Choosing This Moment: On the Road Edition (and an Important Announcement!)

Seven days ago, Jonathan and I did something that either makes us adventurous or crazy or both, depending on how you see things:

We loaded our three small children into our not-as-big-as-it-once-seemed SUV, hitched up our 145-square-foot travel trailer, and set off on a six-week cross-country journey.

I’m inclined to say we’re adventurous, and fun-loving, and eager to build relationships and memories as a family. But I suppose I can’t disagree too strongly if you want to call us crazy, too.

That’s up to you.

This may tip the scales more toward the crazy in your book. (Then again, maybe not.)

Pay attention, now. This is important, and it merits far more than a side note in a post on another topic. But, well, writing has (yet again) fallen off of my priority list as of late. I’ve had a lot on my plate, what with simultaneously planning for a long trip, raising and schooling small children, and growing a brand new tiny human.

(Did you catch that last line? If not, go back and read it again.)

When I said we loaded three small children into our SUV, I really should have said we loaded four.

We’re thrilled to announce a new baby Palmer, who will be born sometime in late November or early December.

As we were planning and preparing for this trip, sandwiched in between the excitement and the anticipation, I had my moments of doubt.

What were we getting ourselves into, exactly? Were we biting off more than we could chew? Did I have it in me to be a good mom, a good wife, a good person for weeks on the road?

(Answers: We had – and have – no idea. Yes, almost certainly. No, but I do not have it in me to be those things at home, either.)

You know what helped me overcome those moments, helped me to move forward and anticipate the future with hope and excitement?

The example and encouragement of those who had gone before me.

(And prayer. Lots of prayer.)

I spoke with and learned from friends and family who had taken – and loved – similar trips in the past. I joined online groups for people who traveled with young children, for people who owned travel trailers, for people who towed with SUVs. I sought out the voices that said the joys of experiencing the world in this way more than outweighed the challenges.

And I believed them.

My pregnancy added another dimension of uncertainty to this trip. How would I weather my exhaustion, my nausea, my expanding midsection, from the road?

(Answer: Just as I handle all of life. One day, one hour, or – when necessary – one second at a time.)

But then I talked to a good friend who took a similar trip a few years ago, when she was pregnant with her youngest, and she told me how glad she was to have gone, and how much she was hoping to do it again in the future.

And when we stopped for lunch on our fifth day, we met a couple who are exploring southern Utah in their Jeep with their four-year-old son. They’re off-roading and adventuring and having a ball camping in their rooftop tent. She’s seven months pregnant.

And on our sixth day, we camped next to a family of four who had just started a trip of their own. Their oldest child informed me, quite proudly, that he was going to have a new brother or sister in October.

And in my own mind, the needle between crazy and adventurous shifted back toward the positive.

We are social creatures. We were created to be in community. To learn from each other. To listen to each other’s stories. To draw wisdom and encouragement and hope from each other.

I’ve used a lot of words here to tell you that we’re traveling, to tell you that we’re growing our family. Stay tuned: I hope to continue to share stories and memories along the way (albeit a bit delayed – I’m already a week behind! Blame it on that first-trimester exhaustion.)

More than that, though, I hope to offer encouragement. To affirm that all these things – travel, adventure, memories, family, relationship, new life – are beautiful and good and worth pursuing. To be a voice that says the joys of experiencing this world outweigh the challenges.

We’re taking a long cross-country trip with small children. We’re adding a fourth child to our family.

In some people’s minds, both of these things make us crazy. And perhaps they’re right. I can’t deny that I sometimes wonder what we’ve gotten ourselves into.

But on my good days?

On my good days, the word I choose is adventurous.

20 response to "Choosing This Moment: On the Road Edition (and an Important Announcement!)"

  1. By: Marcia Posted: May 16, 2021

    Congratulations! It sounds better than a covered wagon ?

    • By: Jenn Posted: May 18, 2021

      Oh my goodness, yes! We’ve been reading the Little House books this year, and the things the pioneers endured … it’s hard to imagine.

  2. By: Rebecca Posted: May 16, 2021

    We have been called crazy more than once! We’ve done 2 weeks several times, but ooh, I wish we had a 6-week in the books! We did 2 weeks on the road for our baby moon when I was pregnant with Oliver; I got morning sickness hiking Grand Canyon and Zion while pregnant with Sebastian; we’ve done the Glacier wall hike with a toddler and the Virgin River with a 4yo and Sentinel Dome in Yosemite with an 8 and 3yo. You got this! Go make some memories!

    • By: Jenn Posted: May 18, 2021

      Love this! Thank you, Rebecca! Adventurers of the world, unite. 🙂

  3. By: Stephanie Christofi Posted: May 17, 2021

    Yaaaaay!!!!! Congrats! And I admire your adventurous spirit! You got this!

    • By: Jenn Posted: May 18, 2021

      Thank you, Stephie! 😀

  4. By: Kathie Posted: May 17, 2021

    I’m so happy that you are on this adventure! AND I’m delighted that there is another little Palmer along for the ride! Excellent parents cause their friends to rejoice when their families grow. May God bless you with an Amazing Adventure! ?

    • By: Jenn Posted: May 18, 2021

      You are too kind, Kathie! Thank you.

  5. By: Susan Wendy Karen Posted: May 17, 2021

    So exciting! Thank you for sharing this adventure called life.

    • By: Jenn Posted: May 18, 2021

      Thank you for reading!

  6. By: Jane Smith Posted: May 17, 2021

    Congratulations Palmer family. We’re so happy to hear about your new addition and an adventurous vacation. Send pictures and narratives!

    • By: Jenn Posted: May 18, 2021

      Thank you, Jane! Stay tuned … I’m going to try to keep updating the blog as we go!

  7. By: Jamie Posted: May 17, 2021

    Congratulations Jenn! So exciting to have another baby on the way. And the adventure sounds wonderful! My parents did a four week road trip from NJ to the Grand Canyon with my three older siblings (13, 12, and 9), me (21 months), and my mom 5 months pregnant with my younger sister. I was too young to remember but my parents and siblings have so many memories and the stories are family canon. Have a great time and if you get all the way east, let us know!

    • By: Jenn Posted: May 18, 2021

      Thank you, Jamie! It’s so encouraging to hear all of the positive stories of other adventures. I wish we were going to make it that far east but, alas, not this trip.

  8. By: Amber Vanderpol Posted: May 17, 2021

    Congratulations! I think it is wonderful that you are taking this trip and even more wonderful that you are expecting a new little one. I hope you’ll be able to post more about the trip… but I completely understand if you don’t! I hope your travels are as smooth as possible and that you all have a great trip.

    • By: Jenn Posted: May 18, 2021

      Thank you so much, Amber. We’re excited about the trip, and even more excited about the new addition to our family. 🙂 I’m hoping to update as we go.

  9. By: Cissy Posted: May 17, 2021

    I love your news – the adventure and the new little Palmer! Enjoy this time with your expanding family and have an amazing journey! ❤️

    • By: Jenn Posted: May 18, 2021

      Yay! Thank you, Cissy. Love to you and Jerry.

  10. By: Bill McQuerry Posted: May 18, 2021

    Congrats and congrats. See? I think you’re two for two! I’ve always regretted not driving across the US when we had a 7-passenger van and our kids were young. You’re living intentional lives, and it’s a good fit on y’all!

    • By: Jenn Posted: May 18, 2021

      Thank you, Bill! Grateful for your kind words.

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