Every now and then I have rare moments where I pause and think to myself, what the hell are you doing?
Currently, our modest studio apartment in Rock Island is messier than usual. You’ll see bags and backpacks stocked with clothes, cooking gear, soap, batteries, paracord, a med kit, instant coffee, tripod grill, bungee cables, head lamps, what-have-you — all the basic essentials for a five-week-long camping road trip.
I still need to do the dishes. I’m waiting for my clothes to dry in the bathroom after we tested our DIY manual washing machine. The cat is literally losing his shit. Hell, I’m already passed the point of getting to bed at a respectable time.
It’s just crazy. Why would two people take five unpaid weeks from their jobs to drive around the western half of the country?
Maybe we’re looking for something more to existence than living for a paycheck. Maybe we’re trying to find something greater. Maybe we’re naive. Maybe it’s none of that.
Here’s the thing. A year and a half ago I went from being ‘minimally’ employed to working 60 hours-a-week, essentially overnight. I sacrificed a lot of things I truly value in life for what I thought of as ‘financial security.’ I got to do some really great things at my jobs, but I put my physical and psychological health on the back-burner because I thought I was getting ahead.
Late last year, without warning I received a call a week before Christmas. It was my step-dad calling from work to inform me that my mom had died unexpectedly at their home in Wasilla, Alaska. It was devastating; I had never lost anyone so close to me.
Looking back, the one memory that pains me the most was when she invited me to Thanksgiving with the in-laws in Texas and I told her I didn’t have enough vacation days to make the trip.
Now, I realize there’s no way I could have known, but the experience opened my eyes to the notion that life is extremely short. You hear that shit all the time, but I don’t think too many folks take it seriously.
So here’s what we’re doing. We’re packing as much living as we can into five weeks. We’re visiting eight National Parks (last time I checked) — Yellowstone, The Badlands, The Grand Canyon — and a ton of other cool stops, and we’re camping up a storm. We’re also stopping at other cool places in between to soak up the culture of the Pacific Northwest, the less awful parts of California and Colorado.
That about wraps up what I want to say here, but also if you’re interested in finding out how you can help check out our Kickstarter, which ends at 7 p.m. CST.
UPDATE: Lis did the dishes because she’s the best!