Summer Survival and PCS Tips Jun. 2014 - Page 28

theGRAND

Adventure

One family's method of traversing cross country, complete with four children, three pets, two vehicles, and one hell of a lot of memories!

Let me start out by saying, "We aren't crazy."

Well, I'm pretty sure that's true, anyway. For a Navy family, we've moved an awful lot, specifically over the past six years. From Monterey, CA, to Newport, RI, to Hampton Roads, VA, and now San Diego, CA, our family has hardly let the dust settle between moves. While I readily admit it's getting a bit ridiculous at this point, we've got moving cross-country down to a science. Between our pets, vehicles & towables,* and special needs children, modification is the name of our game.

*Oh, did I forget to mention our personal watercraft that we've towed behind us on every one of those moves? How silly of me.

You might be wondering how this circus caravan came to be our preferred mode of cross-country travel. Well, when we had just one child and one or two pets, life was decidedly less complex. We travelled the old fashioned way, staying at hotels and smuggling the cats & litterbox into rooms undercover. But as our family grew by leaps and bounds, we knew we had to make some changes.

While in Monterey, our family gained two beautiful sons. Life as we knew it was over. We would shortly realize that there were significant challenges and delays in their development. Eventually they would be diagnosed somewhere along the autism spectrum.

Like most children on the spectrum, our boys had definite struggles adapting to change. Our "fly by the seat of our pants" travel plans would have to change if we were going to be able to get everyone cross-country.

One of our family hobbies, prior to our boys, was camping. We just loved the closeness that it brought. There's something special about unplugging and disconnecting from electronica, sitting under the stars, and talking - really talking with each other - that seems to bring us close and reminds us how lucky we are to have each other.

And, so, we thought, let's buy a camper!

One of our meals while traveling cross-country. We were able to buy groceries and prepare food on our stove inside or grill outside during nice weather. This not only saved money, but also was a healthier option than eating out for a full week.

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