This is our last full day of full-time RV living, at least for this chapter of life. I happened on an Anthony Bourdain quote last night that sucked the air from my lungs because of how deeply I feel it right now.
Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s ok. The journey changes you. It should change you. It leaves marks on your memory… on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.
Anthony Bourdain continues to play an important supporting role in this whole journey, and this feels like the bookend I needed as I start to look for closure.
Back in 2016, toward the end of my pregnancy and as I nursed a newborn in bed for hours, I began binge watching Parts Unknown. I wrote about this last year on Happy Loud Life- how that show really stirred me to want to move, to change, to travel and show our kids so much more. It put the ideas in motion, it got me thinking about what we realistically could do to make a big leap.
We knew before we left that it would not always be fun or easy. We were prepared for struggles.
And yet, even knowing that’s how life would go, living through it was still hard. It was still uncomfortable. For every pretty picture on Instagram, there were thousands of not-so-pretty moments we didn’t capture. It was not an 18 month vacation, it was 18 months of living our life in some of the most challenging and beautiful circumstances ever.
When we announced that we were doing this- selling everything to take off and travel- quite a few friends who had taken big, unconventional leaps messaged me to offer up a bit of advice that was all pretty similar. Something along the lines of:
“FYI, there might be times when this feels really lonely and like you can’t talk to anyone about it. It’s hard to find people you can complain to about the challenges of an unorthodox life, especially when it’s something you chose to do.”
And they were right. One of the very hardest parts of the last 18 months was feeling overwhelmed or scared or sad and feeling like we shouldn’t burden people with those worries when they had their own problems, and they don’t get to roll up to a new state or national park every week. We did do this to ourselves, on purpose, after all. It was isolating sometimes. I don’t blame that on anyone, though. It’s just a weird side effect of this lifestyle.
So now when I see friends taking their own big, unconventional life leaps, I’m the one to message them. I’m the one to say “You can always complain to me. I don’t care how pretty and inspiring it looks to everyone else. It’s still life, and it’s still going to be hard.”
I’m typing this in my RV living room. Paw Patrol is playing on our TV, it’s a total wreck in here even though we just cleaned 30 minutes ago. All of this feels like home. We tell the kids to “go back into the house,” when it gets dark. We rarely refer to this place as an RV. It’s our house, our home.
It became home not because we parked it in beautiful parks from sea to shining sea, and not because we painted and hung pictures. It became home because we grew here, and growth is sometimes uncomfortable and it hurts, it’s not always pretty.
We are changed, we are better for it, and I feel certain we left some good along the way.
New chapter, turn the page.