It’s a dream for a lot of trickers to travel the world—visiting other trickers, getting into shenanigans, and destroying tricks together. Many hope to get good enough to be flown out to gatherings as a celebrity guest, but what if you didn’t have to wait to be good enough? What if you could go right now, taking off in your car to do a tour yourself, even though your name isn’t Bailey Payne, Slava, Vellu, or Michael Guthrie?
I’m here to tell you that it’s possible. I spent the past 2 months traveling the entire east coast of the US, staying in 15 states and 20 locations, and driving over 5,400 miles.
My purpose in writing this mini travel guidebook is to offer some tips and lay a blueprint for others to follow, hopefully inspiring other trickers to travel, make new friends, and bring our community closer.
So let’s get started.
Part I: You gotta get you some money.
I work as a coach and don’t make much, yet I was able to travel for 2 months and be 100% comfortable with my finances. Including $600 on gas, a $100 speeding ticket, and $150 to replace a popped tire, I only spent $2,500 total.
To prepare for the trip, I read Invincible’s interview with Ben Cauvy on how he was able to travel so much. He said that he only spent money on the necessities, and the rest went to traveling. So this past year, I hardly spent money. I rarely, if ever, bought clothes, watches, shoes, TV’s, Netflix subscriptions, porn subscriptions, etc. I moved into a house with 6 other people, and rent was only $350 per month with utilities. I saved all the money from my tax return for the trip. Even now, I aim to only spend about $5 on each meal (not that that always happens of course, but that’s my goal).
For those of you who are college grads, I requested a forbearance for my loans (temporarily stopped paying them for a set amount of time without any repercussions). I also highly recommend getting a cash app like EasySpendLite and recording everything you spend money on for at least a few months. Then you find out, “Oh, I spend $150 a month on Starbucks because I’m a basic bitch? Zoinks!” It really helps you find ways to save money, and at the very least makes you more aware of your spending habits.
Later, you can also make some cash during the trip itself. In fact, I made $500 on the road. If you are a coach, contact gyms ahead of time to see if you can help out with classes, run a seminar or clinic, or even just do random maintenance for them. You can also ask friends in the area to keep an eye out.
Doing some manual labor, like construction, is easy to do and can also help fund your stay. My buddy in Kentucky said he could find me some work doing just that the next time I’m there. And in Pennsylvania, I shoveled rocks into a wheelbarrow to help decorate the sides of a gym. Anyone can do these types of jobs—you just have to be willing to put in some honest work. Also keep in mind any specialties you may have, and be proactive about setting things up before you leave.
Part II: Preparing for takeoff.
In my experience, the two biggest excuses people have for not traveling are money (see above) and time. So when is a good time to actually go?
Personally, I coach gymnastics, and I knew I could pick up the same job if I went back. I also planned my departure to be right after our season ended, since they had a break. I still missed some stuff, and they didn’t want me to leave, but it was better than in the middle of the season.
If you are a student, go during the summer. If you have a full-time, big-boy job, make it known why you are doing this and how important it is to you. A lot of people really respect everyone’s secret desire to travel, and it’s hard for them to fault you for going on a journey. Give them lots of advance notice, and also ask if there’s anything you could do to help them out while you’re traveling—they may have work opportunities for you on the road. You won’t know what could happen if you never put yourself out there and ask.
Regardless of when a good time is, just DECIDE to go. Take ACTION. It’s so easy to say, “I’ll travel after school.” Then after school it’s easy to say, “I’ll travel after I get a job and get secure.” Fast forward, like in that Adam Sandler movie, Click, and your kids have moved away, you’ve been doing the same shit for years, and you’re probably gonna die soon. Yet you still never traveled.
Make it work now. I promise you, you can.
Once I’d finalized a time to take off on my journey, I started putting the word out there. I contacted old friends living in different parts of the country to see if I could come crash, and people told me I’d be welcome any time. (Obviously some arrangements fell through, though not a ton.)
I knew I’d be traveling on my own, constantly meeting new people and sometimes staying with complete strangers. So for the three months prior, I forced myself to talk to at least one stranger per day. Some days I would go out to bars or public places and approach groups so that I could be more comfortable being on my own and not getting shy. This helped a lot.
Part III: It’s actually happening!
Then I loaded up my car, jumped behind the wheel, and I was off! While traveling, I had a couple of rules to follow. The first was to try to enjoy and experience as much as I could. Like Henry David Thoreau once said, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartanlike as to put to rout all that was not life.”
There were days when I was burned out, but for the most part, I was always ready to go out and see the city, do flips for people, experience new activities, and learn as much as I could. I was very open to different styles of living, and that made me get along well with many different types of people.
I spent only $30 on “housing” the entire trip. I stayed with friends, old coworkers, trickers I knew well, and some I’d only met once at a gathering and then approached over social media. I had a range of living situations, from illegally sleeping on hard ground in a tent, to having my own room and bed.
One important takeaway is to be super flexible, and to try to not be dependent on anyone at all. I always told people that I just wanted a floor to sleep on, because people won’t want to host you if you act like a princess. I brought my own blanket and pillow, had a car to take me places, and could buy my own food. And if they were busy with work or school, I could go into the city or find a park to explore. I always enjoyed it when my hosts took the time to show me their city and hang out with me, but I never placed that expectation on them. I think that went a long way in making sure that everyone would be happy to have me come back again. Basic politeness—thanking them and being willing to help out with little things, such as cleaning—goes a long way too!
In terms of food, I tried to spend as little as possible. If I ate at a restaurant, I would never buy a drink, just ask for a cup of water. I carried bread, peanut butter, and honey in my car at all times. I also carried granola bars and would often stop at grocery stores for Greek yogurt or other items so that I could vary my diet. If I stayed somewhere longer than a couple days, I would ask to use their kitchen and buy food to make there.
There is so much to do in every location. I saw a musical, went whitewater rafting, and saw a Cirque du Soleil show. Before every city, I would do a basic Google search of gyms or circus groups in the area (to hang/train), but also “Things to do in BLANK city” to give me an idea of what to check out. I’d also message friends who lived there for suggestions. When I first got to a new city, I also got into the habit of asking random people on the street what they recommended (food, beautiful locations, etc.). Practicing before I left on my trip helped with this, and I really do recommend it. This is how you find real gems, places that the almighty Google may not know about.
Part IV: Nuts and bolts
Some apps I found super useful:
- Lyft and Uber of course are always handy.
- Couchsurfing, Airbnb, and Hotel Tonight are helpful if you don’t have trickers to stay with in a particular area.
- SmoothParking was useful for finding a place to park in NYC.
- Google Maps was useful for places with subway systems.
- I heard Waze is useful, but I haven’t tried yet.
- GasBuddy for keeping fuel costs down, since it shows you the cheapest gas stations in the area.
- If you’re traveling to another country, WhatsApp is a must. It’s also useful if you meet someone from out of the country.
Things to bring:
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, razor for shaving.
- I brought a couple different pairs of shoes, because one would get wrecked while exploring and doing things.
- Make sure to bring at least one set of nice clothes to go to bars with a dress code. (I also brought lots of tricking apparel, of course *cough* Invincible, Plan Zero, TrickDifferent, TrickStrong, Torque *cough*
- I used laundromats occasionally, but would often do laundry at people’s places. I brought my own soap and dryer sheets, as well as a laundry basket to keep dirty clothes separate from clean ones.
- I brought a tent and blanket and pillow. A great way to sleep in a car is to fold down your back seat, put your pillow in the trunk, and sleep with your head in the trunk and your body in the car. It gives you more space, and it’s relatively dark.
- First aid kit, a box to keep all my food in, a few tools for basic car maintenance. I changed my oil right before I left, cleaned out my car, and checked everything so I could avoid any potential problems.
- A portable mini speaker for sessions and music. Headphones, a few books if I was stuck somewhere with nothing to do.
- If you plan on filming, bring a laptop and your camera setup. Multiple phone chargers, as you may forget one somewhere. A car charger for your phone.
- Small backpack to carry things you may need. Pack of water bottles to stay hydrated.
Part V: It’s all over… For now.
This trip was easily one of the best decisions I have made in my entire life. I could go on and on about all the amazing experiences I had and all the phenomenal people I met, but I’m writing this because I’d love to have everyone else share their lives, cities, and tricks with each other. I want everyone to have the same experience I did.
Now you know how. So go create your own journey.