It's been a few months since Carson and I wrapped up our year-long road trip. Nearly 65,000 miles and 48 states (plus Canada!) later, I can say I learned a lot from living in a travel trailer.
Some of these lessons weren't entirely apparent until we had to actually re-acclimate to stationary life. Like signing a lease, trekking to Target and acquiring so, so many "things" again. We've settled into a 900-square-foot apartment in the middle of the heartland, and while it's altogether lovely, it quickly made me reflect on all we learned this past year.
1. Less is More
As we acquired arm chairs and art and all the things we needed to fill our new apartment, I felt anxious. Living on the road was an immersive experience in minimalism. The less you needed, the better. I'd always assumed that when we were finished, re-acquiring all the things we left behind would feel like a comfort. Instead, it reminded me that trailer life was simple and stress-free in so many ways we weren't before.
2. Live Outside
Everything and everyone has its place. You sit at your desk, work in the office, read in the living room, cook in the kitchen. When we lived in the trailer, our world felt boundless. There was always a new coffee shop to work in, hiking trails to explore, restaurants to try. We spent most of our day trying to live outside our walls, not stay inside them. There's incredible happiness out there -- I keep reminding myself of that.
3. Avoid Inertia
I'm trying to bottle up the benefits created by a life set perpetually in motion. In our world, moving was good. It was constant. It meant we were progressing and it presented a world of opportunities. It also meant that we were physically in motion all the time. We walked new cities, hiked literal mountains, biked to work; I miss the necessity of movement and how good it felt.
I sometimes wonder what a life lived outside did my psyche. They say nature de-clutters the mind, releases tension, provides perspective. I'm three days into my new job, and I can say that I'm so much more relaxed and comfortable than I've ever been before. I'm sure that's partly because I know so much more about myself; I'm good in this skin. But I also think it's because I hit the reset button and survived. Doing it again is easier the second go-around.
5. Be Big
I grew up on the road. That sounds silly to say at 30, that the miles made me "mature." But as someone who was always a self-prescribed late-bloomer, I actually for once feel like I'm bigger than I was. My default programming has been changed: take the high road. You never know where someone has been or where they're going and how you just might alter their trajectory.
Decoding our trip, more than anything, requires time. I likely won't be able to fully appreciate what we've done until years from now. In the meantime, I'll keep sharing what I know when I know it. And we'll promise to keep moving. Summer is just around the corner. I'm excited about where we'll head with Elsie (our trailer) next(!)