Last night, in rural Iowa, I slept in a camper for the first time. Interestingly, I have not slept in my own bed for 133 days now. I honestly don’t even know what that feels like anymore.
Sure, I like my 8 hours of sleep each night, but it’s the other 16 hours every day that now have my full and undivided attention.
When I wrote the piece Finding True Freedom right before I left North Carolina, maybe you wondered what I meant by “true freedom”. It’s a valid question, and one that has many answers.
Two of the main categories that I was referencing were freedom to go see the world and freedom to live outside.
As I publish this piece, I am just leaving Chaska, Minnesota. I am roughly 1,031 miles away from the current bed that I sleep in that, you guessed it, isn’t mine.
I am also smack in the middle of a weeklong walkabout through the heart of the country, seeing people and places both familiar and brand new.
This is what I love to do. It takes a fair amount to get me truly excited these days, but when it is travel week, I get butterflies deep down reminiscent of piano recital night when I was a kid.
At some point, I had to listen to the butterflies. They were telling me something. “You love the road, Benj. Go.”
That’s all well and good, except I’m not 18 years old with no responsibilities, so I can’t just be gone all the time. If I can do one solid exploration or two smaller ones each month, my tank (and wallet to some extent) remain full.
During the non-travel weeks, I must play outside. Gone are the days of staring out a window on a perfect spring or fall day, wishing and wanting and wondering.
Do you know who my new best friend is in Biloxi? The weatherman aka the weather, man (shout out Jay-Z).
I take a peek a couple of times per day to see what the day and week is looking like, and assuming I see sunshine, I start to feel the butterflies again.
Now that Banks is back in school, I can easily spend 4-6 hours at the golf course each day, take a quick break, then spend another couple of hours with he and Christy fishing, crabbing, or God knows what. It just has to be outside. And as you can imagine, most every bar and restaurant down here has ample outdoor seating (and cheap, cold beer).
Isn’t it hot outside?
Yes, but the heat relieves my aches.
Isn’t it hard to be away sometimes?
Absolutely, but it’s also extremely healthy. Plus, I have to be who I am. Plus, I have a dream (shout out MLK, Jr.).
Every morning I walk the 30 seconds down to the water and watch the sunrise. Every night I walk the 30 seconds down to the water and watch the sunset. Every few weeks I hit the road. I always have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, and we are even starting to catch our own food. It ain’t fancy, but it’s exactly what I CONSCIOUSLY signed up for. Because after some real self-reflection, my life priorities shifted, and it would have been foolish to just sit there and stay the same.
Have a great week.-Benj
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