You have no idea how HARD it’s been to come up with the words for this final entry about our venture.  As soon as I knew I was 1/2 hour from home, the constant high I had been feeling for 16 days began to wane, the level dropping with every click on the odometer.  I didn’t want to return to suburban life.  None of us really did, except maybe for Jack (and that’s only because he missed his friends).  We’d shared such an amazing experience, we weren’t ready to be thrown back into our day to day reality.  And I’m not even talking about the work or home grind.  I’m talking about the neighborhood grind, the “houses on top of each other” and “families pretending that they’re happy” grind.  Since we began pulling away from the usual several years ago, crossing over to the dark side, we’ve really noticed the vast amount of families that are just going with the flow, afraid to “break out” of the expected.  There’s too much fear in ruffling your spouse’s feathers, no suggestions of packing up and taking off without a game plan.  Oh, we have heard stories (first hand) from husbands suggesting to their wives that they do X,Y or Z, only to be met with a scowl and a stern warning to never bring it up again.  Wow.  So, you’re really not strong enough to stand up for yourself and how you feel?  You really are THAT afraid of your significant other?  Afraid to “start” something?  Are you THAT willing to just swallow your desires, shoving them into the closet for another 5, 10 years, maybe to be brought out after the kids go off to college?  Huh.  I’m not that willing nor do I want my husband to be, and it certainly is not a trait I plan to pass onto my son.  Why do you want to be together with someone you’re afraid of pissing off?  Why do you want to exist rather than take a chance on living?  If you can’t voice your desires for yourself and/or your family, then you’re in the wrong relationship.  Sorry, but it’s true.  Do you want to be that couple that, as soon as the kids are out of the house, goes their separate ways just because they were too afraid to be honest with each other?  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather grow WITH my spouse rather than grow apart.  Why not take that chance because, maybe, they may feel the same as you.  They may even be a little MORE afraid than you.  But together you can become a strong unit, forging ahead into an unknown direction.  And it’s okay to not know what you’re going to be doing EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND UNTIL CHRISTMAS!  I DARE you to leave a weekend or two open in October with the promise to try something new.  It can be anything, but it just has to be out of your comfort zone.  Change is imminent, constant.  Why not take charge of the change instead of letting others choose for you?  OF COURSE it’s scary!  OF COURSE you’re going to argue!  BUT SO WHAT!  You’re going to argue anyway, so why not argue about what you believe in- your family, yourselves, your future, your relationship.  Do you see yourself in any of what you just read?  I was once there but chose to stop drinking the Kool-Aid.  Are you going to put the glass down?

So, back from my rant….yes, the trip was awesome!  Yes, we are going to do a long trip again next year.  On the books?  Hopefully Alaska, maybe Route 66.  We have plenty of options keeping us awake at night, so we’ll have to narrow it down soon and start saving and planning.  Again, it will take A LOT of work and extra hours, but it truly is worth it.  I promise.  Now put down the Kool Aid, pick up a Sierra Nevada and promise to take even the tiniest of steps forward.  Nothin’ but love.