The myth of doing it all
One of the hardest parts for us with this whole travel as a way of life thing is the difference between perception and reality. Or, in more concrete terms, expectations — both our own and others' — and real life.
We live a life of travel and we wake up in new places all the time. We've been known to take bike rides in two states in a single day (okay, we only did that once). So we're supposed to be immersing ourselves in every place, and seeing everything there is to see, right? All while crushing it at our jobs and reveling in the feeling of the open road as we drive from one awesome location to another.
There are moments, sometimes even whole hours, when it does feel like that. But usually it doesn't. We love this life of ours, and yes, being able to change the view from our windows all the time can be exciting. But we also have to balance travel with working, regular-life chores (groceries, laundry, budgeting), RV-life chores (dumping our tanks, planning our route and booking campsites, filling up the propane) and basic life stuff (cooking, exercise, sleeping, assuring our parents that we're still alive). And sometimes that doesn't leave a whole lot of time for sightseeing and exploration. Sometimes travel just means getting from point A to point B.
Right now is one of those times. We're booking it from Maryland to Colorado to get there before winter weather closes up our travel window and our chance to visit Shoam's grandfather this year before we hit the breaks in the Southwest for the season. It's close to 2,000 miles that we'll be driving over the next few weeks. And while we're really excited to get there, I've honestly been dreading this leg of our trip. Moving 200+ miles every 2-3 days means we're basically either driving, working, sleeping, feeding ourselves or doing chores.
I don't say this to complain — and I don't mean to imply that it's any kind of hardship or struggle. We chose to do it this way. But I also want to be real. Because it's easy to post a pretty picture on social media and pretend our whole day was like that one magic moment we captured, but the truth is always messier, and hopefully more interesting.
One of the ways we're making it through this next month is to reset our expectations — because that's what disappointment so often is — an outcome that didn't match our expectations. So we're reminding ourselves that we can never do it all, no matter where we are or for how long. There will always be something we missed. Local specialties that went uneaten (confession: we went to Maine and ate zero lobsters), friends just a few hundred miles off course that went unvisited, beautiful views that went unseen, cities, towns and landmarks that got skipped entirely.
But for the next month (and maybe forever), I'm letting us off the hook. That means in places where we're staying for more than two nights, we'll bank on one fun, "just because we're here" activity. Sometimes that'll mean we'll rent kayaks for an hour, sometimes it'll mean finding a local BBQ joint for lunch, or a weekend visit to a distillery on the Bourbon trail. In places where we're just passing through for the night, we're giving up any expectation at all. If we get in a morning run or build a fire, good for us. If we don't, no worries. Because the only thing more exhausting than 2,000 miles in less than a month is the expectation of trying to do everything in all these places we're passing through so fast.
We hope wherever you are that you can let yourself off the hook a little this month too. Say no to something. Cross something off your to-do list. In fact, throw your whole to-do list away. Okay, fine, stop hyperventilating and just stick it in a drawer for the day. And forgive us if you don't see many pictures of West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri or Kansas. Maybe we'll come back to them someday. And maybe we won't. Either way it'll be okay.