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The Battle That Rages | The Big Blue Bus Tour

Betsy and Frodo-1
*Miss B smothering Frodo (my sister’s dog) with love.

We’re back on the bus.

I’ve been apprehensive the last few days as we prepared to head out. Our departure loomed over me like a cloud, a dark cloud. I didn’t want to leave the comfort of my sister’s house, and that made me feel like a traitor.

We’ve dedicated this moment in our lives to this adventure. How could I acknowledge that the thought of getting back on the bus made me want to weep? Yet, there it was. I would jest about it, but never actually said the words. If I had I’m afraid Jake may have agreed with me.

We went through the preparations that accompany our departure. We washed copious amounts of laundry including the sheets. We cleaned the floor and shook the rugs. The nooks and crannies were organized and filled with the necessities of life.

Finally it was time to leave. My sister and her family were preparing for church and the bus was running, ready to go. We took last minute pictures of everyone together, because who knows when we’ll see each other again. A flurry of goodbyes and hugs and a few teary eyes before it was time to rip off the bandaid and just get on with it. Everyone loaded into the bus including my niece and nephews and their dog Frodo and we took them for a drive around the block, so they could see how we roll. Another series of goodbyes and waves and we were gone.

Cousins-1 Amy and Amanda-1

After stopping for gas, Jake programmed a route to Target into his phone so we could get provisions before starting our journey to Yosemite. As we drove in the bus, Jacob and Josh followed behind us in the van. I looked up Christmas song lyrics on my phone and sang them with Sam and Miss B. (Off topic question: How did we survive before smart phones?) We made it through a couple dozen carols before arriving at Target and during that time my heart reset.

The bus is our home. It’s where we can be together and find peace and connection and adventure. It’s not a brick and mortar home nor is it a recreational vehicle filled with comforts, but it’s our home. It’s where we belong right now.

I’m typing this tonight in a campground a couple miles from Yosemite. We are far off the beaten path. The stars overhead are as brilliant as you can imagine. No internet or cell service to distract us. (Though I still have a bit of battery on my laptop.)

After arriving we found we’ve misplaced (left somewhere? Lost?) the converter for the electrical outlet that allows us to use regular extension cords. Thankfully we can still run the heater off the one outlet because it’s going to be a cold one tonight, but that’s it. We’re bare bones.

We had a dinner of bagels with cream cheese and ham. No dishes to clean up afterwards. Then everyone went to their respective places, picked up books and began to read. Miss B floated from place to place. I read her Violet the Pilot, which happens to be her favorite book right now. She watched the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on the portable DVD (a new acquisition) and finally came back and played stuffed animals with her dad while he snoozed (having fallen asleep while reading).

It was time for family prayer and Miss B fell promptly asleep upon laying in her little bunk. Then came that time of evening that I love. After teeth are brushed, and the lost potty run has been made, everyone curls under their covers and we talk.

Tonight it was about adventures. What could we do that would push us as a family even further? We are running out of time before Jacob leaves on his mission in February and I’m feeling the squeeze. I’d love to do something for a week or two that is physically strenuous and adventurous. Because to me, that sums up Jacob. He’s all about pushing himself to do more. He loves the outdoors and the opportunity to spend time with us in a rugged, primitive environment (showing us how it’s done) would be a perfect memory before leaving for two years.

Our conversation was a brainstorming session. We discussed backpacking, mountain biking, rafting, surfing and skiing. We have no internet to research options so it was simply an opportunity to talk. What would it look like? What are we capable of? After all we have a four year old little girl – and let’s face it – me.

I’m not sure what we’ll come up with. But whatever it is, I’m sure it will be memorable.


The irony is not lost on me that at the beginning of the day all I wanted was stay in the comfort of a house and now we’re talking about sleeping outdoors, freezing our butts off and pushing ourselves into even more uncomfortable situations. Yeah, it’s not lost on me. It’s a battle that rages inside between taking the easy route and doing hard things.

December 2, 2013 - 8:09 pm

Camille Packer Duckworth - You CAN do hard things!

December 2, 2013 - 8:23 pm

Carolyn Sasek - Awesome!! Thank you for sharing your experiences and reflections… You’re not alone Mama! We’re all here with you along for the ride! And smothering y’all in ((hugs)) n prayers… <3

December 2, 2013 - 10:14 pm

Ruth Johnston - So glad to read of your adventures. Both my son and I adore the interior design of the bus. We know God is with us on our journey, and is with you too! Exploramum & Explorason

December 3, 2013 - 5:48 am

Melissa Haffeman - Your last sentence resonated. It’s a time in our lives where we are living the battle that rages between easy and hard. It was wonderful to read your post and identify with so much of what you are going through – only in our own way. Sometimes there is only the way through it. Thank you Amy. : )

December 3, 2013 - 6:04 pm

Erin Durham Lafleur - It would have been hard for me to get back on the bus. Glad to hear you are settling back in for the adventure. oh and btw We have Violet the Pilot too. :P

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