How We Survive Life On The Road
The element that singlehandedly fuels and holds this trip together is down time
When people ask us, "How do you live life on the road indefinitely? Isn't it exhausting?," the answer is, "Yes." It is exhausting, but we survive and thrive on this voyage by allowing (and sometimes forcing) ourselves to relax.
The most common misperception about our adventure is that we’re on some kind of indulgent never-ending vacation. Which is not a perception entirely without basis; some parts of this journey are certainly vacation-esque. We are powered by a savings account (replenished by periodic freelance projects along the way), so we don't have day-to-day jobs. And we're out exploring and adventuring almost every day, which reeks of "vacationers." Yet every day of this trip is real life*.
And real life needs time to rest and recover. After a few days of massive exploration or exertion, we keep it low key for a day or two to recharge and take care of business in the trailer. Relaxed business, like a couple (okay, sometimes three or four) loads of laundry, grocery shopping and meal prep, or scrubbing one, the other, or both of our dirty little puppies (those being the trailer and the kid, of course).
Sometimes, a down day is just down. No responsibilities, just rest. And there is no feeling of relief for us quite like a day where we've given ourselves permission to stay in and around the trailer. Those days are even better when they're paired with rain, as though nature is also giving her blessing to lay in bed and read, or write, or watch a movie, or just snuggle.
We shouldn't need special permission to rest, since it's such an integral part of what we need to heal and be well. But somehow it feels like a waste of the experience if we stay in, unless it's a purposely planned down day. Yet it's actually in service of the experience to rest so that we make it in the long run, because this is not vacation.
Whenever I pass folks in the middle of somewhere who are clearly on a holiday, I think to myself, “How can you do this in a finite amount of time?" "This" could be anywhere; any one place (no matter how seemingly rural or lacking in "things to do") is just too vast to explore in a hurry, and yet you can never see it all. But on a true vacation, hurrying is the only way to make the most of a destination. You’ve taken time off and you’re spending your hard earned money by the minute, so you shut out the real world to enjoy every last second of your holiday until you collapse.
We’re always on the move, but we can't afford to collapse. This adventure only works for us because we are able to adjust in real time. Not done in a place? Stay longer. Seen enough? Move on. Only stay as long as it feels good. Pushing ourselves until we collapse would be counter to everything this trip is about for us.
This trip is part of our overall journey, which is not solely about visiting new places and being a constant tourist. Living in a trailer on the road is a reprieve from the intense lives we tend to live (up to this point, we've both been pedal-to-the-metal-to-the-max people). It is a release after the stress and pressure of our time in New York City, and it's also a chance to heal from pains of the past in a space built specially for our wellbeing.
It's a chance to move freely between nature and chaos, testing different surroundings and reflecting on different theories and ways of living. Most importantly, it's a chance to re-plug ourselves into the frequency that vibrates highest in our hearts: a life in motion where we can create and celebrate creativity, spend time together as a family, work on ourselves and what it means for each of us to grow right now, and to be inspired by all of the above. We have to remind ourselves that it's a gift, from ourselves to ourselves, and every minute of down time shows gratitude and respect and receipt for such an offering.
*Really real life. But I'll share more about that when we catch up to ourselves here on the blog.
The importance of down time is neither exclusive to life on the road, nor living in a trailer. How do you ensure that you make time for yourself to do nothing and rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit?