After (15) months of living the gypsy life style, I sat down to reflect on what I have learned on this journey? In August of 2014 we began our adventure by visiting Redwood and Lassen National Parks and Mt. Shasta, California for the entire month. This was our first practice trip to determine the most effective ways to travel with two young boys then ages (1) and (3) respectively.
We returned home for September and then off again in October for a month on the road, this time we traveled to Glacier, Mt. Ranier, Cascade, Olympic, and Crater Lake National Parks. We returned home for November and spent much of the month of December checking out progressive schools in Grass Valley, California and Eugene, Oregon.
We spent January home with friends and family and returned to the road almost the entire month of February to Ojai, California. After visiting Ojai, we returned home to Modesto and prepared for our longer trip around America and Canada which began March 26, 2015.
We have traveled over 26,000 miles visiting (39) states, (28) National Parks, and (4) Canadian provinces. During this adventure what struck me the most were the people. They were friendly and warm, helpful and gracious to our small children, and curious about our journey. Most Americans and Canadians are terrific human beings. This is exactly how I remembered it when I traveled with my parents over 50 years ago.
Another thing that stood out to me is the overwhelming beauty of America. To see the majesty of a California Redwood grove, or witness the red rock canyons of Arizona and Utah or view the deep blue waters of Crater Lake in Oregon, the pointed mountains of the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, the mystical vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, and the list goes on… This too is exactly as I remembered it over 50 years ago.
Because so many places in America today look the same with strip malls, fast food joints, high density housing and soulless villages, it was very refreshing to visit many of the cities and towns that did not fall victim to this commercial trap. My favorite city was Sedona, Arizona for the sheer beauty of the red rock walls surrounding the town, the clean well- appointed buildings shaded in natural colors to blend into the landscape and the southwest architecture.
I absolutely loved Savannah, Georgia for its grittiness and downtown squares of old growth oaks and Spanish moss everywhere. Charleston, South Carolina had the cleanest harbor and waterfront and a deep sense of history including cobblestone streets and fine culinary dining. Lisa and I both loved Taos, New Mexico for the stark beauty of the mountains and high desert landscape, Pueblo architecture, long living native American community and the well established arts scene.
The truth is there is no such thing as a perfect place to live. You can make your list of what you want and don’t want but as of this writing, we were unable to find a PERFECT fit for our family. For example, maybe there would be pretty landscapes but no Waldorf schools, or a lovely town but far away from everyone we know. The one thing I learned about myself is that BEAUTY in land, architecture and the people’s spirit is the MOST important thing above all.