After leaving Kansas City, MO, we drove south through the state of Kansas and, so we could say we “did something” in this state, we stopped at Peter Pan Park where the kids played, ate lunch, and I took a business call.
The kids standing next to a metal statue of Peter Pan.
After Lunch we continued south where we visited our “new friends” Keith and Lacy and their two children Jeremiah (15) and Judah (11) at their family’s farmland in Oklahoma. Now, I must first talk about how we met our “new friends.”
Back in January, when we were camping in Orlando, FL, a couple with two children (the two mentioned above) parked their RV next to ours at a Thousand Trails camp site. As kids usually do, they quickly befriended our “new neighbors,” and, not long afterwards, the adults began socializing with each other as well. Our new neighbor’s names were Keith and Lacy Haugen and before long they invited our family to join there family at the community pool. Enjoying their company and new found friendship, we hung out with them the next few days before we had to move on. During that time we continued to hang out with them. We frequented the pool, played miniature golf, and sealed our friendship with an evening family game of Settlers of Catan (our family and their family both own a copy of the game). We said good-bye as we traveled to a different camp site in Florida, where we would be camped for two weeks while Mel and I went on our individual trips (me to California and Mel to Guatemala).
But we stayed in touch, and because our families connected, the Haugens decided to come and camp with us for a week. After Mel got back from Guatemala, as we headed towards New Orleans, we stopped by to say hi to the Haugens at their next camping spot.
So, after 6 months of travelling our family had made friends with another RV family that we had no connection with before we left. Though we have visited many family members and existing friends on this trip, this was the first time we had connected with a new family in which all members of our family enjoyed being together. We have stayed connected with them and we share with each other where we are coming and going and try to find out when we will be able to connect together again. Which leads us to Oklahoma.
While we where in Kansas City, we found out that Keith and Lacy were going to be at their family’s farm during the same time we were driving through Oklahoma, so they invited us to swing by and stay the night on their property. During our 22 hour stay with them we learned the ins and outs of large scale cotton farming including;
Driving around in a commercial cotton picking tractor;
Playing on yellow “cotton marshmallows;”
and watching an Oklahoma sunset.
And, of course, our time would not be complete without a game of Catan (sorry, no picture). So, our “new friends” are now becoming our familiar friends. We are in conversation with them to see when and where will be the next time we cross paths and will be able to share each other’s company. Thank you Keith and Lacy for sharing your life and family with ours.
As we reflect on the time we have spent with them and the relationship that has been forming between their family and ours, we have noticed something larger about our trip. To start our trip, we left home and those we know and we journeyed across the country and saw many wonderful and amazing places. As our journey has progressed, we have started to see a shift from visiting awe inspiring places, to the cultivation of relationships and community with others. Where the start of our trip was highlighted by places such as Yellowstone, Lake Superior, Niagara Falls, Boston, New York & Washington D.C., the second half of our journey has been highlighted with extended times with families, friends, Child Ambassadors, new friendships, and intentional communities. When we set out on this trip we did not “plan” for this to happen. But now, as we see it happening, we realize that no matter where we are or what we are doing, the need for friendship and community never leaves us. We are grateful and thankful for our friends and family back home, as well as the new relationships we are beginning to develop on this trip. We miss everyone back home and look forward to seeing all you soon.