It was through talking to a friend the other day that I realized what has changed so much for us on this trip... and as an outcome, how this trip has bettered us so much. I've talked a lot about the freedom road life has brought us, and up until a few days ago, I thought that was what had changed so much: our freedom. And it terrified me because we aren't always going to be able to live like this, right? So when we go back to "real life" this happiness was just going to disappear with our freedom? (You can see why it was such a terrifying thought!) But it was through my conversation with a friend that I realized it isn't the freedom that's changed us. It has been the choosing of freedom... So to reiterate it a different way:
We've recognized we have the freedom to choose.
I want to dig into this a little deeper with you all.
Before this trip, my husband and I were working over 40 hours a week most weeks, we were working opposite schedules, we saw each other maybe three days a week if we were lucky. We were miserable, we were depressed, we were exhausted, we fought often, and we had no idea how we were going to make our marriage last. Let's rewind a little further... In the six years we dated, we talked often about how we weren't going to be that couple. Ya know, the couple that works too much, puts work in front of their marriage, spends each day working just to have enough money to make ends meet. Ya know what kind of couple I'm talking about? Yeah. We didn't want that. I had watched countless couples around me live that way and I was determined I was not going to live like them. I found myself a year out of college, a few months into my marriage, living that life. And I was like WAIT. How did this happen?! And then it became very apparent to me that life just happens. I never really understood how life could be anything other than this romantic adventure you choose to live... it was easy to see life that way while in college, while living off of my parent's income, while being surrounded by like-minded friends floating on clouds with me (which don't get me wrong, I am so thankful for those years)... but then all of a sudden I graduated, had to pay my own bills, and work a big kid's job. And all of a sudden I understood that life simply happens, and it's way too easy to get caught up in it. Sure, you can go away on adventure's during the weekends you're both not working, you can make the most of your hours spent together, and you CAN make life a romantic adventure everyday... and we did that! But we felt stuck. And I think that was the worst part about our lives before our #roberdspilgrimage. We felt stuck and we felt forced into this life we were supposed to be living (because after college you get a serious job that is respectable and thus, earns you a decent amount of money, right?), we felt forced to be people we didn't want to be and hear me when I say... it was making us miserable. He was miserable. I was miserable. Our marriage was miserable. Then we decided to run away. Quite literally. We decided to uproot our lives, quit the jobs we didn't like in the first place, and put our relationship and marriage and happiness first. And heck, what better way to do all of that then to travel around the US for six months! So that's what we did.
If you've followed our journey at all, you know it's changed us for the better. We are happy again... but you're probably thinking... it's easy to be when you aren't working, you're able to do whatever you want each day, and you're visiting places that look like they're straight from your old computer's desktop screensavers. To which we say, YES. All of that is true. We are so fortunate to have been able to do this trip, and most days feel like fairy tales... but hear me when I say, that is not why we've changed.
What has changed in us has been, quite simply, that we chased a dream people thought we were crazy for chasing. Are you still with me? I'm getting to my point... hang in there with me. It's getting good (in fact, my heart is literally racing from excitement as I try to write this all down and in a way that makes sense!!!!)!
What has changed in us is that we've realized we have a CHOICE. That's the reason doing this trip has been so amazing, right? It's the reason hundreds (yes, literally HUNDREDS) of people have reached out to us on Facebook and Instagram to tell us we're such an inspiration and they, too, dream of doing a trip like this sometime in their life.. Because the idea of this trip is appealing! Why is that? Because it breaks the norm. We both left jobs that we could have worked at for the rest of our lives if we had wanted. We said "hasta la vista" to what we were "supposed" to do. We said "no" to the life everyone around us told us to live, and we chose our happiness. And that was when it happened... we realized we have a CHOICE for how our life is going to look. It may sound rudimentary, but that simple truth has literally saved our lives. It's bettered us in every way we could've dreamed. This trip has given us the courage to chase after the life we want, and it's shown us that we won't just spontaneously combust when we choose happiness, when we choose each other and ourselves, when we choose freedom.
You guys, I wish I could see you all face to face so you can hear the excitement in my voice when I tell you I've never been so happy in my whole life. My dreams are bigger, my love is stronger, my self is truer, than I ever thought possible. And it's because I know now, that I can choose freedom. And I want to scream it from the mountaintops that you can too. I am so passionate about sharing with everyone what this trip has taught us... the freedom it has brought us. Your choosing of freedom doesn't have to come in the shape of a six month long road trip (though this shape comes highly recommended by the Roberds' clan!), the important thing is that you make that choice for freedom. You choose for your life to look however you want it to. You chase your dreams that you had given up on because you thought they were too big to chase. You choose whatever it is that, you feel, goes against the norm, the expected, the obligated, to make yourself happy. Choose yourself, choose happiness, choose freedom.
So even when this trip is over, and we no longer spend every waking second together, and we are no longer jobless, this new bettered versions of ourselves is going to stick around. Because we aren't afraid to break the mold any longer. We've already done that and we've seen and felt the reward firsthand. We're going to choose the life we want to live and it's going to be a heck of a lot better than the life we were living a year ago. Sure, we may not have as much money, we may never meet the expectations of what we feel our society holds, and we may fall flat on our faces at some points. But our happiness is so worth it. We know that now. Big dreams are ahead, so stick around! This is just our beginning.
"Wander much, love big, and fight for your dreams. You won't regret it." That's kind of become my mantra on this trip... and I mean it with all of my being. I'm so passionate about seeing people live this out... however that looks for them. Pinpoint your dream, share it with someone you love, and then give it your all. And if this post resonated with you at all, let us know! We'd love to be the people you share your dreams with, and would be overjoyed to walk this path of freedom with you.
Little money, lots of happiness and puppy snuggles and dream chasing ahead,