We had so much fun!! I can’t even tell you. It was surprisingly unstressful and easy.
Yep, traveling across the country with the Nick News film crew was super fun, especially since I think we lucked out and had the best three guys we could have possibly had! And we should know, we spent the last 8 days with them, filming everything we did. For the most part, they just blended in, they didn’t bark orders, they didn’t interfere with our flow and when they did, it was for little things, like, “Whoa, hold up, let me get in front of you,” or “Hey Dan, can you jump into the left lane so we can get this shot,”. No big deal really.
In fact, we are going to actually miss having them around!
We are going to miss seeing Marco poking his head through the sunroof of the truck and risking life and limb hanging out of his Suburban to get the perfect shot. You know, he even placed himself in harms way during our paintball games – he’s incredibly unaffected by our craziness!! We are going to miss Ted and his kindness toward Eddy, his eagerness to jump in on the fun and his quick lessons regarding his expertise as a sound tech! And we are going to miss Josh and his ALWAYS happy, playful fun nature! He’s the most chill producer we’ve ever met!! In fact, they are all chill, fun and seemingly unflustered!
Seriously, traveling with us can’t be easy, we are always behind schedule (if there’s even a schedule), we (the kids) have boundless energy, and we are just a little on the crazy side. But these guys, Josh, Marco & Ted were fun. They didn’t seem agitated by our countless stops or by our wanderlust or by our ever changing plans & if they were they were remarkably good actors. And, either way, I am truly thankful. All three of them put us at ease, there was zero stress having them around. They made it easy. We were free to be ourselves. And I’m guessing that maybe us being us makes it easier for them to do their jobs.??
They filmed us kayaking Shoshone on the freezing Colorado River, snowboarding at Sunlight Mountain Resort, swimming at the Hot Springs Pool in Glenwood Springs, CO, playing paintball at Foxhole-Paintball in Junction City, KS, traveling down the road in our RV, running off some energy playing football at parks, fishing, doing school, preparing & eating dinner, hucking waterfalls in our kayaks, setting up the RV for bedtime, Dan working, the kids playing dolls and Legos and American Girl, reading, cuddling … in short they filmed us for 8 straight days doing almost everything we do and there is no way to not be authentic in that amount of time. They filmed as though they were flies on the wall and our minds were blown with the footage they were getting. We have never been filmed so extensively and the shots we saw them getting were really REALLY epic.
A few of you have expressed that they could never endure cameras filming their lives. We had no problem with it — not a single one of us had reservations. In the end we’ll have a professionally produced 30 minute video of our family at this time in our lives. That is priceless! Perhaps it was because we are so comfortable being in front of cameras because of our Youtube channel? Perhaps it’s because we’ve already seen so much change in the lives of people we thought would never change. It sounds so cheeky, but if we can help one family, if we can inspire one person to chase their dreams, to live out their own version of the American Dream — well that would be beyond our expectations! Sometimes all you need to do is see someone doing something pretty insane to realize that your dreams are not as crazy as you thought!!
A few surprises popped up because of our experience with Nick News. For instance, it’s been interesting having our trip planned out beforehand and actually knowing where we are going and what we’ll be doing. Typically curiosity is our compass and 9 times out of 10 we don’t have a clue what we’ll end up doing. I have a feeling we’ll be doing a little bit more of this planning thing in the future – not all the time, not for every day of the trip, but the occasional planned stop may be in our near future. It gives us and the kids something to look forward to during a long trip. We always stop 1,000 times, but when we plan super fun activities like stopping at water parks as we do in the summer or stopping for a few hours of paintball like we did last weekend really does make the longer trips so much more enjoyable for everyone!
Another interesting result of having a film crew follow us was that we were forced to put into words what we’ve felt for the past 20 months of travel! Articulation has never been my strong point and it’s extremely hard to vocalize what this life has offered us in terms of turning ordinary life into an extraordinary life. Throughout the 8 days there were interviews with Dan & I and Grady, Kerry, Brody, Kady, Kenny & Dally. The interviews consisted of questions in varying degrees of difficulty. I have no idea what my answers were, I answered from my heart and couldn’t repeat them if I tried. The kids, however are pros in their composure when answering questions. And I’ll tell you, it’s been interesting to hear their responses to the questions they are asked. They aren’t acting, they aren’t lying, they are kids … raw and uninhibited. They are completely authentic. They love this lifestyle, and while that doesn’t come as a surprise, the sheer lack of complaints does. They’ve embraced a life of minimalism, a life that focuses on experiences and encourages a connection to family and surroundings more than things and shallow relationships.
All the details of life that we ignored or took for granted back home now have taken on new meanings. Hot showers, the stars, the sunrise and sunset, the smell of the air, the feel of a warm breeze now seem luxurious, like a gift. Life on the road is so much simpler and much less complicated and so we have time to deliberately move through our days. Life is no longer about schedules and routines, but rather all about living, learning and loving. And that is a gift not only to our kids, but to ourselves as well. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “rat race” when you allow yourself to be a product of this world, when your work defines your life. And likewise it’s so easy to leave all this behind when you embrace the philosophy of allowing your life to justify your work!!
As a result of this philosophy, our travel lifestyle is based entirely on experiences. Tourist sights and touristy areas are often overcrowded and overdone, we avoid the suckholes of commercial tourism. I mean seriously, how many zoos, museums and monuments can one truly appreciate? How many souvenirs can you collect before it just turns to clutter? Experiences, however, are distinctly unique … always and they exist forever in your memories and the way they shape your thoughts and behaviors.
That’s not to say we flip our noses at all things touristy. There are certainly tourist spots that interest us and that we will still visit despite the crowds. Moab comes to mind because it is truly about the experience. I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere as spiritual in my life. I arrive stressed and leave renewed. DC is another … I can’t be in DC and not feel the power – it’s literally palpable. Our life, our travel is uniquely ours. What we are doing cannot be bought from a travel agent, it can’t be found on the pages of brochures or in some Magazine.
We can’t categorize our experiences either. It’s not just camping, or rafting or kayaking or bouldering. It’s an all encompassing mental experience — a challenge of sorts.. How can we push ourselves? How hard can we go? What more can we do? Adventure, in all its ups and downs is a part of our daily life. We don’t have to travel to exotic lands to find adventure, though that is something we all want to experience as well, all we have to do is step outside into our countrywide backyard. And for us, there is no time like the present, while the kids are young and eager to learn and experience and their minds are open and their hearts filled with hope.
Time is the one thing we can’t negotiate, it’s the one thing we can’t revive, once our time is up … it’s up. It’s the great equalizer, we all have the same time in the day … we all have an expiration date. I prefer, I choose to spend as much time with the people I adore, the people I love more than anything in the world until that time that I’m called home. Memories are our legacy. Time with Dan & I is the greatest gift we can give to our kids.
And when the kids look back on this time of their life, whether it be from their own RV or from their own apartment or house, I know, without a doubt, they’ll look back on this as one of the greatest adventures of their childhood. And the tradeoffs? Psshh, please. Who needs a bed when you can sleep in a hammock? Who needs a fenced in backyard when the entire country is yours for the taking? Who needs their own private space inside four walls, when all you need to do is walk outside into nature, into God’s creation and find all the peace and solitude you will ever need? Fact is, I know no-one who has ever said, “That was the best privacy ever!” :)))
So many thanks to Marco, Josh & Ted for making this a wonderful experience. For pushing us to articulate what we are doing and why we love it … even if we failed miserably in that task, it’s encouraged us, once again, to focus on the benefits, the reasons and the love for what we are doing. But most of all, thanks for being so cool and easy to be around. I really REALLY hope our paths cross again soon!! 🙂