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! ❤