Van life was a whole new experience now knowing we had a stowaway growing bigger and bigger everyday. The fact we were expecting parents was still very surreal, and everyday activities felt bizarre as our lives had suddenly changed forever. There were many conversations that mainly consisted of repeating, “I can’t believe we’re going to be parents!” But, life carries on whether or not your own life feels entirely different than it did the day before, and we still had months of traveling and living before this new addition really would make his or her appearance in the world.
Related Read: Huge Life Change- Pregnant on the Road
So, we enjoyed a relaxing day in Milwaukee, spending the afternoon at a local park. The park bordered Lake Michigan and we made our way to the beachfront to swim, lay out in the sun and have a picnic.
For parks near you in Milwaukee click HERE.
After our deliciously lazy afternoon, we got back on the road and made our way to Chicago where we stayed the night. Next day, we had fun plans to actually meet people who had been following our adventures. We all met up in the morning and spent a couple hours volunteering at Lincoln Park Conservatory weeding out invasive plants and chatting about traveling.
With the rest of the afternoon open, we of course had to walk around downtown Chicago to take in the sights. We did the typical tourist stuff, deep dish pizza (really NOT a fan), the Cloud Gate sculpture (aka The Big Bean), and general exploring of the city. We had a lot of fun, but it was a pretty hot day and the streets were especially crowded with people due to a food festival. So, we enjoyed a few hours before booking it back to our van to escape the city heat and crowds again.
Escaping the city kind of became a theme after Chicago. With our trip so far, Corbin and I started to notice some patterns. We realized we were definitely happier and more relaxed when our travel destinations involved more nature, camping, and less people. We had planned out our trip by the major cities around North America while still visualizing we would be mostly camping in forest and going for hikes. Not sure how we figured that. But, even though these were cities we had always dreamed of visiting (and we do love cities), we were often stressed out, hot, and grumpy when we were actually there. It just didn’t fit into our current lifestyle. We had a huge van Corbin had to maneuver in traffic and then search desperately for parking we could fit in, we did not have air conditioning in the coach, we had a dog with us, and we had very little spending money to really enjoy the things we would have wanted to do in the cities anyways.
Related Read: The Reality of Living in a Van
So, the solution was simple- head back to the forest! Now, this was more or less our decision but we knew we couldn’t actually avoid civilization during this trip and we did have a couple more cities we were definitely going to visit. But, we had the flexibility to change our plans. So, instead of hoping from Walmart parking lot to the next, we would camp as much as possible.
Best. Decision. Ever.
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