Travel while you're young

Busy. A word that fills me with joy and also dread. My whole life I’ve been a self proclaimed workaholic. I love to work and I love to be busy. Our culture also happens to have an obsession with it too. Busy. Busy. Busy. “Hey, what are you doing Friday night?” “I’m busy.” “How are you?” “Ugh, I am so busy!” And we glorify this. We glorify this word as a direct indicator of our worth and the worth of others. And sure, to be hard working is an admirable trait, but the word busy implies a restlessness of the soul that requires work to find that worth. 

As one of the co-founders of Trades of Hope, a photographer, and a blogger, my life can be cluttered. I love all I do and am passionate about my work, but I began to see myself filling my days with things to make me ‘busy’ but not at all purposeful. So last summer, my 8th grade sweetheart turned husband and I decided that in the midst of our busy life we were going to give away most of the things we owned, give up our apartment, renovate a camper and live a life on the road seeing the United States. This downsizing, this giving away of our life’s possessions, this traveling kind of lifestyle offered something in the midst of our busy-obsessed culture I had always wanted. Intentionality. Peace. Rest. Simplicity.

Don’t get me wrong, life can still be busy. I work from the road and speak for my company in each city we visit, but at night I return to the simplicity of a camper in the outdoors. Every few days, we wake up in a new location, with a new forest to explore, new people to meet, a new coffee shop to try, a new challenge to face. With these unexpected events happening so often, I am forced to slow my lifestyle down. Forced to become present. Forced to notice moments that happen right in front of me that I would have missed before.

And as we continue on this road trip, I am remembering. I am remembering what it is like to take walks every morning, something I used to do before I became obsessed with checking my email and Instagram from bed, sending me into a flurry of work driven hours before I even brushed my hair. I am remembering what it is like to cook breakfast with my husband and read something inspiring before my day begins. I am remembering what it is like to notice the girl behind the coffee shop’s cash register and the mother standing in the check out line and remembering what it is like to stop and talk to people, to care for them in a very ‘now’ sort of way. Living simply gives us this luxury to travel the U.S., the world even. As a young person, I am living a dream that will shape me for years to come. I am seeing mountains and rivers and lakes and oceans and people. Mostly, I am seeing people. I am understanding their hearts and hearing their stories from state to state and there are no distractions, there is just us and them and our stories to be shared.

Photography and Story by Chelsie Antos