Posts in Family Travel
Final Stat List: 1 Year Of "Hitting Pause"

If you've been following our journey, then you know I'm a sucker for stats and fun facts (the boys would chime in here: "did somebody say suckers?!"). On June 15, 2017 we jumped in Spud, our '86 Westfalia, drove through a start line made of toilet paper (thanks neighbors!), and peaced goodbye to the tenants that were going to be taking over our house for the year. Thus began our adventure that took us to many beautiful spots, reunited us with family and friends, and created long-lasting memories for our family. And let me tell you, the trip was so freaking fantastic I can't even find the right words other than that to describe it. So let's get to it - I've gone ahead and compiled a juicy stat and fact list rounding out our one year on the road. You're welcome!

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We Hit Paz

The deeper south we drove on the Baja Peninsula, the more impressed we became with the beaches, people, and well, I'll be a little nerdy here, the memories and bonds that were forming. Yes, sometimes we felt we needed to be on our toes (even here, perhaps),but it's clear we have fallen cautiously in love with Baja. There is a little bit of mystery to Baja, some dirt and grime, and maybe a tiny bit of hesitation in some situations. Combine that though with the stunning landscapes, friends we're traveling with and meeting, and the incredible experiences we've had and you've got one of our favorite parts of our year "hitting pause". So join us as 'we hit Paz' (Chip's proud contribution to this blog post!) and drive further south where we discover stunning streches of beach, snorkel alongside the largest "fish" on the planet, and stumble upon new friends who help us discover the volunteer project we've been searching for all year!

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Reflection: Final Days In Hawaii

Two months in Hawaii served as a delightful respite from "Spudlife." Here, we were able to have a bit of a routine which we will admit to craving after 5 1/2 months on the road. Some habits and routines were welcomed back in our life, while others were a reminder (and at times a struggle) of the white noise we did not want to re-introduce back into our life. Those are the type of distractions we've worked so hard to let go of during this journey. Looking back though, we found ourselves contentedly entertained much of the days at the beach, exploring the island in a variety of ways often with visitors by our sides. This was the perfect place to chase warm weather and among all the places we've been, could be a contender with Oregon and Island Lake, Canada for "favorite spot." When the feeling of sorrow rushes over me when we're about to leave a place as special as this, Chip reminds me it's best to move on wanting more. I suppose I can agree with that.

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A Christmas Eve Workout (I Mean, Gift!)

I had been dying to take the family on a kayak ride since before our plane even landed on Oahu. One of my favorite memories when we'd come to Hawaii would be our kayak day in Kailua. So naturally I had visions in my head of being able to provide that same memory for the boys (I know, they're only three but...). Finally though, on that 24th day of December we accomplished that memorable kayak ride together.

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Thanksgiving All Month Long

November 1st hit and for the 30 days that followed we were lucky enough to spend it surrounded by friends and family all throughout and around California. The timing couldn't have been more perfect with the holidays on our heals. Our hearts were definitely aching for familiar faces and familiar bear hugs. Our route this month took us from San Luis Obispo to see Chip's bro/gf to Long Beach to see Durango friends to Anaheim to see Chip's immediate family then finally, to Newport Beach to see aunts and uncles. We are so grateful to have had all this quality one on one time with the great people you'll see below. It was priceless.

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Seattle or Bust: 48 Hours in the Big City

We were so pumped to be rolling into Seattle knowing that we would have a hotel to stay in for two nights. Actually, "so pumped" does not accurately describe our excitement. In the days leading up to this city life our bodies were feeling tired and worn out (also stinky), not to mention an unexpected visitor graced us with his presence in Spud (a mouse!). We never did find that mouse but we regained our mental and physical energy in this vibrant city which we ended up exploring for 48 hours on the dot. The sights, food, people, and even weather are something to write home about so here we are...

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Washington Was...

To our faithful readers (eh um, that's you friends & family!!)  :-) ,

For those of you that know me, then you know how much I enjoy blogging about life, adventures, people, and places. I pour my heart and time into a blog post. And anyone who has done something similar knows the time and energy it takes to keep up with it. I'm afraid with Washington though, I am unable to devote much time (for now). You see, the sun, sand, and sea have been calling my name ever since we hit the beautiful West coast last month. I'm finding it harder and harder to pull myself away from time with family and am doing my best to soak it all up, so to speak.

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O Canada! Part II: B.C.

Before we throw more Canada stoke and photos your way, feel free to check out Part I. As mentioned in that post, we left off having stayed several unplanned days in the Waterton Lakes National Park area. On a sad note (sorry!) we learned just weeks after visiting, a massive wildfire spread throughout the park. Firefighters were able to preserve some but the landscape has dramatically changed. A necessary process for forests and land, but hard to swallow the change given we were just there. Back to it...We were just as excited to continue on our Canadian road trip along Highway 3 and into British Columbia. Read on, though, because Canada wasn't all sunshine and unicorns...

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O Canada! Part I: Waterton Lakes Nat'l Park

I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again. This place is it! It has everything I love. Everything I love to look at and do and hike and see. Canada, you have outdone yourself. You've taken ahold of my eyes and heart and I won't be the same now that I've gotten another taste of you. Gosh, I love being corny - but it's true!

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7 Family-Friendly adventures in Glacier National Park

Oh Glacier. Our diminishing Glacier National Park. Filled with so much beauty, yet my heart aches as the years pass and the glaciers continue to disappear. Do you know there are only 25 left? With global warming continuing to have a huge impact on these survivors, it is estimated there will be none remaining after 2030. You heard me right. None. Geez, what will they do...change the name?! I

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A Grand Time in the Tetons

As I sit on uncomfortable, patterned carpet that is lining the hallway of our hotel I can't help but reflect on our busy but enjoyable time in Grand Teton National Park. Chip and I are plopped outside our room not because we want to socialize with other hotel guests, but because we are seeking the complete opposite. Silence. Time Alone. Time to decompress. Take in the sights and sounds from this past week (and maybe do a little laundry too). To take a dip in the pool and hot tub (umm, sure we showered beforehand.... a week ago). We learned early on that we need this down time alone and often. Sometimes to escape the kids. Sometimes to catch up on sleep. Sometimes to blog, to work, or to have reliable internet service. And sometimes to simply recharge our bodies' batteries. Joke if you must about taking a "vacation from your vacation", but there it is.

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Gratitude

We are coming off a huge high after spending time in the midwest. When we first got serious about taking this trip, we excitedly spoke about seeing family and friends we hadn't seen in awhile, about making it a goal to reconnect with family and friends who were once part of our everyday lives. And, boy, were we ever surprised by the amount of you that offered up a driveway or home to sleep in. Leaving our home, friends, and neighborhood in Durango was difficult. But having welcoming hugs and familiar faces greet us along the way has been so refreshing and made the transition to life on the road much easier. We are humbled and grateful for the generosity that you all have shown us.

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"Water Wonderland" Michigan

Michigan snuck up on us like a cool summer breeze. One minute we were seeing family and friends in Ohio and the next we were relaxing poolside at a vacation rental in Mirror Lake with Chip's family. We spent six lazy days here going on bike rides, hunting for mulberries with grandpa, swimming in the pool, fishing, and plumping ourselves up with a lot of wonderful food. But, as always, all good things must come to an end and after a week we had to say goodbye to the comforts of a big, cozy home and help from family. We hopped back in Spud and ugly-cried out of the vacation rental driveway. It is always hard leaving family but after giving my cheek a swift slap of the hand, I snapped out of it and immediately grew eager to explore the rest of Michigan. 

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The Number$

Since we decided to take this journey a year and a half ago, we've had the good fortune to talk with a massive amount of people.  We get a lot of questions, but, far and away, people want to know about money.  Some will disguise it a bit and ask us what we "do". Others are more forthright and just ask how we can afford to take what they perceive to be a perpetual vacation. Most are just honestly curious about how we'll make ends meet. Good questions, everyone. They're ones we worried ourselves with at the beginning.

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Staying Connected in Lake of the Ozarks

About a week into our road trip I started having nagging thoughts indicating something wasn't quite right. The intrusive feeling would hit me like an ocean wave, take hold of my brain for a few seconds, and then wash ashore as I'd forget about it for awhile. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was that was making me feel a little uneasy. Finally, though, on our last morning at a random Missouri State Park I was able to connect the dots. 

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Embark

I'm sitting in the passenger seat of our '86 Westy staring out the window at the endless wheat fields, towering windmills, and straight, flat roads of Kansas. It is dead silent in Spud (well, as silent as he gets at 65 mph), which is rare with jabbering twin boys. But it's naptime. Hallelujah! I unbuckle my seatbelt and like a flight attendant head to the back and sneak out two M&M ice cream bars from our mini freezer. I deliver one to Chip, then we cackle while waving them in the air at the boys' sleeping faces and scarf them down in celebration of quiet time. If only they knew what we did when they were asleep. I digress...

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The Top 6 Reasons Why We Chose To "Hit Pause"

Some of you think this idea is crazy. Some of you might think it's crazy awesome. It's a mixed bag and we totally get that. We are still surprised we both had the guts to say 'let's go for it' and then actually make it happen. It's definitely dramatically easier when both people in a relationship are on the same page. We have been answering a lot of very legitimate questions about why we are doing this. To get inside our heads a bit, we have compiled six reasons why we decided to quit our day jobs, rent out our house, and travel for the next year (or two?):

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Honey, I'm home...For good.

As I write this, I'm staring out our front window watching snowflakes fall on budding trees and green grass sprinkled with bright yellow dandelions.  My eyes and mind are playing tricks on me though. It can't be winter anymore.  I'm in denial that in one day it will be May 1st.  It feels like just yesterday, on a random December evening, that we were eagerly waiting for Chip to come home from work.

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