The Road to Mindfulness

To get to all 59 National Parks, we have to travel great distances.  We are always on the move.  Waking up in a new place every day is great.  In fact, it has been the biggest adventure we have ever undertaken.  When we tell people about our trip, a common question we get is, “do you guys get sick of driving all the time?”



We’ve fielded the same question countless times, but it still seems to catch me off guard.  Probably because I don’t feel like we are driving all the time!  We drive a lot, yes.  In fact, we just cleared the 20,000 mile mark.  That is a considerable amount of miles!  But, we are always getting out of the vehicle and constantly experiencing new places. But even if we if we didn’t do these things, I don’t think I would feel like a prisoner to the RV.  I enjoy the driving.



I feel like some of our best ideas are hatched on the road.  When settled in the driver’s seat I am able to let my mind wander.  I assess the progress of my personal goals.  I return to the past; reminiscing makes me laugh (and sometimes makes me cry).  I think of the ever-pressing Near Future, the awkward and often-forgotten Middle Future, and the impossible Far Future.  I make plans in my head.  Then often times spew them to Madison and we laugh about how crazy they are!  I think about the status of our bank account.  I run though some of the better lines of the book I just finished.  I dream about building a family.  I think of come-backs I wish I would have thought of in the “heat of the moment”; I practice apologies.  I run over the ever-growing “to-do list.”  I sing along with the tunes (in my head, of course, ain’t nobody wanting me to sing out loud!).  I flip my mind into the mode of mindfulness.



I don’t know what it is about moving the vehicle down the road that I like, but it almost puts me in a trance.  I feel like I find a groove and GO.  I seem to drift into a numbness that allows me to spin into my own world of consciousness.  I see the lines on the road.  I see the trees.  I see the mountains.  I see the occasional deer.  But even though I see these things, I’m alone in my thoughts.


Photo by Katch Silva

Driving only becomes a chore when I am tired.  We avoid driving at night as much as we can.  For me a lot of our trip revolves around looking out the window as we roll down the road.  There are so many stories to be seen on the roadside.   When it is dark outside, we miss them all.



As a new driver, I used to cringe every time I had to fill up my truck with gas.  It was the worst.  I just hated the idea of literally burning my money.  Over time, and with a lot of help from this trip, my perspective has changed completely.  Gas gets me places; fuel furthers my adventure.  Now, when we pull up to the gas station, I calculate in my head how far this full tank will take us!  I think of the new places we will see and the people we will meet.  I really don’t know what else I would rather spend money on.



The idea of this National Park trip wasn’t just to complete a 59-tiered check list.  We wanted to become acquainted with the beautiful places of the United States.  We are well aware of the fact that we are still only scratching the surface of each of these parks. However, driving the roads along side these beautiful landscapes has helped us become familiar with the unique features of America.  The picture of our country has become clearer the more miles we log.



So far we have driven through redwood forests, over countless mountain passes, and to the northern most (drivable) point in North America.  We plan to drive until our tires fall off – and then we’ll get some more and keep going! Road tripping is good for the soul.



Thanks to Michelin for sponsoring this post. When it comes to those we care about, no distance is too far. Use #BeThereMoments on Instagram to connect with a community of likeminded people who are making the effort to show up when it matters most.


  1. I’m with you, Cees, I LOVE driving. It sounds silly but one of my less-serious bullet points on my “husband checklist” was that I really hoped I could marry a man who didn’t like to drive so we didn’t have to fight over who got to drive on road trips. Obviously it was nowhere near a deal-breaker but it was one of the things that really solidified my complete infatuation with Brady, when he told me how much he loved to just be a passenger. Road trips are my absolute favorite thing in the world, and it’s a frequent occurrence for me to consistently exclaim “oh my gosh it’s SO BEAUTIFUL” as we drive. I’m so glad to have friends like you guys who also take “joy in the journey.” <3

    • Cees

      Go Brady! You guys are perfect for each other. The drives are a big part of this whole trip. I feel like we focus a lot on each park and our blog kind of feels like we just apparate to each one… but A HUHE chunk of our trip takes place in the “in between”.

  2. Your posts are such an inspiration! My husband and I are actually going to look at campervans today and have started taking the first steps of planning our big escape (downsizing)! We also have a cat, so it is great to see that yours seems to love life on the road. Ours is a bit anti-social and jumpy, so I’m sure it will be an interesting transition. 🙂

    I look forward to seeing more of your adventures!

    • Cees

      Aw, thanks for the kind words! Good luck looking for a van! You’re at one of our favorite parts of the journey – dreaming it all up! You guys are going to have a blast!

  3. Kate King

    You two are so blessed to have this wonderful alone time together as you travel, planning your future and making memories that will help you through the rough days ahead. Surprise! Yes, there will be potholes and obstacles to rattle your relationship. I’m sure you’ve had a few by now! You can fall back on those memories to help carry you up and over and onto making more memories. After you fill your vehicle with little Hoffmanns, your road trips will take on a much different aura. Haha! I’m so glad that you’re enjoying the peace and solitude of your journey, being within your mind as you’re in God’s wonderful and awesome world.

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