As the Explore All 50 Project has grown and is now reaching more readers, it’s really given me the opportunity to “meet” some amazing people all across the country who like me, share a real passion to see all of America. About two weeks I got to know Nicole White from Maryland who along with her husband Chad and kids Gavin (13) and Lucy (10) have already visited 27 states and are in the process of planning this summer’s road trip to the midwest where they will add 6 new ones to their list. I am always curious to find out what drives people to get out on the road and when I asked Nicole what that was, I just loved her answer because as a mom I could totally relate. Nicole said “So many people settle down where they grew up, and we wanted our children to see if there are parts of this country that they will fall in love with for their future. To give them wings”.
Broadening horizons is a great reason to travel. In fact Mark Twain said it best when he said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” According to Nicole they love “hearing new accents, trying new food, noticing variances in income levels and hearing different styles of music”. There is no question that her children will have a much greater appreciation of diversity, greater empathy, and will grow to be extremely well rounded individuals for all they have seen and experienced over their family summer road trips.
These wonderful eye opening adventures don’t come without some challenges when it comes to the kids. Car sickness, sibling issues, and even smells have prompted Nicole and Chad to come up with creative solutions for smooth sailing while riding in the car. 1. Bring ziplock baggies and motion sickness pills. 2. Divide decisions fairly and give each kid their personal space in the car which needs to be respected. 3. Do not pack smelly food.-I laughed when she told me that, because I remember one of our trips where the other family traveling with us brought Feta cheese of all things, and it stunk up the whole car, especially when it went bad in the cooler in the New Mexico heat.
The White family’s top three most awesome experiences were:
1. Exploring the natural beauty in Bar Harbor, Maine where they walked on land only accessible during low tide leaving lots of wonderful things to discover, like snails that come out of their shells when you hum at them.
2. Exploring the unique region of the Louisiana bayou where they took a swamp tour and got to hold baby alligator.
3. Reliving history when they visited The Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. They can’t wait to get back out on the road this summer and find out what there is to discover throughout the Midwest.
One other activity that this family absolutely loves to do out on the road is geocaching. Geocaching for those of you who don’t know, is sort of like a treasure hunting game where you use a GPS to hide and seek containers-that can hold little prizes, notes, etc. with other participants in the activity. You can find out more at www.geocaching.com. If they find themselves in an area lacking in activities, they can always geocache to keep the excitement going.
There is no doubt that besides seeing lots of great stuff, road trips bring families closer together. According to Nicole as parents they “love the attention that we can give to the family while on the trip and the time together to say YES to great opportunities.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. It truly is wonderful to explore and share special time devoted to being together. Nicole and Chad are truly inspiring for having given their kids a wonderful opportunity and I have no doubt that their kids will be using their wings to “soar” off to a very bright future.
If you’d like to share your story, we’d love to profile you on The Explore All 50 website. Email Alisa at Alisa@ExploreAll50.com to let us know you want your story told and we’ll get your info and craft a story about your quest, what motivates you, your favorite road trip memories, and any other fun and interesting stuff we can share to inspire others to explore all 50. Safe travels!