Molly LaFontaine is a junior mass communications journalism major and writes "Indiana Scones" for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.
College students my age are usually thinking about parties, hanging out with friends or planning their future dream life — I am the complete opposite. I’d rather stay in at night with my husband and dog and drink a warm mug of tea. My life has been full of ups and downs, but one thing remains constant: my desire to be happy. Marrying young filled that desire.
During my junior year of high school, I met the man of my dreams. He was a senior, and neither of us were looking to date — we fell in love when we least expected to.
In August 2018, seven months after our first date, we got into a car accident that changed our view on life forever. My husband, Tyler, only had a few bumps, but he was forced to watch me fight for my life.
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Youtube: Tandem Vanlife
Instagram: @tandem_vanlife, @mollylafontaine16, @tylerlafontaine51
Facebook: Tandem Vanlife, Molly LaFontaine
I suffered a concussion, six broken ribs, six pelvic fractures and lacerated part of a kidney. The doctors didn’t know if I was going to survive. I was losing too much blood internally. I became minute by minute for an entire night, meaning doctors have to watch their patient every minute because they think they could die at any moment. I spent a week in the hospital and three days in rehab to teach myself how to move my body and do normal daily tasks again. After that, I was wheelchair bound, unable to walk for three months.
Every day, Tyler was at my bedside. He said he struggled not knowing what the next day was going to bring, but he refused to leave. That’s when I knew he was the one.
During the three months in my wheelchair, I finished my senior year a semester early, still on track to go to Ball State. Tyler drove home from Ball State every weekend to take care of me. We lived for Friday nights when he got home and dreaded Monday mornings when he left to go back to college. From that time on, we decided we would spend the rest of our lives living to the fullest and regretting nothing. We were given a second chance, and we weren’t going to waste a single moment of it.
Tyler got down on one knee February 10, 2019, in the LaFollete parking lot right before we got in the car to go to church. This wasn’t necessarily a surprise, as we got the ring the same month I got out of my wheelchair. I just didn’t know when he was planning to pop the question.
We moved into a little two-bedroom apartment in Muncie the next semester. After our move, we decided it was the perfect time to welcome a puppy into our home. On Nov. 2, 2019, we brought home our 8-week-old Doberman pinscher, Moose.
July 2020 was the anxiously awaited month — the month we got married. We were married July 20 at the end of a fishing pier at Kil-So-Quah State Recreation Area in front of our immediate family. It was perfect and magical, although it wasn’t our original plan.
We planned to get married in September with a huge church wedding, but we didn’t see the point in waiting two more months for a day that would end up being about everyone else. We wanted a day that was about us, a day that made us happy and was not full of stress. So, we planned our tiny wedding in just two weeks, and it was truly the best day of our lives.
So many people frown upon getting married early, but why wait for what you want when you can have it now? Being married young is the biggest blessing in our eyes. By no means is our marriage and life perfect, but we choose to work on us every day. We get to grow up together, find ourselves together and build a life from scratch that will make us look back and hopefully regret nothing. Love doesn’t have an age. It only requires two people who promise to be best friends and never give up on one another.
A way we keep our bond strong is doing a Bible study every night before bed. Along with our nightly Bible study, we make an effort to do at least one fun thing every day — whether that’s going on a walk without Moose or cuddling up and watching a movie with him by our side.
Many people think we spend too much time together, but that is just how we like to live. This doesn’t always mean we are doing things together. Being together most of the time is what’s best for us.
Because of our lifestyle and our goals, we have always dreamed of traveling. This July, we decided again to stop waiting and spontaneously bought our Ram Promaster 2500 high roof 136-inch wheelbase. We are currently converting it and will hopefully be finished by the end of October. As a team, we have put in two windows, installed a roof fan, insulation, flooring and walls. Next, we will start the electrical work, make our own cabinets and put the finishing touches in — all while having no experience.
Our plan over the next few years is to move into our van full time and work and attend class remotely while traveling the United States and Canada with our dog. Our goal is to visit the 49 driveable states. Within the States, we hope to visit as many national parks as possible. This has been a dream of ours, and it is finally happening after many hours of hard work — we have been working on converting our van during weekends for about six to eight hours a day.
We have a YouTube page, Tandem Vanlife, where we document our conversion steps and will be adding our traveling adventure videos throughout our journey. We want to document our journey for ourselves but would love to inspire someone else to make their dreams come true too.
For us, marrying young has only fueled our happiness. It might not be for everyone, but I am living my dreams.
Contact Molly LaFontaine with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.