Sunday, July 17, 2016

Driving West Day 1-2: DC to Austin

On Tuesday, July 5, Josh and I left Bethesda a little after 10am. I had an emotional goodbye with my parents and felt really surreal leaving home. It didn't feel like it would be months until we're back there again.

The first two days of driving were our longest of the entire trip. We wanted to get South and West as quickly as possible so we were prepared to just power through to Austin. As soon as we got on the road, we realized that all our music was in the cloud so we had to go 14 hours without. We listened to a lot of podcasts, talked on and off and cried randomly (that was just me).

Driving through Tennessee, though it is a freaking long state, was beautiful with mountains and hills and green trees. We also drove through a post-storm sunset in Nashville and for the hour or so beyond in the mountains.

After a long day that went by pretty quickly, we arrived in Memphis where we stayed in a hotel by the airport. We slept about six hours and got back on the road to keep traveling. In the morning, we drove through downtown Memphis, along the Mississippi River and stopped at a market to pick up breakfast and lunch before leaving town. Then we crossed the mighty Mississippi feeling like we were leaving the East Coast so abruptly.

We entered Arkansas, the so-called Natural State and both our first new state on the trip. We pretty much powered through, seeing Little Rock from the car, seeing signs for Bill Clinton's childhood home and stopping only for food and coffee. I started driving toward the end of Arkansas and reached a coffee high right around the time we reached Texarkana and entered Texas. At this point, we were at the height of our very important discussion about what hashtag to use for our road trip. Using a shared hashtag was another thing that friends encouraged us to do but everything that I or my friends suggested was too lame for Josh. On my coffee high, I came up with: #bestcoastbassetts, #carrieandjoshforeverwest, #settledinafinerlocation (in reference to RHCP Californication, which I learned actually says "Settled in a final location") and then we thought we could move to Texas instead so we could use #carrieandjoshtexasforever. We settled on #bassettsroadtriphashtag, the most obvious one after two days of on and off discussion.

We drove and drove, trees turned to open spaces, we saw Dallas from afar, and then a little before 6pm, we arrived in Round Rock, a suburb of Austin. We would be spending the next two nights with Brian, one of Josh's best friends from college, his wife Amy and their three month old twin girls. When we got there, Amy was home with the girls who we got to meet, hold and marvel at. It is really weird and cool when your friends have babies and it is fun to meet them.

After Brian got home, we all hung out some and then the three of us drove into Austin for dinner and a drink. We ate tacos at "Art of Taco" which were fine but not the best. Brian asked how we were feeling about everything and we acknowledged how surreal it all felt. Then we went to Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden for a beer. We sat at picnic tables drinking our beers with sweat dripping down my legs at 10:30pm (it's hot in Austin) and laughing about old college memories.

When we got home and crawled into bed, I was so relieved to be staying in one place the following day. We had traveled over 1,500 miles in two days and were ready for the first day of fun on our trip.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Driving West: An Introduction

Welcome back to Sweating in Style!

There are a lot of excuses for why I haven't written a blog post in nearly two years and there are a lot of reasons I'm back. For one, I miss writing and want to make it a priority in my life again. The main reason that I'm back, however, is that my life is changing a lot and I want to share the journey in this space.

The long and short of it is that Josh, my husband, and I are taking a risk and moving across the country to start a life in Seattle, Washington. We have dreamed of living out west, in a mountainous and outdoorsy place for many years. It has always been an abstract dream that I'm not sure either of us truly believed would ever happen - something we'd go many months not thinking about and then randomly fantasize about. When Josh started graduate school soon after we got married, the idea fell off our radar. As his graduation approached and we talked about his professional future and our personal future, the itch to try something new came back stronger than ever.

There are so many things I could say about this hard decision, the emotions and considerations that came with it. Ultimately, though, it came down to the easy fact that we believed we'd be more likely to look back in twenty years and regret not moving than to regret moving. We can always move home (and plan to end up closer to our families eventually) but we didn't feel we could always drop everything and move to a foreign, unfamiliar place. It seemed like now or never, and never became an unfathomable option.

In planning this change, we decided to take advantage of the time off from working and make a long, out of the way journey to Seattle. We are traveling southwest from DC to experience a part of the country we have never seen before heading to our future Pacific Northwest home.

Though very different than Bike America in 2012 (also from Washington to Washington, in the opposite direction!), this trip is also about stepping out of our comfort zones and living life to the fullest. It is big, scary and exciting, with the added uncertainty of knowing that we won't be returning home at the end. Multiple people who enjoyed following my blog of Bike America have requested that I wrote about this adventure too. I agreed that blogging was a must but have found it hard to fit writing into a life that's felt too busy the past months. I intended to start this weeks ago to share some more details about decisions, preparations and emotions. At a time when I wanted and needed to soak up every ounce of love and quality time with family and friends on the east coast, blogging had to wait. So here I am, on the road in Texas, on Day 4 of our journey, writing this introduction post.

I cannot even begin to say how lucky and thankful I feel to be in this situation. I am thankful that we have enough money saved up (hopefully) to make this possible. I am thankful, and incredibly lucky, to come from a background that fostered the ability to save money and take advantage of opportunities that not everyone is fortunate enough to be presented with. I am thankful to have so much support and understanding from my parents, friends, family, former employer. When you make a decision to do something that seems potentially crazy, receiving continued responses of encouragement, praise, and envy really help to solidify your feeling that you're doing the right thing. I am thankful for a husband who shares my dreams and wants what I want. It is never lost on me how easily that could not be the case and how truly lucky we are to be moving forward, on this two-lane road, on a path that we're both excited about and believing in.

On this trip, we'll be hiking, camping, driving, eating, drinking beer, and re-uniting with friends. We'll visit wilderness areas and cities. We will be dealing with extreme heat and we'll sweat a lot. Unlike, Bike America, I'm not sure I'll be able to post about each day of our trip but I will do my best. If you have any specific questions, please let me know.

Thank you for reading. I'll be back soon!