Lowered Expectations Can Equal Happiness

Mall WartI’ve always been a crunchy granola type who recycles everything, eats organic, and tries not to consume mass amounts of paper products. But I’m slowly finding out that applying these values on this trip is going to be tricky.

Ever try going inland to someplace like Arizona, and looking for organic produce that doesn’t look like it was held over from last winter? Forget it.

What about paying a reasonable price for Boca chick patties or fake meat products like Morning Star fak’n bacon? Nope. Say goodbye to your wallet.

Yes, California does have one or two perks it seems, when it comes to living and eating healthy. Even mainstream grocery stores like Safeway carry all that I need to maintain a healthy vegetarian lifestyle. But as we go inland, we are surrounded by cheap agribusiness produce, overpriced fake meat products relegated to the back of the freezer section, and no bulk items to be seen anywhere, especially in the Mall Wart supercenters that trash the landscape.

Some people in the handy RV.net forums have offered some great suggestions on shopping while fulltiming. Overall, part of staying happy on this trip is to just forget about the way I used to shop for food. When in Rome . . .

9 thoughts on “Lowered Expectations Can Equal Happiness”

  1. Judy, thanks for commenting. I appreciate your feedback. I’ve gotta tell you though, I have seen most of Arizona, as I used to live in Phoenix back in the early 90s, before the population explosion. Living there at the time was for me, paying my dues (I interned at the capitol). For fun I used to ride my motorcycle all the way to Globe, or Tucson, or the Verde Valley, or east to Silver City, NM. I did like some of the desert area, but now I’m scared to see what has become of those rural areas I used to like to ride in.

    The S/West’s water situation is bad, and is playing a major part in where we decide to relocate. We left a very secluded, wet, rainy place (Humboldt County, CA), and hope that we can relocate to a place in the U.S. that has the same kind of stable water situation. Things are getting scary.

    While Southern California pilfers the Colorado’s waters, in the North, the Bay Area is swiping water from Humboldt/Del Norte Counties’ rivers. Sigh.

    Hey we’d love to chat offline about straw bale structures. I’m going over to your blog now….

  2. Wow, I don’t usually comment the first time I read a blog. Thought your concept was interesting, and some of your observations about AZ are true. However you saw only a small fraction of the state and most people don’t choose to visit here in the middle of the summer.
    Yes, as you move out of CA, finding things you are accustomed to at a “reasonable” price is more difficult unless you stay in large urban centers. It’s just as well that many people don’t like AZ because it, as well as most of the west, is running out of water trying to sustain present population. Did you know most of the Colorado River water goes to CA to support agriculture?
    Hope you have a great journey and find what you are looking for. I look forward to more posts and observations.

  3. Here are my recommendations…all with great colleges:

    Lincoln, NE
    Northfield, MN
    Iowa City, IA

    Yes, you have to go to Minnesota ๐Ÿ™‚ Matt is from there, and we met there…we love it. So many great camping spots…beautiful scenery. Be sure to check out the North Shore (Lake Superior). You’ll love it. When you get near Minneapolis, let me know and I can tell you all the fun spots. We’re headed to Brainerd (north of Mpls) in late July/August for a couple of weeks. Can’t wait!

  4. Well, we aren’t sure about where exactly we are going in the midwest. We’re looking for great small towns with a university nearby. Maybe Bloomington IN, Carbondale IL? Gotta go to Minnesota. Still doing research on finding “liveable” small towns. Any places you recommend we check out? Prefer population 50k or less.

  5. Yes…the midwest has some organics. Where exactly are you going? I have lived in most midwest states and know the good spots ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Oh thanks for the light at the end of the tunnel! Definitely looking for college towns. I saw one decent sized health food store in Flagstaff, which looked like it sold more than just supplements. Didn’t go in, didn’t need anything.

    I like your idea about scratch and dent stores, like Grocery Outlet. I’ve seen a lot of cool Morningstar-type veggie dishes at those places. Yeah, agree about the fun in “sourcing food,” I like the way you put it.

  7. It will get better on sourcing organic or veggie foods….there are Food Co-ops in ABQ, big box Whole Foods up and down east side of the rockies (CO, ABQ and Santa Fe I know). If you get to ABQ, Central Ave (Route 66) east of UNM (Knob Hill historic) has a food Co-op….Sat/Sun at fair grounds just east of that is Farmers market. There are two in Santa Fe. Maybe look at college towns along the way to search for small vegetarian sources?
    OK better news for sources are scratch and dent stores…source those who get Whole Foods or equiv shelf pulls. Local for me the Disc Food hole in the wall store has a Tree of Life Food Mkt semi arrive every 6 weeks. 60-90% off their retail. Sourcing food is all part of the adventure…do have fun.

  8. Is there any hope of finding organics in the Midwest? Hope so!
    Vegetarian camping recipes….hmmm, let me think about that. We tend to eat so much salad and bbq things like portabella and garden burgers, and haven’t gotten nearly as adventurous on the road as we did in the kitchen at home.

  9. I have a feeling this will be a problem for me too ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m the same way. When you don’t have laundry…it’s a lot harder to wash the towels in a timely manner. The temptation to use paper towels is great, but I don’t want to give in!

    With organics…we will just have to stock up when we can find them. I’d love to hear about any great vegetarian camping recipes you have.


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