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1 Family’s Journey

Why We Decided to Spend a Year in the Parks

We get this question a lot, so I thought I would jump right in. There’s not a single reason for our journey, but a string of ideas, aspirations, promises, and expectations that led us into the parks. To understand our decision, it helps to know a bit about us:

Laney the 4th Grader

DSC_0403As a nine year old, Laney actually had a big part to play in our decision to travel around the country exploring our National Parks. Laney loves being outdoors and is always game for a car ride to just about anywhere. She’s working on putting this in her own words as one of her writing assignments, but (if I could be so bold as to presume) I would say that she is just naturally curious. What’s out there? Would she get to see Mt. Rushmore? Would she see moose, bison, and bears? Could she meet President Obama in the White House?

Laney has always loved school, her friends, and our little town of Harbor Springs, Michigan, but 3rd grade was a bit of a struggle for her. Not so much academically, but in terms of focus and how she felt about school. She needed (and we needed) a bit more one-on-one time with Laney as a student, as well as just Laney as daughter and kid. And although getting double-teamed by two adults 24/7 in tight quarters can be a bit of a challenge for any 9-year-old, I think that she kind of likes it, too.

Carol the Mom

DSC00230My wife is a veteran teacher with about two and half decades of experience teaching middle schoolers. She works so hard for her kids and to support our family. She drives 60 miles a day to get to school in another town, and we live in Northern Michigan where most of the school year involves snow and below freezing temperatures. I just hoped that this trip would give Carol a bit of a break from the classroom — a chance to see and live the experiences that she teaches about in her Social Studies classes.

But that hope just touches the surface. “Still waters run deep,” they say, and I look forward to hearing and reading what she has to express about our adventure even more than you do. A descendant of American Revolutionaries with close ties to George Washington … a Tidewater Virginia native … a former National Park Service summer ranger … and the love of my life … I can’t wait to see what she’ll get out of our adventures.

Rich the Dad

DSC_0310My snowblower died on the cold mid-February day that Carol told me about Every Kid in a Park, and I could think of a lot of better things to do with the grand it would take to replace it than buying a new snowblower engine. I took that horrible, metallic death rattle sound as a sign that we might just be able to skip some (or maybe even all) of the following winter.

Be careful when you encourage a dreamer — you might end up spending months on end driving across the country, sleeping in tight quarters, and wrestling with your GPS. Designated driver … chief chronicler of our trip … and life-long adventure seeker, I am primarily a writer with a couple decades of experience as a journalist, editor, aspiring novelist, and online marketing copywriter.

I specialize in writing about the outdoors because that’s where I am most at home, and it doesn’t take much to get me out there. My hope is that our little adventure inspires others to do the same. You can learn more about me at www.greatoutdoorscopywriting.com.

See you in the parks,



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