I’m compiling some of the lessons and interesting tidbits I’ve learned with the hopes of passing along useful information to fellow wanderers. Especially families of travelers similar to ours.
Life is what it is. It doesn’t take a break just because we’ve decided to step away and do things a little differently. In everyday life, situations and circumstances pop up along our paths forcing us to make decisions. Challenges and opportunities create a fork in our road, which is how Hyatt Family Adventures started in the first place. The truth is simple: there is always a choice; always options. We may not like our choices but that doesn’t change the fact the they are there. We could go back the way we came, continue with no change, start in a new direction, or forge our own way. The exciting/scary part comes from deciding on and then implementing a drastic change to the right, left or into the unknown.
Heraclitus of Ephesus goads us with his “the only constant is change” truth bomb. This statement is true in all aspects of life. Living organisms, locales and inanimate objects change as time passes. The world around us changes as well. The coming and going of the seasons bring a change in climate just as the ebb and flow of the tides expose and cover the shore. In most cases, change is necessary for growth. Everything alive changes as it grows, maybe not as dramatic as caterpillar to butterfly but definitely evident in our life stages. Contentment can be found in the lack of growth and change. Growing usually involves some level of discomfort and we come out the other side changed. This concept applies in our finances, relationships, educations, everything really. Many of us rail against this truth because we’re afraid of what change might mean for us but eventually the inevitable becomes unavoidable and (sigh) thus is life, right?
The good news is that it’s not all doom and gloom because not all change is a terrible thing. Metamorphosis may be painful, but transformation may come in the form of an opportunity as well. Some of the punches we experience in our lives are ones that we dish out. People talk about how they “got (Chumbawaumba-ed?) knocked down, but they got up again.” Isn’t it badass that sometimes, we do the knocking down? What a powerful thought!
Since HFA started, we’ve had to roll with the punches. It seems like that has been the theme of our whole adventure from the get-go. This is not unique to us nor has it been a source of contention for our family. In fact, I think it is the major lesson we are teaching the girls and learning for ourselves.
I believe it is in how you take these hits and continue to move forward that makes what we do so special to us. We’ve shared some of the things that happened to us over the months. Broken ankles, gout attacks, dramatic plan changes and yet we kept on. HFA is no better than anyone else but if fellow adventurers can learn from our experience, bring on the challenges! It is my hope that we can rise to the occasion in a positive and enlightening way.
Our Plans and Schemes
As we’ve said throughout this blog, the original plan was to meander through the country, drinking in the beauty and wonder that is America, while living a simpler, intentional life. The kids were going to be educated along the way, with the aid of acceptable curriculum and life-experience, while we explored our country in our SUV, customized vintage trailer in tow. CJ would take assignments as a Travel Nurse and in the downtime, we would camp out in state parks and national forests with the ability to visit family and friends whenever we wanted. That didn’t really happen.
Due to some wrinkles with HR, CJ’s contract ended prematurely and we were forced to use what resources we had to either continue with an amended “Plan” or salvage what we could and move forward in our conventional living until such a time as we could get back on track with “The Original Plan”. I think we were a little too far into the change to hit the brakes, so we amended our ideas and ventured on.
Since our departure, we’ve had to deal with injury, heartache, home-sickness, disapproval, and a whole lot of discomfort. We’ve been cold and hot, hungry and tired, cramped and afraid. The funny thing though is that it’s been a hell of a ride. We’ve made the situations work for us instead of tucking tail and running back to the life we used to live. Science knows we’ve had many chances to do just that. The fact is, we could go back to that life whenever we want. All we’d have to do is choose where. CJ’s expertise is always in demand and all the temporary jobs I’ve had would welcome me back with open arms. It’s not that we haven’t found what we’re looking for. I honestly believe that if we stopped to settle down again, it would be a very long time before we set out to do anything like this again… if ever.
I want to include the next paragraph because it exemplifies the concept I am trying to illustrate:
As I write this article, HFA is in the middle of a transition that will change our travel style and experiences in HUGE way. If all goes according to plan (there’s that word again) we’ll be doing much less disbursed camping and focusing more on cultural exploration. Should these next few months not pan out, we may be facing a devastating blow as we have shed about 3/4 of our possessions. Items that enable us to camp for long periods of time and may be difficult to procure again.
I began writing this piece in July of 2018 when we were in Santa Maria, CA. I am finishing it now on March 1, 2019 and boy, have we made a few deviations to our travel strategy.
During the summer of 2018 we were planning to acquire an RV or trailer. To facilitate that purchase, we needed to save money. The decision to stealth camp was made, amongst many grumbles and groans – not only from the children. This meant a drastic change in the number of items and gear we could keep and look like a regular SUV. See my article on #stealthcamping.
About six weeks into our #stealthcamping phase, we visited the local RV and trailer dealership only to find that we were not in a position to finance a home on wheels unless we could make a substantial down payment or buy it outright. Our plan suffered a serious setback. What we did next wasn’t unexpected, as it had been an alternative to the RV. We made the transition from #stealthcamping into living in hotels – I’m still trying to figure out a catchy hashtag for it. #2starhotelliving, maybe?
This is not as big of a lifestyle change as you would think but paying for temporary lodging has some pretty big upsides – there will be an article on this as well. This is our current living situation as of March 2019 and has been since mid-October 2018. I can admit that I was a bit embarrassed about it in the beginning, but I’ve come to see it as a great alternative to living in an apartment or small house, if you’re ok with living in a small space.
That being said, whether you’re in the dreaming stages or in the middle of your journey, make plans and stick with them but when life decides to fling a little poo, don’t sit around long enough to smell it, clean up and do what you need in order to carry on. If you encounter some kind of wall, evaluate the situation and proceed in a direction that is beneficial to you. I realize that this message is mainly for those of us who’ve made a lifestyle choice and have some options, but I think the same principal would apply to anyone living on the hoof, regardless of the circumstances that put them there. More obstacles may bar the way but there is always an alternative, though we may not like them much. Left, right, over, under, back the way we came. When challenges and opportunities arrive, don’t sit down and admit defeat, go live your adventure!