August 1, 2018. A day that will go down as a day of history in the Miller family. It has been a long anticipated day. Much planning, preparation and hard work has lead us to this day. It has been a day full of excitement, tension, emotions, and many tears. We left Shoreline, WA today at 4:15 pm to embark on an adventure around the country we believe will last for 10 month. We traveled swiftly and directly to Leavenworth, WA where we plan to stay one night, before we travel to Spokane, WA tomorrow. Our drive today was intentionally designed to be short for a total drive time of 2.5 hours. We ate dinner at the 49er Diner in Leavenworth and arrived at our campsite with plenty of daylight to set up camp. More tears were shed before the end of the evening. Some well deserved rest is much needed. As we laid the children down to bed I (Josh) told them how proud I was of them. I told them what “big kids” they were and how I was excited to see how much they would grow up on this trip. I watched their eyes grow big and smiles beam across their faces. I could see that they were excited to grow up in a new way this year too. I sat on the bed with them thinking to myself that this truly will be a year to remember. I am grateful for my family and the opportunity given to me to share life with them this year in this way. I am grateful to and thankful for everyone who is making this trip possible for us. I hope that your year, too, is full of as much adventure and growth as ours.
Recently the most popular question people have been asking us is, “Do you know what route you are taking?” We have the month of August and part of September planned out, passed that we will generally be traveling East for the fall, South for the winter and into the mid West for the Spring. We will be sure to give everyone more specific information as we continue to plan but for now this is what we have planned:
|1-2||Leavenworth (TT)||252||4.5||1||Leavenworth WA|
|2-5||Spokane (TT)||244||5||3||Spokane WA|
|5-8||Glacier||488||9.5||3||West Glacier, MT|
|8-10||Craters of the Moon||237||5||2||Creaters of the Moon, ID|
|13-16||Grand Teton||431||7||3||Grand Teton, WY|
|16-17||Devil’s Tower||130||2.25||1||Devil’s Tower, WY|
|17-18||Mount Rushmore||38||1||1||Keystone, SD|
|18-19||Wind Caves||58||1.25||1||Wind Caves, SD|
|22-24||Mick & Barb (Family)||323||5||2||Litchfield, MN|
|24-26||JellyStone* (TT)||230||4||2||Fremont, WI|
|26-30||Pictured Rock||392||6||4||Pictured Rock, MI|
|30-31||Shaunna (Family)||4||Plainwell, MI|
|1-4||Shaunna (Family)||324||5||4||Plainwell, MI|
|4-6||Kenisee Lake (TT)||166||3||2||Jefferson OH|
|6-7||Niagara Falls||198||3||1||Niagra Falls, NY|
|7-8||Brennan Beach* (TT)||1||Pulaski, NY|
|(TT)= Thousand Trails Resort|
Many people have asked what led us to make the decision to go on this adventure. The answer may surprise you as it is full of pain, challenges and new perspective. We hope that you will be encouraged as you read our story below- “The Why”.
(Mel) The idea to travel with my family around the country has been a part of me since I was a child. My mom had a cousin who home-schooled and traveled with his family. Every once in a while they would come to Seattle to visit us. I always thought it was amazing that they got to see the places they were learning about. When Josh and I got married, we talked about the idea every once in a while. We thought it could be fun but it wasn’t anything we ever tried to pursue.
(Josh) Several years ago I began feeling the stress of raising four kids, running my own business and being the sole financial provider for our family. Mel was busy in the world of theater and compassionate ministries and the differences of our personalities began creating more and more tension in our marriage. I was completely overwhelmed and I started to show signs of heavy depression. Mel and I decided to go to a marriage counselor (Spring 2016) together and we embarked on a new chapter in our relationship.
(Mel) The first weekend in October 2017, I traveled to Knoxville, TN. I visited one of my best friends who had just moved there a few months prior. I was really excited to see her but I worried that she was going to miss all the beautiful mountains and lush green of the Pacific Northwest. However, Knoxville surprised me. She lives right up against the Smoky Mountains. The area is stunning! We visited a few historical homesteads and I kept thinking over and over how I wanted my family with me. I called Josh that night, with so much excitement and sense of urgency, and told him we had to travel with the kids.
(Josh) When Mel came home from Knoxville with the idea of traveling the country by motor home, I filed it away as an unrealistic pursuit. Fate, though, has a way of making itself known. After over a year of meeting with a marriage counselor, Mel and I had worked diligently on our personality conflicts and communication styles. Our next goal for our relationship was to find a shared vision that would help unite us together instead of pulling us apart. We began praying with each other on a more regular basis, seeking for God to give us shared vision.
(Josh) Recommended by a friend of mine, I was reading the book “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss. He explains how “Doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic” (pg. 50). In it is a story about a family that took a year long sailing trip around the world (pg. 25). The wife in the story said “far from being a reason not to travel and seek adventure, children are perhaps the best reason of all to do both.” Reading that story was profound to me- I had an epiphany, an “ah-ha” moment. I was moved with emotion and felt that I had suddenly been changed. (Proof that studying business can lead to a spiritual experience.) I immediately read the story to Mel and described how it had impacted me. From that day forward, our conversations about traveling the country together began taking on new meaning. We had found our shared vision.
(Mel) The following weekend Josh asked if I wanted to go look at RVs. Instead of excitement, I became apprehensive. You see, ever since Eva was born, I was looking forward to when she would start school. The next year would be the only year that all my kids would be together at the same school; Eva in Kindergarten, Asher in 2nd, Lydia in 5th, and Caleb in 6th. All of a sudden, we were looking at traveling and road schooling that year instead of having them in their elementary school. While I was doing the dishes the morning before we looked at the first motor home, I was really feeling anxious and talking to God about it. In my heart I heard Him ask me a question, “What is it that you have been looking forward to for this year?” I said what I’ve been saying to everyone, “All the kids in the same place, at the same time, on the same schedule.” He replied, “That’s not changing. They’re just going to be with you.” Talk about bringing on the tears! God always has a way of answering prayers, it just might not look like the way you think it will. I’m so thankful for His perspective shift. So, I set out of the house that morning with excitement. Over the next month and a half, the whole process of seeking and buying our motor home was full of confirmations from God (which may be a post for another day).
(Josh) Life has begun taking on new color for me. Where I had once felt pain over the differences in our relationship, I have begun to appreciate the harmony our differences can bring. Where I once felt threatened that Mel’s passions were taking her away from our family, I now feel a partnership that we had never had before. For the first time in my life, I have begun to accept life the way it is. For me, this trip means so much more than just traveling the country. It is the pursuit of living fully alive. An adventure along side of my one true love. It is my deepest desire to share life with Mel and my family.
(Mel) It’s so exciting and wonderful to be pursuing this together! God is leading us out. He has lessons for us to learn. He is doing a work in our marriage and family to strengthen us during this time. We have no clue what God has in store for us, or what any of those lessons are, what it will all look like or how it will all play out. But, we know that even when we face hard times all of it will be good because He is good!
What a trip this will be! Thanks for coming along the journey with us! ❤
Be careful what you wish for. Ha! I (Mel) am learning that first hand this week. I couple years ago I remember saying to Josh that I wish we were pretending like we’re moving without really moving. That way I would have the motivation to purge our house. Little did I know what God was setting up for us! As part of our preparation to head out on our adventure we’re purging, sorting, packing, and storing just as if we were moving. I fully believe God is chuckling, maybe even full on laughing. 🙂 It’s a lot of work motivating the kids to go through all their stuff and make decisions to let things go! We’re tired and the kids have been a little cranky but mostly they’re being troopers. It’ll all be worth it when we’re on the road. We’re excited! Only 8 more days to go!
After countless conversations over the last few months with friends and family asking the best way to stay connected with us during our trip, we have answered the question by creating milleradventure.blog. Our goals with this site is to keep everyone informed about our travels and allowing all members of the family to contribute their thoughts. We are scheduled to leave on Wednesday Aug. 1st and have 13 days left to pack all that we will need to live for 10 months in a 30 ft. house on wheels. We plan on traveling to the east coast for the fall, south for the winter and into the heart of the country in the spring. Please feel free to follow us by reading about our adventure and please comment often so that we know that we are traveling with good company.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton