Today marks the two-year anniversary of our departure from Minnesota.
A lot has happened in those two years.
We learned how to live in a small space — 300 sq. ft. Not only with each other but with two dogs, two cats, and a bird. We learned how to cook, clean, shower, and just exist. We learned what things are important to us in our daily lives — what we can live with and live without.
We learned how to get through sticky situations: how to survive -9 degrees in the mountains, how to drive down icy roads, how to manage 120 degree heat, how to save everyone in the event of a breakdown…
And — most importantly — how to make ourselves happy.
One of our major goals in this adventure was to find out who we were outside of working 50-60 hours a week at jobs we did not enjoy. We wanted to find out where we were supposed to live, what we were supposed to do, and what made us both happy.
Here’s what we’ve taken away so far:
1. Space isn’t everything.
There’s something to be said for limited space — it means you don’t have as much room for stuff but it also means you don’t have as much room for stuff. That means that clutter is not as much of a problem! Deep cleaning my house in St. Paul took almost a full day (8-10 hours, if I was being thorough). The motorhome takes about an hour, and that’s scrubbing the toilet, windowsills, etc.
As I was sitting on the floor of the RV on Monday, I looked across the space that was our living room, dining room, and kitchen, into the hallway and bedroom, and said to Andy, “This is totally a big space! Look how far away the bed is!”
He laughed and continued playing fetch with Piper in the RV, because there’s enough space for that to happen.
We’ve learned what items matter — for me, that’s books over clothing. For Andy, it’s tools and entertainment.
2. We really like each other.
We learned how much we enjoy each other’s company. It wasn’t just some fantasy we had while we were working all the time — we actually want to be around one another almost all the time. We have similar hobbies and interests, but we also have things that make us happy as individuals. We have found out more about ourselves and about us as a couple.
3. We want to live somewhere that offers us a lot of outdoor activities.
Andy doesn’t like being cold, I don’t like being hot. In Minnesota, we were each miserable at opposite times of the year. Being on the road has shown us some of what else is out there — and what we appreciate about Minnesota.
4. We get bored really easily.
We found out that we cannot and do not accept monotony in our lives. Sure, it’s there to some degree, but even living in a beautiful place like California, we are always looking for new adventures, things to try, places to go, etc. We need to be in a place that stimulates us or allows us to travel to be stimulated elsewhere.
5. The travel bug is here to stay.
Not only are we thrilled with the prospect of getting back on the road, but we have realized that even when we find “the place we are supposed to be,” we will still want to travel regularly. There are too many places in this world that we want to see and experience — we are nowhere near done having adventures. This lead to the realization that we need to establish a home base and income source that allows us the flexibility of traveling regularly.
6. Real friends are for real, and family is forever.
We’ve met a lot of people on our travels — some of them have been awesome and some less than awesome. We’ve learned more about what true friendship is, and that distance may change it but it doesn’t ruin it.
(Not every awesome person is pictured here!)
Having family support, whether near or far, is something we will appreciate forever. A huge thank you to our friends and family who have been there for us along the way! We love you all very, very much and cannot wait to see each of you again!
7. Hobbies can sometimes be careers.
Andy likes to work on cars and tinker with things. He likes puzzles. He likes ripping things apart and putting things back together. Overall, he has been very happy with the mechanic work he is doing — he’s learning new things every day.
I have always wanted to be a writer, and my experiences working with different newspapers and magazines has been amazing. I am learning more about what I want and don’t want — and I am learning how to make things happen. I have a better idea of where I want writing to take me and what I hope to do with it in the future.
I am also thrilled to have had the volunteer opportunities that I’ve had so far, with the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center and the California Wolf Center — I have learned so much and have met some truly amazing people.
8. We are always learning.
Even though we are not on the road right now and just living in the motorhome, we are learning more about ourselves — our wants and desires. We are learning more about life and this crazy journey. We are learning about finding a balance between work and life (so far, so good!).
As Andy says, “I don’t want money, and I hate that I need it to survive. I just want to live.”
We have learned what we value in life, and we are thankful for how we have grown and for the experiences we’ve had along the way.
I could keep going but it all stems down to this:
We are so happy we decided to take this adventure, and we are thrilled to see where it will take us next.