Hello there!! It’s been quite a while since I’ve written so I thought I’d give you an update. We spent the whole summer in the mountains of Wyoming, came home for the holidays and then hightailed it to Florida for the winter.
Florida has been night and day different from the mountains. First of all, in the mountains you could get totally off the grid. One hour away from cell service, down a dirt road, park your trailer at the base of a mountain and not see a soul kind of off the grid. In the mountains they have a bunch of National Forest which were amazing because of all the trails and best of all it was free. There is simply not anything like that in Florida. There are no free places to stay, no open land, every night is spent in a little state park or in a random RV Resort. It’s also like, 80 degrees so you don’t want to be off the grid while living in a tin box. AC is a must.
That definitely took some getting used to, especially because it’s such a different experience than the first leg of our trip. For someone who lives on the road, doesn’t know where our next paycheck is coming from and is all about experiences, I do like to have a solid routine with clear expectations. So much of this trip has been just figure it out as we go kind of thing. So I’m definitely pushing my comfort zone. I still read my bible every morning, drink my coffee and make my breakfast. This grounds me and makes me feel secure. Also, Mister Andrew Slaton makes me feel secure. He has been taking care of all the details of our trip. Where we’re going, how we’re getting there, so on. Any time I start to get a little stressed, he talks me down, and usually makes me laugh.
I’m still amazed that we spend almost every waking moment with each other and I still miss him like crazy when he goes on his morning and evening shoots. I just love hanging out with the man. We still find things to talk about… We still kiss like newlyweds… It just amazes me. Just last night he asked me to come on his evening shoot with him. I feel like the girl that got picked first for the soccer team, I felt so cherished and wanted, it was silly. He actually likes being around me as much as I like being around him!!
I remember when Andrew and I were friends he would leave at weeks at a time to explore the mountains. I remember asking him, “When you’re standing on that mountain top, looking out at everything do you ever wish you had someone to share the view?..” He paused for a moment then simply said, “Nope.” When we got married he would still leave for weeks at a time. I got so in my head thinking that he didn’t miss me or didn’t care about leaving me for so long. Then I’ll never forget, one time he came home from Wyoming and said, “I wish you were there with me.” Something changed. From that moment on, he started planning his trips around my work schedule. Traveling together became such a priority that we decided I could quit my 9 to 5, become a yogi with a more flexible schedule and explore mountains together. Somehow over the years he went from being a loner mountain man to wanting to be a loner mountain man with me.
We both really settled into our individual places when we got on the road. He loves planning and working out the details of the road trips, so he does all that. At first it was a little hard to let go of control in that area, then he planned such awesome trips, perfect routes to most efficiently hit up tons of parks, that I let it go and just enjoyed the ride in the passenger seat. He plans and I cook every meal, plan meals for weeks in advance, clean dishes when he’s working and keep the trailer looking clean and nice. I never thought I would be so satisfied as a cook and clean type of lady but I love doing it for him. He treats me like his most prized possession that the least I can do is cook him dinner.
I still catch myself on the road, sitting next to him in the truck and I just can’t believe it. Earlier in our marriage when we would go on our little two week road trips I thought it was just too good to be true. This is actually my life. I get to travel with my best friend. Now that I’m getting to do it full time I still catch myself not being able to believe that I’m living this dream. With him. He seriously is the hardest working man I’ve ever met and because of his hustle, we’re able to do this.
I’m a beach girl through and through so he worked his hiney off, planned perfectly, so he could bring me to the beach. I spend my afternoons soaking up the sun, listening to the waves and fall asleep at night with sunscreen on my chest and sand in my ears. Am I allowed to be this happy? It almost doesn’t seem right. I married my best friend, obsession of my life, he wants me around, and we travel the country. People my age are not allowed to live their dream. Some people never do. Trust me there are sacrifices. We eat a lot of beans and rice and stress about money. A lot. But then I look out over the ocean and my stress disappears on the blue horizon.
I think it’s wired in me to expect suffering. I’ve had to deal with my fair share that I just started expecting it. Living on the road has taught me that I’m more in control of my mental health than I realized I could be. I can change my circumstances to offer less stress. I can plan for healthy routines and healthy days. In the city I felt that I was suppose to do certain things, act a certain way, dress a certain way.. and many of those expectations were causing me stress. Unnecessary stress. So Andrew and I talked, we dreamed and we started changing our surroundings and circumstances. We prioritized mountain tops over financial security. We prioritized experiences over convenience.
I feel like many of us need permission to dream. Permission to break from the mold and be happy. How are your daily circumstances affecting you? How do your surroundings shape your mental health? These were questions I started asking myself, then I dared to do something better. Riskier, but healthier. I know that we’re young and footloose and fancy free with no children. But I found that making little changes to your daily routine can dramatically effect your well being. Are you doing things out of habit, because you feel like you don’t have another option? Have you dared to explore other options even if it means getting out of your comfort zone?
We’ve also had so many people support us on this journey. If I didn’t have the unwavering support from my family and friends then this would be a lot more difficult. So thank you. Thank you for your encouragement and support as we chase after the sun.