Things That Distract From Reaching the Destination

We figured that we should try to travel about 500 miles a day in order to reach our destination in Alaska in five days. I could have spent a month in Banff National Park, but alas, I haven’t retired yet.

A constant push and pull plagues me when we travel—do I stop and take a photo of THIS stunning sight? Or do I push on towards our destination? After passing through Jasper National Park, intermittent rainstorms produced stunning rainbows that I managed to capture without having to stop.


That same push and pull plays out in my every-day-not-on-vacation-life as well. How do I marshal my resources and efforts to reach my goal and not get sidetracked by every shiny object in my path?

I don’t know about you, but Facebook, the nominating committee at church, finding the perfect recipe for chocolate lava cake, and sorting through an endless stream of emails with promised opportunities all constitute shiny things that nibble away at my ability to get things done.

Pretty soon, I find myself lost in a barrage of worthy (and not so worthy) causes that cry out for my time. At the beginning of the year I read Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy’s book Living Forward. The book addresses our need to prioritize our time and create a Life Plan. I went on a Life Plan retreat and followed through with reading my Life Plan every day for 90 days.

The Life Plan that I came up with helped me see that I need to invest more time in my most important relationships. And thus the idea for a trip to Alaska to spend time with Sarah came to fruition. Driving to Alaska with Pedro would strengthen our marriage, and spending time with Sarah would build new memories.

Why Camp in a Parking Lot?

We arrived in Grand Prairie at eleven p.m., and easily found a Walmart to park in. I know, I know. The first time I saw a caravan of RVs parked in a Walmart parking lot I laughed out loud. The rigs ranged in price from just-barely-moving to must-have-cost-a-quarter-of-a-million.

“Why in the world would anyone want to CAMP in a Walmart parking lot?” I asked Pedro when we counted 35 RVs in the Bozeman, MT Walmart parking lot. Later that same summer we purchased a used RV and discovered why people don’t bother checking into a campground.

1. Walmart parking lots provide safety at no cost.
2. You can run inside and buy what you forgot.
3. Every major city (and some smaller towns) has at least one Walmart—you can even purchase a Walmart atlas.
4. When you have a long trip ahead, it makes sense to save your money for camping at the destination.

There you have it—four great reasons for spending the night in your RV at a Walmart parking lot. Of course, one must also beware when stopping at Stuffmart for the evening.

The Dark Side of Walmart Parking Lots

Once, we traveled from Montana to Oregon with friends—each family driving their own RV. I kid you not. I got up, went running, made breakfast, ate, showered and had things ready to travel by eight a.m.

Our travel companions had to ‘just run into Walmart for a few things.’ When they came out three hours later, our kids had reached the limits of their patience and I had steam coming out of my ears. Note to self: make plans for leaving with all members of the party the day before. Other pitfalls of parking lots.

1. You might end up buying things you don’t need because they have a clearance tag.
2. Not all Walmarts welcome RVs—check their websites or call ahead.
3. No electricity or sewer dumps (Cabela’s and Fred Meyer Stores often have sewer dumps—but you can’t find one in every town).
4. In really small towns, people might use the Walmart parking lot as a local (and vocal) hangout.

The Walmart Parking Lot is NOT the Destination!

I think about crazy things when I go running, and that morning in Grand Prairie proved no exception. I looked around at all the other RVs and smiled. We all knew something that we could apply to our lives in general. I started to hum the old tune from summer camp:

This world is not my home
I’m just a-passing through
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue.

We had almost 1500 more miles to travel before we reached our destination. The truck and trailer looked a little worn and dusty, but it would probably look worse before we arrived. We didn’t know much about the road or the towns that we would pass through. Those things didn’t matter. We had a plan and knew our ultimate destination.


So let people smile, laugh and point at the parking lot brotherhood. We knew that the Marmart parking lot wasn’t our destination.

Having a destination in mind helps you not sweat the small stuff or get destracted by the uninportant. #write31days Click To Tweet

Beauty Tip #10: Having a destination in mind helps you not sweat the small stuff or get distracted by the unimportant.

Q4U: Do you find it easier to accomplish something when you have the end in mind?


  1. Yes, infinite things nimble at my time when I open my laptop to write. Thanks for the fun read, your choice of words is exquisite. I have never thought about the dark side of a Walmart parking lot. Very enjoyable!

  2. Living in the home of Walmart (Aka Northwest Arkansas) the title caught my eye, of course I think no long trip is complete without a visit to Walmart. Great points that it is not our destination, there is so much more for us.

  3. Yes! So many little, niggly things eat away at our time, don’t they? I don’t want to get distracted from my destination! And I was so intrigued by what you’d said earlier in the year about Living Forward. I need to check that out!

  4. Our family has always wanted an RV or pop-up so I admit these posts are making me a little bit jealous. For now I will live vicariously through you and learn all I can about the best tips. And most of all, life lessons learned along the way. This is so great. I do get incredibly distracted by tyranny of the urgent. I need to focus on what matters most.

    1. We’ve done everything from backpacking to car camping to RVing. I confess that I enjoy the RVs the most because I don’t have to pack so much! We’ve invested in our retirement home, and have threatened to park Beauty in our childrens’ back yards (half the year at each daughter’s place) when we’re too feeble to drive the Beast ;).

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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