Six months have passed since that hot day in Joplin, MO when we abruptly decided that we had reached the end of ourBigtrip. I remember the heat like it was yesterday. You couldn't get way from it- unlike our current weather that is escapable using multiple layers of clothes- it's been under 32 degrees most days for several weeks in the Colorado mountains.

There hasn't been a single day that goes by that our family doesn't use the words 'bus' or 'trip' in the context of the greatest adventure of our lives when we left normal life and traveled around the United States for nearly 12 months with our 7 children. That trip came to an end in July of 2011 when we returned to our home of 22 years in Estes Park.

Although our 15 year old daughter and 16 year old son are content with 'normal' life in a small town, every other member of this family yearns for the road over and over. That longing has become a powerful life lesson with remnant feelings from the trip that are kept alive in videos and pictures that are our favorites to fawn over when there a few spare minutes in our daily life.

It is interesting/strange/sad to read blogs of friends that we met along the way, that are still moving along each week, investigating new surroundings and learning a little about each stop. Friends that have stayed on the road and don't have plans to return to a wood frame house anytime soon.

I'll be the first to admit that I like having more than 2 minutes of hot water to wash up each day. I admit that I don't always limit myself to 2 oz of water to brush my teeth (but I could do it).

Then I'll confess that I miss the hum of traffic passing by our street camping spot. I miss the decision making- "which cardinal direction should we try today"? I miss the sometimes difficult comfort of knowing that our whole family would be together tonight, and the next morning and the day after that. The thing I miss the most is the pace of not having something bearing down on every minute of every day- whether that was a work commitment, a school event, any of the other deadlines that exist in 'normal' life.

It's a choice we make, to live this normal life. Many others are still living their normal lives, but have the fortitude to stick with normal being to move against the grain of the majority of what most people would be comfortable with. Who is smarter? Most days, I'd say things were better on the road, until the shower has been running for 5 minutes with hot water, and I know it would run another 20 if I chose to stay under the steady hot stream.... but I can't, because there are people taking cold showers in RVs, somewhere in the world right now.

If you're on the road, and there's any sentiment of the kids wanting to go home, or you're running out of gas and enthusiasm, stick with it as long as you can... One day you'll look back and wonder if that adventure you were able to pull off really happened? Life will carry on without you, and it will be easy to fit back in, but you may never be able to get back on the road once you pull the plug.

Make sure you're done before you're done.

I'm not sure we were - done.