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our first cross-country road trip pt. 1

‘Routine is the enemy of time.’ Just let that sink in for a minute. Those words inspired our first cross-country road-trip, those words changed my life.

About five years ago, I came across a short film titled ‘Life Lessons From a 7-Thousand Mile Bike Ride.’ It followed Jedidiah Jenkins for one month on his bike trip down the West Coast, through Mexico and into Central and South America. He talked about life from the perspective of some of the older people he’s met and how they feel like

just yesterday they were 19 or 25, and they find themselves asking, ‘where did the time go?’

His theory on why time, after a certain point, seems to move so quickly, to sort of fly by, is that when you’re a child, everything is new, everything is exciting. You’re doing and seeing so many things for the first time and so your brain is awake and each day feels completely different. The older you get, the more you start to figure life out, your job, your friends, your house, and it all starts to blend together. Your Monday through Friday, your 9-5 rarely deviates.

The idea is that the more similar your days become, the more your brain goes into auto-pilot. The alertness goes away and before you know it, ten, twenty, thirty years have gone by.

The solution is to stimulate your brain as often as you possibly can by breaking your routine. In doing so, you’re extending your time, you’re tricking your brain into making a week feel more like a month because each day is different. Your brain is awake.

This short film made its way into my life right around the time I started getting interested in vanlife. It was all over social media and I had only ever traveled along the east coast with my family, so the idea of setting out on my own and traveling the country, making it to the west coast and stopping anywhere I wanted along the way was new and exciting.

Not long after this is when I met Brandon. Up until that point, I had never met someone who thought so similarly about life. A lot of that first four hour conversation was about the importance of doing what you love and not taking time for granted. Meeting Brandon subsequently, sort of, gave life to all of these ideas that previously just existed in my mind. Finding another person who was just as, if not more, open minded and enthusiastic about living life on your own terms even if that meant breaking from the conformity we’re all used to, was reassuring and encouraging.

Leaving the cafe that day we met, Brandon walked me to my car which was, at the time, a 1995 Chevy G20. I named him Milo. The perfect van to build out and travel in and I half-jokingly told him that I was planning on taking a road trip and that he should come with. He was down and, even though we just met that day, part of me knew that he was serious, part of me was down too.

A couple months after we met, just after midnight, as 2018 turned to 2019, I pulled up that short film and played it for everyone in the room. I told them that that was how I was going to be living my life that year. They could join me or not, either way, I would be traveling, and I would be doing things that turned my brain on.

Six months later, Brandon and I left on our first cross-country road-trip.


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