Hit the Road with Mandy of 188sqft

We all love to plan a great road trip. But, do you ever dream of taking your life to the road with your bestie or S.O.? That’s exactly what Mandy and her husband of 188sqft have decided to do. At the beginning of the year, they packed up their apartment and moved into an RV and hit the road with their four fur babies. We caught up with this traveling twosome in Nashville to get the deets on life on the road.

Being on the road, how has your sense of home changed? Do you still feel just as comfortable in 188 square feet as you did in a full apartment? 

My sense of home has always been the people (and pets) in it. I moved around a bit as a kid, and even while living in Pittsburgh, I would only find myself in an apartment for 2 years max. My husband and I love trying out new areas and new restaurants, so moving into a camper has just allowed us to do more exploring with a lot less commitment. I probably feel more at home in our camper than our multiple apartments because we own it. We saved up the money to buy it, which is the first big thing we have bought together as a couple. We loved being able to make it ours with fresh paint, new floors, and lots of kitschy decor.

Which place that you’ve visited thus far was the most surprising? What about that place was so lovable?

I think the most surprising place was the Sedona/Flagstaff area. I always hear about how lovely the red rocks are, but it didn’t really appeal to me until we saw it in person. We also got to camp in the middle of nowhere with an insane view that really blew my mind every morning we woke up to it. Something we had never experienced before was how you can be in Sedona in the desert, then drive 30 miles north and you are in the mountain town and cooler temps of Flagstaff…which I think would be mighty handy in the heat of the summer. We loved the food, all the Native American shops, coffee, the cows who visited us often in our camping spot, and the amazing views. We definitely plan to go back there and stay longer.

I’m sure you’ve had a chance to sample some really interesting food. Tell us about the most delightful dish you’ve had in your travels!

Oh my, yes. We are trying to pay off our debt so we try to cook in as much as we can, but we definitely allow ourselves more of a restaurant budget than any other guilty pleasures. We have had some excellent food lately, which makes it really hard to narrow it down. I have to give you two of my favorites because, well, I love food. First is Stiles Switch in Austin, TX where I get the two meat plate with brisket and pork spare ribs with macaroni and cheese, corn casserole (AMAZING), pickles, onions, and bread. A lot to remember, but it is the most perfect combination ever. Just typing it out makes my mouth water. Second is Prince’s Hot Chicken in Nashville, TN — I got mild, because I have heard not to be too brave with hot chicken, and mild was the perfect amount of flavor with the kind of spice I can handle. It was the best fried chicken I have had in my life, and the bread and pickles with it is exquisite.

We’re catching up with you while you are in Nashville — what is the biggest must-see in the Music City?

I don’t really have a must-see, but Nashville does have something for all of your senses… Touch: you should probably go to Jackalope Brewery and pet the jackalope (I would recommend trying a few beers too!). Smell: you must smell Five Daughters Bakery (also taste for that matter, because you won’t be able to resist). Speaking of taste, taste everything. Okay, maybe not everything, but we haven’t had a bad meal in Nashville! Our favorites being City House, Tennessee Brew Works (sweet potato poutine is to-die-for), Prince’s Hot Chicken, Margot (specifically because of the table bread), and The Pharmacy. Last but not least, listen: just walking down Broadway, you will hear a lot of live music. Mostly country, with occasional classic rock songs. Most of the places are much more fun if you have had a few drinks, but Acme Feed & Seed is a grand old time with or without booze, though music doesn’t start until later.

Packing and deciding which outfits to take can be tough, even for a short-term trip! How did you narrow down your wardrobe for your new life on the road while still staying stylish? 

This is one I am still trying to master. I had to downsize my wardrobe like mad to move into the camper. The main thing I did was keep my favorite items that were also comfortable. We don’t go out and explore every day, usually only one or two days a week, so most times I am lounging in my PJs. But, I will be honest with you, I have clothes and jewelry in storage places that should be only for kitchen gadgets. The more places we go, the more I realize I don’t need all of it. I am a collector, so I am trying to get rid of old stuff every time I buy something new. Much easier said than done. 😉

+ Could you drop everything and live life on the road? Let us know where you’d go — and what you’d pack!

About Bridget

Bridget is a canine-loving, This-American-Life-listening, t-shirt-and-jeans-casual connoisseur. She likes rediscovering her city as much as she enjoys visiting a new one, and would love to discuss with you why her dog, Toby, is smarter than yours.

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