Two months, 12,423 miles, and 240 total driving hours later, we are home.
Our original plan accounted for a little over three months, and a few more miles, but we found ourselves wanting to return home sooner, and here’s the scoop.
The daily routine of our trip consisted of driving for several hours, researching and mapping out a location for sleeping, and a plan of what we would eat and how we would cook it.
Now remember, it was our intention to not eat fast food, to spend as little money as possible, and to be easy on the earth. This meant grocery shopping every other day, sleeping in rest areas and various free spots, and reusing dishes and utensils instead of buying plastic. We became masters of washing dishes in water spigots, and unloading and repacking all of our gear twice daily.
All the while we were traveling in the rain. I’m not exaggerating when I say we had seventeen days of rain before we ever saw the sun. And we’re not just talking sprinkles. We had thunderstorms complete with lightning and winds so high road signs were removed from their posts. I would be fibbing if I said it wasn’t scary hearing it all just outside of the tent, or on top of the van.
But we were excited, and always looking forward to what was next. We had oatmeal and hard-boiled eggs for breakfast, lunch meat with fruit and fresh vegetables for lunch, and usually meat, potatoes, and a vegetable for dinner. We snacked on the road- an obscene amount of raw almonds and bananas, and we treated ourselves to the occasional local delicacy.
Three weeks in we decided it might be nice to take a break from the outdoors, to not wash dishes, and to have a nice shower, so we got a hotel for the night. It was simple, it took all of the mapping and planning out of where we would stay for the night, what we would cook, and how we would cook it. It was a place where we would feel safe, from the elements and from the thrills that can be found at a rest-stop.
It was nothing fancy, but it sure felt like the Ritz to us. We each took two showers, we vegged out on t.v., and we blasted the air conditioning. We hadn’t felt that relaxed since the beginning of our trip, and it occurred to us that maybe this “honeymoon” was feeling a bit more like housework times ten, and less like the dream vacation we had envisioned. After all, we didn’t have a lot of time in each place, with all the daily driving to be done, and we felt like we were missing the point of this trip by rushing around. So we sat down and really thought about what it was that we each wanted from this trip.
We wanted to actually see the United States, not just buzz through it to be able to say we had. We wanted to relax, and feel like this time was just for us, to celebrate our love for each other and our marriage. Most of all, we wanted to not wash another dish.
It was so great to have this conversation with Mitchell. To have us both open up about how we were feeling, and have a weight lifted off of our shoulders from fear of disappointing each other. We discovered that we are even more alike than we originally thought. We also learned that while we do love to adventure, to hike, and to explore, a little relaxation on the beach with a fruity drink is nice too.
Our new plan consisted of shortening the trip in order to save money by cutting down on lodging and food costs. It included the top places we couldn’t live without seeing, and it involved spending more time in these places so we could really take it all in.
Sitting at home today, looking back at that pivotal point in our trip, I am so glad that things happened the way that they did. I believe that the changes we made allowed for much more fun and relaxation, and I am so grateful that we were both open to change.
So, now that you’ve got the scoop, stay tuned for details on the top places we had to see. We’ve got photos and great stories to come!