We are a family with wild ideas (or perhaps I’m the one with the wild ideas and the rest of the crew just goes along with it. No need to split hairs.). One of these ideas is to see all 50 states with our kids before they graduate high school. I would like to tell you that this idea came solely out of our desire to show our kids the United States and let them experience all this country has to offer. That certainly is part of it but then there’s also the fact that we really want to see all 50 states, too!
We recently pulled off one of our craziest ideas to date and I wanted to tell you a bit about it in hopes of encouraging you to think a bit crazier, too. With exactly three days notice, we planned a 2400 mile road trip that covered two countries and twelve states. All with our 5 and 6 year old blessings in tow. That kind of trip on that short of notice is a true miracle but what is even more miraculous is the fact that after two weeks in the car together, we are all still speaking to one another and getting along famously. In fact, I would even go as far as to say that we would do it again in a heartbeat!
We started in Virginia and by the time we got back home we had seen West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Ontario, Canada. (whew)
Here are a few things that we learned along the way:
- The Road Trippers app/website is golden. We knew we wanted to see all of the New England states but that is about where our plan ended. I stumbled upon this website and was able to easily find stopping points that were along the way.
- You absolutely always need a tarp when you are tent camping. Don’t be fooled by the tent manufacturer’s claim that your tent will hold up to the elements. They lie and you’ll wake up to water dripping on your face. Just saying.
- You need all things thieves when you’re sleeping in hotels and visiting tourist sites or children’s museums or restaurant bathrooms….
- Its important to have realistic expectations. Did we expect our kids to be absolute angels during the trip? My goodness no. We knew we were going to have good moments and bad (and we did). Its important not to let one bad moment/day ruin the trip. Rolling on Stress Away essential oil helps, too.
- Four people can easily split two meals at a restaurant. Have you guys seen portion sizes lately? My goodness. We quickly realized that the littles could split a kids meal and the bigs could split a meal (and we still had food leftover).
- In the event that you don’t want to split a meal, peppermint oil in your water isn’t a bad idea.
- You might plan a ton of amazing activities but, inevitably, the thing everyone will remember the most is the thing that you didn’t plan. The “trip stealer” for us was “ma-leechie”, the leech that attached himself to Jay during his swim in a lake in the Adirondacks. The ongoing joke with our blessings remains, “What is easy to find and hard to lose? MA-LEECHIE!” (that bugger WAS hard to lose!)
We had an amazing trip. We saw a lot and we learned a lot. I learned that you can’t judge a book by its cover (I’m looking at you, New York) and that some things will surprise you (helllloooo, Vermont). But most importantly we learned that there is no better time than the present and sometimes our craziest ideas are our best ideas.