Why This Was Not My Trip of a Lifetime

As I prepare to rent a 24-foot truck next week and empty out our storage facility, I have been reflecting on the past two years.  This journey has brought me many places and taught me so, so much, some of which I’ve shared on here, but much of which is waiting to come out once I have a little distance from the journey.  Now that the travels are coming to an end and I am moving somewhere that, surprisingly, seems to meet almost all of my initial criteria in what I was looking for in a new place to call home (more on that in a later post), I am coming to terms with a change in focus and identity. While the past two years were spent exploring new corners of the country and trying to figure out where we were going to lay our head each night, I will now be focusing on setting up a home in a town where we know no one.  I will be sorting through the massive quantity of things we stored, stripping out the inessentials.  And since I am still the same person I have always been, I will be doing a healthy bit of exploring our new home state.

It is with this frame of mind that I recently enjoyed The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau. 9780385348843 I will mention upfront that I thought the book was rather choppy and could have been edited better, but I really enjoyed the subject matter.  The author pursued a quest to visit every single country, which makes my goal to visit all 50 states look like child’s play.  But the book is about more than his quest.  It’s about quests in general and it focuses on a diverse bunch of folks that have all pursued their own version of a quest.  My favorite was a woman from Oklahoma who set out to cook one full meal each week from every single country in alphabetical order.  It took her four years, but the impacts went well beyond what she had imagined. Throughout the book, the author discusses different stages of a personal quest and puts together pointers for discovering your own quest.  Since we are winding down our own version of a quest, the book was timely.  Especially the parts that discussed how you may feel once your quest is complete.  For some, like the birdwatcher who wanted to see as many different species of bird as she could (and eventually broke the world record doing so), their quest is never really over.  But for people who wish to walk across the country, see all of the Roman Catholic Basilicas in the United States, or have a date in each state (all actual quests discussed in the book), there is a clear ending.

For me, this journey also has a clear ending, and this is it.  After almost two years of choosing to live without a home, or choosing to make anywhere and everywhere a home, I will be picking one spot and making a home there.  This will be a transition for all of us, especially for the little guy who asks us EVERY SINGLE DAY “where will we be driving to today?” and “what state are we going to today?”  After three weeks in the same house in Maryland, he had a fit that we were going back to the same house because “it’s just the same!”  Yeah, so I’ll be dealing with that, too.

But even though I will be trading my traveling shoes for a more rooted life, I have discovered the importance of having dreams and, even more, that I can make these dreams my reality.  Chris Guillebeau talks of planning a new quest once you have completed and digested your current quest.  It is with that spirit that I am putting together an audacious list of lifetime goals that I will working towards.  Which will be my next quest?  I don’t know.  But if this trip has taught me anything, and it’s taught me more than I ever thought possible, it has taught me how doable it is to follow your dreams.  And it is for this very reason that I never once referred to this journey as my “trip of a lifetime.”


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review; however, I am completely honest in my reviews.  If I didn’t like the book, you would hear about it.