Lots of people have commented on the fact that its impressive for Zach and I to live in a van together and not kill each other. I won't say that we don't have our moments, because it impossible not to, but overall, I feel this has been a very unique way to iron out problems we have and also highlight our strengths. Zach is so great at getting up and going in the morning. I tend to enjoy a more leisurely pace (surprise, surprise:). While getting coffee and breakfast started is Zach's job, I get lunch together most days. Zach is not a big fan of making sandwiches and I have fun doing different lunches based on what we have.
Dinner is a co-opt project, but it did not start that way. Initially, we had to take turns because we couldn't work in such a small space without bumping into one another and getting in the way. Now, we seem to move seamlessly and its funny how easily we occupy that same space that used to seem so small.
Creating a budget and sticking to a budget, are two very different tasks, I have found. We try to spend as little as possible, with the idea that we can stay on the road longer if we spend less now. That being said, I believe in quality over quantity and we have found some cheaper ways to have a higher quality of life on the road. These ideas are a combination of Zach and I's notions and it has turned out to be a good mix. We try not to eat out much and cook our own meals, but on special occasions or if we are just too tired to cook, we splurge a bit. One rule of thumb is to say yes to eating out or extras every other time we want to. In the beginning, it was hard and we ate out more. Now, we have gotten used to doing our own thing and it is easier to resist. Our spending has continued to decrease since the start of the trip and we are getting much more efficient with our money. If it was just up to me, I would have spent way too much and not gotten to go to all these cool places. Following only Zach's way and we might have missed some of the cool extras we have done on this trip. Our combination has worked out really well!
Most of our trip has been spent climbing. It has taken time to learn each others likes and dislikes as well as when to encourage each other and when to just let each other be. Overall, we have been super successful at being a climbing team and I love our climbing days together. I trust Zach with my safety when we are climbing and he trusts me. It took us time and practice to become a strong team, but I am very proud of my climbing partner and trust him completely!
Being together 24/7 has been a good way to learn about each other. Its hard to hide much of anything when you spend so much time together. We have learned when to take breaks and do our own thing. Even if it is just reading different things in the van or playing a game on the computer while the other person does what they want. It gives us time to just be and not bug the other person. I enjoy my alone time, but I also love being with Zach. He always has an interesting point of view and listens to my thoughts on things as well. If we do have an argument, its usually just a misunderstanding or hunger thing. We pretty much always have time to talk it through and before long we are back to adventuring. I think we may have even learned how to argue better because we figured out what things make it worse and what ways we can help solve problems. I have learned to relax about arguments, that they happen and can strengthen our relationship. It gives us a chance to share how we feel and figure things out.
Overall, I can't imagine my life without Zach. He is my adventuring partner, my best friend and my future husband! I know life will have many different challenges and excitements, but I do feel that living on the road in a mini van has helped to prepare us to take on those together. The vanventures of Zach and Sarah continue!
We have picked a date for our wedding and plan to have the ceremony back at my parents house on May 9th. It is coming up fast, but we have been planning from the road and I think it will be a fun day:) It won't be a large event, pretty simple and relaxed, but we are excited to share our day with family and friends. With the airplane hanger as a backdrop, we are planning a vintage adventure wedding! I am wearing my Grandmother's dress and using the 1940-1950's era as a guide for dresses and decorations. It's been a lot of fun working on this with Zach. He is an excellent planning partner. I am also getting lots of help from friends and family back home, which I very much appreciate!