Team Fitch. Being part of a team on the road means you gotta pull your weight, jump in when the going gets rough, and stepping up to shoulder the weight if it all goes wrong. We're down to just a few more days before hitting the road and things are starting to get serious(ly exciting!)
Awhile back my dad told me about a woman he knew and her tragic story has stuck with me as we've been getting ready for this adventure. She and her husband went camping - something they'd done many times before. They were older, but in my mind that's no excuse for what happened to her or her husband. Sadly, her husband had a heart attack and died at the campsite. She had no cell service and she didn't know enough about their RV to pack it up and move it out, so she stayed in the woods all night with her husband's body until someone came by. I can't imagine letting that happen and I've done everything I can to ensure it won't happen to me. And it won't happen to Brandon.
The terrible is possible anywhere, regardless of where you are. And while the terrible is not something we see happening on this trip, we know that it can, so we're super prepared. Brandon took another EMT course, Wilderness First Aid. We have an ENORMOUSLY comprehensive First Aid Kit for us and the dogs. We have every tool and spare part we can imagine needing. More than that, you can be sure I know how to do everything Brandon knows how to do when it comes to operating the van and its systems. I can pack up and drive out. I can lift and carry and haul. In that way, I'm just one of the guys. (I'm also not afraid to just unzip the ARB room and Awning - more on that coming soon - and leave it in a heap on the ground. Some things are just more important than camping gear.)
We've added another layer of security. A DeLorme inReach Explorer. This awesome device (and though I classify it in the same BS, scare-tactic category as insurance, I know in my heart it's important) is our ticket out if it all goes wrong. It not only lets my mom know where I am 24 hours a day, it has some amazing features: it can reach emergency responders regardless of cell service, you can text anyone with it, it can text Poison Control, and it's a GPS (among other things.) You can be sure I'll be learning how to use it immediately. We'll be sure to post a gear review on it while we're testing it out - we have no intention of using it! :)
The cool thing is, being the right-hand man is not only empowering to me, I know it makes Brandon feel a whole lot better because he's got someone to watch his back. For any ladies out there who think it's OK to be a damsel in distress, you'd probably re-think whether or not you're really cut out for life on the road. Out there, each of you needs to be a solid partner, not another burden.
Living in such close proximity makes us a great team because everyday things become a study in teamwork, a careful and balanced dance. Miss a step, move differently, and you get struggle, not flow. That dance is my favorite part about living in the same 80 square feet of space with Brandon. We have so many more moments together and I get to appreciate all he does because it's right in front of me all the time. I know that anyone who has been married a long time would benefit from even a short trip. And those who are newly betrothed should absolutely have to live in the same vehicle for at least a couple of weeks. It would either start folks out with a much stronger relationship or stop a lot of unnecessary trips down the aisle.