During those two weeks of packing my home office, I also learned how to travel with everything I would need.

I started a list. Camera gear, obviously. Office products like notecards, rubber bands, and scissors – but what would I put them in? Clothes – but how many do I pack and what about winter? Of course, I already had the art of making coffee on the road well established.

This was one of the happiest moments of my life. My first SUV in nearly ten years and the definitive beginning of the Perpetual Road Trip.

On June 10, 2021 – a date I’ll remember for a very long time – it all came together. I traded in the Honda Civic for a Honda Pilot for the additional cargo space. I loaded all the totes, bins, and bags I had bought to organize all my stuff. It was like a three-dimensional Tetris puzzle, and it took quite a bit of finagling, but I eventually got it all to fit.

Now when people ask where I am based, I will honestly reply, “My Pilot.” This is because I have everything I need to live and work on the road.

I’m calling it the Perpetual Road Trip.

For the past six years, my life of full-time travel has depended on having a home to return to in between road trips. I would stay at the parents’ house for weeks or even months at a time. I had a home office with a desktop computer and an insanely comfortable desk chair.

But now, I won’t see their new house until Thanksgiving. I’ll probably stay through the New Year like I used to do, but then I’ll go right back onto the road again.

End-to-end road trips. When one ends, another begins. I think I’ll like it better this way because I’ve never really been content to stay in one place for long. It’s quite the contrast considering I spent the first eighteen years of my life living in the same house.

The first road trip adventure with the Pilot was to Lake Lure and Chimney Rock, North Carolina.

For me, the Perpetual Road Trip is a lifestyle. Some people prefer the house with a white picket fence – I prefer two-lane roads and towns I’ve never visited before. A drifter looking for a great story to tell. I stay just long enough for people to learn my name, and then I’m gone just as quickly as I arrived.

I think I’ll be better at my job of inspiring travel on the Perpetual Road Trip. Instead of waiting until I returned home to publish new content, I will do it on the road. I will be able to post content quicker.

And I think writing these articles on location instead of from notes and photos weeks or months later will add a layer of authenticity and excitement. Among all the other bits of gear and accessories I bought for the Perpetual Road Trip, I also bought a shiny new 16” MacBook Pro. I’m ready to write whenever and wherever inspiration strikes.

I started writing this article – an introduction to the Perpetual Road Trip – at a coffee shop in the South End of Charlotte. I dabbled on it a bit while spending a couple of nights at a motel in Lake Lure. Finally, I finished it on a picnic table in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard.

I think I’m going to love this.

My life is a Perpetual Road Trip. I don’t know where I’m going next, but I do know I’ll love the road trip getting there. You’re more than welcome to come along for the ride with my photography, stories, and social media.

Where do you think I should go next?  

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