It's mid-March again. Three years ago today we were ten days away from hitting the open road in my little Toyota Corolla. It was the trip of a lifetime. A month and a half making our way from one side of the country to the other and back. We hit all 48 continental states, saw numerous US landmarks including Gettysburg, the USS New Jersey, the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, Disney World, just to name a few.
[caption id="attachment_1248" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Jim and I at the Painted Desert in Arizona[/caption]
Every year in March (and countless times throughout the year, of course) I get to thinking about that trip. Jim and I were still dating. We'd been together for a year and a half by that time, and we'd been living with his parents for a year (I have to mention it here: his parents are awesome. I tell people I lived with my boyfriend's parents for a year and they can't believe it wasn't the worst year of my life). We decided we were young. We had no kids. No mortgage. No careers tying us down. Jim had been let go from his job a few months prior, and I was ready to get out of mine as well. Why not do something crazy? Something amazing that we may never get the opportunity to do again?
[caption id="attachment_1247" align="aligncenter" width="432"] One of my favorites from Carlsbad Caverns.[/caption]
So on March 26, 2010, we hit the road. It was the most amazing experience of my life. Not only did I get a glimpse of every state in our nation, but I learned a lot about myself and the person I realized, on that trip, that I could spent the rest of my life with.
[caption id="attachment_1249" align="aligncenter" width="442"] On the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls[/caption]
We drove over 13,000 miles in that tiny little car with the back seat and trunk filled with camping gear, food and clothing, cameras, my laptop and various other necessities of life. We had hours worth of open road to talk, to joke and sing along with the radio, to ponder our surroundings and life in general. One thing that surprised me is that though we had our disagreements, we never fought. Not once. I never got to the point where I wanted to throw him out the window or turn around and just go home. If we had a difference of opinion, we talked it out, we figured it out and we moved on. We solved our problems without getting heated and irrational about it. By the time we'd gotten back I'd come to this conclusion: If we can survive a month and a half in a Toyota Corolla, there wasn't much we couldn't survive together. I knew when we got back from that trip that he was, without a sliver of doubt, the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
[caption id="attachment_1250" align="aligncenter" width="614"] At Bryce Canyon[/caption]
If you want to read more about the trip, check out the blog I kept while we were on the road, The Road Ahead. Hopefully someday we'll be able to take another trip like that. And if not, we'll always have these memories.