Day 31: Thursday, July 1st, 2021

Well, I did so much in Stillwater yesterday, that I didn’t have much in the area left to do today.  I woke up extremely too early, so I worked for a bit, and then tried to get more sleep.  Lately this is the time I would be getting migraines, so I have been diligent on keeping my activity fun, but nothing crazy exciting. Calm, relaxing, enjoyable…I even thought about a Spa today.

I wound up taking a drive to Hudson, Wisconsin which is just on the other side of the St. Croix River from Stillwater. The area was setting up for the 4th of July, and I had that moment of “Oh hey, that’s going on isn’t it.” When you are on the road, I feel like Holidays seem to fall to the wayside because you’re in travel mode. At least for me anyways. My 4th will be celebrated in my car driving to South Dakota, so yeah, nothing exciting there.  After the drive through Hudson and Stillwater again, I headed back to the hotel. I have been sleeping on and off all afternoon….feels AMAZING.  I guess I needed it more than I realized.  So since today is more of a “quiet” day…I wanted to share with yall what I have learned traveling the first month of my 12 month trip.

Lesson #1: For now, being alone is lonely.

Let me start with this, I knew June would be the easiest month. Why? Well, friends after friends, then family after family, I was enveloped in love and able to tour places with always someone by my side. With that constant for the last 30 days, to then go from that to by myself has been a bit of a shock to my mental health.  I know I am ok, I know this is truly a once in a lifetime adventure, but I also know that it would have been enjoyable with someone by my side the entire time.  It’s been exhausting to be everything, every day, and not have someone drive after a long day or run for food…it’s all on me, and I have done it before, but it makes me miss the special ones in my life.

Lesson #2: Wide open spaces of time are not my friend.

I like to have a plan- to get up every day and have a destination already in place so that it’s just a matter of putting it in my GPS and getting gas before hitting the road. Having nothing planned, and heaven forbid two days of it, throws me into a tailspin of overthinking. Plan good, no plan, bad.

Lesson #3: Talk to the older folks…they are where the magic lies.

Stillwater was the purest example of this. They are willing to talk, they love an audience, and they will share stories with you that will blow your mind!  It’s amazing what they have lived AND what they have lived through. They are usually kind, willing to listen to your story, and more than happy to help you along on your travels. AND if you are lucky, they become new friends you make a long the way 😊

Lesson #4: Don’t be scared to nest in your hotel room.

Ok, this may be an odd one to you, but I have a bad habit of bringing the bare essentials in and then being uncomfortable with the little I DID bring in because I am too lazy or tired to bring in the rest.  Days likes these where it’s just me and the room, I NEED everything that connects me to family and home so I don’t feel like I am floating around the U.S. not being tethered to anyone or anything. 

Lesson #5: Finding any kind of small routine will help.

Working on an exercise program for my mornings, still doing protein shakes, and drinking more and more water is key right now. Not running has been actually really hard on my body and mental health, so finding something to replace that “high” for my physical body is key.

Lesson #6: I can’t control what’s happening anywhere around the Country.

Let’s see….since I have been on the road there have been wild fires out a Glacier National Park, timed entry passes for lots of National Parks, a heat wave melting the sides of homes, bear attacks in Yellowstone, your buffet of road closures and bridges shut down…. I mean, all happy stuff right? I CANNOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.  I know, I am aware, but all I can do is keep an eye on it. I get notifications from the National Parks on the status of my time frame (camping at Yellowstone) and I watch the news online, but that’s about it. I will adjust of I have to, pivot when needed.

Lesson #7: Less is more.

Still shedding things from my luggage all over the U.S. LOL  Things I thought I needed I am tossing or giving away, left some stuff at my Mom’s, and so on.  The temptation to “shop” is quickly squashed with the thought of where I would have to put it in my car for the next 11 months. Funny how then I only buy stickers for my luggage and that’s it.

Lesson #8: What’s the point?

I have been asked several times “What’s the point” of what I am doing.  I never know if I should feel offended or rise to the challenge to explain it. Isn’t the point to just LIVE an adventure? To live a life of passion and vigor? To find the fun and excitement in the smallest to biggest? I answer people this… “The World was ugly last year, the anger felt heavy and hard. I wanted to spread some kindness across this Nation, meet new people, show others that good still exists out there. So that’s the point.”

Here’s the thing….it’s my life and my journey. I don’t expect you to understand it, love it, or embrace it. I HOPE you do. I WISH that you find it in your heart to be inspired by my kindness and others to act upon it in your own ways. A movement? Wouldn’t that be cool. Whatever it inspires in whoever inspires, I will feel good about that. The strangers that have become friends are worth it’s weight in gold. I dreamed of traveling and meeting new souls, connecting smiles to memories, small kindess for big results…and I think I am doing it. I just have to have the courage to keep going, to not quit, because I don’t have to do this, but I know I want too. It’s finding that fire that started this all, igniting it every day, and leaning into my faith and goals to keep me going. I can do this. I can do this. I CAN DO THIS. See you tomorrow.

Stillwater. MN

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