Today is probably the first day so far that I have actually relaxed. It’s 1:43pm and I am still in my PJ’s and the van is a mess. It has been a very busy couple of weeks, so busy that you almost forget how you filled up all of the days until you sift through the pictures and realize how very awesome life is.
A fuel pump needed to be replaced on the van, so my stay with friends was extended. You meet a lot more people traveling solo and I had an opportunity to be just inside my head for a while, which was necessary after closing out a busy wedding season. Being with friends all week, I found that I didn’t encounter as many strangers, but I did have the opportunity to really strengthen some existing relationships. I am hoping to have a perfect balance over the next few months, of experiencing this journey independently as well as with the ones I love.
Week two was absolutely beautiful in sunny Florida. It has been full of exploring and oceans and alligators and babies. I have tan lines in January. The first half of the week was spent up in Sarasota with my photographer friend, Shanell and her five year old son, Dane. I then made my way down to Fort Meyers Beach where I spent a coupe of days with my high school best friend, Chelsea and her family. On Thursday, my most favorite human, Vlad, flew in for his birthday and we took off for the Keys.
Vlad and I met a year ago almost to the date. He loves to explore even more than I do, so when I told him about my plans with the van, and my goal to make the trip alone, it was hard to ignore the disappointment in his precious face. He has been so supportive of the trip, helping fix up the vamper and listen to me endlessly talk about all of the places I want to visit. It was hard for me to think about leaving him behind, I felt selfish and stubborn. I knew that he would just accelerate every experience. If I felt like hiking a mountain, he would make sure we went all the way to the very top, if I wanted to go out for a drink, we would undoubtedly be wandering the streets, loud and affectionate at 4am. I also knew that I wanted this trip to be independent for a reason.
I’ve worked really hard for the last decade, putting myself through college and grad school, climbing to the top of my career, always working multiple jobs and long hours to feel successful. But I’ve also always been quite flighty. Changing my mind about the five year plan only once a week, jumping into new projects or starting new businesses or degrees whenever life felt idle. I wanted to feel calm, to no longer feel like I was missing out on something, to be confident in commitment and to accept that I will never be the type to sit still.
So how do you choose between your solo pilgrimage and sharing the greatest adventure with your partner? You compromise. I am super excited to have Vlad here for the next coupe of weeks, and for him to rejoin me again at the end of the trip on the west coast. Love is sweet, and I am hugely blessed. So many more weeks to go.