We are back in Texas. We are back to our normal routines, work, and spending our weekends with friends. In some ways it feels like the trip was a dream, like it never happened. Time passed but we came back to a reality that just picked up where we left off. It’s a weird feeling. One way I know it is real though, is that everyone asks “what was our favorite part?”
Maybe it’s totally cliche but every time someone asks about our favorite part of being on the road for 2 months this image of our little family in the car comes to mind. Not the ocean, not the giant Redwoods, or even the beautiful colors of the desert. Every single place we stopped and every single thing we saw was breath taking, but I also expected it to be, if that makes sense. I knew we were taking a journey to see the beautiful wonders of nature. I don’t take those things for granted but I am also left with this overwhelming thankfulness that apart from the beauty Richard and I (Whitney) encountered, we got to spend quality, uninterrupted time together for months straight. Who gets to do that?
In our normal lives Richard gets up and is gone for work for the day and I am chained to the computer working or doing household chores. On weekends Richard spends his nights playing in a band and we rarely have a weekend night together. Not only do we barely see each other, but we each have our own jobs or responsibilities in the relationship and they rarely overlap.
The time we had together on our trip was a gift in so many ways. Every aspect the trip we got do be a team together. Whether it was setting up camp, or navigating a hike, or trying not to constantly bump into each other while cleaning the camper or cooking dinner. Everything we did, we did together. That also meant that when we had 6 hour days in the car, we were in the car together. Our off the beaten path routes also meant a lot of no service zones. Thats right, no radio, no Spotify. When we camped in the middle of nowhere it was the same thing, no TV, no iPhones, just us. Whether or not you have 1 free weekend or 2 months to travel I highly recommend any newly married couples to spend a whole day in the car with nothing to do except talk to each other. Or even go spend the night somewhere without your phones. I don’t know when else in our busy days that we would’ve had the time to really talk about life, God, and how we see our lives together. I think we learned more about each other in those cars rides than we had up to that point. Any we didn’t always agree on everything either. But the beauty of being in the car is that you are stuck with each other. There is no leaving or walking away, you have to work through the tension. Learning the right way to deal with tension is a big part of marriage anyway, isn’t it?
We are celebrating our one year wedding anniversary this weekend and I know it will be the first of many anniversaries we celebrate. Figuring out marriage is hard and being thrown into a traveling tiny home on top of that brings up a whole new set of challenges. I also feel so prepared for this second year of marriage because of it. While the trip may have seemed like a dream and the places we explored feel surreal, the connection we formed through those car rides and star filled nights is so real.