Our Yogic road trip
A Multi-State Journey
We’ve all been here before. You spend months planning a trip. You pick out some fun activities, and some fun stops along the way. You pack and prep and request time off work. You leave for your vacation so hopeful. Convinced that you’re headed into a time of relaxation and ease.
Then, slowly, bit by bit, the vacation starts to get a little bumpy. At first, you nonchalantly brush it off as part of your carefree vacation attitude.
“Ah, that’s alright – let’s roll with it!”
After all, you’re on vacation. You’re just here to enjoy and relax, right?
But then, a couple of days into the vacation maybe the weather turns, or a flight gets canceled, or you and your spouse have a small disagreement.
Or, in our case, the roof of your house starts to come off while headed down a major interstate.
Oh day 1, so full of wholesome innocence, of enthusiasm and vigor – of dreams and expectation!
Day 1 of our road trip was truly beautiful. One of our longer drive days, we drove from Wimberley, Texas to Roswell, New Mexico. We talked of the warm memories we shared, the people we met, and the things we enjoyed in our first location with our tiny home.
The drive on day 2 took us from Roswell to Albuquerque. The weather started to really pick up and we hit massive winds. We saw on the news that morning that a superstorm was gearing up.
“Can’t change the weather!”
As we shirked it off and went on our way.
On the morning we left Albuquerque for Flagstaff, Arizona, the weather was calling for 9″ of snow that afternoon. Wanting to beat the weather, we left Albuquerque early that morning so that we could hopefully ride out the storm once we got to Flagstaff.
I don’t think we ended up getting the full 9″, but there was MAJOR snow in Flagstaff and the roads were just a mess. Trying to make the best of a challenging situation, we pulled into a brewery in downtown Flagstaff for a few brews, a break from the road, and a round of cribbage.
Join the adventure
Sustainability – body, mind, and soul.
We planned the road trip so that Flagstaff was our only 2-night stop. We had booked an air and buggy sunset tour of the Grand Canyon for the second day. Due to the winds, snow, road closures, and a lack of visibility, we ended up having to cancel the tour.
Having an impromptu free day around Flagstaff allowed us to try a new yoga studio and it felt so yummy to get in some movement after being in the car for several days. We were bummed that we didn’t get to see the Grand Canyon, but assured each other that we’d make sure and check it out one day.
Off to Vegas! This was going to be a good day.
We hired a professional to tow our home from our location in Wimberley, Texas to our new spot to call home in Anacortes, Washington. We hadn’t heard any updates from him since he called to let us know that our house was safely hooked up and he was on the way! We assumed no news was good news.
Then we sat down to lunch.
Ryan got a phone call and went outside to take the call with a bit of a worried look on his face. When he came back in he let me know that was our mover on the phone and that a sheet metal panel of our roof has ripped most of the way off and was dangling from the top of our house.
I was immediately overcome with stress. After our mover sured-up the stability of the panels with some plywood and temporarily removed the panel that was mostly off, He said he’d be back on his way but that Wyoming was expecting some high wind speeds and we should prepare for a possible delay as winds at that speed can tip over a large tow such as ours. We thanked him for assisting with putting a bandage on our roof so that it could be towed the rest of the way.
We spent the afternoon at the dog park getting Pete some exercise, then enjoyed a really fabulous meal and show in Vegas.
After dinner, we went back to the hotel room…I put on some lingerie….and we ended up getting into a huge fight. We both went to bed tired, stressed, and angry.
You know that morning after a fight when you and your partner are both awake and there are just those few moments to gauge where the other is at? This wasn’t that morning. Neither of us wanted anything to do with one another.
Still, the dog needed to be walked. Pre-consumed with our fight the night before, we didn’t get out the night before to walk the strip. I told Ryan I was going to take Pete for a walk on the strip and asked if he’d like to join us.
Have you ever had a marital fight in the middle of a pedestrian bridge located just over Las Vegas Boulevard? We have.
We continued the conversation in the car. We had to check out early and ended up grabbing breakfast on the road as they were going to close down the main street in front of our hotel entrance due to a big running marathon happening later that afternoon.
Not wanting to spoil any more of the trip, we apologized for different things and agreed to put it behind us.
It was about a 6-hour drive to Carson City, Nevada. I find the whole Southwest to be immensely captivating. It’s such a sparse landscape – there is such beauty in its nothingness. That nothingness also results in very poor cell reception which meant limited music and no hotspot to do any work. Nope, just a lot of time to sit and look out the window. And stew over all that shit that just got said.
Our route through Nevada didn’t have many options at all to pull over and grab a bite. We had each grabbed a snack with our coffee early that morning but ended up just skipping lunch. Distracted by our fight, we had also forgotten to give Pete his medication that helps him relax in the car during these longer drive days. Once he’s in the car, he wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t drink, and of course, wouldn’t calm down. He spent most of the drive pretty riled up and panting heavily in the backseat. We both felt terrible. Our driver called mid-way through the day and told us that Wyoming is experiencing severe winds with black ice in some spots. Due to the weather, he is needing to hunker down and let the storm pass for a while.
Neither of us said anything to each other during the drive from Vegas to Carson City. Silent for the bulk of the day, as we started to pull into town late afternoon, we got back into it. This, once again, lasted deep into the evening. It was icy outside and we were both starving. We ended up getting some sandwiches, ate in the hotel room, and once again went to bed tired, stressed, and angry.
I woke up at 5:00 am and meditated. We hardly talked to each other outside of the necessities of logistics. Pete took his medication but seemed a good bit more panicked than he was earlier in the trip. The winds pushed our car around like it was nothing.
Pete jumped out of the car in downtown Eugene, Oregon. We were in the middle of traffic and he just hopped right out the window. Luckily, he didn’t get hurt and the pet-loving community of Portland stopped all their cars to allow us to collect our dog.
We put the fight behind us and spent the night at the hotel bar in downtown Portland. 15 years ago today we had our first date. It was so nice to come back to each other again. The road trip was surprisingly difficult. It was also unexpectedly stressful. We had each tried our best to let it go, but eventually, it built to the point where each of us just kind of lost it. We talked about ways to better handle what had come up in the future.
We ended the night snogging in the elevator after a romantic walk outside, looking out at the river and the city lights:
“Happy anniversary, motherfucker.”
“Happy anniversary, you fuckin’ fuck.”
We laughed, made out some more, and fell asleep holding each other, exhausted and in love in Portland.
Homestretch day! The drive on day 10 took us from Portland to Anacortes, Washington. Our new home. It was no picnic to park our house. Our mover’s truck actually broke down on the way so he ended up renting a moving truck to finish out the trip which worked fine to tow the home on the highways and streets here, but towing our 32′ bumper pull with a big box truck did not work for the finesse of getting the home onto the parking pad.
He ended up parking the home at the base of the street and we got in touch with a friend of one of our new neighbors here who had a truck large enough to complete the job. He was extremely knowledgeable and was able to park it in one shot. We spent the night having a beer with the neighbors that had spent their day helping us to get our home parked in its new spot, and unpacked our house the next morning.
A Yogic Road Trip
The road trip was a pretty even 50/50 mix of spectacularly horrible and joyously loving. We had moments of passion – of anger and love – of crying and laughter – of resentment and forgiveness. Each of us seemingly in a historical blend of topping and bottoming these pulsating emotions.
On this road trip, I had the opportunity to practice yoga. We seem so quick to forget that in order to grow at something, in order to be granted strength, patience, or hope, we must first be granted the opportunity for it.
I don’t share these things to be negative. I feel truly blessed to even be able to take this journey together.
I share these things because I think there is this expectant duality present in relationships, marriage, and yes, vacations.
“Was/is it good or bad?”
To accurately describe this trip in its entirety is to describe the pleasant and not-so-pleasant things.
No one tells you or sufficiently prepares you for how difficult relationships can be at times. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re bad for each other or that you don’t love one another. It doesn’t make us bad people to have bad experiences and it doesn’t make it a bad relationship to have really passionate fights, as long as we come back to each other with equal passion.
I don’t know if that road trip was good or bad – if anything, it was both. Sometimes, that’s where good things happen. Where things finally get said or understood in ways they hadn’t previously.
The Third Yama: Asteya (Non-Stealing)
Asteya refers to not approaching with expectation(s), be they our own or others that we have taken upon ourselves. In this transition away from the metrics of performance, we hopefully find ourselves more readily in the beautiful discovery of the present moment – conscious at once with ourselves, with others, and with the environment we occupy – because we are less distracted by the comparative mindset of “good” and “bad”.
The Third Niyama: Tapas (Self-Discipline)
Tapas is the process of developing restraint & self-discipline in our minds through the eight limbs of yoga. If we commit to a sustained practice of the eight limbs, they begin to blend, & overlap, to merge as it were, into one experience of being. Together, they create a meditative experience, something entirely new on its own, allowing our minds to still.
Yoga happens off the mat. This road trip held so many opportunities to practice my yoga. For that I am grateful.
Yoga is in the patience we feel when we allow ourselves compassion and kindness to try again. Yoga is in the permittance of informed, consenting, playful curiosity. Yoga is in the gratitude we feel toward our partner(s).
Yoga can be practiced in ideal conditions – in a quiet, peaceful room or on a silent hilltop. It is perhaps easier to get acquainted with that way. Though, once familiar, we start to journey with yoga in our lives off the mat.
For the acquainted practitioner, yoga is practiced when we choose communication aimed at understanding and growth rather than being “right”. Yoga is practiced when we take a deep breath after our dog jumps out the window. Yoga is practiced when we can laugh at the shit that gets thrown at us along the way, returning to each other and ourselves in the grace of calm. peaceful presence.
Above all else, I hope to be grounded in the truth of this experience – the “good” and the “bad” – all of it! It is from this truth that I continue to learn and develop my svadhyaya. To connect and grow through passing states of mind, turbulent emotions, and tough experiences. With any luck, I’ll, we’ll, become stronger because of those experiences.
As for our roof, we’ll get that fixed. I’m just so happy to, once again, be home.
Blessings to my journey, and to yours.