A year. It’s been a whole year since we’ve been on the road! We took off the night before our oldest son’s birthday and it just seemed so fitting that it was six years ago to the day I was in labor with him getting ready to embark on the hardest journey of our lives, parenthood. This has been like a journey within a journey.
When we first took off it felt exhilaration. Like jumping off a cliffside into cool water. It was everything all mixed up, fear, excitement, certainty and uncertainty all rolled into one long stretch of highway. During our first couple of months on the road we learned some hard lessons. Our bus needed some significant mechanical help and our beloved family dog was hit by a car and died and I was hugely pregnant and the whole arrangement of being nomadic suddenly seemed to be more than we bargained for.
Our first destination was to the Sacramento area where we learned that we had to shake off the notion that we were on vacation. Basic living needed to be taken care of and we needed to learn how to live life and find what we needed in each new city. This mostly came in the form of incorporating the bus as a member of the family who had her own set of needs and attention required. Our plans were to go further north into Oregon and Washington, but we didn’t make it because the bus needed her first round of repairs. From this we learned how to be flexible and that we can’t keep to a fixed and detailed itinerary. We now think in terms of regions where we will be for a given season. For instance we stayed in the South West for the Spring, The South for the Summer, South West again for the Fall and Winter then back out to The South for the Spring.
Flexibility and learning to roll with the punches has been a big theme for the year. We started this whole adventure wanting to be shaken out of the norm. Wanting to infuse our family with a sense of adventure, curiosity and flexibility. I think we have achieved it and are reaping the benefit of it. Now I know what some of you might be thinking, we do have young children and yes, young children do very well with set expectations and routines. I’ll write more about how we have struck a balance with that. In a nut shell our kids are amazing human beings who are likely the coolest people we know. How’s that for a teaser on how they handle it? 😉
We learned to press into each other as a couple and not blame each other for what stress we were experiencing. We learned to create an impeneratable united front against adversity through giving voice to our stress and talking it through with each other. Talking can sometimes be tough with you are in survival mode. I think its safe to say we have been in survival mode for pretty much the past year and for anyone who has been there you know how “in your head” you can be. When it comes to a marriage putting the effort (yes, it’s effort when in this state) to give voice to the stress is crucial. We did our best to protect our kids from the stress and uncertainty, and that is exhausting too. Long story short we have learned A LOT and will unpack some of these themes in more posts. Stay tuned!