Why we are traveling again and a few thoughts on plans

I am convinced it was during my very first conversation with Wes that I learned about vanlife. Are you familiar with vanlifers? They are people that minimize and move their lives into a van and take on the road. Some do it for a few weeks or months, while others make it a permanent life style of travelling and adventuring.
Wes told me about this while we sat under the starry California night sky and that was the moment I realized I had met a true adventurer.
The following months, when I was secretly in love but didn’t know if I’d ever meet Wes again, often this is what my daydreams would wander: drinking coffee on the top of a van with that long haired wild Wes next to me, as we watched the sun rise out of the ocean.
Wes doesn’t have long, wild hair anymore, but the dream of living on the road with only the essentials has remained a frequently visited topic in our marriage. If you have followed our journey for the last few years, you’ll know that we have traveled a lot together. You may also remember that by the end of it, I was very ready to settle down somewhere and find a place to call mine. Why then, do I want to travel again, you might wonder. Who knows? Wanderlust can overcome all of us at any time, but here is the story:
With the arrival of fall last year, we started feeling the itch for new adventures. We loved our year in Folsom, but 2021 had been overshadowed by Wesley’s heart surgery and recovery (I will write about this soon) and we hadn’t had a chance to take advantage of all the beautiful areas surrounding us here in California. A lot of our year had been spent in-doors in our apartment. Wes is a full time online student, so he spent even more time at home than me, and if there’s one thing you should know about him it is, that he is not one to enjoy long days alone with his books inside a dim apartment. He longed to get out and feel alive on the road and I wasn’t far behind him. For several days, we discussed several options days and slowly a plan took form in our minds. Over dinner and on after-dark walks in the neighborhood, we pieced together a few components. We knew Wes had to complete an internship for his final semester in the spring of 2022 and for a while, he had his eyes on an organization in Virginia that does crisis response in Jesus’ name. After a few speculations it all fell into place very quickly and very smoothly and by that, we felt the Lord’s hand upon it.
The internship in Virginia got a arranged and approved in a matter of days. Without much further ado we let our landlord know, that we wanted to end our lease on October 31st. We had a month-to-month arrangement so we were able to move out without the trouble of finding a new renter or losing our deposit. Suddenly were were packing our stuff into cheap totes from Walmart and we sold our car and all of our furniture on Facebook marketplace. My in-laws agreed to letting us stay with them for a few weeks before we flew out to Denmark for Christmas. We also extended out visit there with a few weeks and that brings us up to date, where we’re currently lodging at Wesley’s parents again. Next we go to Pennsylvania where our brother and sister in laws lives with their three boys. Wes’ brother has helped us buy a car that is waiting for us out east and while we visit with them we are also going to get our Rav4 ready for the road. It’s not quite a van, like we had dreamed of, but it is a cheaper alternative and I plan to make it a temporary home. I don’t imagine it to be easy, but I do imagine it to be fun.
From Pennsylvania we drive down to Virginia where we will live on the CRI base (Crisis Response International) for about two months. Only Wes is the one interning there, but I too am excited for the opportunity. I look forward to a taste of community living and the organization is built on prayer and has a Prayer Room where I look hope to spend a lot of time. On top of that it’s also prime time for me to get started on a bigger writing project, which I will tell you about later. And then, when the 150 hours of internship are completed, we reach the point in the timeline where the long awaited dream gets wings to fly. We plan on embarking on a road trip across the United States. Where we will go and how long it will take, only time will tell, but we feel so grateful and excited for the road ahead.
Now let me ask you, did you notice how many times I used the word plan in this post? The funny thing about plans is that they’re really just that. Plans. They are nothing but ideas and dreams, perhaps with a little bit of money and effort invested, but there is no guarantee that any of them will come to pass. This current moment is a perfect example: we were supposed to be in Pennsylvania right now, but here we are, still in California with a positive covid test. Our plan didn’t work out and I think one of life’s biggest and most useful lessons is to be okay with that. If our hearts break and our dreams shatter every time life takes an unexpected turn I think it is proof that we are relying on ourselves and not the Lord to direct our path and take us where He wants us. This is not new wisdom, it is found deep in the proverbs of the Bible. Chapter 16 verse 9 says “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps“. So why are we so distraught when plans don’t work out how we wanted? Perhaps we will never see what God saw and never understand why our direction changed, but that is why we must practice to live in faith. If we have given our lives to Jesus and told him to lead us in his will, we cannot be surprised when things don’t happen the way we planned. Trusting God when things change is not easy, but it is vital to living in full trust and obedience to His voice.
A new trip lies ahead of me, and here is my commitment to plan the best I can and then hold those plans up to the Lord and say Your will be done with me. Are you with me?

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