10 Things we learned during our 6-month road trip

We’ve been home for about a week and a half now, where we’ve been busy catching up with our peeps and catching some much needed zzz’s. There really is no place like home (especially when there’s a Tempur-Pedic waiting for you ūüėČ )¬†– everything is so familiar and your social circle gives you a sense of belonging. And after six months of juggling work, sight-seeing, and driving, it’s nice to just sit back and not really do much of anything.

All our free time has allowed us to fully reflect on our adventure. We looked through our pictures (West, Midwest, East, NYC, South), reminisced our favorite moments (and fooooood), and realized some of the lessons that we learned.

1. How to respect our space.

Not only is it simply¬†good practice to be tidy and organized, but it’s especially essential if you’re staying in someone¬†else’s home. Whether it was¬†a hotel room, an Airbnb, or a home where we had a housesitting gig, we treated each place as if it were more important than our own and took extra care not to track in mud, eat only at¬†the dining table, clean and put our dishes away, etc. We also made sure that our bags weren’t just thrown all over the place, but instead were kept in designated storage spaces.

New York City - apartment building

2. How to respect our belongings.

For the second half of the road trip, all of our belongings were transported in¬†duffel bags. We could have just left all that stuff in their bags and “lived out of a suitcase” but we found it nice to unpack our things into available¬†cupboards and drawers for quick and easy access. We also felt that it was more respectful to give each item its own designated spot to “rest” from the constant traveling and being cramped up in a dark duffel bag for days (a concept I read about in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo). Additionally, we found it to be much more respectful to give away an item that we realized we didn’t need; at the very least, the item¬†would have had a chance to find itself a new owner who could use and enjoy it to its fullest potential.

3. You become more patient.

(Imagine spending 24/7 with your spouse lol #AmIRight)

Seriously, though, we both have waaaay more patience now than we did before the trip. Kyle and I¬†have more patience with each other, with Chloe, with ourselves, with other people, with the progression and growth of our business and personal projects… (I guess New York City traffic will do that to ya¬†ūüėČ )

Speaking of spending 24/7 with your spouse lol…

Just tryin' to take a selfie
Kyle testing my patience as I’m trying to take a selfie…

Even though both Kyle and I are married to our best friend, we¬†always wondered if we could be around each other all day, everyday. After six months of just that (minus a mere handful of hours, if one of us went to the store alone or something), we can happily and enthusiastically say that we absolutely loved pretty much every minute of being around each other. We’re both little kids in adult bodies, and with all the excitement of the traveling, it was like having a sleep over with your best friend…for 190 nights in a row lol. Now that we’ve been home for a bit, it doesn’t feel as fun as a sleepover but we’re still working from home and still loving every second of each other’s company. ūüôā

4. You become more creative.

The frequent changing of scenery is super stimulating. As a result, you become more productive and creative. I can’t tell you how many “million dollar ideas” (lol) we came up with during the road trip. There were¬†also times that we were faced with interesting problems (situational and spiritual/internal) and we believe that we were able to solve them through learned¬†unconventional/outside the box thinking. I can tell you, that at least for me, that level of creativity¬†wasn’t necessarily innate¬†before our trip.

5. Travel changes the way you live.

As in, you will begin to adopt little snippets of many different cultures and their ways of living. For example, we adapted to going grocery shopping more frequently during the week as opposed to doing it once per week, inspired by our three month experience in New York City. We have also started a “mental Pinterest board” collecting¬†certain home features, design styles, and household items that we’ve seen and enjoyed throughout our travels. Maybe we will be able to implement those in our own home…someday. ūüôā

USA Road Trip - Cloud Gate at Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois

6. Constant travel is exhausting.

(There, I said it.)

Sleeping in the car

With all the moving around, your mind is constantly being stimulated, which is amazing for productivity and creativity, but it definitely takes its toll on your energy levels. It’s especially tiring on long driving days, the day after the first night in a new place, and when you’re too busy to get the best nutrition. We know now that our future travels will not consist of us moving around every few days or weeks, but rather every month or two months.

7. You start to appreciate even the “smallest” of things.

Over the six-month road trip, we¬†went from taking almost everything for granted, to being in an increased state of gratitude. For example, the car used to be just “the car”, but now it’s the car that allowed us to safely see and experience the country for six months. The rice cooker used to “just cook rice”, but is now heralded as the hero that kept healthy food on our table in a hotel that didn’t have a kitchen (oops!). But the appreciation applies to more than just the material things. We’ve also grown to appreciate everything from the task of taking Chloe out for her potty breaks, to the act of¬†shampooing our hair, right down to our ability to see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and move healthily!

USA road-trip - Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

8. You need very few material items to be happy.

It’s something you always hear but Kyle and I can now officially confirm that this is 100% true. They say that people become obsessed with material things to fill a “void”. But¬†when you’re out there living a meaningful life and internalizing the resulting happiness and gratitude, that “void” becomes so small or non-existent, to the point that your shoe/DVD/home decor/ventriloquist doll addiction…just can’t¬†give you the same level of fulfillment anymore.

It’s also worth noting that it simply wasn’t practical for us to have a lot of stuff, as it was causing us more stress than enjoyment.

USA road-trip - Cliff Dwelers Lodge, Arizona
Everything we own (including the dog) fit into this car.

9. We weren’t as affected by peoples’ opinions about our lifestyle choice as we thought we would be.

Sometimes it was frustrating to be challenged or passive-aggressively confronted, but it was never to the point of saying “let’s go home because what’s-their-face doesn’t approve”. We learned that other people’s negative opinions were a reflection of their insecurities, not ours. Haters gonna hate, but that’s okay, because it has nothing to do with you.¬†You just gotta do what’s best for you, and that goes for anything in life.

USA Road Trip - Rocky statue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

10. Love, happiness, and gratitude are so much easier achieved¬†when you’re living your dream.

Most people have a¬†dream that they aren’t living. For us, it was a life of full-time travel. Before we left, we were constantly stressed from work and worrying about money, we felt like we were constantly wearing masks to appease people, and never dared to rock the boat or defend ourselves.

It wasn’t until we made¬†our dream a reality, that we began to unlock emotions that we’d never felt so deeply before. We went from being stressed, cynical and sarcastic, reserved and hesitant…to being happy, positive, and confident. Our self-esteems have risen greatly, we don’t feel like we need to hide who we are anymore, we “grew backbones”, and we have learned to love deeply – not just in loving each other and Chloe, but also other people, our surroundings, our opportunities, and our belongings. That love has translated into an¬†appreciation and¬†gratefulness¬†for everything which¬†gives us joy and helps us grow and progress, and better¬†skill in recognizing what those things truly are. ūüôā

USA road-trip - White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

 

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