I’m back, y’all!
What a beautiful road trip we had! And how many things we learned from it! One of many adventures in our life as newlyweds.
I know I was supposed to post this yesterday… but we just returned a couple of days ago and I’ve been so busy being utterly lazy and going through our pictures that I simply didn’t feel this post was ready until now!
Here’s what we learned…
1. Be frugal… but not too frugal!
I’m proud to say that, throughout the entire trip, we managed to be very frugal.
We packed lunches and breakfasts from home and kept them cold in a cooler with ice, and had delicious dinners out.
We also searched for the best quaint hotels and B&Bs at a good price.
And this frugality served us very well… until we took it too far.
You may remember that we were planning on hiking the Grand Tetons. We wanted to do the Crest trail, which is a 4-day long hike.
In order to do the hike, you have to reserve your backcountry permits for sleeping areas with the park the day before you start your hike.
Well, the night before getting to the park, we didn’t arrive in a town with lodging until 2 am. By that point, we were beat. But we also knew that we needed to wake up very early the next morning in order to get our backcountry permits. So we figured we’d save ourselves some $$ and sleep in the car for a few hours, and then find a campsite when we got there and crash.
Big. Mistake. I slept curled up in a bad position and by morning my knee was the size of a cantaloupe. I had somehow managed to pull/tear a tendon (still not quite sure what’s wrong with it yet!)
I couldn’t squat, I could barely walk, and I most definitely couldn’t hike. We were devastated. This hike was supposed to be the highlight of our honeymoon! We both love nature, and I especially find so much inspiration and wisdom when I’m out in the mountains.
Needless to say, we weren’t very happy about that. But there was nothing we could do about it, so we decided to embrace the lesson that came our way…
2. It pays to be flexible
Throughout the entire trip, we made no reservation earlier than a few hours in advance.
We flew by the seat of our pants and started calling hotels or researching restaurants a few hours before we were going to eat or call it a night.
This proved very useful when I got my knee injured and we discovered that Yellowstone Park was completely full that night (and they had just closed one of their campsites for the winter). We decided to head out into the Northwest and return to Yellowstone when it would hopefully be less busy.
And flexibility allows for some neat surprises! We found a little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant that was hands-down the best Mexican food we’d ever eaten (cooked by grandma herself), and got to drive along a gorgeous mountain pass from Montana into Idaho… one that just looked convenient on the map, but there was no way Google or a GPS would have taken us that way.
Throughout our trip, we practiced intuitive living (intuitive traveling? if it isn’t a concept yet I’m making it one!) every day.
Every day, we would wake up when we woke up, hit the road, see what we felt like seeing, eat when we were hungry, pause when we needed to, sleep when our bodies called for it.
Seeing how freeing this flexibility was, I started thinking of ways in which I can incorporate it more into my own life – and I encourage you to do the same! How can you listen to your intuition more today?
What does your body need you to do and how are you ignoring its messages?
3. You don’t need as much as you think
Coming from the East Coast, we were used to the usual hustle and bustle of this area. Busy people, constantly going somewhere, traffic, Starbucks, sky-scrapers.
After seeing the Northwest, all I can say is whoa, is it different!
And it’s lovely.
Traffic isn’t much of a problem, homes are smaller, and people are kinder.
I have to admit, when we finally hit the East Coast again, we were kind of missing the peace and solitude of the Northwest… and especially the stars in the sky!
But it wasn’t just the areas we saw that pointed out how little we truly need in order to be happy, kind, and live a life of love, it was also our experience itself.
For most of our trip, we were in the car at all times – no music (my husband manages a ballroom studio – he requested a music-free trip, and I was happy to oblige), usually no internet or cell service, and nothing other than some food and a map.
As a result, we got to TALK. A lot. We learned so much more about each other, and I can say that was one of the biggest gifts of this trip. Just how much I got to just talk and spend time with my husband. It was wonderful. And we didn’t need even half of the things that we normally enjoy at home – but we still had a wonderful time.
Of course, we missed some things (like the comfort of our bed, or our kitties) but we didn’t need any of that in order to be happy and content. (Of course, you know that comes from within – this was yet another reminder of that!)
4. Trust life
When I injured my knee and we couldn’t do our hike, we were upset. But we thought that maybe God had protected us from something worse – like getting hurt on the hike, and having trouble making it down.
As time went by, we realized more and more just how right everything worked out in the end.
By the time the first week was over, we were already tired. But not doing that hike allowed us to see a lot and still be able to come home earlier and enjoy having a lazy staycation.
When we got home, we had an even bigger surprise – our apartment building was repaving the parking lots, and was going to tow all cars that were in the way – including my husband’s car. Yikes!
Thank GOD we didn’t stay any longer on our trip!
There were so many other moments in which we felt like God had literally given us a hand and showed us the way – whether it was something we had asked for or not. Whether it was wonderful people, a muddy road, or a delay in our schedule, in the end everything turned out to have changed for the best.
In the end, everything that happens to you is exactly as it should happen. You are exactly as you should be. But until you embrace that truth, you will never find happiness.
And probably the most important thing that we learned is how much we love the Northwest, with its beautiful mountains and lakes. We can’t wait to return!
A funny story…
I am TERRIFIED of bees. When I was 4 years old, I grabbed a bumblebee in my hand because I had never seen anything like it before. Needless to say, it stung me like crazy! Straight in the palm, too. Ever since then, every time a bee comes close to me I run screaming.
So imagine my face when we sat down to eat on the terrace of a lovely BBQ place… and there are bees everywhere coming to check out my food! I started moving around from side to side, yipping and yapping as the bees came and went, with my husband laughing hysterically.
I freaked out while I was eating, but once I finished I watched the bees eat the bits of meat still stuck to the bone, and I grew fond of them! All of a sudden, when I could see them and understand that they weren’t “out to get me” (how many times do you think people are “out to get you”?) I was able to relax and see their beauty and personalities.
It helped me realize how fear is rooted in ignorance. Once you pay attention, there are no scary secrets and the beneficial Universe reveals itself.
What’s next? A trip to finally do that hike, for sure… this time on its own!