Yes, you read that right. We set off on March 1st for our United States adventure with a hamster in the car. This year, we decided to unplug our kids and take them on a tour of the East coast. We plan to hit the major historical stops plus all of those funky road side attractions you hear about. We rented our house, put everything in storage and packed up the van. We debated RV life but decided for a five month trip, we would go with AirBnB this time.
So, how did we end up traveling with a hamster? At one point in time, we had three hamsters in our house. Four kids = multiple small rodents. Hamsters generally will live for about 2 years and we had these for about 2 years now. Kept thinking it surely was reaching the end of its little rodent life but there it was, the last standing hamster still spry and happy. So, what do you do with an aging rodent? You post it to Facebook, of course. My good friend in Tulsa said she would do hamster hospice for us if we wanted to bring the hamster on our first leg and this seemed like a good option. They were familiar with hamsters and no little kids to traumatize with the death of a pet. So, we packed it up and dropped it off in Oklahoma. Originally, I had called it hamster foster care, but I think we were all pretty clear I was never coming back for that hamster. It will probably live another 2 years! Many thanks to Christina and Marsha, enjoy your new pet.
As we have planned this trip and told people about our adventure, I generally get the same questions: Where? Why? and How? I am going to save the how for another day but wanted to share a bit about the where and the why as we get started. About two years ago, Jay and I decided to work on becoming completely debt free (loans, credit cards, cars, house, everything). We sold our beautiful house and downsized to half the size. We paid off everything and then took stock. This opened up opportunities we had not considered before and we began thinking about traveling and showing the kids all of those things you think “someday” you will do. We debated a year long trip but due to commitments at home, decided we would start the fall semester at home and then travel for the spring. The plan is to work our way east and spend extended periods of times in the major cities such as Washington DC, New York, and up into Maine. Then we will work our way back west past Niagara Falls, Chicago, and maybe as far as South Dakota before heading back south and home. We are working on a map that will be up on the website to track our progress. So watch for that. Planning this type of trip has many challenges, but we know it is something the kids will remember the rest of their lives. Someday they will sit around the Thanksgiving table saying, “Remember when mom and dad did that crazy thing and packed up our house and set off on the road for 6 months?”
And that is a big part of the why. As our kids get older (current ages: 15, 13, 11, 9), we realize the time with them is getting shorter and there are experiences we want to have. Managing electronics with kids is a constant battle and this is an opportunity to get them out of their rooms and unplugged at least somewhat. We wanted to teach them history by immersing them in the experience and not rushing through on a short family vacations. When the opportunity came to leave our current jobs, rent our house, and go, it was too good to pass up. My job allows me to work and grow my business on the road finding new people to join me and helping people in new areas; we are road schooling with the kids; and we are off! Follow the blog to learn more about how and the ups and downs of 6 months on the road. 2 adults, 4 kids, and a dog. (Goodbye hamster. Enjoy Tulsa).