My family recently packed up the fifth wheel with kids, the dog and half our house and left for an epic, two-week vacation.
The plan was to stop to explore a new destination every day until we reached Monterey, California, where our son is stationed in the U.S. Air Force. We planned to visit with him for four days over July Fourth weekend and then mosey back to Texas with new, daily stops until we made it home.
There were unexpected challenges.
For example, our AC went out as we began the drive through the Mojave Desert, and it cost $1,000 to have it repaired, but overall it was a wonderful experience, and I know that I am coming home a different person.
Two weeks out of my comfort zone was enough to do it, and here is what I learned:
1. Home is where my people are.
2. The world is small. We always meet our own locals in random locations.
3. Disregarding No. 2, the world is big — so big. There’s so much to take in and enjoy, so many memories to make, and so many new places to explore and have them become a part of who you are.
4. I want my kids to drink it all in. I don’t want them to feel the need to stay geographically close as adults. I want to tell them to get out there. Take life by the horns and do things worth remembering (just don’t stand so close to the edge). Take up mountain-climbing, kayaking, photography, 72-ounce steak challenges, learn a new language or whatever — just do something.
5. Ben always has talked about retiring and taking off in the RV. I never saw myself doing that. What if the kids need me? What about my beautiful house? But after being gone for two weeks, I can totally see us traveling like that. Let’s roll, Babe!
6. Two weeks with each other around the clock had its moments, but it was such a gift. We chatted and laughed for two weeks straight. (And we came home with a bag-full of inside jokes.)
7. Life is precious — so precious. I want to continue to drink up every moment.
Savor every victory and defeat.
The good, the bad and the ugly.
Kim Beathard is a Rusk resident and nurse care manager at Humana. If you’ve got a YES! column in you, just send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.