On Monday, JP and I are packing up our car and taking our family on an eight-week road trip, heading west for the Pacific. 8 weeks. Six people. Over 6,000 miles. In one car.
It’s either the best idea we’ve ever had or the worst. But definitely, one of the two and I’m praying it’s the former.
When JP first brought this idea up to me a few months ago (yes, he gets all the credit for this crazy plan), I immediately loved it. “Yes, let’s do it. Let’s put the kids in the car, get out of here, and just go. Go explore. And see where things take us.”
But within minutes, my mind was already racing with all the reasons it didn’t make sense (and in many ways, still doesn’t).
We have four young kids – three of whom are “supposed” to be in school Monday through Friday.
JP has to work, and this is his busiest time of the year.
We’re trying to save up for a million different home projects.
How are we getting there? Who’s planning it? How do we know where to go? How will the kids do in a car for that long?
And on the list went.
My mind listed a million reasons why it wouldn’t work. (And at that point, we were just planning for 2 weeks.). It was nice in “theory”. I loved the idea, but actually doing it was a whole other story.
But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that EXCUSES WILL ALWAYS BE THERE.
And that my ONE JOB, for myself, for my kids, and for my husband, is to be able to see over the pile of excuses. To be able to see past our limiting beliefs. To be able to have vision and faith that can see further than what’s right in front of us. And I look to JP to do the same.
We talk with the kids all the time about living your values. Creating the world you want. And the experiences you want. Not waiting for things to happen, but rather making them happen.
For us, travel, experiences, getting outside of our “bubble”, and doing it together as a family, is something JP and I deeply value. So now was our chance to put those values into practice. To actually LIVE what we SAY we value buy prioritizing our TIME and MONEY to make this happen.
We can’t say we value experiences, but then save all of our money for a kitchen renovation. We choose experiences over a kitchen. We can’t say we value our time together as a family, but then sign our kids up for a million different activities. We choose family over activities. We can’t say we value taking risks and making life happen, but then sit back and wait. We choose making it happen over sitting on the sidelines.
So a few months ago, when we were sitting on our back patio, sharing a bottle of wine by our little fire pit, we took what was originally going to be a “two-week trip” and said, “yeah….but what if?. What if we just kept going? What if we just kept driving? What if we let “home” be someplace different for a little bit?”
And without pause, we both looked at each other, smiled, and said “sure, why not?!”.
So bright and early Monday morning, we’re packing up our Suburban with a few small duffle bags, some backpacks, pillows, LOTS and LOTS of snacks, and we’ll start chasing the sun west. Lord help me.
While some of our adventure is still up on the air (which makes me nervous and exhilarated at the same time), we have almost all of our destinations planned.
We’re seeing deserts and mountains. Oceans and canyons and golden bridges. We’ll put our toes in cold sand, hike under delicate arches, and hug trees bigger than our car. We’ll show up for zooms at 6:30 in the morning while yawning over bowls of soggy cereal, hush kids in the background as JP tries to run meetings, eat street tacos for lunch, dim sum for dinner and hopefully, have some amazing experiences along the way.
We’ve found some great Airbnb’s to call “home” and are going to try and live a “normal life”, just someplace not quite so normal. A little home away from home in a part of the country we’ve never explored as a family – and I can’t wait to share it with all of you as we go.
I know parts of the trip will be harder than I realize. I’m not naive to think that this is going to go smoothly. But I also know that parts of the trip will be even more magical than I realize too. And that hopefully those magical moments are the ones we all remember.
My hope is that 9 weeks from now when we’re all back home, unpacking and cleaning out what will surely be the dirtiest car in Chicago, that we’re also unpacking some of the best memories. That the kids are laughing about funny mishaps that happened along the way or reminiscing about the crazy food we tried or places we saw as they’re shaking sand out of their duffle bag. And that this trip creates a sense of wonder in them to see MORE. To explore MORE. And to remember that there is so much more out there than just what’s in our little bubble.
But more than anything, selfishly, I’m just excited about doing this all with my favorite people. As crazy as it is to say, I enjoyed a lot of our time together in quarantine, and I miss it a little as we’ve begun to slowly venture out. I’m excited to get back to just “us” for the next eight weeks. I know my time with my kids is not infinite. And that by some miraculous way, in this crazy abnormal wild year, we’ve been given this gift of time with our kids. And that for me is the biggest silverling of it all.