We were in southern Thailand, abandoned at a flooded train station, when we decided how we wanted to spend our honeymoon.
Dan had asked me to marry him two months earlier, down the street from our home in Chicago. Then, we'd boarded a flight for a family vacation to China before he and I continued on our own to Thailand. We hadn't yet started planning our wedding then; as travelers, we jumped straight to the honeymoon.
Thailand was amazing, and we talked over spicy panang noodles about returning there for our honeymoon. Australia, too. But we were 8,000 miles from home and had been for a month at that point. We missed our dogs more than anything, and didn't want to think about spending so much time away from them again.
Then Dan suggested the RV. What if, post-nuptials, we got rid of our apartment, packed our stuff into storage, and traveled across America for a few months? With the dogs.
We wouldn't have to be away from them that way, and it would give us a chance to explore the country after living in Chicago for the past eight years. Plus, as freelancers (I write; Dan plays guitar and designs), we could continue our work from anywhere.
Well, duh. Who could say no to that?
Over the next few months of research and planning, we realized that this wouldn't be so much a honeymoon as a lifestyle change. After all of the packing, planning, trading in our car, and buying an RV trailer, we couldn't just hit the road only to call it quits on that adventure after a few weeks (unless of course we hate it—in which case we will absolutely come back after a few weeks).
But if all goes as I've imagined during my drives home from work or while cleaning up the kitchen, this "honeymoon" is an investment in a different way of living. It means driving for a few hours one day, and then spending the next week working from the base of a mountain in the middle of Nevada. It means visiting with friends and family from coast to coast. It means seeing our dogs experience all kinds of nature—and probably panicking every night that we all have ticks.
We're itching to buy our first permanent home after so many years of renting, and we've found a few that were extremely tempting. But we know if we don't try out RV living first, we'll regret it.
Maybe we'll buy a house a year from now. Maybe we'll get full-time jobs then, too.
And maybe we'll do another trip to Thailand. Remember that flooded train station? We made it out of there at 2 a.m.—10 hours after we arrived. In the process, we made new friends and re-arranged our travel from train to flight. The whole experience was a mix of fear and frustration, laughter and luck. It was freeing and inspiring, and I hope we get a lot more of that on this next journey.
(engagement photo by Stephanie Bassos)