Carpe “The Rig”

I’m sitting in the sun, listening to the wind and the waves and breathing in fresh salt air just south of San Felipe, Mexico. The ocean has always been an incredible place for my soul, and today is no different. We’ve been on the road since November, and I am just finally sitting down to write. I’ve written in a journal a few times. I’ve thought about writing at least a thousand times. Here I sit. Computer open. Hotspot on. Trying to figure out what (if anything) I have to say that is of any value to anyone. I could talk about our travel trailer and how we’ve set it up to be low impact and off-grid. I could talk about where we’ve been and what we’ve seen. I could talk about homeschooling and what that looks like in our family. Since I’ve written a very personal book that had a purposeful impact in the past, I feel a sense of pressure to write something profound. I don’t know that I have anything at all profound to say, but I know that it’s time to write again. It is time. We’ll see what comes out of me and if it’s of any interest to any of you. I’m not going to make it perfect. I may not even re-read these posts once I write them. I’m going to start by just letting the words flow and seeing what happens. Please feel free to comment and show me different perspectives. Disagree with me. Call me out. If we’re not on this earth to learn, grow and improve ourselves I don’t know why we’re here. Please feel free to shed light on my darkness. 

My family and I moved into a 32-foot Keystone Passport Ultralite travel trailer for a year or so of adventure and travel. We left Golden, Colorado on November 3rd. We sold our house and most of the large things we owned. We gave away a ton of stuff we never should have bought. We stored some gear and sentimental items with family, loaded the two kids, dog and hamster into “the rig” and took off. New Mexico was locked down because of Covid, so we shot straight through and west to southeastern AZ. We’re towing the rig with a (sweet) Ford F150 that was upgraded by Hellwig products to be perfect for what we are doing. 

For the first month or so, I felt like I was gradually cleaning suburbia off my skin. I didn’t have the words for it until now, but I know that suburban life was slowly and painfully killing me. It’s too clean, organized, decadent, easy, convenient, and comfortable. I need struggle. And too often in my comfortable suburban home, I found us as a family struggling with one another. Apparently, we didn’t have enough struggles in other places, so we struggled to get along, communicate, be kind, be satisfied, relax. Almost as soon as we left, I felt less struggle among us. Things slowed down and decisions were made more collectively. The kids only had each other and a new dynamic emerged within a few weeks. We watched the sun rise and set almost every day for the first six weeks. We woke because the dog wanted to go out or the coyotes or wind were howling, never to an alarm. School happened, sometimes with curriculum, sometimes with a tide chart or a climbing guidebook. We walked the dog. Usually (and hopefully) off-leash. We’d think about how much water we have and conserve so that we can last another day or so before having to drive into town. We budgeted. 

We spent the first month outside Tombstone AZ at a climbing area called Cochise Stronghold. We read about the history. We climbed the rocks where the Native American peoples hid out from the European settlers. We ate rice and beans that we cooked in our solar oven. We read books. We built campfires. The kids got really good at building campfires on their own. We were quiet together. We played board games and Farkle. We laughed. We went to bed early and woke up early. We didn’t use screens much at all. 

In December we moved further south to Puerto Penasco, Mexico. We watched the amazing seabirds diving in the ocean. We stand up paddled. We found hermit crabs, starfish and operculum. I did yoga. Jay worked a bit. The kids were on the beach in the sand so much that the skin started to peel off their feet. It was bliss. We were outside for at least eight or ten hours every day. Suburbia felt far away, but I was struggled internally with two main thoughts: I’m not “doing enough” and I don’t feel good in my body. 

I know that society still has its tentacles deep inside my brain and I’m hoping these musings might be my way of extracting them. 

We spent a month in California while Jay was working (and we celebrated the holidays with family and friends). It was not what I was hoping for in the first few months of this year, and I struggled more back in the comforts of suburbia again. I missed nature. I missed being so close to the earth, the sun and the moon. As soon as we drove off as a family, I felt lighter, happier, and more at peace. We went to Joshua Tree and did some climbing. For Jay and I climbing is our couple’s love language. It’s how we laid the foundation of our relationship and it is a strong shared passion. The kids do well but don’t appreciate it as much as we hope they might in the future. We tramped around in the desert and met good people. We shared stories around a campfire and heard a lot about burning man.  We watched the sunrise and sunset every day again. We breathed in. We breathed out. This was why we are doing this. The kids did a scavenger hunt in the desert and built a mandala out of trash. They shot bb guns and drove Motorcross bikes. We want to expose them to as much as I possibly can this year, whether it’s our style or not. We’re so grateful that we have people in our lives that do things so differently than we do. 

I was feeling a desire to remove myself from society (tentacles…) and threatened on a social media platform to leave social media. Then, a gift came our way through that same SM platform. The one thing that Jay and I had talked about the most that would make this year perfect was a family of friends with which to travel. Someone in a full-time RV family group connected me to a family who was looking to head down the Baja Peninsula around the same time as us. We crossed the border on Monday and they arrived a few days later. We’ve been hanging out for a few days and it has been awesome so far.  The kids have other kids. The adults have other adults. The dog even has another dog. We have many brains to work out any challenges that may come up. We’re all heading south to see the whales! We are so grateful to have some travel companions for what I am sure will be an incredible next step in this journey. 

I’m not sure what this will look like, but I do know that open space has resonated with me my entire life. The bigger the sky, the longer the beach, the higher the mountain, the longer the trail, the happier I am. I hope you’ll find something in this that speaks to you or inspires you. If nothing else, I’ll document for my kids the crazy ramblings in my head for their future therapists.