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ROAD TRIP! (aka, the True Test of a Relationship)

“Come on, push! Push it up from the plastic! The plastic! PUSH!” Diego ordered, the pop top lowering as he passed the weight off to me.

“I can’t! I’m not as tall as you,” my muscles completely spastic as I collapsed into a fit of giggles.

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Diego and I had tested the weight with the suitcases up top—but then we added the surfboard, and figure the weight was distributed fairly equally and wouldn’t have much impact on the functionality of the pop camper.

So at 2:15am on Tuesday morning, exhausted after a day of packing, goodbyes, and driving into the middle of the Nevada desert, we discovered we couldn’t lift the weight. All we wanted was our bed. We’d driven probably an hour longer than we wanted to, just looking for a suitable place to stop. When we finally pulled off the highway, we were in zombie mode.

I’m not gonna lie. As my mind flip flopped through which option would reunite me with my pillow the quickest, it crossed my mind to move those small, angelic, sleeping bodies to the floor, and snuggle down into their bed. No lifting of the top necessary.  They were out, moving them to the floor wasn’t going to disturb them.  But Diego jumped out and put the surf board under the bus for the night. Problem solved.

We did feel like power lifters and we pumped the bar upwards, and raised the roof so we could climb into our little slice of feathery down heaven about at a quarter to three.

We woke up five hours later, just off the side of Highway 95 about 25 miles west of Walker Lake. There’s nothing out there but sage, dirt and a bunch of broken bottles. Despite the desolate landscape, the kids were out exploring and digging castles in the “sand” as we made breakfast and attempted to repack and redistribute our weight. Breakfast tasted like victory, even if we we were in the middle of nowhere, we’re back on the road and headed out for another adventure.

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But I want to remind you dear reader, why we committed to a dream of longterm travel last year. We wanted to recommit to one another. Remember? We were one of those couples criticizing and blaming all our faults and disappointments on one another, rather than working on our own hang ups. But now after counseling and a complete life reboot, we’ve reached a more enlightened state. We both realize we have to work on our own shortcomings to enjoy a blissful union with another person and we’ve made massive progress toward becoming better human beings, parents and lovers. But I can assure you, a few weeks of only four to five hours of sleep a night, the stress of selling vehicles, repackaging your life into a 1985 Vangon and a few boxes in your in-laws garage, coupled with meeting tight deadlines and working 50 hour weeks with your four and six year old along for the ride—we’re not always in that enlightened state. At least not in me.

After our victory breakfast, we began to bickered over the value of a North Face sever weather mummy sleeping bag, and it’s usefulness on a trip to Mexico. In July.

I just started to laugh. Kind of like a crazed, hyena kind of laugh. We are doing it. Like seriously doing it. For all the moments where we are seriously unenlightened and still raise our voices and tempers, there are many more moments where we work together as a team, with respect, admiration and love at the center of our dialogue and decision making. This is the win we’ve been struggling for.

I can tell you with absolute conviction, committing to this wild scheme two years ago, is absolutely what saved our love and appreciation for one another.

There was a point yesterday, I was driving and could see a crazy, wicked wind just off in the horizon. We were prepared for a little rain, but I was seeing little wind twisters and a frightening wall of rain just ahead.

“Honey, can you check the weather,” I called to the back seat.

“It’s fine honey, there’s just a little rain,” was the response.

“Please check and see if there’s a wind advisory,” I’m feeling like a tin can out here. My voice raised an octave.

I didn’t wait for another response, as the next gust literally pushed me into the other lane, I took the opportunity to pull into the rest area at Loning, with several semi trucks.

There was a few tense moments, the kids were scared, and we evaluated what was the best course of action. Wait out the storm on the side of the road, with no where to retreat to but the inside of our bus, or push forward risking getting blown off the road or into a semi truck.

The storm was coming from behind us, and after looking at the weather, we realized we’d be in a massive rain storm for hours if stayed put. We decided to outrun it. Yes, we outran a storm in an 85 vangon!

But again—a joint decision with no yelling. We are doing it guys—thanks for all your support! We couldn’t have done this without our friends and loved ones in Plumas County who have literally taken us in, given us work when we needed it, and believed that we are stubborn enough to actually pull this scheme off.

And while many would say that driving an old car with no AC over 2,500 miles, with two kids and no back of the seat DVD players, would surely be the end of their happiness, it is the rebirth or ours.

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Tiffiney Lozano is the creator of the Mama Said Project and two crazy humans. She offers workshops for women craving connection with themselves and the world around them. After 18- months of continuous travel she and her family are finding adventure in the everyday from the comfort and beauty of their home in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Lake Tahoe.

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