When you travel, you grow. You are learning from the people you meet and the situations you are forced to deal with. Complacency killed the cat. Or camel or something.
Our journey and choice to change our lifestyle, so far, has forced all of us to not only examine the choices we have made and are making, but to look internally at who we are and who we want to be.
I am working on being still. Allowing myself to not work or think of what I need to be doing. I think it all stems from not wanting to waste time and the need to squeeze the most out of each day. I want to be still, God speaks to us in the chaos and darkness but he also reaches out when we are in stillness and calm.
Mike has to tell me to stop, or sit, or put my brain on hold constantly. Sometimes I can turn it off and just relax, other times I just have to keep my brain and body stimulated all day long.
Mike is working on being more compassionate. He wants to learn to love people without gaining anything and without worrying about what their motive is. Just to love. He wants to focus not only on his needs and wants but also on the needs and wants of those around him, including those he knows intimately and deeply and also those who he may just meet in passing.
Bryce is a like a sponge and so he is learning so much about EVERYTHING. He is working on being helpful and understanding that working as a team is important and beneficial for all. He walks Riley, feeds her, helps clean up after dinner, carries wood. And all not to gain anything. He doesn't earn an allowance because he took the trash out. You know why? Because he is a part of this team and he needs to pull his wait.
He is also working on being aware of the resources around us that we use everyday. Water and electricity are limited when we are off the grid and so he has to be fully conscious of what is plugged in or how long he is running the water to brush his teeth or wash his hands.
We are all learning to adapt to this new lifestyle all together. We have to be considerate of each other and the space we all occupy. 175 square feet of living space means we are always around each other and so it is imperative to be thoughtful and aware of how we are each feeling.
It's not all roses and sometimes it's lots of flies buzzing around. We eat what we have and make it work. We use a toilet that doesn't flush and has to be churned when you go poo. We are cold at night if it is cold outside and we may have smelly hair and dirty pants on half the week. Eating at a restaurant or driving thru for fast food is a luxury now and drinking a hot cup of coffee is very rare. Dirty finger nails and runny noses, dry skin and chapped lips.
So WHY? Why do we do it then?
Sunsets with 360 views of the Badlands. Photographing the Milky Way because you are camping in one of the darkest places in North America. Spending more time together and having the option to make each day exactly what we want it to be. Not worrying about pleasing everyone else but instead, living with intention and making decisions that make us happy and fulfilled. Being photographers...ALL THE TIME, not just when we are shooting a wedding or event. Sharing our story with so many people who feel inspired and motivated to make changes to make their lives look and feel the way they want it to, and hopefully the way God wants them too. Growing as individuals and as a family. Hell, we even find happiness when Riley is able to run around without worrying about her getting hit by a car.
Need more reasons?