Photo by Shaun Menary

We knew that a yearlong road trip would be a long haul…literally. But 30,000 miles and 44 states into it we’ve realized that it fits the marathon analogy pretty well. In 2014 Eva ran the Los Angeles marathon and knows well the stages the body, mind and spirit face along the way.

At the beginning of this adventure we were psyched up, feeling the cheers of so many who are behind us. We had planned for two years, raised two-thirds of the funding, and had prepared our family through downsizing, practicing homeschooling, and growing a strong community of support. The first third was exciting, new and the adrenaline kept us going strong.

The second third we still felt pretty good. We bounced back when we hit obstacles, and our mental and emotional strength proved steady. We experienced personal victories as well as kicks in the pants that we grew from. The crowd of supporters was still cheering loudly, and we could see the fruit of our labor already. The young change-makers we had met along the way were changing us in important and beneficial ways. We had hit our stride and felt like we could go forever.

In this last third, like in a marathon, some days we hit the wall and are ready to be done climbing more mountains. Geographically, we are in big western states where we know fewer people and spend more hours driving cross-country. We find ourselves in foreign places and in the uncertainty we struggle with fear, anxiety and stress. Those cheering us on are physically spread further apart and many more wait expectantly for us at the finish line.

We’ve battled our own minds’ negativity and the naysayers in our heads. I’m not even going to write down the lies we’ve been tempted to listen to. No doubt, you’ve been there yourself.

This is where the rubber meets the road. We’re depending on the training we did even before we left CA, not to mention the tips and tricks we’ve picked up along the route. And our cheerleaders are more important now than ever. We were warned of those times when we’d see the next mountain and get that sinking feeling in our chests and stomachs; that tightness in our throats; the tears threatening to spill over out of exhaustion and fear that we won’t make it.

We were told we’d feel this way, but when we did, what should we do? What were we supposed to do to keep going? What do you do in order to push through that crazy cement-like wall?

Keep breathing.
Pace yourself.
Don’t speed up or rush through it.
Put one foot in front of the other.

“You’re a beast! You’ve got this!” The trainer says inside your head. “Think of me giving you a sweaty hug and think of that awesome full-body massage you’ll get at the end of the race.  Don’t give up! I’m not giving up on you!”

So that’s where we are. There are definitely mountains—physical ones, emotional ones, financial ones, and spiritual ones. BUT we’re not giving up. We’re trying to focus on the prize and keep one foot in front of the other. We don’t really want the adventure to end, but we also can’t wait for the feeling of exhilaration when we cross the finish. California, here we come!

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At Conscious, we are inspired by remarkable people and organizations and so we set out to tell stories that highlight human interests, global initiatives, innovation, community development, and social impact. You can read more stories like this when you subscribe.

Editorial Collaborator: Read Matt Webb’s interview here to learn about his family fulfilling a dream to travel the US and film a documentary about a Generation of Generosity through One Year Road Trip. Also, be sure to check out their monthly column here on featuring their Generation of Generosity stories.