20181218_124410171.  The number of days since I last saw my family and even longer for most of my friends.  December 18th Jason and I left MichelVangelo in Arizona in the very good hands of the Schroeders and flew back to Iowa to spend almost a month back home making up for lost time.  As Jason keeps reminding, we’re lucky that we have people to miss. 
There are side effects of “Van Life” that I wasn’t expecting
1. Guilt.  This is a “once in a lifetime trip!”  Yes, this is and it is something I will be forever grateful that we were able to do.  But this trip is also my life now.  Which means I have days where…
  • I’m sad that I’m missing out on things with friends and family
  • I’m frustrated when another van repair needs to be done
  • I’m sick of having to pee outside (especially in the dark)
  • I hate showering with shoes on, but the alternative isn’t great
  • Having to “wash” dishes in freezing cold water when it’s cold is my nightmare
  • Nothing exciting happens.
I’m human.  I’ve had to take off my rose colored glasses and accept that this “once in a lifetime” trip comes with all of it.  The “oh so good, you seriously need to pinch yourself” moments where we turn to each other with giddy smiles and know that these are the moments we live for.  The “oh s***” moments that test our patience, keep us humble and hopefully we can laugh about later.
2. (Un)grounded.  We are driving almost every day, with the most we stay in one spot being around 4 days.  Almost every morning I wake up and it takes me a second to remember where I am.  Yet, the inside of the van feels like home.  There have been many moments where we have been watching a movie in the van, and for a split second I think we’re back in our old home in Des Moines sitting on the couch.  It’s a weird feeling that I haven’t been able to shake yet on the trip and honestly probably never will.
If these are the only two side effects after traveling North America for 171 days, then I think we’re doing okay.
“There are so many people living vicariously through you, and I’ve been wondering if you guys even get that.  It can be hard to think big picture in any scenario, ever, so probably not.  But it’s just such an awesome, beautiful, insane trip that you guys are doing.  One that nearly nobody else has the courage to do.
So hang in there, y’all.  I’m proud of you guys for committing to this and getting it done.  I’m so jealous, although not in a way that I could ever do this trip.  But ya know I’d love to do each trip individually.  Cause they look insanely amazing.”
– an email from a pretty great family member that came at just the perfect time

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