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Thoughts about our long-term roadtrip

We were on the road for 114 days, or 16 weeks and 2 days, or 3 months and 23 days. We had originally intended to be on the road for a full 4 months or so, but, life happened and our car broke down.

I took 1,365 pictures, and only a handful of them have made it onto the blog. The rest are stored away, and I have yet to figure out what I’m doing with them.

Our final roadtrip map looked like this (for reference, the original is here):


Here are my thoughts:

It was lonely

Having my husband by my side was amazing and, even though we like to travel the same way (travelling styles is another post), we were constantly shuffling from house to house. For four months, we had no solid roots, only each other. There were no good friends to just call up and continue conversations with. The community aspect of life was missing, despite seeing/meeting other people.

It was exhausting

Hopping around from place to place (especially every 1-3 days) got very tiring fairly quickly. I hit the burn out point just 6 weeks into our travels, Graham at about 8 weeks. I thought our long driving days would be relaxing, but they were still surprisingly painful.

There’s a lot of stimulation, new directions, gathering your bearings, and finding points of comfort that needs to happen when you get to a new place. By the time we found our way “home” on the second day, it was time to pack up and go to the next place.

It was boring

…because we had no purpose.

We were just living day-to-day, seeing what each new place brought. This sounds awesome, I know, but for a prolonged period I assure you it’s not. In the short term, having no job nor being needed anywhere is fantastic (I can see the appeal in the once-per-year two-week vacations) but when you’re looking at four months of nothing to do, it’s boring. If retirement is anything like this, I don’t want any part of it!

…because there was no routine.

This turned out to be really draining on the body. For the first 2-3 weeks, it was awesome and we felt like we were on a vacation. It became more of a lifestyle after that, and there came a point where it became frustrating, especially because we were staying with friends who all had different lives (that we, of course, tried to cater to).

Our brains were bored because they like stimulation but Facebook and BuzzFeed sure don’t offer that. Waking up at random times during the day because we had “nothing to do” was hard. We started to miss having jobs.

It was frustrating…

…because there was no privacy.

Being “newlyweds” (can we still call ourselves that after nine months?), we enjoyed our private time when we lived in Calgary. Getting frisky is awkward in friends and family’s homes.

…because I was a minimalist beyond my comfort level.

Living out of a duffel bag (having packed for three seasons) got annoying very quickly. My duffel-bag-wardrobe consisted of the following:

Clothes:
-four casual t-shirts, three of which I purchased at an outlet mall near Philly
-three nice-ish blouses
-three tank tops
-one sweater
-two long sleeve jackets
Shoes:
-two pairs of pants
-two pairs of sandals (flip flops and comfortable walking ones)
-one pair of closed toed shoes
-one pair of flats
Other:
-five pairs of socks (not enough at all)
-two weeks worth of undergarments
-a rolley bag of toiletries

I’m all about not owning more than your closet can fit, so I knew I had to make this work (don’t get me wrong, it can be a packed closet). I’d never lived this minimalist before, and it was a great challenge. I did, however, get very sick of wearing the same few shirts and pants over and over. BUT, in the name of travelling, I would do this all over again. I think I could manage living like this for a year if I needed to.

Oh, I also missed wearing house slippers.

All that said…

It was exhilarating

Experiencing new, unknown cities is exciting and thrilling; discovering little streets, hole-in-the-wall eateries and local breweries is fun.

It was meaningful

I absolutely loved the people aspect of our trip. Graham and I were able to meet each other’s friends around the continent and share some great memories with them. We’ll fondly look back on there for years to come, for sure.

We learned a lot

We learned that a 3-4 week vacation is ideal for us as a couple. That’s enough time to travel around a bit in a new country, which is something like what we’re after.

We learned to consult other people before making decisions on subjects we’re not sure of. For example, like how to deal with clogged catalytic converters.

I read a few books, and we listened to a few sermons while on the road. A little fire was lit with regards to devotions and reading the Bible, and I’m excited to continue flaming it.

And we wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Well, maybe we would have changed the fact that our car broke down. But things happen for a reason and perhaps we were meant to slow down a bit.

All in all, it was a great road trip and I’m glad we did it. Now it’s time to start planning our next worldly adventure!

Published in North American Roadtrip

4 Comments

  1. Paulina

    Paulina

    Great summary Roma! Sounds like you and your hubby had an amazing experience and a lot of points learned! Will and I are taking off for 8 months of backpacking in just under 2wks. I really liked your point about how important it is to have a purpose. We haven’t developed a purpose for the trip yet but we’ve decided to enjoy the first month for what it is and start our purpose month two 🙂 if you guys are travelling anywhere in the next year, get in touch with us!

    • Roma

      Roma

      I’m so excited to follow along with your adventure! Remember to enjoy every moment… they’ll fly by so fast!

  2. Love the honesty. I completely can relate.

    • Roma

      Roma

      Come visit anytime, Konrad! Once you see how we live, we might gain a roommate 😉

Let me know what you think!