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.
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.
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:
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.
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.