Go West, Pigeon!

“What had seemed a wonderful idea –une grande aventure, as my friends put it- began to feel like an ill-conceived fantasy that should have provided fifteen minutes of amusement before being discarded.”

~Alice Steinbach, Without Reservations

The above quote, from my absolute favorite travel memoir, is the perfect description for how I feel right at this moment.  In less than two weeks my family is setting off on our very own une grande aventure -and I have reached the point where I am officially certain this was the worst possible idea ever.  The long winter days entertaining the fantasy of cross-country travel, exploring each region with enthusiasm and wonder, has given way to visions of disaster at every turn.  My nightmare version makes Clark Griswold’s trek to Walley World look like a dream vacation.

However, despite my nerves and last minute anxiety fueled regret, we are actually going to visit 24 states across the U.S.A.   I’m nothing if not a planner.  We have reservations, tickets, meal ideas.   We have packing lists, travel companions, and an endless supply of hard copy and audio books.  We’ve paid the bills, hired the lawn boy, and found loving dogsitters.  I’ve covered everything – I think.  And still I feel extremely unprepared for this leap into such a long vacation with so many unknowns.

In order to keep a handle on this trip and my insanity I’ve done two things – look to others who have tackled extended travel and read books.   I keep referring back to a post from January, 2015 – Of Phileas Fogg and other world travelers – which highlights the amazing travel adventures of several families.   When I feel a panic attack about to strike I grab my copy of 360 Degrees Longitude or log on to Taking On The World and find comfort in those that have gone before me – and on a much grander scale.  Through their stories I am reminded of the reasons we are taking this adventure – and comforted that, although challenges will find their way into our carefully planned itinerary, when they arise we will handle it.  That’s my story, and for now I’m sticking to it.  From the mountains to the prairie, to the oceans…..we are doing this.   Check out the next post for the books we are all reading, how each of my children intend to chronicle this adventure, and check back to follow us on the Pigeon’s Cross-Country Journal page.


Filed under cross country, RV travel, travel, United States

2 Responses to Go West, Pigeon!

  1. Enjoy! Safe travels! When I was 12, we packed up the family and Grandma Blanch, (10 people in a van with a pop up camper!), and went on a month long camping trip across the US. Your children will remember it for the rest of their lives! They are old enough to appreciate it, and maybe, like I did, 40 years later, they will go back and revisit some of the highlights with their families.
    My Dad, never one to let a learning opportunity pass us by, had Robert and I write to the Chamber of Commerce, in each state before we planned our route. He had us ask them one question.
    “If you only had three days to visit your state, where would you go?”.
    Based upon their replies (and wasn’t it exciting to get mail addressed to you, from out of state, as a child!), we planned our trip, making sure it included stopping in to visit long distance relatives as we went.
    You will be in awe at the sights you are about to see! Wish I was tagging along!!
    Enjoy, breathe and just take in the beauty of our country as you go!
    If things start to go, not as planned….
    Just think to yourself, Aunt Sue, Uncle Bob, and Great Gram did a similar trip with SEVEN children, ages 4-12! I got this!!
    Have fun! What an adventure you have before you!!

    • paperbackpigeon@gmail.com

      Thank you so much for the good wishes – and putting it all in perspective! So far we are having a great trip – not without its ups and downs – but cherishing every minute! We too did this trip when I was 12 – and my mom did research through the chamber of commerce. How great it is to have wifi at each campsite and tripadvisor and yelp, not to mention mapquest! Feeling lucky and blessed.

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