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Extended Road Trip and Documentary


Cynder

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When I was in my early twenties I had a dream of traveling all around the country with a group of my friends and making a Documentary about it.

 

That dream died out though... real life and adult responsibilities can kill an idea real quick if you let them.

 

But now, by certain circumstances, I may actually have the opportunity to do it. Some of my friends are saving up for an RV so they can go all around the country, and they've invited me along to film it. This was actually their idea. I think it's awesome that they invited me specifically to make a film about this.

 

The guy who came up with the idea has done something like this before. He told me it will be the experience of a life time. He said we will meet all kinds of interesting people and see all kinds of crazy things.

 

So I asked the question how are we going to fund this? He told me there are plenty of "labor ready shops" everywhere where all you need is two forms of ID. You work a day, you get paid at the end of the day. I forgot about places like that. When I lived in the bigger city there were a few of those.

 

So, I am really considering it.

 

One thing thats making me question it... my job. I'm thinking I could put in my two weeks notice and quit the "right way" so I will be rehireable when I come home. I'm a good worker. I'm already trained. Where I work has a huge turnover so they are always hiring people. The chances of getting back in if I leave on good terms are pretty decent.

 

I work 60 hours a week in a machine shop. I would like my job if it weren't for the long hours and the lack of breaks and days off. What I do isn't so bad... but when I am forced to be there seven days a week it gets exhausting. It feels more like slave labor then honest work. When I get my paycheck it might be large, but it almost doesn't seem worth the lack of free time anymore.

 

So... part of me thinks I am so lucky to have a job, especially one that pays well, in this economy, better hold onto it. But part of me also thinks I'm miserable at my job so why let a miserable job hold me back from living a dream? I'll always regret it if I don't do this.

 

They are shooting for next summer to leave. It's not like I have a week to make this decision. I have time to prepare. He needs to buy an RV, and I need to make sure I have all the equipment I need to film. (right now I have no camera... that could be a problem, lol.)

 

So what do you all think? Is this a good idea? Or is it just irresponsible?

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I say do it! If your current place of employment is high turn over, and if you can leave on good terms and regain your job back - why not? Maybe even give in a little extra notice so they can hire someone easily and work your butt off in the final few weeks.

 

You only live once. Life isn't all about work and the chance you have sounds low risk really. There really isn't a 'Why not?'.

 

Go for it!

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Have you seen the Albert Brooks movie 'Lost in America'... watch it before you do anything... a very funny and apropos movie if you are considering this.

 

I think such trips can be incredible as a change of pace and to give you a new perspective BUT you can't ignore the realities of needing money to survive, and jobs these days of any kind can be hard to get depending on where you are. Even local people can't get jobs, and people travelling thru for a day's work ill have worse trouble. And RVs get next to no gas mileage, so at $3-$4 a gallon, you need a LOT of money to travel. A whole day's work at some minimum wage job won't even feed you and take you 100 miles in the RV.

 

If you have a lot of people in the RV too, you need to pay for RV sites where you can get water and dump sewage constantly. So its more expensive than you probably think.

 

If you can have sufficient money put aside for the trip to cover you for the year and all projected expenditures it might be a fun adventure, but if you don't, it could be a depressing disaster.

 

You also can't underestimate how SMALL an RV will feel if you get trapped in it with several people and start to have disagreements over what to do/where to go, or personality conflicts, or don't have enough money to feed you all and pay for gas and RV maintenance and lot rentals at RV parks.

 

So if you're well capitalized before you go and have plenty of money to cover the trip and to bail and take a bus home if you start arguing/feeling trapped with all those people in an RV, i'd say go and have fun. But everyone doesn't have enough money to cover their needs and pay for food and gas and potential RV repairs on the road, it could turn out to be something you regret.

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btw, everyone thinks their jobs are soul sucking and drain their 'fun' time some of the time. I'm all for adventures to break the routine and add fun and variety to life, but wanting an adventure won't rule out the need for money or planning to make sure an adventure doesn't turn into a nightmare. Lack of proper planning and foresight is what causes disasters, so if you plan this carefully rather than just doing anything to 'escape' without thinking it through, then that will determine the outcome, whether it is worthwhile or a stupid mistake.

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Well once again lavenderdove says it best - these types of trips require excessive planning!!!! Its not uncommon that prep work could take a year - fly by the seat of your pants and you could end up hitching a ride back or worse yet calling your parents to bail you out.

 

Jobs are scare out there for everyone... you complain now about how hard you work... you will do far worse jobs for far worse pay IF you are lucky if you are trying to work your way through the trip.

 

The point is well made not only of gas money requirements but insurance.... and what happens if it does break down and suddenly its $1500 to repair... where does that money come from?

 

If you are really doing well at your job why not talk to your boss about this opportunity so he knows you will be taking extended time off but would really like to return to your job when you are back --- that's planning ahead! Personally with unemployment reaching highs again in most areas I wouldn't leave a good paycheck until I had really planned something out.

 

Good Luck

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Just so everyone is aware (I thought I said it in first post but maybe not) they don't want to do this for another year or so, so we do have time to plan everything and save money. Also, I admit I know jack about RVs. Bu the guy in charge of all this has a lot of experience with them. And I never complained about how hard I work. I complained about the endless mandatory overtime. No days off for months on end sucks.

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>>So I asked the question how are we going to fund this?

 

Well, you did ask the question about how you were going to fund this, so that is why we responded the way we did. I think the response is you need to have sufficient money saved in advance to cover gas mileage for the entire distance you intend to travel, a several thousand dollar RV repair buffer just in case something like the transmission or engine on the RV goes, plus costs for RV park rentals, food, entertainment etc. So you need the budget worked out in advance, plus meeting with these people to determine how you will manage the money and what each person is expected to contribute per day to the costs of the trip.

 

In today's economy, 'winging it' without the money saved in advance just isn't too feasible. Plus you might be surprised at how annoying it can be to be trapped day in and day out in a small space like an RV with a bunch of other people who may have all kinds of habits and personality traits that start to grate on you. I've taken cross countries trips that were a great pleasure, and others where i was ready to throw someone out of the car within a few hundred miles of starting the trip... you just never know until you get trapped in that small space with them over long periods of time. You just can't get away from them easily.

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I have to keep my answers short because I'm at work and using my phone.LD, I think nyou misunderstood. I didn't ask anyone here how we would fund this trip. I asked the guy who invited me. If I seem annoyed its only because people seem to be assuming I'm just going to take off without any money saved and just quit my job and everything else. My friends and I are not that stupid. The only question I asked of people here on ENA was if it is worth leaving my job for and then trying to get back in.

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Since the camera is something you want regardless, I'd work a lot of OT and save for that. Then I'd schedule a short weekend or two, or use my vacation time, for some preview trips with these people to see what kind of subjects they'd be to film.

 

If they don't come through as willing for a test run, then giving up my job just as the whole globe heads into a second dip of recession isn't something I'd be willing to pull off.

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Since the camera is something you want regardless, I'd work a lot of OT and save for that. Then I'd schedule a short weekend or two, or use my vacation time, for some preview trips with these people to see what kind of subjects they'd be to film.

 

If they don't come through as willing for a test run, then giving up my job just as the whole globe heads into a second dip of recession isn't something I'd be willing to pull off.

 

Good idea. I agree with this advice. Giving up a job without another one would be no option for us.

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Since the camera is something you want regardless, I'd work a lot of OT and save for that. Then I'd schedule a short weekend or two, or use my vacation time, for some preview trips with these people to see what kind of subjects they'd be to film.

 

If they don't come through as willing for a test run, then giving up my job just as the whole globe heads into a second dip of recession isn't something I'd be willing to pull off.

 

Overtime is definitely not a problem where I work. The over time I work is mandatory. Right now I'm getting ready to leave for a ten hour shift and it's Sunday. The required overtime is the biggest reason where I work has such a high turnover. People get burned out. They get tired of never being able to plan anything, never seeing their friends and family, etc.

 

Unfortunately, vacation time is a problem. At least right now. I don't have paid vacation time at this point. I still have to be there a while before I will. But I should have some by next summer.

 

I am saving up for a camera now that my Europe trip is financially covered.

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I would do it, but only if everyone who was going on the RV had enough money saved to help fund the trip. The "plan" of rolling into a city and immediately finding work for 1-2 days is not realistic, imo.

 

I know it's not realistic. That's just the answer he gave me. A labor ready shop will put anyone to work for a day as long as they have two forms of ID. But with the economy being as it is, I'm sure places like that fill up really fast right now. And they are going to take the people who show up all the time to work before taking a bunch of strangers from out of town.

 

This guy worked his way accross the country before in places like that. But that was also when the economy was a lot better.

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I honestly wouldn't consider a cross country trip with another person who didn't have sufficient money saved in advance to cover the trip. He is showing he doesn't get how serious the problems are in the economy and what a huge risk that is. You might end up eating at soup kitchens in various towns, unable to pay for food or gas to get somewhere new, or even to pay for somewhere to dump the RV sewage. You are basically signing up for a 'homeless' lifestyle if you all haven't saved money before the trip, and being homeless without either a steady job or a cash cushion and wandering the country in a lousy job market is definitely unwise.

 

And quitting your job when the economy isn't good really isn't wise either... there are so many people who haven't worked in YEARS who are desperate for a job... So you would need enough money saved to cover the trip, plus at least another 6 months to a year of expenses saved for while you are looking for a new job when you get back. The amount of time it would take to a get another job would depend on your skillset and experience, so i'd do research on how long it realistically takes to get a job now based on your own skillsets and experience. I think the average time accross all occupations now is something like 6-18 months minimum. It will be less for skilled workers in industries that have more demand, and longer for those in more menial, less professional jobs.

 

'Winging' it without money is next to impossible in a bad economy. You might want to postpone the trip until you've all saved sufficient money for the trip and the job hunt afterwards, or wait until economic times are better and jobs aren't so hard to come by.

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I also think you need to budget in $ to prepare all the forms/releases/paperwork you will need to prepare/create/copy for permission to film, to use the film later, etc. Even if you're just filming your friend and the landscape you have to be prepared in that way, IMO. If I have this wrong and you're just filming each other for personal use I apologize! I also agree with Lavenderdove.

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'Winging' it without money is next to impossible in a bad economy. You might want to postpone the trip until you've all saved sufficient money for the trip and the job hunt afterwards, or wait until economic times are better and jobs aren't so hard to come by.

 

We are planning on saving money beforehand.

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I also think you need to budget in $ to prepare all the forms/releases/paperwork you will need to prepare/create/copy for permission to film, to use the film later, etc. Even if you're just filming your friend and the landscape you have to be prepared in that way, IMO. If I have this wrong and you're just filming each other for personal use I apologize! I also agree with Lavenderdove.

 

I am aware of the legal issues. I've had quite a bit of experience with that end of things. I've been an independent film maker since 2005 and I've had to sign a lot, and have people sign a lot of release forms, permission forms, etc.

 

I have a lot of templates for legal forms. They were written for me by a friend of mine who is well versed in those things. Of course they usually need tweeked a little depending on the situation.

 

Aside from just my friends an I, I will also need to collect release forms from the people who talk to us on camera too. And even from some of the places we film at.

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I am aware of the legal issues. I've had quite a bit of experience with that end of things. I've been an independent film maker since 2005 and I've had to sign a lot, and have people sign a lot of release forms, permission forms, etc.

 

I have a lot of templates for legal forms. They were written for me by a friend of mine who is well versed in those things. Of course they usually need tweeked a little depending on the situation.

 

Aside from just my friends an I, I will also need to collect release forms from the people who talk to us on camera too. And even from some of the places we film at.

 

Yes and the rules might differ between states. Glad you are prepared in that way! I agree with Lavenderdove that you should wait until you have a solid financial cushion.

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