A major reason we kicked off our cross-country trek when we did was so we could witness this moment. Last October, two of our very dear friends got engaged, and earlier this month, they made it official at the Evergreen Lake House in Colorado, not far from where the bride, Kelli, grew up.
Dan stood up on the side of the groom, Dave, and played guitar for the couple's first dance—"Just Like Heaven" by the Cure. The entire evening was absolutely beautiful, with dramatic clouds and mountains in the distance and only one uninvited stand-up paddle boarder watching the ceremony from the water.
It meant a lot to Dan and me to see these two decide to get married after dating for more years than most. Their relationship paralleled ours in that way, and it felt so complete to see them say "I do" after surviving many of the same challenges that we had. We never doubted their love for each other, but we know what it feels like when others question you and as a result, you question yourself.
But that wasn't the only wonderful way this wedding brought people together. After two weeks on the road, it was refreshing to see so many familiar faces who had traveled from Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles to be there for Dave and Kelli. We got to hear their latest news and share the travel stories we'd collected so far.
Some people told us they envied what we're doing—spending the next months working remotely and exploring the country. And if it wasn't me doing the traveling, I would definitely be saying the same thing to whoever was.
As we talked to these friends, I kept thinking of a John Steinbeck quote I'd just read in Travels with Charley, the book Steinbeck wrote about his own cross-country journey with his dog:
"I saw in their eyes something I was to see over and over in every part of the nation—a burning desire to go, to move, to get under way, anyplace, away from any Here. They spoke quietly of how they wanted to go someday, to move about, free and unanchored, not toward something but away from something. I saw this look and heard this yearning everywhere in every state I visited. Nearly every American hungers to move."
Packing up your stationary life and heading out on the road is an incredible learning experience. If you feel the urge to do it, don't wait! Find a plan and a way that works for you. We invested in our own trailer and convinced our freelance clients to trust us. Steinbeck saved up and drove around for three months with a bed and sink hitched on top of his pick-up truck.
As with planning a wedding, re-imagining your life is not easy. There are times when you'll ask yourself, "What the hell did I get myself into?"
But it's incredibly rewarding—to know how to hitch up a trailer, to call someone your partner for life, to know when and how to gauge tire pressure, to stand up in front of everyone you care about and profess your dedication to your person, to explore new places and meet new people every single day.
As wedding gifts for their guests, Dave and Kelli gave everyone an evergreen seedling to "plant it, nurture it, watch it take root and grow." We're taking our seedlings with us on the road, and eventually, we'll plant them somewhere permanent and watch them grow.
And now for something completely different....Here's Dan and our friend Bridget performing The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" for Kelli and Dave's first dance: