This summer we are embarking on an eight week road trip across Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, and possibly Florida.  With a one year old.   To the casual observer this might seem totally crazy, but we are really excited about it.  The trip will be a combination of work, play, and family time.  I am referring to it as Gypsy Caravan Summer Tour 2012, in reference to a summer spent similarly in 2006.  We have gotten a lot of surprised/horrified reactions from friends because of the length of the trip and the age of our child.  There is this idea out there in the world that you can’t travel with a toddler.  I believe that we can and hope that I won’t be proved wrong over the next 2 months.  
I plan to sit here a lot.  

We are packing our bags and finishing up details for our trip right this minute.  I hope to chronicle it for you here on the blog.  We have our housesitter lined up, and Jackson the Wonder Dog is at Camp Grandma and Grandpa for the immediate future.  There was a small baby biting incident a few weeks back that I’ve yet to write about.  Let’s just say Jackson is lucky that my parents love him and have a big backyard.  We have a big checklist going of all the things we need to do and pack before we leave.  The excitement is building.
We’ve had a TON of questions from friends and family about our trip, so I decided to address a few here.

 Can’t. Wait.  

Where are we going?  Our first stops will be Amarillo, TX, and Salida, CO, on the way to Young Life’s Trail West Lodge in Buena Vista, CO.  I will be working at Trail West for a month as the women’s summer staff coordinator.  After our month at Trail West we will be staying a week in Vail, CO, possibly a stop to see friends in Pagosa Springs, CO, then almost a week in Red River, NM.  We will then head to Little Rock, AR for a wedding and to see family.  After that there may be a beach trip involved, but that is yet to be determined.

Wait, I thought you were becoming a stay at home mom.  What’s with working all summer?   Yes, my last day as a Young Life staffer is June 30th.  I will be working at Trail West as a volunteer.  We believe in the mission of Young Life wholeheartedly and are thankful for the opportunity to serve at Trail West.  After that I will be a full time mama.

How can y’all afford this?  Did you throw the Dave Ramsey budget out the window? Nope, we budgeted FOR the trip.  That’s the beauty of a budget, you can add stuff to it.  We have a vacation fund as well as some very generous friends who are loaning us places to stay.  Our month at Trail West is free because we are working, and our gas to and from camp is reimbursed.  We budgeted for food, gas to other places, hotel stays on the road, and incidentals.  We plan to do lots of free stuff and have lots of free quality time.  If you have free fun ideas for us in any of the places listed above, PLEASE pass them on by emailing me, tweeting me, or commenting below.  Our neighbors are also housesitting for us in exchange for lawn mowing services.  Thanks neighbors!

That’s great and all, but are you seriously hauling a one year old across the country?  Yes, yes, we know it is crazy and we think it will also be awesome.  Our little boy is such a joy and hopefully we be so on the road with lots of park stops on the way and hotel pools to swim in.  I will be tweeting all summer with the hashtag #toddlertravel so you can see how it goes.  If you have any travel with toddlers advice, I’d love to hear it.

What about your life in Dallas?  How can y’all just pick up and leave for 2 months?  We will obviously miss our friends here.  I have a gypsy soul and need to just GO sometimes.  Dallas is hot as hell in the summer time, and sooo humid.  We live in an old rent house that is very difficult to keep cool.  Jed is a teacher so he is off til mid August.  I love being able to just leave.  For years I kept my passport in my purse, just in case.  That habit faded with marriage, a child, and a job that needed me 24/7.  My longing to wander will be satisfied for a little while by this adventure.

Do you think we’re crazy, or do you wish you were packing right now, too?

3 Comments on Our Crazy 8 Week Road Trip with a Toddler

  1. I think it’s fantastic! I’ve flown with a toddler and would much prefer the freedom of traveling in a car, so you can stop and have fun whenever you want. Can’t wait to see all the fun photos you are sure to have!!

  2. I loved seeing that first picture and thinking “That looks like Trail West!” I love that lodge so much and y’all are going to have a great time there. You should stay at the lodge till the session three people get there so I can say a quick hi and bye! :]

  3. I did the exact same job at Trail West the summer Jason and I were engaged 🙂 Those Summer Staff women will be SO blessed to have you! And I think y’all are just the right amount of adventurous to do this. I have no tips, but a blogger I really enjoy has toddlers and she wrote about the value of taking frequent stops to play. Sounds like y’all are planning on doing that anyway. Have fun!

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