VACATION OR FULL TIME?
For most people, taking a few weeks to make a cross-country road trip is more than enough. Not us. When we decided to get married, we knew we'd likely be pretty "extra" about the type of honeymoon we'd take. Maybe it's because we work remote and are lucky enough to have the opportunity.... maybe it's because we had been on lock down for over a year by the time we left.... or maybe it's just because we're slow and like to take our time, but these are the kind of travelers we are. When we take trips, we make the absolute most of it.
So we planned for six to eight months on the road, which meant we'd have to balance "vacation mode" with real life. Easy! We thought. Luke outfitted the RV with the absolute best in mobile internet connection, so we'd be able to connect even at 10,000 feet. Then he went into what I call "Safety Man" mode, and got all sorts of other gadgets to keep tabs on the vehicle's status and make maintenance easy. That should be it, right?
Wrong. Being on the road full time for months on end brings with it challenges beyond mechanics. The struggles we all face in life, don't just stop because you're "out of the office."
We’ve had work come up.
We’ve had friends have emergencies.
We’ve had family have health scares.
We've even lost loved ones.
… and as heart breaking as some of that has been, being in nature has been the best medicine.
We had service when we needed to be connected.
We had no service to force us to be present.
We were everywhere and no where at once.
We were home.
Our previous and future posts may share the joys of life the road, but today we share the duality of some of the hard truths we've had to face, no matter where in the world we are.
A few days after celebrating my birthday in Glacier National Park amidst the most beautiful landscapes we’ve seen on this trip, we received the devastating news that my grandfather had passed. He might have been 84 years old, but you would never know it. I thought this man might make it to 100 and I regret being wrong about that so much.
I've described the feelings as a roller coaster, but it was actually more like thinking I was on a merry-go-round and suddenly finding myself on the Tower of Terror. It was a seemingly instant and endless drop into darkness. Yet, what did I have to cushion my fall? The forest, the mountains, the rivers, the waterfalls, the rain, the sun, my two favorite travel buddies and our lovely little house on wheels.
Before our hearts were broken by this news, we had reserved a car rental, paid for a boat tour and planned a full day of adventures in Glacier National Park for the following day. While we certainly didn’t feel up for exploring, going into the park that day felt like years of therapy. While I still felt the pain of it all... every sadness seemed to dissipate into peace; every sense of loss met with a sense of connection.
We held our own ceremony in nature for my grandfather and it was exactly what I needed at the time, but back in Miami my family needed me. We weren’t sure how we’d do it, but with the help of a few angels on earth and some travel magic, we found a safe place to park the RV, a ride to the airport and a flight within 48 hours. I’ll spare you the grief of what the time in Miami was like, but what I found so very interesting was what happened when we returned.
RETURNING TO THE RV, RETURNING HOME
Despite being in a little mountain town in Montana that we had never been to, I felt the strong sense of closure, peace and comfort of being “back home” when we got back to the RV. It was weird… wasn’t I just “home” in Miami? No, I wasn’t. The life we’ve created within these 240 square feet and everything we experience by driving it from place to place was all here waiting for us to return and I truly felt like I could breathe again when we did.
We’ve crossed five state lines since we’ve been back and this sense of home has only grown. I don’t know if it’s the fact that we’ve now lived in the RV for half a year or if it was this recent experience having to look death in the face, but something has shifted for me here. I feel the constant desire to stay present to the life we’ve created in this small space. I feel joy in tidying it, cooking in it, being in it.
This Allan Watts quote that Luke has been playing with for a recent track rings so true for me here and now... “Everyday life as it is, is the great thing... there is no difference between that and the divine life." I hope I never forget the lessons I've learned through the harder experiences of this trip...
To appreciate those we think will always be here.
To experience happiness in the every day.
To be grateful for the seemingly "mundane".
To realize that sometimes what feels like contentment is actually pure bliss.