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Checking In

by Tara

After a fantastic night's sleep in our cozy little camper, we're our way to Michigan for a yet-again-postponed reed-collecting workshop. With a grey sky ahead of us, and a sour mood beginning to foul the journey, I declare that "everything is grumpy and hurty right now." Tyler chuckles at my statement, and suggests that we should have a check-in to take stock of our moods.

Tara's Check-In:

  • My back feels terrible. Every time I inhale, it feels like someone hit me with a roundhouse kick.

  • This feels like an ill-fated journey, like it was not meant to happen, and we're forcing it to happen anyway, flipping a giant bird to a universe.

  • I don't want to be a reed-collector this winter. I just want to get to Vermont, stay in a cabin with a hot tub for a weekend, and then go back home again.

Tyler's Check-In:

  • Our life was really, really great, and I'm starting to wonder if we totally took it for granted. More and more it is feeling like this adventure is an exercise in spiking a perfectly good life on the ground like a football, splattering it everywhere.

  • I know from experience that forcing myself to be uncomfortable always enriches my life. But right now, I'm tired, I'm hungry, and I just want to be comfortable and have a stable future.

  • It's really hard to see my partner in so much pain and not be able to do anything about it.

After our check-in, we both feel considerably better. To help matters further, Tyler rummages through the glove box until he finds a postcard I've been carrying with me for years. Somehow it ended up in our car, and we've been traveling with it ever since:

Snap Out Of It!

A few hours later, when we're stopped at a gas station, I reach into the bed of the truck and pull out a plastic bag containing a foil-wrapped honey-almond-poppyseed cake. I made it with the intention of hosting a small goodbye party, but the party never happened. I grabbed it on our way out, thinking we might use it to celebrate our first night spent on our land, and it's been keeping cold in the bed of our truck ever since.

Celebration or no, it feels like now is the best time to bust it out. Soon we each have a slice of cake in our hands, and are declaring that it is the best thing ever baked. As we wolf down our pieces, we reflect on how crappily we've eaten in the past two weeks, and we vow to be kinder and gentler to ourselves. After all, we've just uprooted our entire lives.

Almond Poppyseed Cake

When people write to us, asking for tips about long term bicycle travel, we always tell them that the beginning is hard, mentally, physically, and emotionally. There's a huge learning curve when you drop everything and take to the open road, so go easy on yourselves. Take it slowly. If you can afford it, splurge on good food and a comfortable bed.

We've been doing a horrible job of following our own advice lately.

I think it's because we're only now coming to terms with the fact that this is a really big deal. We're in full-on adventure mode now, and we need to take care of ourselves as we navigate the challenges we're sure to face in the coming months. We need more sleep, more fun, more laughter, and more cake as we forge ahead into our new life.

Tyler Goofing Around Tara in the Truck
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Hey guys,

We're on the seat of our pants over here, getting all inspired by your posts and photos! Hang in there, after winter comes spring, as they say. Your diner looks very cozy, can't wait to see and hear how things progress!

Jodi and Erik
Posted by Jodi on January 29th, 2013 at 12:32 AM
Yup, I bet there are tons of people out there rooting for you, people you don't even know about. I know we are.
Posted by Cristi and Adriana on January 29th, 2013 at 1:09 AM
Guys I've said it before but reading your story is amazing. We are on the cusp of uprooting our lives and I find myself in moments of dispair saying "what would Tara and Tyler do?" seriously!!!! Your honesty is so refreshing and your story inspiring. Sometimes the universe pushes you so hard it's like some "higher being" is saying, 'is this what you really want., really, how much do you want it?'. Stay strong! Ps when is the book out??
Posted by Cara on January 29th, 2013 at 5:10 AM
Jodi & Erik - Thanks guys! It's so fun to know that you're reading along, and getting inspired, too. How is your land coming? You should start a blog so we can read about your progress! :-)

Cristi & Adriana - :D You guys are so sweet. Thank you!

Cara - You made my day with your comment! I should totally try the "what would Tara and Tyler do?" trick, the next time we're trying to figure out what to do. ;-) Best of luck with your uprooting! Oh, and the book should be out sometime this spring.
Posted by Tara on January 30th, 2013 at 3:48 PM