Home Again, what did we learn ~ By Tom ~
Hello everyone and we hope you have enjoyed the much-abbreviated re-cap of Audrey, Emma and my 28 days on the road. Hopefully you were able glean just a smidgen of the excitement we experienced along the way. Then there was the joy of what we discovered about ourselves, each other and the sights and sounds of the places outside our zip code.
After returning from our journey we were exhausted but it didn’t hit right away! The first couple days we were still riding the wave of adrenaline from constantly being on the go. Then, day 3, we just wanted to sit and do nothing and that is basically what we did (it felt awesome). It was while sitting we started coming to the realization of the journey we had just returned from. It wasn’t just the 28 days on the road but also the month prior preparing for the journey. This is when we started reviewing our notes, pictures and recordings and emotionally un-packing the enormity of traveling 6,500 miles, through 16 states in our 2002 Toyota Camry with our dog, Emma.
If you were to google, which I did after we returned, things like, “tent camping tips, road trips with a dog, or how to survive in a car with your mate and dog” you would see lots of results. So, for us to think for a second we could add something prophetic to that list would be pure foolishness. In these google searches I discovered a lot of common sense stuff including, “choosing a route, picking campgrounds, equipment needs, proper dress, menu planning, tips for tent camping with your dog, no one is an island, your individual actions affect who you are with, learn to be grateful or you can stand more than you think”, etc. The one phrase ending many of the articles was the one I laughed at most “just relax and have fun”. Duh, I thought the whole purpose of going on a camping excursion was “just relax and have fun”, LOL, LOL. This however ended up being the most important phrase and one that should be the corner stone of any adventure in life, “just relax and have fun”. Now, don’t get me wrong. We had a great deal of fun but it was in hindsight that we realized it wasn’t about the event of the journey but rather the process of preparing for the journey. Isn’t this true about life in general. It’s not about the arrival (events) but rather the journey building up to the events (process). Even though we knew it (common sense) we weren’t necessarily practicing it.
When we returned some friends of ours commented how they could see around week 3 that we were showing signs of fatigue. As we went back over photos we too could see it. If you recall awhile back I cited an article by Nicole Lindstrom at Wonderlust.com titled “Living the Van Life: What to Know Before You Go” . You might be saying yeah, but you weren’t in a van and this is about tent camping going cross country by car? You are correct, Audrey and I were in a car, along with Emma, our Labrador Retriever, and a lot of stuff (some necessary and some not necessary) crammed inside our Toyota Camry which in many ways included the Lindstrom’s challenges but added some additional ones. Their points were so on the mark though. We too arrived at each point tired from the 3 to 5-hour drive, stops along the way to see and capture on camera all the wonderful sights, the many conversations with so many incredible people and recording the audio of them, hiking, setting up camp before dark (or in the dark, lol), taking down camp, showering, maintaining things and on top of it, many hours recording out journey on our website, all multiplied by 28 days.
We laugh now relating to the Lindstrom’s feelings such as “reading felt odd, staying in one place for three days felt luxurious and not knowing what to do with ourselves when we weren’t pushing for the next destination”. Yes, we were slowly getting tired and didn’t see it or more like didn’t admit it because we were so excited. There are so many more stories we can and will share about this journey that may cause some to laugh, to think, to shake their head and maybe to do and that is our hope.
So, could we have benefited from doing more research prior to our journey, maybe? Then again, maybe not! We didn’t read them and survived. Even if we had read some of the articles most likely we would have blown them off as “what do they know”, lol, lol. What is the worst that can happen by not reading these articles is nothing? No matter how much more research and planning we could have or would have done wouldn’t have changed one thought, feeling or action. The truth is we believed we were prepared and sometimes the only real test of preparation occurs when you are out on the road, miles away from your emotional and physical support systems and you are stepping out in faith, moving forward with your dreams. For us this journey was about stepping out in faith to pursue one of our dreams. Hopefully others will reach a similar point in their lives and step out in faith pursuing their dreams? Life is short, don’t wait.
Hope you stop in again to hear how our journey motivated us to do some other things we perhaps wouldn’t have done.