Lessons from our first trip

"If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything." —John Wooden

Sometimes learning is about doing. The wrong things. Consistently. Even though we did our best to prepare for this first trip, we still fumbled occasionally. Here is some advice for our one-week-ago selves, in more or less sequential order:

  • Pull into the camp site way further than you think you should so there's plenty of room on both sides when you leave.
  • When unhitching, remove the safety chains before releasing the hitch. Otherwise it will fall onto the chains, getting stuck awkwardly.
  • There is no such thing as reception in the woods.
  • Don't leave tools on the back bumper.
  • Don't leave the keys in the door. Any keys, any door.
  • Don't run the sink with the cover on, or when the faucet is over the counter.
  • If the forecast calls for wind and rain, go ahead and pack your campsite and canopy away before the storm comes.
  • Don't buy light-colored rugs.
  • The shallow good-for-nothing cupboards hold cans perfectly!
  • The built-in CD player also plays DVDs!
  • Instead of packing them in their cases, store your DVDs in one of those big zippy CD books from the 90's.
  • Buy more heavy duty command hooks than you require.
  • Don't let the battery die, or you will have to crank the jack by hand.
  • Walk around the trailer twice to find the things you are leaving behind / going to run over.
  • If you pulled in too close the trees, prepare yourself for a sketchy exit.
  • Do not seriously consider cutting down trees in a national park.
  • High five over small wins like successfully passing that last tree just inside a pencil-thin margin.
  • If the propane tank is heavy, it is full.
  • Do not attempt to fill an already full propane tank. Old ladies will heckle you.
  • Always put a rock or a foot or something heavy onto the end of the dump hose so you don't get christened when the shit hits. (Luckily both my dad and my grandfather individually gave me this advice in advance. Nice save, you guys.)


Shaun is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, teacher, musician and artist. He enjoys working to bring creative ideas to life, and generally being a positive influence in the world. Follow him on Instagram @shauntinney.