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Grateful for the Simple Things

We have officially been living out of our car for two weeks now! I would say we are homeless but our car has become a very cozy home for us over the last couple weeks.

I never thought I would couple the words “love” and “living in our car” together, but I do love it in its own way! It has made me focus on gratitude while also giving us control again of our own schedules.

I mean, it has its setbacks. We decided the number one inconvenience is no bathroom… boy, has that brought its own world of adventures that go into the I-never-thought-I’d-experience-this and the stories-that-should-not-be-told-on-the-Internet categories. Plus, neither of us accounted for just how cold some nights would be while we were trying to cook dinner on our Coleman camp stove. Semi-cooked pasta and lukewarm marinara sauce tastes perfectly acceptable when you can no longer feel your fingers or toes and just want to get inside the car!

But overall it has been such a wonderful experience! And I really hope that feeling lasts for the next six months. Zach and I have become a well-oiled machine when it comes to getting things set up for dinner and put away at night. I honestly don’t think we have ever quite worked this well together. Because if you don’t know, Zach and I both have our tendencies to control… well everything. So sometimes that makes us butt heads. But these past two weeks we’ve been really good about giving up control and I think a lot of it is because we literally can’t do everything ourselves. We need to lean on each other and so we have taken the time to teach the other the responsibilities we normally would have done ourselves.

Like for instance, Zach did the majority of the work to set up our car before we started the trip.

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He has done an incredible job and I love him all the more for taking care of something that is obviously very necessary for this trip. I do not have the expertise (or desire to gain said expertise) to be able to handle his awesome work!

The other side of all this work is he has become quite particular about where and how things fit in the car. But instead of just not bothering with it, which is a way we may have handled it in the past, he taught me and I am careful to follow instructions.

Although, packing together did start discussions on how we each use the word “necessary.”

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It might sound strange calling our 4Runner our home – trust me I never saw my life taking me here – it has become just that. This has been the first place of our own since we moved out of our apartment in Houston in June of 2016.

I didn’t realize how much of an impact that would make – not having a place to ourselves. But it’s been such a…relief? Source of happiness? I can’t quite describe it. It’s amazing to have a place for my belongings without having to pack up and take off and move every few days. Now we still get the enjoyment of moving every few days BUT MY STUFF HAS STAYED IN ITS PLACE. It’s like serious magic to open the glove box and find my George Washington biography exactly where it should be.

And that’s another thing. Since we now have a tiny bit more space beyond our backpacks I have room for luxury items like my 800+ page biography on George Washington PLUS two other books. Zach still asks me why I don’t just have them on my Kindle and get with the 21st century. There’s just something about having an actual book in my hand, seeing the different pages, the cover! It’s beautiful, but I could rant about this for ages. Let’s just say I am very appreciative!

Plus, although literally freezing cold outside at times, I get to cook for us again. I LOVE to cook! It’s one of my favorite things. I love trying new recipes and just knowing what I’m putting inside my body. Sure, going to a restaurant is a joy sometimes too, but we have constantly been eating out overseas. Especially when we were in Asia where many hostels and guesthouses don’t have kitchens included and it’s ridiculously cheap to eat out anyway.

And we also have control of our own schedule now! Before we were reliant on bus and train and flight schedules. In Southeast Asia it would take 8-10 hours on a bumpy bus with constant stops (sometimes bus drivers like to deliver mail on their bus routes – for a small fee of course) when it would have taken maybe 2-3 hours to drive yourself. It’s been a wonderful treat to have control again. So it’s no wonder it has relaxed us so much. In just this two weeks we have already changed our schedules 2-3 times – cutting one national park, adding a different one, and adding an additional city. Hello Denver 😉 We have taken off from a place a night earlier at times because we’ll be done with all the things we want to do by 4 and just feel like taking off then. AND WE CAN. Magic!

Basically what I’m saying is this leg of our trip so far has me really focused on gratitude. I’m so thankful for Zachary and everything he does for me and with me. I’m so thankful to have these small material items back like my books, a stove, my yoga mat. I’m so thankful for our own space and the snuggly sleeping bags and comforter and pillows that make crawling into bed a dream and I don’t have to wonder the last time the sheets were changed. Don’t get me wrong, I am also so grateful for the opportunity to have visited every single country we have. It’s been a whirlwind of crazy adventures every day and I would love Love LOVE to do it all over again! And that’s just it. I want to do it all over again just like I know I’ll want to do this road trip all over again when it officially ends.

It’s so easy to get carried away with what we don’t have. Maybe it’s not enough money or clothes or even more intangible items. Like we’re not good enough spouses, friends, family members, etc. There’s always more to be had or more to do. And that can be great because it gives us goals, things to aspire to. I don’t know about anybody else, but I just do this way too much it distracts from what I do have and where I am now.

So I’m working on just being grateful. Grateful for the cold nights that lead to warm snuggles. Grateful for toilets when we do get them. Grateful for a fresh bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios in the morning right when I wake up before I even have to put on pants. Grateful for bonding time and new adventures with my husband. Grateful for our many blessings in life together.

Thank you for reading and I hope we all focus a little bit more on those little pleasures in life.