Our Newest Adventure + Finding Meaning in Suburbia

Three months ago I shared our family’s thoughts and feelings about moving back to land life after full-time cruising. We revealed that transitioning to life on land was harder than we had imagined even though we were only gone less than a year, and that we weren’t ready to say goodbye to cruising. Just two days after posting that, I learned we would be going on a completely different kind of adventure- I was pregnant!

Soon, our lives and dreams of travel would be put on hold while we attempted to simply survive the beating that morning sickness dealt me. For the first time, I sought the reprieve that drugs could offer. I lay hopelessly useless on the couch, day after day, night after night, while I somehow managed three children during the day and tried to eat whatever I could tolerate. My husband took over everything he could while working full time, and I almost never left the couch in our living room. Mike shopped for groceries, cooked, cleaned, took the girls out of the house, brought me food, and helped put the girls to bed when climbing the stairs was too exhausting (or nauseating) of a task.

After moving back to Texas, we doubted whether we could truly enjoy life in the suburbs again, but I soon began to appreciate that I wasn’t on a boat dealing with this difficulty. I became grateful that I could send my girls outside and not have to worry about life jackets, that we had access to a store five minutes away (and a car), and I was outrageously grateful that I didn’t have to pump my toilet thirty times in order to flush it properly. If that were the case, no one would have survived my three months of morning sickness. Guaranteed.

Getting IV fluids at 12 weeks pregnant

At one point I was incredibly sick, and I begged Mike not to leave my side. I told him I needed to see a doctor. As much as I cringed at the thought of getting into a car, I knew I couldn’t sleep on the bathroom floor forever. I needed help. We drove to our favorite doctor in the country and I received IV fluids, a shot of strong anti-nausea medication and anti-nausea pills to take home. For the first time, I had some hope. I was soon feeling much better than before; I began my second trimester and was well on my way to recovery.

Now that I’m nearing month five of my pregnancy and the white-knuckle grip of nausea is finally loosening its hold, Mike and I are able to revisit many of the conversations we had after we moved here. Conversations that are helping us understand more about how we function as a couple and why we grieved so much after leaving our boat.

Through it all we’ve realized one thing: we’re not ready to settle down for good. Although we appreciate all that we have here: convenience, family, familiarity, we also still hear the faint call of the unknown. We dream of open shores, the cry of gulls, lungs filled with delicious clean air. Even new places on land, not just the sea, are calling to us. But when? How? Where?

We don’t feel quite ready to spread our wings again and fly to somewhere new, yet neither do we feel confident about pushing our roots down deep here. Squarely in the middle. Like this nine month period anticipating the arrival of a new baby, we are, as a family, in a state of expectant stillness. Still because we’re staying in one place, but expectant because we’re not closing the door for future travels either. We know this time of waiting and growing can one day birth an exciting new vision.

I’m amazed at how we are not alone in this. Over the course of the last year, I have discovered many communities who are inspiring and encouraging people in their quest for lives outside of office cubicles and well manicured neighborhoods. Unknown to the majority, there is a thriving sub-culture of families who are either planning, preparing or executing dreams of travel and adventure.

What is this movement we seem to be a part of?

Hannah in The Berry Islands, Bahamas

Just look up phrases like Vanlife, Worldschoolers, Fulltimers, and DitchingSuburbia and you’ll find large followings of young couples and young families who are trading in 401 K’s, home equity, and PTA’s for a life of full time travel, minimalism and alternative education at the very point in their lives when society tells them they should be establishing roots and climbing the corporate ladder.

That was us. We had a home in the country and a rental property that was nearly paid off, and we traded it all in for a million intangible treasures- memories and life experiences that have radically changed us. Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.

So what now? How do we find meaning and purpose here in the suburbs of a large city while we wait for the right time to fly? For now, we are preparing for another precious baby to join our adventures while we enjoy the respite a city we’ve known for more than 20 years brings. My husband and I are ironing out wrinkles in our relationship, the kind that become painfully obvious when we’re being stretched during travel. We’re taking the time to define and redefine our values, and asking ourselves if we’re consciously living by them. And if not, why? And we’re evaluating how to make our dreams of travel work long-term financially, emotionally and practically. We’re grateful that we have this nest, this home, to come to everyday, where we can safely dream and prepare for whatever may lay ahead.

This is where we are now. Holding on to the things that we have loosely, dreaming, growing and expecting!

The painting of Gromit sits on our mantle


Follow Brittany’s day to day land life on Instagram @spreadingmytent









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