top of page

“Hard Days” (or, “Why We Didn’t Post in October, November, and December”)

Climbing in Tabor Canyon (near Loreto)

Vultures on a fence (in Loreto)

As the New Year has unfolded, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve been posting a lot more on the blog than we did in October, November, and December. The simple explanation is that we aren’t struggling like we were in the final months of 2021 and have more time and emotional space to write. We were struggling so much at the end of 2021 that we almost pulled the plug on our “Living on the Road” experiment. Though I journaled, it felt too vulnerable to blog about what we were experiencing. During those months, it felt like everything was unraveling. Looking back, I can see that perhaps we had unrealistic expectations of ourselves, our children, and what living on the road truly entailed. There was a mismatch between our expectations and the reality we were experiencing. Yes, there were moments of joy and delight, but we were suffering. Many of the days felt long, arduous, and unending. Though the Olympic Peninsula and Oregon coast were stunning, the damp and wet of the Northwest invaded our entire rig. Our oldest, in no uncertain terms, let us know that we were ruining his life, that all he wanted was to be back in Minneapolis, with his friends. On a daily basis, he asked, “What kind of parents wouldn’t let their 12 year old go to school?” Our youngest was swept up in the wake of this negativity, and their collective tag team efforts took a toll. I was losing my temper and yelling more than I ever have before. A smidge of relief finally came when we all fell asleep at night, often after a long, drawn out bedtime, full of bickering, sibling aggression, and swearing between our boys. If I woke up early enough the following morning, I had a few hours of sweet calm and quiet on a morning walk or hike. And then it was back to the “little box of hell on wheels.”

Prior to our departure, we had declared that this trip would be mostly screen free, but it seemed as if the only thing that brought us any peace and quiet was letting our oldest have phone time. Which worked until it didn’t, and then we took his phone. This set off a volcanic reaction of bad behavior and an event we now refer to as the “applesauce massacre.” Imagine those plastic Kirkland applesauce packets; now imagine the contents of those packets squirted and flung all over both the interior and exterior of the camper. This was a kind of retaliation for taking the phone. We’re still finding dried applesauce patches to this day.

By the middle of November, Juliana and I were in serious conversation about ending our trip and heading home. Our stamina and mental health were flagging and it seemed as if we might be doing more harm than good. With a healthy sized serving of grief, I began to try on a new chapter of our lives called, “We tried and it just didn’t work out.”

It was hard to contemplate going home to Minneapolis and selling the rig. We had renters; where would we live? Who would buy a rig in the middle of the winter? And on a deeper level, returning home felt like a colossal failure. I had left the ministry to spend more time with my family and now all of that time was creating distress and unhappiness for all of us. Was this all a gigantic mistake, a miscalculation? We had worked so hard to launch, to leave Minneapolis, to bring the dream to fruition, and truth be told, it was feeling more nightmarish than anything else.

We were at the absolute edge of what we could handle, near the abyss of unmanageability, and neither of us shared on the blog, “We’re stuck. We’re not sure how much longer we can be on the road. We are very unhappy. We keep waiting for something to shift, to change, and nothing is shifting, nothing is changing.” Instead of honestly naming the mucky muck reality we were living in, how close we were to bailing on the trip, we just went radio silent. I wish we had shared the struggles, because who hasn’t struggled with a big decision, with parenting, with their relationship? Perhaps we would have felt less alone if we had posted what we were going through.

In early November, we agreed to give it another month. Right around that time, we met two families in Santa Barbara who we connected with. We decided to ditch our current travel plans and instead went to a meet-up with with eighteen other full time families at White Tank Mountain in Arizona. At White Tank Mountain, Juliana, the kids and I made many more friends. We left the gathering with a new group of friends we went boondocking with. By the time a month passed, our new friends and experiences put the wind back in our sails, and we were excited to continue our adventure.

Since then we’ve met more wonderful friends and the time in Mexico has been phenomenal. We have our hard moments regularly, but we’re on the other side of the pit. At least for now. I wish we would have had the courage to share the struggles in real time. Next time (because there will always be another struggle!), we will.

Type your email…


20 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page