A 112-day trip is not a trip that people take every year. We are not sure we will take another one therefore this one was special to us. I have watched movies, read books, and heard stories where 19 century pioneers made their way across the U.S. I always wondered what it was like and how they did it. Now after the trip, I still wonder how they did it.

To put things into perspective, imagine this: after a whole week of excitements going to new places, it dawned on us that, relatively speaking, we were just at the end of the first day, if our trip were 16 days long. This usually means people arriving at their destination after a long flight and the trip is just about to begin. And, after two weeks, people usually are thinking of going home and we were completely relaxed by then and started getting into a habit of going from place to place. This was hard to explain. You have to experience it yourself.

Given the trip was long, it was important to for us to pace ourselves so we didn’t get burned out too soon. We had our ambitious days when we did a lot and we had our lazy days when we didn’t do much. We stayed with friends and relatives: these stays were wonderful and recharging. We spent a lot of time in nature but we also spent some time in cities. We camped a lot but we tried to find different kinds of campgrounds. It all worked out well for us. We didn’t get homesick or felt like the trip was long. In fact, when the last two weeks came about, we were sorry that the trip was about to end and was thinking of planning another one in a couple of years.

The trip had an impact on Kadia that we weren’t expected. She started believing that our van was our house as if we were nomads. She had already forgotten she had a home and many other things. She was ecstatic to find she had many toys when we got home. They were all like new toys to her. We could have gone on and continued to travel for a couple of years, she might not think twice about it and thought that was a normal life. This made me thinking that, to some pioneers, perhaps their way of lives were only ones known to them.

Although the trip was long for us, we always knew we have a home to go back to and most of our routes were known. We were not real explorers: we were accidental explorers at best or factitious ones at worse. This was different than how early pioneers traveled without the safety net of a known home waiting for them in the end. They traveled, bravely and some willingly, into the unknown where food and safety were in question. They were true explorers. We were just tourists. Although we couldn’t explore like early pioneers did–we had comforts of our van, hotels, grocery stores, maps, tour books, campgrounds, ATMs, etc, we got to see many places with many stories to last a lifetime. It was well worth it. If you ever get a chance, don’t hesitate, just do it.