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We used to be envious of other families vacation photos. We would flip through Facebook and think, I wish we could do that but our kids are so young! Or, we would think, that must cost a fortune, we can never afford to do that. We would talk about retirement and say, “we will travel someday.”

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In the fall of 2015, that changed. On a whim, we bought a couple of tents and decided to see what would happen if we went camping for the weekend. We loaded up our two cars and we drove an hour and a half to Indiana. Once there, we clumsily pitched our tents and started one of the smokiest fires you could imagine. It wasn’t pretty. But we survived.

And if you know either one of us, you know that we are always coming up with crazy ideas. So, our second night in Indiana, when the kids went to bed, we sat around our smoke ring and started dreaming out loud. How fun would it be if we could do this again? Maybe we could take the kids out west! And what started as a hypothetical conversation and jokes about National Lampoon’s Summer Vacation, ended in a half-baked plan about taking the kids across the country.

Once we came home, we got busy mapping out what our ideal road trip would look like. We talked to friends who had travel experiences that we wanted to share with our family, and while they couldn’t relate to our big family they could identify with our desire to see beyond our cul de sac.

And we did it.

The truth is, our kids were never going to be a perfect age. We were never going to have “enough” money in the budget. We just had to do it. We had to make it a priority.

It’s not always perfect. We’ve gotten sick, abandoned campsites in the evening in search of a soft bed and a shower, and even got into an accident. We’ve embraced the fact that life happens no matter where you are.

In two in a half years, we have visited 23 states and numerous national and state parks. What started off as two people talking one night by a campfire has turned into quite the adventure. We hope by sharing our story, others are inspired to go on their own journey.

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