Coming on Strong

2020 has been a year like no other. It came on stronger than any one of us could have imagined. We went from thinking we might stay in place forever, to finally waking up from then numbness of this strange new space. Instead of laying down, we decided to strong arm our way back. It’s time we embrace the new normal so we ramped up our plan to take back the summer we love.

We have always loved the open road, mapping out the adventures of traversing national parks. We feel ahead of the Corona curve in that we decided nearly ten years ago to purchase our first travel trailer and explore East Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains. We not only needed a change of scenery but we needed a shift in the pace of life. We were out of balance with work and family and we took to the road, squeezing in time together in our truck with our travel trailer hitched to the back. I like to tell the story of how unhappy I was in our first road trip until I hit the cool waters of a concrete pool just outside Gatlinburg and felt baptized in a new way of connecting with my family. Their giggles gave way to the fun I had been missing. Life had become so complicated. This stretch of time helped us simplify and reset our priorities.

Years have passed and we still lean into this time and hold it sacred. Stuart is a rising senior and likely next year will look even more different as he makes plans for college and beyond. We decided to make the most of our time and upgrade the family experience. There is no squeezing into tightly packed spaces of trucks and trailers this year. We traded in for comfort. We call this big rig Trona, based on last year’s nearly 12 hour truck ride through Death Valley and Trona, CA where an earthquake hit mere days after we came through. It’s our safe word. We need it more than ever this year.

We have saddled up every thing we possibly can because there is more square footage in this bus than a New York City apartment. It’s home for two weeks and the first stop is to see my sister and her crew who we haven’t seen since the world changed on a dime. We have a plan but if we have learned anything during this time of Covid -19, plans change.

I’ll end with this thought. Just like the rings of a tree can tell the story of how it lived, I hope this time speaks to my crew about living with what matters most and loving well those who cross your path. Time is something we can’t get back. How we spend our time and use our energy leaves an impression that can be traced. Our future depends on learning from our past.

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