Saturday, October 8, 2011

Our next big adventure

Last week Neil and I were chatting as I made bread. He turned to me and said, "So, what's our next big adventure going to be? We haven't had one in awhile."

I tried to hold back the biggest grin that was spreading across my face. I love that he's thinking about future adventures. I had assumed that our next adventure may not be for a couple of years since (1) we're both done with school and no longer have months of vacation, (2) Neil has a "real" job with limited vacation and a lot of responsibility, and (3) we're actively trying to have children and from what I understand, adventuring with an infant may be more adventure than we're seeking.

Some of our past adventures have included:
  • Road trip to Georgia, South Carolina, and New Orleans after I graduated college

  • South Island of New Zealand later that same summer (adventure for Neil, vacation for me)

  • Road trip across the country on our way to grad school including stops in North Carolina, Colorado, Utah, and Idaho (with all of our earthly possessions stuffed in my '92 Honda Accord, Rocketstar)

  • Senegal and The Gambia (adventure for me, vacation for Neil)

  • Bike trip from Portland to the first farm near Hood River (perhaps the best 10 days of my life up to this point)

  • WWOOFing in Hood River (quickly surpasses the bike trip and becomes the best two weeks of my life)

  • WWOOFing in Ashland, OR

  • Train trip back to Arkansas with all of our earthly possessions in ten boxes and four carry-ons
I am constantly thinking of new adventures for us. It's just how my mind works. In high school I was already dreaming about joining the Peace Corps. In college I must have considered every study abroad program in every country known to man. In grad school I could not resist seizing the opportunity to work in The Gambia, even though it meant leaving  less than three months after my wedding day. I do not limit myself to international travel either. At different points I have become obsessed interested in the idea of hiking the Appalachian Trail, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, biking across the country (or Europe, or South America, or Asia), and completing a farm internship in Hawaii, Oregon, New England, Alaska, and most of the other fifty states. Often I have felt that I am the driving force behind our adventuring, so having Neil suggest we discuss future adventures as we approach a time in our life where we may be less able to trek around the world? It brings me more joy than I can describe.

We concluded that while we are planning to take a big vacation in February/March, vacations do not count as adventures. The plan? After Neil gets some good work experience at his current job (2-5 years) we will depart for Alaska. We'll take the train to the Northwest, stopping to hike/camp/explore as needed. Once in Washington (or maybe Vancouver?) we'll take the ferry to The Last Frontier and spend the summer exploring all it has to offer. It will be a different kind of adventuring than we've done in the past because we will likely have a couple children in tow, but that's just adds more adventure to the adventure, right?

Obviously the Alaska plan will be expensive, time consuming to plan, and a challenge with children. But it'll happen. I believe in visualizing what we want out of life, and I want a life of crazy adventures with my family. I am sending our desires out into the universe and then we will work hard to make it our reality. You have to make it happen for yourself. We are not wealthy (by American standards), but we have a modest income and live a frugal lifestyle so we can spend our money where it matters to us--making memories exploring the world as a family.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's the little things

This past weekend was a mixed bag.  Parts of it were wonderful: we went out to a mouth-watering pizza place with another couple; we went to the ballet for the first time (which I loved and Henry was indifferent towards); we enjoyed the cooler weather (and yes, 90 degrees counts as "cooler" when you live in Texas); we walked through eclectic thrift stores; we attended a class about joining a local Unitarian Universalist church... the list goes on.

But parts of it were less than wonderful, mostly due to my emotional instability.  What can I say?  Sometimes my emotions feel beyond my control.  I find myself becoming upset and on the brink of tears for no apparent reason.  I know I am getting frustrated over silly things, but somehow knowing that logically I shouldn't feel the way I do does not stem the tide of my emotions.  Unfortunately, the person who suffers the most from my inexplicable mood swings is usually my husband.

This morning I woke up to find that Henry had done two things: put away the dry dishes in the sink and the clothes strewn on top of his dresser.  Were there still clothes (both mine and his) on the bedroom (and living room) floor?  Yes.  Was the kitchen still a complete disaster from our cookie baking adventure the evening before?  Yes.  Even so, those two small acts meant a lot to me.  I don't need him to be a perfect housekeeper--it's no secret that I'm not--but when he does those small things without me asking?  Melts my heart.

It really is all about the little things, isn't it?