I have been putting off this blog for awhile now because I can’t seem to find the right words. I have probably been asked over a hundred times since I’ve been back: “how was you trip?” I usually answer very simply, “it was awesome.”
But, it was so much more than that. We went on this trip not as a vacation, but as an adventure. We set off back in November knowing that this trip would change us. We knew there were answers we needed to find, and by staying in Connecticut we would not get those answers. We needed to leave the comforts and safety of home and see what else was out there. We needed to leave our daily routines and jump into the unknown. Only by doing this would we be able to answer some questions that were burning within.
During our 5 month trip we experienced a lot. We saw some amazing places. We met some amazing people. However, more than anything it was what we FELT. It was the highs, but just as importantly the lows. Obviously, there were revelations that I will keep to myself, but here are the top things I learned and I will share:
- If there is something that keeps pulling at your heart and you can’t stop thinking about it, GO DO IT! Until you do, you will never know. Do not wait for the perfect time, it will never come. Instead, trust that once you make the leap, the pieces will fall into place. All of the things you stress about….the “what ifs”, they probably won’t happen. And if they do, they are NEVER as bad as you create them to be in your head. I recommend the book The Alchemist to guide you to follow your heart.
- Social media is NOT reality. This is something that I thought about a lot on my trip. While I was posting pictures on Instagram and others would respond how beautiful it all seemed, many times I wanted to respond, “it is, but..” This is a big reason why I got off of Facebook. It is just a highlight reel of peoples life, leaving others to think their life is awful while others are amazing. People are obviously not posting pictures of themselves bored on the couch, just as I did not Instagram the bums that congregated on the outskirts of Savannah. Or the dogs that barked incessantly at the campground making us want to scream. Please, take social media with a grain of salt. The blogs, facebook, Instagram, etc. It is a HIGHLIGHT REEL. Always know that the pictures don’t have the ability to tell you everything. Maybe that beautiful shot of the campsite on the beach is swarming with sand fleas. Maybe the park in Europe that looks like a dream, smells like dog poop. Maybe what looks like a peaceful spot for dinner on a river has loud construction right next door that the picture doesn’t capture. I don’t mean to be a downer, but just know that things aren’t always what they seem!!! That being said, we DID see some amazing, beautiful things 🙂
- We have way more than we need. We lived in a 20ft camper with 2 plates, 2 coffee cups, 4 towels, etc. We brought less than 1/5 of our clothes and we still had too much. We had all we needed, even though it was so little and it felt so good. As Zac Brown says in his song Homegrown, “I have everything I need, and nothing that I don’t” When we got home we couldn’t believe how much stuff we had, and we probably have 10% of what most have. Our condo feels like too much wasted space, our plates way too heavy, and our coffee pot way too big!
- While there were times I felt like I could spend the rest of my life in a camper, traveling full time, I did not expect to miss my network of fitness peeps so much. Not only did I miss the ability to text someone to ask them to run with me, but also being surrounded by so many inspiring people. As time passed, I started to get comfortable with an average life when it came to fitness. I was mostly around people who thought 3 miles was a long run, and a morning walk was their exercise (side note: this is fine, any exercise is good!!!! It’s just not me). I started to convince myself that I didn’t need these crazy fitness goals of 50 mile races and a happy life for me can consist of just getting exercise every day and eating well. Then I would do a challenging workout and it would spark that fire again. That feeling that ONLY pushing yourself past comfortable can bring. Or I would talk to a client on the phone and remind them of why we do these crazy races. Why we aren’t meant to be average. These workouts and conversations would make me miss my mission FITNESS family like crazy. They remind me why average does not bring me happiness. Happiness is on the other side of fear. It’s on the others side uncomfortable. And too often we convince ourselves we are happy and average is fine. When it comes to fitness and life, we HAVE TO do what we think is impossible to really see how far we can go and how happy we can be. Surrounding yourself with a network of positive people and those that will inspire you is HUGE!!
- When you go see how much there is in this world, your problems seem pretty small. When you step away from the confines of “Small Town USA” you see that there is a hell of a lot out there and your life is not that serious in the scheme of things. For us, we were also comforted in knowing that if for some crazy reason we ever lose everything, we are happy with a small trailer and very little stuff 🙂
So, as we drove away from our final stop on our journey, we drove away different people than we were when we left. For reasons I have listed, and many more I did not. And, as the Zac Brown Band song, “Free” came on the radio as if on cue….a song we have listened to for the last couple of years dreaming of a life on the road….I starred out the window as Erik drove. With the camper in view in the rearview mirror, our hands met on top of the center console. As we drove home, we knew that we were forever changed. We knew that this was our beginning, and far from our end. So, when you ask how the trip was, the simple answer is, “awesome”, but the complicated answer…..”it was life changing”