As I’m sure you can imagine, packing your whole life into storage and preparing for months on the road is a bit stressful. Kathy and I have a solid relationship, but the weeks of stress leading up to getting on the road have proved trying for both of us.
By my count we’ve had 3 major fights in the past 2 months, and probably another 8 to 10 minor arguments, or about the same number we’ve had the past 10 years combined. Sounds crazy, but it’s incredible how much stress we’ve had to deal with over the past few months, and stress can make people do and say crazy things.
Why so Stressed Out?
They say that moving is one of the most traumatic things you can do. It’s akin to a death in the family (not sure how ‘they’ know this), or a divorce. I’d have to say that’s fairly accurate, however both Kathy and I have moved plenty in our lives, so you could say that we’re more used to it than most.
That being said, this time we’re not actually moving TO anywhere specific, so it’s extra nerve wracking. We have to make do long term with the stuff that we have, and have had to let go of a tremendous amount of other stuff. After all, you can only fit just so much in a car. The constant sorting and organizing that we’ve been doing is making me feel neurotic – but it’s almost all done.
Also, there are an incredible number of things that need to be taken care of before you can spend 2 years traveling. We’ve had to:
- Go through our entire home and figure out what’s getting stored and what’s coming with us
- Clean out and minimize EVERYTHING
- Pack up our home (of course)
- Go to the dentist (fillings – ouch!)
- Go to all the doctors (needles – ouch!)
- Get our cat vaccinated and a health certificate (spendy – ouch!)
- Find our cat Gracie a good home and get her there (thanks Heather!)
- Find a good mail forwarder that also allows us to have a physical address, which is required for most bank accounts
- Clean out a lifetime’s worth of documents and bring the old ones to a shredder
- Mail countless packages to people
- Craigslist and eBay a bunch of stuff
- Hang out with and say goodbye (for now) to many friends
- I won’t even get into our business – save that for another time…
Add to this that during times of high-stress we tend to do the opposite of what we should do for our health. We workout and exercise less, and eat more. Our brain tells us that going toward pleasure (yummy food) and away from pain (exercising) will help to counteract the stress – but all it really does is make you feel awful!
What To Do About Stress
It’s been helpful for both of us to take a step back, and recognize that high-stress makes people do and say crazy things, and that we are not going to be functioning with this level of stress indefinitely. Otherwise you start to wonder how on earth you could have married this crazy person you’re planning to spend all this time with on the road!
Exercising is a great way to beat stress. As I said above, we tend to not want to exercise when we’re stressed, but it’s really exactly what your body and brain need, as exercise boosts your serotonin and dopamine levels and makes you feel better about everything. We haven’t been exercising as much as we should be, but we’ll get back into it shortly.
Our relationship is slowing getting back to normal, and I’m sure that when we hit the road on Wednesday we’ll both feel much better. We’ve always traveled well together and I think when we hit the road we’ll fall into our old travel patterns.
Also, I’m looking forward to having pictures and travel stories to share with all of you. I figured I’d add this post as STRESS has been a centerpoint of our lives for the past month, and is something I think everyone has to deal with when they do something nuts like what we’re doing. I’ll be writing more when we hit the road, but until then happy trails!