I really started to wonder if I was crazy when I caught my reflection in the mirror just days before we were set to leave on our next months-long road trip. My belly was huge, a nice size, really. That place right in the middle when you have a cute round belly, but you feel just fine and look totally adorable in everything.
Problem was, it was about the size I'd imagined it being during the bulk of our trip. But we hadn’t even left yet, and I was already there. I suddenly saw myself massively pregnant waddling around the U.S., trying to play Pilgrim shows and have adventures and just looking and feeling ridiculous.
We'd been doing this for more than a year, traveling around the U.S. in a trailer (recently upgraded to an amazing Airstream) and playing house concerts for anyone who invited us. Our daughter Magnolia, who is 4 and was our inspiration for this nomadic life, was right there with us ever step of the way.
Then this pregnancy, and a crack began to run through my confidence. I'd been a bit cocky about it at first, embarking on a 3-month cross-country tour in the latter half of my pregnancy. Now, as we prepared to start, I actually thought, “What am I getting myself into?”
Even worse, amidst this breakdown of confidence, I had to find and convince a midwife to take me on, even though I was about to leave on a crazy trip. (Turns out, they like their clients a little more local.) I'd been so busy preparing for the trip, that I kept putting off the search.
Eventually, I found a birthing center that looked like it was going to work— but I had only a few days to be seen for my first appointment before I would be past the deadline for birthing there. Fortunately, the incredible women at Baby + Co in Nashville were gracious and happy to work with my unconventional circumstances.
I had my first appointment just in time—at 20 weeks.
Already halfway through my gestation and I was staring down the barrel of the road trip in the Airstream, all three months of it, cross country, open-ended. I hadn’t even left our homebase, and I was already needing to shift my belly from one side to the other at night and sleep with a pillow between my legs. I was dealing with constipation, a new and strange hip-popping, needing to pee everything few minutes and feeling much more rickety than I remember feeling the last time. What was I thinking.
What was I thinking?!
Here's what I thought: In this moment of panic, I had a choice. And although I was already tired, stressed and apprehensive, I picked myself up, pushed my uncertainty aside and began to patch up that crack in my confidence. I waddled my way to the car early in the morning, when everything was finally packed and in place, when arrangements were made for the house and goodbye hugs had been given. I situated myself in the front seat of the F-150. And we set sail (so it speak).
I'm thinking I am strong, I am fierce, I am ready to live.
As the miles we traversed added up and the scenery began to change slowly, my wounded confidence seal up securely, and my heart began to swell as I remembered what I was thinking. I was thinking this was the adventure of a lifetime, the opportunity of a lifetime. Airstream itself was getting behind us, equipping us with a brand new 22-foot beauty of a travel trailer and a brand spankin' new truck to tow it with. They believed in us—in Pilgrim—enough to foot the bill for this expedition. Gosh darnit, I couldn't help but believe in us, too.
So, now what am I thinking? I'm thinking I am strong, I am fierce, I am ready to live. I'm thinking I will continue to teach my children through my own example, that life is to be lived and that NOW is the only time to live it. I'm thinking that this trip is and will continue to be epic, life changing and completely unreal.
There have been moments when I've felt more alive and fully myself than I have ever experienced, anywhere, ever.
We are now two months into our tour with Airstream’s “Endless Caravan,” and it is all of these things. I have seen parts of the country that I'd never planned to visit, never thought I'd spend time in. I have experienced views that felt like stepping into a painting. There have been moments when I've felt more alive and fully myself than I have ever experienced, anywhere, ever. We’ve traversed 11 states, played lots of shows, connected with hundreds of amazing people—and even family we had never met before.
I’ve eaten incredible food, filmed unique wildlife (like buffalo!), photographed absolutely epic views, explored gorgeous areas of nature, felt the the wind in my hair and the sun on my face and an aliveness in my bones.
I've had two on-the-road appointments so far, and all is well with my baby girl. She has become quite the little gymnast in there, moving around like crazy. I am on some supplements now that have helped some of my previous complaints. In general, I’m feeling wonderful. I’m happy I pushed through my moment of fear and stayed steady in the hope that this trip could be all I dreamed that it could.
If the trip ended here, it would be more than enough to make it all worth it. But it ain’t over yet. We have an entire month left on this crazy ride, and I’m buckled up—unexpectedly large belly and everything—and ready to go.