A Summer of Happy is Our Next Big Adventure

April 21st, 2014

We’re taking off an adventure unlike anything we’ve done before. We’re doing it for a lot of reasons, and we’re very excited to hit the road.

Here’s the short explanation and some details: We’re taking off on a four-month road trip, departing from Wichita on May 22. We’ll be back “sometime” in September. So far we’ve had a massive moving sale, sold one of our cars (the other will sell soon), turned in notice on the home that we rent, and secured a POD for storage.

We’re mapping out our itinerary, which starts with a month in the Denver area. From there we’ll make a pit stop in Wichita to see James Taylor and then depart for Savannah, Georgia. I’m speaking at a conference there and then we’ll settle in for at least two weeks. From Georgia, we’re not really sure other than we’re going to work our way up the east coast. Part of the adventure is not really knowing! We’ll be in Rhode Island by mid-August and we’ll spend the remainder of our time in the far northeast. After that, we’ll start winding our way back home.

You’ll be able to keep up with the adventure via our Twitter and Facebook, of course, as well as a new blog we’re building at ASummerOfHappy.com. For more on the title, keep reading.

The long explanation with more details: Two months ago I was lying in bed unable to fall asleep. My mind start racing around as I tried to process everything we had going on in our lives; all too often it feels like more than should be fair. At the time, we were actively looking for a home to buy. We weren’t having much luck, and that may very well have been for a reason. I felt like a bride with cold feet — we were going to buy a house, give over a significant amount of our savings, move in, settle down, and that would be it. One more commitment to domestic bliss. But what if we didn’t do that, I thought? What if we just put off buying a house for a while longer?

What if we lived in a different city every month for a year? The next morning I casually mentioned my late night brainstorm to Shelton and he jumped on board the crazy train before I could finish explaining. And then I said, wait, whoa. I’m not serious. If I thought you were going to take this seriously I wouldn’t have said anything.

I quickly became overwhelmed by my own idea and after about a week of discussions, we agreed on just the summer. There was no reason we couldn’t take off on this trip for a summer, and if we liked it we could keep going.

It’s rare in life that a window of opportunity opens so widely and so loudly, so the fact that we’re finding ourselves in that position feels like a shame to not take up the universe on the invitation. We don’t own our house; we’ve had a month-to-month rental for almost three years. Paisley isn’t in school and won’t be for another 15 months. Shelton’s business, EighyGrit, is doing quite well and affords him the luxury of working from anywhere he has WiFi. I was laid off in March and have since taken up residence at EightyGrit and picked up enough of my own client projects; again, all work that I can do from anywhere in the world. We have no anchors, nothing tying us down, and so we’re going to set sail!

I need this … we need this! The past year has been brutally unkind. In losing my grandparents just two weeks apart, I simultaneously had the wind knocked out of me and my feet knocked out from under me. Not only have I faced death for the first time in my life, I did it while losing two of my very favorite people. Add to that the executor duties for my grandfather and, well, it’s been a lot. I’ve only felt like I can come up for air in the past few weeks. I’m grateful for spring this year; I needed the sunshine and the singing birds and the pollinated reminder that life does, in fact, go on.

I write that as if it only happened to me, but Shelton and Paisley have each had to deal with their grief, too. More so, they’ve had to deal with mine. Let’s just say, I haven’t been the most pleasant of roommates.

That is how we arrived at ASummerOfHappy.com for the name of our little adventure. We all need some happy. When I discovered Pharrell’s Happy song at the beginning of the year, I felt like it was therapy in an MP3, like it was written just for me, for us. It’s become a house favorite.

I keep waiting around for someone to tell me how absurd this is, so I can agree with them, renew my lease, unpack my boxes, and going on life the comfortable status quo. But that naysayer hasn’t shown up yet. Instead, all we hear is how happy people are for us, how glad we’ll be that we decided to do it, and that they’re proud of us, envious, excited, inspired. I can’t argue with any of them…it does sound pretty awesome and I can’t wait to hit the road!