THE BLOG

A New Kind of Grown Up: Discoveries From 5 Months on the Road

01/08/2014 07:02 pm 19:02:16 | Updated Mar 10, 2014
Thomas Barwick via Getty Images

2013 was the year that my husband and I were married. It was also the year we chose to sell most of our possessions, store our valuables in a closet at my in-laws and set out with the rest packed tightly in our car for a seven month, cross-country road trip.

I've found this time in life to be the chapter at which most people choose to settle down and find permanence. It seems like the responsible thing to do. And yet, we couldn't.

Initially, the shocked expressions and concern among our friends and family was evident. However, as our plans progressed, private conversations relayed the reverse as they began sending encouragement and admiration through whispers and emails. They wanted to come. It was such a great idea. If only they could.

What they didn't know at the time was that they actually could. There are many forms of traveling and venturing out into the world, and they don't have to start with long layovers and expensive trips to Europe or even a seven-month cross country road trip. They can begin with something as simple as a change of scenery, a trip to a place you've never been, or an email to a person you've always wanted to meet. And your destination can begin now.

When we left for this road trip, I fully expected to bring my life with me and transport it from state to state, unchanged. And yet, somewhere between Atlanta and Nashville, I left that notion behind -- intentionally. I found that each crease in the journey held something new, a moment to pause. My first moment was birthed from our decision to rent a room rather than a house. At the time, it seemed like such a brilliant idea. We could save money for other trips. We could learn the value of downsizing; we didn't need that much space anyway. It would be nice; we could get to know the locals.

To be sure, the lack of private space (much less, the square footage) was initially jarring, and yet, it worked. Some of my favorite times have been spent with those from whom we shared space, a co-habitation, if you will. Within that moment of pause and space from schedule and tasks, we shared a connection; we weren't just a gender, a wage-earner. We were people with goals and hearts and aspirations. And I loved every minute of it.

My husband and I have two months, six states and countless experiences to be had before we see the end of this journey. Throughout the drive, I've learned the values of traveling light and "making do," how to cook scrambled eggs from a crockpot and how to find affordable accommodations without turning to hotels. Most importantly, I've learned that permanence does exist beyond having the appropriate amount of place settings and a mortgage. It can be found in relationship and experience, rather than kids and jobs. At the edge of every moment is an experience, an opportunity, just waiting for the investment of a passer-by -- and that it's worth every penny of my time.

- Article by: Lauren Hunter, Vayable