I’m writing this from the sofa, where I’m propped up with pillows and heat packs, anti-inflammatories and arnica salve close at hand. This is where I’ve spent the past three days, recovering from wrenching my back while kayaking. This is a challenging part of traveling—I would rather be in our hometown, where my acupuncturist and chiropractor are trusted friends. (For that matter, that’s where my trusted hair stylist is, too. I can’t tell you how many questionable haircuts I’ve had in the past three years.)
Because I’m generally several weeks behind in writing our blog, I have the luxury of looking at our life from the perspective of a few weeks’ distance. From that safe place—and a conscious choice to focus on the positive—things usually look pretty darned rosy. In truth, they are.
It’s not always so wonderful in the present moment, though.
I’ve written about the more difficult challenges we’ve faced in the past three years—the loss of our dear friend Kevin, who died suddenly not long after we embarked on our fulltime journey. The loss of our sweet kitty, who joined us for the first year-and-a-half of our travels. Our big boo-boo in the desert, where we wrecked our trailer and were out of our home for six weeks. The outpouring of support that we received, including from friends on our blog, carried us through those painful times.
There have been plenty of minor bumps in the road, too. I rarely write about those, because they fade from memory pretty quickly given some time and distance. These include expensive and sometimes unexpected truck and trailer repairs and computers and cameras going belly-up. There’s also been some not-so-minor stuff like cataract surgery for Eric and an anaphylactic reaction to antibiotics for me—but by the time all of that was over with, I didn’t want to think about it anymore.
We’ve been on Lopez Island since late June, enjoying what we’ve come to think of as our summer home. But our arrival was marred when we awoke two nights later to find ourselves ankle-deep in water inside of our trailer. We’re still dealing with the aftermath—everything has throughly dried out, but Eric is facing two days on his back beneath the trailer to replace the insulation, and we’re deciding where we’ll go to have new flooring installed when we leave the island. (I hated the little strip of carpet in the living room and bedroom from the beginning, but I assure you this was not my plan for getting rid of it.)
The bright spot in that incident? It wasn’t the black water tank.
The leak was the crowning event in a long string of relatively minor (albeit expensive) things that have occurred over the past several months. For a week in late June, while tearing out sopping wet insulation and carpeting and prying up five million carpet staples (the carpet installer clearly had way too much caffeine), we seriously questioned whether or not we wanted to continue this journey. We were exhausted and discouraged by this latest mishap.
This was one of those times that I wished, like Dorothy, I could click my heels together and go “home.” (Not sure if my Keens would work as well as ruby slippers, though.)
There’s no question that it’s more difficult when things “go wrong” when you’re living on the road. Having work done on our trailer means hauling our home to the shop. It can be challenging to find (and trust) repair shops, service centers, and computer techs. Basically, we check reviews on Yelp, cross our fingers, and hope for the best. For medical stuff, we try to take care of it at home, or in locations where we have friends and family who can provide referrals. So far, it’s all worked out pretty well.
But whatever the latest challenge, what always rises to the surface after the dust settles, the flood recedes, or the pain abates is that we are deeply grateful that we found the courage to embark on this journey.
This I know for sure: Had we not taken to the road three years ago, there is no way that we would have had all of the amazing adventures that we’ve experienced or met all of the wonderful people that we’ve encountered along the way. And we have no doubt that we would have regretted the road(s) not taken.
As I reflect on our journey from my currently uncomfortable position, happier images flood my mind: hiking to high peaks in the Sierras, and exploring the colorful mesas, slot canyons, and ancient ruins of the Southwest. Kayaking the bays of the San Juan Islands, the refreshing Florida springs, and the mysterious swamps of Louisiana. Witnessing the splendor of bird migration in the remote canyons of Arizona, and the magnificent courtship displays of nesting egrets along the Gulf Coast. Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge and along the Rio Grande in Taos. Wandering the lovely cities of Santa Fe, New Orleans, and San Francisco and the colorful small towns of Silver City and Breaux Bridge.
Returning to my roots in Apalachicola. Spending precious time with our families scattered across the country. Meeting new friends on the road and the joy of reconnecting with our friends at home. And of course, our glorious summers on Lopez Island.
When we first told friends and family that we were going to rent our home and live full time in our trailer, many of them asked, “For how long?” Three years into this journey, we still don’t have an answer. What we do know is that we have a lot more adventures and travel planned, and we see ourselves traveling for a long time to come. Two more weeks on Lopez, and we’ll be taking off again. Meanwhile, I have a blog to catch up on—providing I can get the worst internet connection on the planet to cooperate. As far as I can determine, it’s the only downside to this beautiful island.
Thanks, as always, for coming along with us. We love having your company.