TRAVEL DAY ONE
After nearly a year of planning and a week of trying to figure out how to fit everything into the car, we FINALLY hit the road! No more dreaming. No more hoping. No more wondering if this crazy plan of ours has any chance of success. Time to put up or shut up! Time to put our money where our mouths are! Time to shit or get off the pot! (My mom used to tell me that … I hope it’s an actual saying and doesn’t make me sound like a disgusting weirdo.) In other words … TIME TO GO! First stop – West Texas!
If you’ve never driven through Texas, you probably don’t realize just how incredibly HUGE it is. We lived in Austin, which is pretty close to being right smack dab in the middle of the state. To get to the border in any direction meant hours of driving and to get to the western border feels like it takes days because there’s pretty much nothing to look at. Just mile after mile of long, flat road. I drove for the first several hours, but eventually my eyes gave up hope and decided they’d rather take a nap, so we pulled into a rest stop and Henry took over. Just as I was about to put the seat back and snooze for a few minutes, a terrifying accident came into view – an accident that had apparently just happened since there were no police or emergency vehicles on the scene. A couple of cars had pulled over to help and we couldn’t drive by without seeing if there was anything we could do, so we pulled off the road and Henry jumped out to see what had happened. It was a truck pulling a big RV trailer behind it that had lost control and flipped onto it’s side. A couple of minutes went by and Henry came running back to our car to get flares and a first aid kit. He was out of breath and said he told them he’d bring whatever he could back to help. I dug around our bags and handed him a big roll of hot pink bandage tape – the only thing we had since we hadn’t had a chance to refill the first aid kit yet. He ran off with the flares and tape and I stood there with my heart racing, wishing I could go help, too. We were so far out in the middle of nowhere, there was hardly any traffic, so I jumped into the car and turned it around to get closer. I told the kids to stay in the car and headed over. What I saw was such a relief, but also such a shock. There were no major injuries (thank goodness!) but the family that had crashed reminded me so much of my own. There was a little girl around Roxy’s age trying to stand up, but bleeding from her leg and crying from the pain of the helpers trying to clean her wound. There was another little girl around Kai’s age standing nearby watching and shaking, with cuts all up and down her arm. Their father, looking shellshocked, held the baby, who was thankfully strapped into a car seat and unharmed. The mom sat on a rock nearby holding a blood-soaked towel to her head. I asked the dad if there was anything I could do to help and he told me that everybody seemed to be okay and he didn’t know what happened. Strong crosswinds had caught the trailer and he just lost control. He said “I don’t know what we’re going to do. We just left home. This is day one of our trip. How could this happen?” Just then the oldest girl screamed as they tried to lower her to the ground. I looked up and saw Henry walking toward me with tears in his eyes. The sight of blood and sound of children crying were just too much. A police car and ambulance arrived on the scene, so we told the father good luck and left the scene. I looked back one last time and saw the oldest girl sitting with her leg wrapped in the pink bandage tape we had given them and my eyes filled with tears. We got into our car and drove away, both of us shaken and emotional.
When we decided to leave our “normal” lives to travel, so many people asked us why. Why now? Because now may be all we have. Because tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. Because at any moment, our lives might change like this family’s lives changed. Day One might be the first day of an amazing adventure, but Day One could also be our last. “Why now?” Isn’t “why wait” a better question?
Back on the road and suddenly wide awake, we drove on. Our first stop was supposed to be Marfa, a quirky little town in West Texas. It was starting to get dark, though, so we decided to stop in the nearest town and set up camp for the night. A quick Google search brought up an RV park with great reviews just off the highway – Fort Stockton RV Park. We weren’t expecting much, but it turned out to be a pretty great spot! We were the only tent campers there, so we had a big open yard with a playground all to ourselves. This was our first time setting up the tent (yeah, most people would have practiced BEFORE leaving on a five month camping trip, but we’re rebels like that) and it was WINDY. REALLY, REALLY WINDY. Did I mention it was windy? Because you guys, it was WINDY. Even with the wind, we got the tent up in about 20 minutes and unloaded all our big heavy bags into it so it wouldn’t fly away. By the time we got everything set up, we were all pretty exhausted. We blew up our mattresses and climbed into the tent. Texas in June can be brutally hot, but the temperature outside was a perfect 74 degrees. We unzipped our windows a little bit to let in the breeze (and by breeze I mean RIDICULOUS WIND) and slept like babies all night long.
(NOTE : I’ll be posting each day of our travel adventures here on our blog and would love for you to follow along! To keep up with us on Instagram, follow my personal Instagram account here : SarahQ on Instagram. You can also follow along by visiting our Facebook page here : The World School on Facebook. I’ll also be posting my thoughts on traveling with children, family tent camping, world schooling, unschooling and home schooling. Have a suggestion or just want to say hello? Use the contact form above to send us a note! We also love comments! Leave a comment below or on Facebook! Thanks so much for coming along on this crazy adventure with us!)
Most of my posts will have photos, but since we were on the road most of Day One, all I have is this (hilarious) video of my four year old, Marley taken at a picnic area on the way. Best slow-mo video ever, you guys. Haha!