We’ve been having such a blast with our new, rebooted lifestyle, that we sometimes forget we’re still just in Phase 1 of our journey (read The Final Countdown for background on our phases). When we sold our house in Virginia and took off for Florida to pick up Rover, we took only what we could fit in (or on) our car Red. We left many of our possessions, especially the larger, heavier, or less critical ones, at Jen’s house in the Washington DC area for later retrieval. Our goal was to bring Rover from Florida to DC within about six weeks so we could pick up the rest of our “stuff”, see family and friends again, and then head a bit further north for the hot and humid summer months.
With that in mind, this week we stretched our legs (wheels?) a bit and made our longest drive yet by far, covering 261 miles from Jacksonville FL to Charleston SC, almost entirely on I-95. Our previous daily driving record was a mere 133 miles. This puts us only one more “hop” away from DC—we’ll hit Raleigh North Carolina next, then DC, right on our six-week target. We’re not excited about driving long distances on interstates, and our ultimate goal is to take things “slow and scenic” by covering small distances on US and local highways and spending a good amount of time in each location, but for now we’re willing to push a little harder and skip some otherwise interesting side-trips to make it back to DC soon.
Although we’ve been staying in each city for a week at a time, we don’t cram our weeks full of sight-seeing. Plenty of our time is spent with more mundane tasks like house cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, dog care, and cooking. We also like to take things easy by mixing in some “introvert” days of reading, watching a DVD, catching up on blogs, and even napping. Given how much there is to see in some of these great cities, we might be better off spending two weeks at each before moving on, and in fact we may find our pace slowing once we get more accustomed to our new way of life.
Perhaps not surprisingly, we do find ourselves often asking each other “What day is it?” It sounds cliché but in reality it’s actually hard to remember and it matters for our trip planning, sightseeing (weekends are much more crowded), and even mail delivery: if we’re leaving here Thursday morning, we shouldn’t have our mail or Amazon packages shipped here after Monday afternoon or they may not make it in time.
More surprisingly, the question that really throws us off is “Where are we?” Having visited five cities in five weeks, just as we start getting accustomed to a place, it’s time to move on. Just as we’ve learned our way around the local roads, found the closest supermarket, the Camping World, etc., and figured out how to get back to our campground, everything changes again. We’ve caught ourselves talking about going down the road to pick something up, only to realize the nearby store we were thinking of was one or two cities ago, and that our current campground is surrounded by new and unfamiliar roads and stores. “Let’s go back to that cool dog park again today! Oh wait, that was back in Jacksonville, we’re in Charleston.” Today we completely seriously discussed buying a whiteboard for our refrigerator so we can update it to say what city we’re in, what campground we’re at, and what day it is.
While being geographically disoriented is more amusing than truly problematic, it makes us stop and think about how different our lives have become. We think about the changes we’ve felt in just five weeks, and wonder how we’ll feel after a year, or two, or even more. Something we both agree on is that we’re off to a great start, and we’re really excited about where we’re headed!