Two years ago tomorrow, which is crazy in itself, we drove off on this adventure of a lifetime. We were spending the weeks prior preparing, in all sorts of the word, for our departure from the comfortable, every day we had grown accustom to into our detour year, if you will. Eric was spending his days using bondo like a madman on all the holes or cracks he could find on Pedro, and I was organizing, packing and reorganizing to find a place for everything we were fitting into our home on wheels. There was no way we could know how to manage expectations, have exactly what we would “need” on hand, or understand how the year would challenge and change us. We just jumped in head first.
This following year at this same time we were settled back into our home without wheels, minus a few boxes. We started to develop a rough schedule and (reluctantly) made our way back into the work force. There are still mixed emotions around the year. Some of disbelief that it even happened, some of relief that we are home, and some of total desire to be back in Pedro surrounded by the daily adventures of being on the road.
We can honestly say that the conveniences of not hand washing every item of kitchenware or clothing, knowing where and how to get the exact meal that you are craving or having a lazy Sunday at home feels good. That’s instant gratification for you. However, making the effort to get outside, spend true quality time together and stay present are all much harder to obtain with the distractions and busyness surrounding us now. But hard is good. We’ve learned to be aware of the things we know improve ourselves and each other, and to realize when those important things might be lacking, as well as letting go of what we do not need to hang onto, both physical and emotional. These lessons are constantly on our minds and hearts, which would not have been the case without that year.
It’s always impossible to really explain an experience. Our photos or stories can never do justice to the best or worst of it all. A lot of “remember when” moments pop up for both Eric and I, whether it’s the image of a place we had been or a memory of an interaction with someone or a feeling we can still hang on to… The fact that we get to share those memories together is priceless to our partnership and marriage. To all the people that ask what us was your favorite thing, place, time, meal, etc., sorry we don’t have an answer. But here are some lessons that still hold strong:
Mexican food, across the board is the best. Ever. Only to be closely followed by Argentinean steak and chimichurri.
Be open to ALL people and leave your prejudices at the door.
A camp towel is not an appropriate towel for more than 50+ uses.
Travel does not make you a new person, it just expands your world view and makes you more aware of who you are and how you handle new things.
Nothing, and we mean nothing, ever fully dries out in Central America.
You can easily live on red wine and empanadas.
Being in different cultures is exciting and educational, but the country where you were born and raised always feels like home.
Eating well and keeping up with consistent exercise are the most important habits for healthy body and mind.
A Toyota Chinook is the most functional and comfortable car for living in that has ever been created. Suck it, Westy fans.
While this is the last post to commemorate our adventure, we are certain of more detours to come! We have an ever growing list of places to return to and new ones to explore. Next time we’ll just need a vehicle with a car seat.