November 04, 2012

Life Choices

So here we are, in the home stretch, with just under three weeks until we're back home in Fayetteville, AR. We made the decision to be home for Thanksgiving several weeks ago, towards the end of our month long stay in Massachusetts. The decision to come home, instead of continuing to explore the East Coast, was mainly driven by impending winter and colder weather. With winter creeping in it has been hard to stay motivated about traveling and exploring. And while the East Coast has been entertaining and seeing our friends has been very rewarding, the constant city life experience has been taxing.

When I look back at all the pictures I have taken on this trip, the ones where we are outside exploring the great outdoors are the ones that speak to me the most. Playing in the sands at the White Sands National Monument, camping on the shores of Lake Mead, hiking the Angel's Landing trail in Zion National Park. This is not an unexpected fact for us, we knew going into this trip that it was the outdoors that appealed to us the most. We bought the National Park Pass knowing full well that we would get our money back, plus some. The decision to explore the East Coast was mainly motivated by our want to explore all of America, a more complete version of it, even if the East Coast offered less glamorous outdoor opportunities than the West.

For a long time we traveled with no end date in mind. The idea of ending our travels existed somewhere in the back of our minds, but was not something we thought about out seriously. The main driver to us putting some semblance of a date out there has been the weather. We've reached that awkward crux of crappy weather where we either make a long drive somewhere South and wait out the cold weather there, or we make the decision to end our trip and start a new chapter in our life. The other option is to finish our trip of driving around the US, sell the truck and trailer and then continue our journey on a different continent in a different hemisphere, but that option is not really an option mainly because we have dogs.

Between the two of us, I am a bigger proponent for continuing to travel. I feel like I have not come close to satiating my travel bug and want to keep exploring for as long as we can. Sky leans more towards finding a permanent place to live and then finding ways to explore from there. We are at this point in our lives where the possibilities are almost endless, we just have to make a choice. Now that we're in the position where we've decided to make a choice, as opposed to traveling with no end date in mind before, life has all of a sudden become stressful. Now the gravity of our next choice feels heavy on my shoulders, I am afraid we'll make the wrong move.

We have spent the last three weeks going back and forth, vocally exploring all the ins and outs and possible outcomes of each decision we could possibly make. There are pluses and minus in each case, there is no single choice that comes out the obvious winner. Some days we end our discussion thinking that we've made up our minds, we have made our choice. But then, days later, I find my mind wondering What If, and the whole resolution of our decision falls apart and we're back to square one. This, the fact that we don't have a clear goal in mind, has been especially hard for me because I am very much a black/white kind of person; I rarely venture into the different shades of gray.

At some point we are going to have to bite the bullet and pick a path. That path could be us spending some down time in Fayetteville and then continuing our journey of the US. If we did that we would probably explore more of the inland states that we missed the first time around, like Colorado, Idaho and Utah. We would slowly weave our way to our next permanent place of residence. Another path could be us selling the truck and trailer when we get back to Fayetteville and then finding corporate jobs in the place that we decide to make our next home. A third option would also involve selling the truck and trailer and permanently moving to our picked location, but with the idea of us starting our own business there, doing something that we really enjoy. That last option is the most exciting but also the scariest. Like I said, all the options have pluses and minuses to then. How do we decide?

Happy that I get the chance to make a choice,

M

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