Friday, January 1, 2016

A Theme for 2016

THIS. will be the biggest and best theme yet.

48 states, 22 temples, 51 days


It all started last year when I shared a road trip FB post with Jon. Some of you may remember this post being shared around. It looked something like this:

It's a circular trip, so you hop on the trail in whatever state you're in, and ride it the rest of the way around until you're back home. I said to Jon "Next Summer??" being ENTIRELY serious. And ever since then, this Year of America plan has infested my brain.

For a couple of years now, Jon and I have had the major travel bug. We have talked about taking our family permanently on the road. It's part of why we tested out Pineapple Snow (Steph's etsy shop) to see if it could become self-sustaining. If I was able to sew-on-the-go, then we could live in a semi-permanent state of movement, and with our converted bus-turned-camper with built in sewing studio, we would homeschool and visit whomever we wanted WHENEVER we wanted, all year 'round.

Screen shot from our shared Pinterest board: Home Bus

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Enter: IDAHO.

The transition of moving to Idaho and being faced with school, work, and debt decisions made us slow down and really re-evaluate how we were approaching everything. We learned some extremely valuable things. And if you know me, you know that if I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it right. There is no room half-bakery. That being said, I became a budget-Nazi. Jon has been working his BEHIND off with two jobs, and we basically pretended like his teaching job at BYUI wasn't even there. Aside from tithing, we completely ignored those paychecks and threw them down to paying off bills and savings. We have a goal, and a plan, and we are well on our way!

Let me just say this: by April of this year, we will have everything completely paid off, and start working on a great savings, to accomplish the YEAR OF AMERICA 100%. debt. free.

This is our year.

The Year of America is a reward. It is a goal. It is a test run.

With the major push of family world traveling catching on, I have been jonesing so badly this year to get out there and start! Families like the Boyntons: and the Hunts: @wanderlust.crew on IG have been inspiring me like crazy. I am so thankful for their examples and amazingness. Check them out! Preparation takes time, and I know it's worth it.

So here it is: We are gifting ourselves 51 solid days of togetherness as we traverse the entire country! (Or at least, the 48 continental United States). We decided that if we're ever going to make the idea of travel-life happen, we need to make sure we can do it and will enjoy it. Doing the Year of America road trip is a way for us to jump into a new state-of-mind and lifestyle, with minimal risk.

So the plan is this: July 21st 2016, when Spring semester comes to a close, and BYUI has a 6 week Summer Break, we take off from Idaho and head south to Utah. Then Arizona, Las Vegas, California, up to Oregon, and well, you get the idea. We will make it back to Rexburg on September 9th, with the weekend to spare before Fall semester starts on Monday the 12th. 

Is it crazy?? Probably.
It is exciting?? Heck yes!
Are we going all-in to this plan? ABSOLUTELY.

But here's the best part: WE WANT YOU TO JOIN US.

Seriously, everyone.

Since we are seeing the ENTIRE country (I mean, within reason) we plan to visit as many of our friends and family as possible, AND if you want to come along for parts of our trip, we would be absolutely ecstatic! We realize that we won't be able to see everything in every state, and are going to have to pick and choose the major highlights. But that is where you especially come in. Tell us where you have traveled, where you have lived, where you grew up. We need to know the ins and outs of your state knowledge! I have done a TON of research up to this point, but I want to know your favorite things: places to eat, things to see, where to go, how to do it right. If you were a tourist in your home state, what would you absolutely not miss?

Also, there will be t-shirts! :)

Ultimately, when everything is said and done, the point of our yearly theme is ALWAYS to bring us closer together as a family. We discussed the pros and cons of doing this now when the kids are so little, and we worry a bit about them not remembering the whole thing. But we realized that you don't do things just because a person might or might not remember it. We still celebrate Christmas and birthdays before the kids really know what's going on. But that's not the point. It is the experience, establishing a tradition, and a mindset. It is something that they grow into, and something that we can learn from and having amazing experiences with too. The major goal here is to bring our family closer to Christ.
Closer to Love.
Closer to Forgiveness.
Closer to Peace.
Closer to Happiness.
Closer to HIM.
We are so excited to spend this time together, build memories, (see as many temples as we can!) attend church across the country with fellow Latter-Day Saints, and appreciate the beauty of the world that Heavenly Father has created for us--starting with our own backyard.

"No, never need an American look beyond his own country for the sublime and beautiful of natural scenery." -Washington Irving

So throw it at us! We have 6 months to officially plan, save, make reservations, partner up, and as we come your way, come and play with us! The Alston's Year of America is going to be the best Year ever. :D

Itinerary coming soon...


Elder and Sister Alston said...

Sounds like a great idea. The only down side to it is that it doesn't include England. Proud of you guys. How can we help?

Dad (Grandpa Jerry) said...

Wonderful plan -very exciting! Best wishes on the plans & their execution. A great way to create some bonding & memories.

Emily Carroll said...

this sounds so amazing!
if you end up in denver with spare time to wander, there is a lovely quilt shop my cousin and i found called holly's quilt cabin. its full of so many fabrics it is so great to just go and wander :)

Elder and Sister Alston said...

If you are going to Arizona, you MUST go to Sedona - it is amazing! A visit to the Grand Canyon is a got'a see as well. Although a visit to the giant crater outside of Flagstaff is fun, its too expensive.

The BaKeRs said...

Sounds like a ton of fun! If you are stopping at the Sacramento temple let me know :) Id love to go with you!