My husband and I both grew up in the beautiful state of North Carolina; home of breathtaking scenery, southern hospitality, and the best BBQ you can find. We had been married for less than a year though when we both had a crazy idea. Let's pack everything we own into two cars and move to....Utah. I know. It sounds crazy. It felt crazy to me at the time. In fact, when I think back to a little over a month ago and remember that long, long drive over 4 days, I question my husband and I's sanity. But nevertheless, here we are. Two born and raised North Carolinian newlyweds, trying to start fresh in a brand new place. I could probably write a whole article about starting over here,(maybe that is one for the future,) but instead I wanted to talk about what the experience of moving across the country taught me, because I had more than enough time to think...especially while driving through Kansas with nothing but corn fields to look at.
1. Stay hydrated.
Obviously drinking water is very important when you are spending 7+ hours in a car each day, although you do start to resent that 5th bottle of water when you see a sign that says "Next rest area 175 miles ahead." Let's just say, if there was an Olympic medal for bladder control, I would have at least gotten the silver...
But seriously drinking water helps you stay alert and focused on the miles and miles of road ahead of you. But you should also stay hydrated mentally by not being afraid to jam to your favorite music ( can you say Hamilton for 4 days straight?!), catch up on your favorite podcast, or listen to Harry Potter on audio book. If people in cars passing by judge you, know that they are just jealous because they wish they were also putting on an one woman production of Hamilton.
2. Stay connected.
I could not have made this trip if it had not been for technology, that sounds pathetic, I know. But I am so serious. Unlimited calls and data saved me and my sanity. At first the mountains are beautiful, the fields majestic, the never ending road in front of you is thrilling. But after mile 400 it really all starts to get old. So what do you do? Call your mom. Call your sister. Call your friend you have not talked to in a year. Call your husband that is driving the car in front of you and judge the other drivers.
(seriously, my husband though)
Take this time to reconnect and to share your experiences with the people you love. Your mom will thank you. And then you can thank me for helping your relationships flourish!
3. Take in your surroundings.
Finally, I learned the importance of living in the moment and taking in the beauty around you. Our drive took us through ten states. Ten very different states. We saw some beautiful places, but we also saw some places that you could not have paid me to stop at! There was one point while we were in Colorado and we had just done a 7% grade down a huge mountain and I had gotten separated from my husband for a brief period of time and my anxiety was at 100% because semi trucks were zooming all over the place and how can you not be stressed with "falling rock" signs every 3 miles??
(If only it was Fall Out Boy falling from the mountains...)
Anyways, we stopped at a rest area in Colorado because I needed a minute to calm myself down and I'm not going to lie, I was ready to turn my car around and head home because I was tired of being in the car and I was stressed out about driving in those mountains. But then I walked back outside and I looked around, the rest area was on a mountain and it was gorgeous.
There were wildflowers and green grass as far as you could see, trails you could walk on, and it seemed to be a popular place for hikers and bikers and families to stop to rest and grab a bite. I took in all of this and reminded myself that trials are part of the journey. Without them I would never appreciate reaching our destination. So even when the road seems long and windy and there are too many semi trucks for your liking, remember to open your eyes to what is around you because it makes it so much more worth it!
Two cars, One couple, Ten states, and hours of Hamilton later, we reached our destination. I am so grateful that I was able to learn so many important things while making our move across the country, and I'm excited to see what Utah has to teach me about starting over!