“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined"
Henry David Thoreau
May 28, 2017 State 1: Pennsylvania
After a long emotional good-bye to friends and family, we plotted our escape from Connecticut via I-95 south, and departed the nutmeg state at 5:00 pm for parts unknown. When we crossed the Connecticut border and entered New York, a sense of elation came over us. At that exact moment in time, we were no longer defined by a specific geographical location. We were no longer Connecticites. For the next year of our lives anywhere and everywhere was where we lived. Wherever we decided to park our van at any moment in time was now our home.
Tomorrow is memorial day. A day to honor the sacrifices for those who fought to defend the liberties that many take for granted. A day to honor all that is American. Just like our veterans answer our countries call and deploy for months from their families and put their lives and safety on the line. Just like the forefathers of our young nation declared independence knowing full well that the future would be challenging, and they faced a foe much stronger. My wife and I had now voluntarily made sacrifices by giving up the comforts of stationary life most take for granted: good paying and rewarding jobs, a spacious home, a predictable routine, friends and family nearby, not to mention, electrical outlets, and indoor plumbing. We were now: living solely off our savings in a 72 sq ft van parked in a different Walmart parking lot each night, reliant on sunny skies for solar for power, a commode to void in, and a public gym to shower in. Just like the veterans and our forefathers, we willfully made the necessary sacrifices. Regardless of the challenges that lay ahead on our journey, we truly believe in our hearts that our unknown destination has to be better than where we had come. It was in this patriotic spirit, we knew exactly where our first stop would be in our year-long cross county trip to explore America, and to find a new state to call home. We agreed first thing in the morning we would plot a course for Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
Our first night in a 24 hour Walmart parking lot in Bensalem, PA. was a restless one. Attempting to sleep in an unfamiliar environment is a challenge in itself without other factors making rest that much more elusive. It is an interesting fact that when you deprive one of your senses, the other ones become even more heightened. We willfully locked ourselves in the back of our windowless van with safety and security in mind. However, we were unable to see what was occurring outside the van. Every time a car door slammed shut we were jolted to attention. Each time a tractor trailer sped down the divided highway adjacent to where we had parked, our van shook violently. The rain relentlessly pounded on the thin metal roof all night long making our desire for sleep more of dream that a reality.