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Trip of a lifetime: Family embarks on year-long trip across the U.S.
Goal is to focus on family, experiences
christine WEB
Christine Roberts. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

Christine's tips for planning an RV trip across America

• Join “Good Sam RV Club” which is an organization geared toward life in the RV world. They offer roadside assistance, coupons for life on the road and tips for your RV experience.

• Watch YouTube videos about the RV life.

• Google and read the numerous blogs about others who have traveled across America with children.

• Think about the essentials you need to bring. It’s all about paring down and simplifying your life.

• Purchase clear, plastic bins and categorize everything in them — cleaning products, paper products, outdoor kitchen items, technology instruction manuals for the RV, etc.

• Download the app “RV Trip Wizard.” This allows you to input information about your trip and it tracks the budget, provides camping sites and details about the amenities at the site, and then allows you to book your reservation. The app also can be downloaded onto your GPS system and keeps you on roads that can accommodate the vehicles.

• Chronicle your trip — either by blogging or journaling, or both — these are memories you want to have forever.

About this article

This article was originally published in the November/December 2016 issue of M: North Atlanta, a publication of the Forsyth County News. To read the entire magazine, click here.

When I saw on Facebook a friend of mine and her husband sold their beautiful home and many of their belongings and were embarking on a year-long trip across America with their two children, I thought it was some sort of a joke. I sent her a message and the next day she called me to share her story.

Christine Roberts and her husband, Mark, have wonderful jobs, a gorgeous home, luxury cars and two amazing children. By any standard you would think they are living the American dream and most people would give anything to have their lives.

Roberts said about four years ago she was in California on a business trip and she met a couple who had traveled the U.S. in an RV.

The wife had been very ill and things looked grim. Her final wish was to travel the country with her husband and two young children.

“Fortunately, her health turned around and they shared with me that it was the most amazing experience for their marriage and their family. I thought to myself, that would be something I’d love to do when our children are 12 and 10 years old,” she said.

Well, sure, I thought, that sounds like a fun thing to do — but who is really going to do that? Roberts and her family, that’s who.

She said that around that same time, she and her husband attended a marriage enrichment event at their church. The opening video showed a couple on a boat out in the middle of the ocean. They were going scuba diving. They dropped anchor, went over the side and were exploring, the next thing they knew they didn’t see the anchor.

In a state of panic they swam to the top only to find their boat so far away, the undercurrent had carried them away without them realizing it.

“The metaphor really struck me that in our everyday lives we can be swept away by the cultural current of busyness and lose sight of the ‘anchor,’ of what is really important … relationships, faith, connection, nature, joy, peace, etc…” She told me that while their lives look picture perfect, crazy work schedules, coupled with children who had their own numerous activities took its toll on her.

“This past summer I found myself feeling completely overwhelmed, between, negative bandwidth, running from activity to activity, traveling, trying to figure out what’s for dinner, and all the responsibilities of life. I felt burnt out, joyless and did not feel peace. I looked at our children and couldn’t believe they were already 12 and 10 years old, where had the time gone?” she said.

“The final straw was reading an article about peope in hospice who had been interviewed. The question was, ‘if you could live your life over again, what would you do different?’

What was interesting is that regret was frequently about what people didn’t do. That was it. That was the clincher. The convergence of the RV trip idea, the marriage event we attended and this was it.”

She went to her husband and told him about her idea of traveling across America. I went to my husband and shared with him the idea of
traveling America with our children.

“I think he thought I was joking, or just losing it — he was not on board initially.”

Because her husband is a data guy, she cleverly created a spreadsheet with a project plan, resources, etc.

“This was probably my biggest ‘sales job’ ever,” laughed Roberts. Pretty soon, Mark was on board with the trip. The couple thought about renting their home for a year, but the thought of possible problems helped them decide to truly purge. They sold their home in three days and sold or gave away most of their possessions.

“It’s so freeing to pare down — it’s hard to explain, but the more you do it, the easier it gets — our goal is to focus on family and experiences for 2017.”

Roberts said their two children, Carson and Kennedy, are enrolled in K-12 Georgia Cyber Academy School, so they are able to keep up with
their classes while on the adventure. Amazingly, Christine and her husband will be able to continuing their jobs, working remotely.

“We’ve joined Good Sam, which is an organization geared toward the RV world, have read blogs, watched YouTube videos, gone to RV show, etc. The RV world is growing tremendously due to the fact that if you have internet, lots of folks can work on the road. It is not only for retired people anymore, there are more and more families taking off on this type of adventure.”

I am so happy for her and her family and cannot wait to follow along with their journey at