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In the coming weeks, Alyssa and I will have been traveling around the country for five months in our 1994 motorhome. It’s wild to look back and see we’ve spent such a long time traveling. Almost our entire marriage! I don’t even know what it would feel like to wake up and see the same scenery again and again…it might be too much for me to handle.
We’ve loved our seven month, fifty state journey across the country. However, it hasn’t come without it’s fair share of problems. Here is a short list of struggles we’ve faced during our time on the road.
- Losing car-in-tow just hours into our trip
- Breaking down in Williams, AZ ten days into our journey
- Not being able to find a job in Vegas and spending an entire week in the really hot desert before finding one. (RVs don’t like desert)
- Engine running hot along the Pacific Coast (had to flush out radiator)
- Rerouting our schedule two weeks to stay in Portland, OR and sleeping in a school parking lot in the middle of July
- Driving through the chaos of the Midwest: Leaking roof, Broken Jacks, No Rearview Camera and a dead battery
- Brake pads completely breaking off in Cleveland
- Living without a refrigerator for three weeks and using our broken fridge as an ice box
I’m sure I’m missing a few, but add all of these together and then combine it with our first year of marriage, living together, and doing our best to make finances work and we’ve got a full plate on our hands. I don’t share this list with you to complain or for you to feel sorry for us, I just wanted to give you a quick perspective into our lives before telling you how we deal with the chaos.
Also, full disclosure, sometimes it’s really difficult to maintain our happiness. Life on the road seems glamorous and freeing, and parts of it certainly are. But I don’t want to sit back and act like everything is always peachy, because that would be a lie and a facade, and I’m not about the life. The honest truth about life on the road is sometimes it’s difficult. So here is what we do to find happiness in the chaos:
We sometimes drop everything and go on adventures.
Alyssa is better at reminding me to enjoy my life, instead of simply working on my life. I would sit inside, read my book, write, work, write some more, and then work my life away. She is my better half in that she closes my computer screen and tells me let’s go outside because we’re on the Atlantic Ocean and it’s a once in a lifetime type of thing. I often agree after a bit of coaxing, but I’m always glad we take time to enjoy our trip and not just work for it.
We remind ourselves the reason why we’re traveling.
We don’t want to live a conventional life. We still want to have a family of our own, be around friends, and have a home where we can see our parents and siblings, but as far as our work goes we want something different. We love writing, and we believe we have a future in writing books and after this journey, maybe even make more documentaries.
It’s not the conventional life we thought we may have while we were pursuing our degrees, but it’s what we want now.
During hard times, we concentrate and ask each other, “Why are we doing this? What’s the point? Why should we have to keep going when clearly we are stressed out?” The answer is because if it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it. We knew in advance this trip would be hard. I mean, it’s our first year of marriage and we basically upped the ante and decided to spend time traveling in a really old RV. It was like asking for God to test our marriage. But it’s a blast amidst all the stress, and I know we will be infinitely better people coming out the other side.
We try to have some form of routine, which helps during the craziest of times.
While traveling to three new states a week (over a thousand miles usually), working different jobs, and trying to keep up with our RV, it can be difficult to find a set routine. However, I believe this is one of the most important parts of our life. We wake up every morning and sit at the table to drink our coffee. We both journal, write, and then eat breakfast together. We have no idea what the rest of the day is going to hold for us, but we can usually find comfort in those morning moments.
We also try to hit the sack around 8:00PM every night which I absolutely love. We are old people at heart, I don’t really care because it’s awesome going to bed so early.
Finding a routine, taking time off, and remembering why you are doing something are three of the best ways I know to make sure you don’t overload your schedule, stress yourself out, and want to start crying in the corner like a five year old girl. In today’s world, work never sleeps. There is always something that can be done online, but can it wait? Is your health or relationship with those closest to you worth whatever is taking you away from them?
RVing life is one of the most unstable ways to live your life, but it’s fun and we love it. It comes with it’s challenges, but it is also a great teacher for Alyssa and I. We are always laughing about how if we can make it through living without a fridge for nearly a month or some of the other things we’ve experienced, we can do anything together. And I believe it.
A life of comfort doesn’t help you grow. So when chaos comes your way, don’t run from it. Embrace the opportunity to grow and learn, but don’t let it wreck your life. Because it doesn’t have to.
(I bet you thought this blog was going to be about yoga or something like that, but I just felt like the photo was fitting! It was from my 30th job yesterday at Downtown Yoga in Hartford, CT!)