The start of it all. Our Great Adventure. We hit the road on Wednesday, May 8th. The feelings I had pulling out of our driveway were all over the place: excited, nervous, sad, happy. Leaving your home, your family, friends, and everything you know is a scary thing. Especially leaving and going so far away. There were numerous times while packing and preparing for our trip that I thought to myself: 'Holy crap, WHAT are we doing. This is CRAZY. We are picking up our lives and moving them across the entire country.' But I kept reassuring myself that life is all about adventures and taking risks every once in a while. And if not now, then when? And with those thoughts, we were on the road...
A note: We didn't plan one part of our trip before we left. We had a few places in mind that we knew we wanted to visit along the way, but never made any reservations or anything. We packed two different size tents (a gigantic one and a tiny one) and hit the road. We truly were completely winging it. We figured we'd be camping a lot and staying in hotels every so often. And it seriously worked out fine. This trip has made me much more relaxed with travel plans for the future. You don't always need to plan everything little thing. Having the freedom of no schedule allowed us to really experience places the way we wanted to. If we loved a place, we stayed longer. If we didn't, we spent one night and got out of there. With no reservations or set plans, this worked out great.
Our first stop wasn't too far from home. Wild and wonderful West Virginia. We knew we wanted to check out the New River Gorge because we heard it was an awesome place for camping and hiking. Originally, we were going to camp by the river but the water was insanely high and flooding over the river banks. Kind of scary. We didn't exactly want to wake up with a flooded tent. So we set up camp at a free spot on higher ground up the mountain. We were the only ones around for miles. We got there late, right as the sun was setting, so we made a quick dinner and hit the tent. In the morning, everything was covered with dew. It was chilly. But that was it - Our first night on the road, in the books! We were doing this! I had a 'whoa' moment that morning while drinking my coffee, looking out over the mountain. 'Wow, we are on the road. This isn't just a vacation. We aren't going back to our house. We are living out of our car and this tent and these outdoors. This is it.' It was a Thursday morning and I felt alive.
We did a fun hike after we packed up our campsite. There was no one on the trail but us. We got to the top of a mountain with a view of the New River and I screamed at the top of my lungs "FREEDOM!" And with that, we finished the hike and were back on the road.