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An Epic Adventure in the COVID Era


Anneliese Strout

November 30, 2020

I have always worked from home (well at least the last 20 years) so I’m kind of used to being isolated. My kids and grandkids live thousands of miles away, but it's always been that way. At this point, I'm used to just using FaceTime and only seeing my family a few times a year.

But let me tell you, COVID has messed with that plan! I have never gone THIS LONG without seeing the ones I love. I have always made it a priority to make several trips per year to each daughter. I've never gone a whole year without seeing them which was made more difficult by missing one grandbaby’s whole first year! And by mid-summer, I just had to see them. 

I went for it!

I wanted to see them, so I decided to go on tour... kind of. I’ve been fascinated by tiny homes for quite some time now. I watch countless videos describing different experiences. Occasionally the subject was living in a van and how easy it was to go so many places and see so many things. And then I learned that people were working remotely while living in the van. And then … wait a minute…I work remotely all the time. I know I could survive in a converted van, and I have grandkids who need to be seen!!  So it was settled. Tour Van Grandma was going to happen.

I did a LOT of research into the best ways to work from the road, the best vans for the task based on my needs, what to expect for pricing, how to find places to stay, how to find really cool places to stay, where to buy the van, and so on. I knew what I wanted and crazy thing is I found it about 5 minutes from my home at an RV dealer. I dragged along my reluctant husband (who never really thought I was going to go through with this) too. It took several weeks of back and forth with him and the dealer, but I ended up with Vanna – a 2020 59KL Travato by Winnebago. Next, I warned my kids that I was coming, researched RV parks to stay along the way, stayed in the van one night to practice, and drove off at the beginning of Labor Day weekend. By. My. Self. (and the dogs).

an epic adventure in the covid era the scenery

Some of the scenery was lovely, some of it was... interesting. 

In total I drove 7.3K miles (I can’t believe it!) going out I-10 and home I-40. I’ve stayed in RV resorts, parked on National Forest land, and slept behind a Cracker Barrel. I had internet for work when I needed it and did not have it at times when I probably should have for safety. I’ve been freaked out and at peace (sometimes all in the same day). I figured out how to ration fresh water, reserve solar power, and dump the tanks. I’ve driven steep hills and miles of flat nothingness through sweltering heat and pouring rain.

It was SO worth it!

You know what? I survived. I managed to keep all my work going and on time. The flexibility of Malbek and the remote set up we have let me see my daughters, their husbands, and my grandkids. My heart is full. I remembered that I am strong and independent and that I am inextricably tied to my family. And I am so happy that I have the freedom to see them.

I’ve been asked a few times … Would I do it again? In a heartbeat yes! In fact, my next epic tour is already in the works! Nothing is going to stop me from welcoming the next grandbaby due sometime in June 2021. See you on the road!

P.S. Just so you know, if you ask my husband now, he’ll say "Glad I talked her into it!"

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