By Lori Stultz, Outreach Coordinator
As a traveling outreach coordinator, I have heard the following statement more than a handful of times: “I don’t know how you do it; I could never live on the road.” And I think all the former, highly admirable traveling outreach coordinators would agree with me when I say that, like with any other job, it isn’t always easy. For me personally, and as I mentioned in a previous post, I miss cooking my own meals. I also miss my own bed, my adorable Oliver
(this picture was taken in August when I was packing for the tour), and other silly things one may take for granted, like a pillow case and towel that always smell like home.
In response to the individuals who claim they could never live on the road, I usually respond by telling them that, yes, there are certain things that become a bit more difficult when one is constantly traveling but that you find little things along the way that make the lifestyle easier. These things would undoubtedly vary from person to person (or should I say traveling outreach coordinator to traveling outreach coordinator), but I have personally found these three to be the most helpful:
- The Planet Fitness Black Card Membership
I have always enjoyed physical activity, especially as I got older and the stress of college set in. It helped relieve the ongoing anxiety that school created. The first gym I joined after high school offered a wide variety of classes, and after trying out a few different kinds, I settled on the 5 a.m. boot camp class. It felt great to get the happy endorphins going at the start of my day, not to mention that I met a wonderful group of women who would soon become my good friends. I stuck with my morning gym routine all through school, and I have carried that over into my work schedule. I learned from a former traveling outreach coordinator that Planet Fitness is a popular chain gym on the East Coast and that if you purchase their “Black Card” Membership package, you can use any Planet Fitness gym in the United States. Pretty cool, huh? Working out before I start leafleting gets me energized and motivated for the day. Not only that, but it provides a predictable atmosphere. Being at a different school each day, a different city every few days, and at least two or three different host homes each week, Planet Fitness has become somewhat of a “home base” for me. And as an added bonus, they have nifty massage chairs that I frequently take advantage of!
- Electric Car Cooler
This clever invention has made road life wonderfully easy when it comes to food! It doesn’t require ice; it simply plugs into the cigarette lighter of my car. It stays cold up to 12 hours when it’s unplugged (or when the car isn’t running) and an indoor wall adaptor can be purchased for the days you aren’t driving around. I currently have a bag of carrots, five or six apples, a few bananas, a container of hummus, a loaf of bread, and a water bottle inside mine. Oh, the joys of modern technology…
- Friends, Family, and Animals
There are five wonderful individuals I speak with, if not on a daily bases, at least several times a week. Three of the five are fellow Vegan Outreach employees: Outreach Coordinator Steven Litrov (who is currently touring the Midwest), Director of Development Lisa Rimmert, and Operations Manager Kevin Gallagher. These three never, ever fail to make me laugh, and they continuously offer support and encouragement. Kevin also does a great job of keeping me entertained by passing along interesting news articles.
My good friend Erin Vader is also another solid source of support. Erin and I are used to being there for each other long distance anyway, since she lives in Detroit, Michigan, but that only strengthens my appreciation for her early morning “Good morning!” text messages and daily questioning about my travels and the schools and places I visit. An amazing animal activist herself, I cannot express how much that girl means to me.
And last, but certainly not least, my mom.
Her support and encouragement is arguably the most appreciated out of all my friends and family members (those mentioned in this post and the others scattered throughout the country). I know she worries about me and would prefer I have a more “stationary” or “normal” job, but she supports me regardless. She keeps me updated on the family “happenings” back home, and she frequently sends me pictures of Oliver.
And for everyone’s enjoyment, here is the latest picture she sent me:
In short, yes, there are the few drawbacks to living on the road. However, there are definitely routines, gadgets, and people that make it possible. Looking at the bigger picture, the animals need our help. And for the time being, this is the way I choose to go about helping them. Thus, I will continue to draw upon and cultivate new ways of making this lifestyle possible.