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Behind our backs or to our face, people ask this question often. Heck, even Bobby Bones made a snide remark about our honeymoon talking about how there’s no one he’d want to spend that much time with in such small quarters.
Who would want to spend their honeymoon like that?
Why would anyone in their right mind choose to live with their newlywed husband in a 20 year old RV, traveling across the country working different jobs?
If someone had told Heath and I when we were dating that this would be our future together, we never would’ve believed them. Who at 23 is thinking about RVs?
Buying an RV was just a solution to our bigger problem. Back in 2013, when Heath proposed, I had just quit my job. I worked and lived in New Orleans and I was eager to be reunited with Heath in Texas.
While I planned the wedding, I casually looked for jobs online–but mostly watched Gossip Girl all day–when this idea crept into my head. I wanted to be a writer. Heath wanted to be a writer. We needed to do something that would open us up to have the time and freedom to write.
At this point, Heath really didn’t like his job either. (I’m not convinced that anyone at 23 actually likes their job.) Sales felt grimy. He worked and complained constantly. He didn’t know what he wanted to do in life, but he knew software sales wasn’t it and he was ready to get out.
Our unhappiness with our current work positions gave way into conversations about the type of life we wanted together. We wanted to accomplish our dreams, like publishing books and traveling the world. We wanted to tackle our bucket lists now, while we were young and vibrant and not too afraid to take risks. (Although for the record, I was terrified).
Our goal had nothing to do with working in each state or RVing across the country. Our goal was to create the type of life we wanted, instead of letting life keep telling us what to do.
An extended honeymoon quickly became the perfect solution. It’s customary to take a honeymoon after the wedding, why not extend ours to give us a runway to chase these things we wanted? No one could argue with that. (Surprisingly, there’s even an Old Testament Bible verse to confirm this: “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” Deut. 24:5)
When we talked about this with our pre-marital counselor, she encouraged us, stating that if we traveled somewhere far away from our family and our comforts, it would force us to grow together. We wouldn’t be able to run away to our friends when things were rough. We could only run to each other. I thought that was beautiful.
So it was settled. Our extended honeymoon idea first gave us a five month runway to write books–hopefully by the beach in California. That plan slowly spiraled into a road trip, into a 50 state tour, into a seven-month RVing trip.
Our honeymoon plan transformed into something I couldn’t tell anyone about, because it sounded too crazy.
As you know by now, Heath came up with the crazy idea to work a job in each state, found us a sponsor, upgraded our plans to include a documentary, and suddenly our trip was no longer just a honeymoon, but a full-on adventure.
People ask me why I would agree to this, or what we really thinking during this time, so let me tell you what it is I wish I could tell these people who don’t understand why we did Hourly America.
A week in an all inclusive resort in Mexico or the Bahamas for our honeymoon would’ve been fun. I could’ve worked on my tan. Heath could’ve lathered himself in SPF 1000 each day to protect his fair skin. We would have great memories from that time, just like all of our other married friends.
But it wouldn’t have changed our lives. It wouldn’t make us better people. It wouldn’t challenge us. It wouldn’t have any influence on what our marriage would look like.
We wanted to do something that pushed us toward the life we wanted for ourselves. That often meant worrying about money, fighting over the GPS, crying because I had no idea what I was doing trying to film this documentary, and a whole lot of stopping to remember why we started traveling in the first place.
Like anyone about to get married, we had big dreams for our marriage. We looked to the marriages around us. We didn’t want to be cynical or set in our ways. We didn’t want to work, buy a house, have kids, and shop at Target. The marriages we admired most were the ones who traveled, who learned new things often, and who knew how to make big, difficult decisions in life together.
We wanted to push each other. Heath, when worrying about what life would be like if he stayed in his job, would ask me to be the person in his life who would never let him settle.
We wanted to do more than just what people or culture expected. We wanted to create, to challenge, to inspire–even if the only people we inspired were ourselves.
At face value, spending your honeymoon in an RV doesn’t sound romantic or desirable. But doing this one crazy thing gave us the life that we had dreamed for ourselves two short years ago. We travel. We write. We film–something we didn’t yet know we loved. We work together.
So yes, our honeymoon in an RV doesn’t look very sexy on paper. But it helped us become the type of people we wanted to be. It launched us into the type of marriage we wanted. That’s what I wish I could tell the people who assume we’re crazy, or that we’re so poor we have to live in a trailer, or that we’re so rich that we can afford to travel all the time, or that we’re just plain weird.
We’re really none of those things (or maybe we’re a little bit of all of those things). We just got tired of talking about chasing our dreams and decided to just go for it. RV and all.