November 17, 2016

Celebrating Our Travels!

Traveling the country is a big deal and we know it. We have no real timeline and no end date. We do know that at some point we will stop for these kiddos and possibly our sanity. That being said, we want to be sure we are celebrating our travels as we go. We aren't talking about going to a gift shop in every place and buying something. Trust me we've had to tell the kids we cannot do that (and yet they still ask at every store): 1. we'd go broke and 2. we don't have room for the stuff.

All that being said, I had to come up with ways on the cheap to celebrate what we are doing. Of course we got the kids involved. Here are my Top 5 Ways to Celebrate Your Travels:

1. Postcards- Niko came up with the original thought of collecting postcards in every state we visited. Loved the idea! However, after stopping at 5 different places in both Michigan and Indiana with no luck of finding postcards that idea fizzled and Plan B came to life. I ended up purchasing some vintage-looking postcards on Amazon for $18. I got a ton of $1.50 frames from Ikea and there you go! Every time we hit a new state a postcard goes up (with a command strip, of course). It's become sort of a ritual. "Mommy! Did you put up the postcard yet?!"

Our walls are going to be covered by the end of this adventure!

2. Our Big Adventure Map- So this was our big splurge and definitely doesn't fall in the cheap category. I found a pinnable map on etsy that I knew was a must! As soon as we got it we (as in Niko) feverishly put all of the pins in from before our big adventure began in white. We use all the other color pins for Our Big Adventure locations. Niko tends to get carried away and has tried to put pins in places we've only driven through. Uh no. The rule is we can only put a pin in if we've actually spent time in that place. The map is even labeled with National Parks, Monuments and such so it allows us to put more pins in and that is always fun!

3. Collections- When in Tennessee after we picked up the RV we were exploring the Little River in Townsend, TN and Reno found a rock that was shaped just like the state of TN. That's when we came up with the idea to collect something, anything from each state. We got the RV in Michigan, a cork in Indiana (Cedar Creek Winery/Brewery), the rock in TN, a not-so-great time in GA and well the list goes on. We'll definitely have to lay out all we've collected here soon but we are making a conscious effort to think about what we'll have from each stop. Again, this does prove challenging when the boys first thought is just to buy something at a gift shop. Nope. I'm not that kind of collector. I want us to find unique, memorable items that we find while exploring or something along those lines. 

4. Badges- As I've mentioned before, we are basing much of our trip around National Parks. That means the kids are exposed to the Junior Ranger programs that each of them offer. Upon completion of a series of activities in a workbook the kids become "Junior Rangers" and get a patch, button or badge. They started putting the badges on the curtains in their bunk and have already collected quite a few. If you ask the boys they'd rather not do the workbooks but they really do enjoy getting the badges. I've even been able to incorporate it into their schooling. That's what I call a win-win right there!

This is the bad mama jama of badges! Not all of the parks have it and it's made of wood. High class stuff! All the others are made of plastic.

5. Journals- Every week on Friday we have the kids write in their journals. I encourage them to write about what they are seeing and what they are feeling. They tend to write things like, 'we went to the canyon.' I try to get them to dive a bit deeper into what is going on around us and to write about what things that stand out in their minds: sights, sounds, smells. I'm just glad it will be something they will have forever to look back on. I thought about doing my own journal and then realized THIS is my journal.

Luckily, all of the above items are small enough that we don't feel like we are just re-collecting a bunch of stuff (right after downsizing). They do, however, have a big enough impact to make us feel like we are doing something meaningful to remember all of the states on Our Big Adventure.

We've also incorporated travel, family and a homage to our "home" states in decorating the RV. We've got state pictures (DC, VA and FL), a couple of my mom's amazing paintings, travel pillows with each of the kids names (who knew that Nikko, Japan and Cayenne, French Guiana are actual places) that sit on their beds and posters to inspire. Pics below:

Check out

Another painting by my Mom. 


Cayenne had to hop in!
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  1. Absolutely LOVE this and being able to follow y'all!

    1. Thank you, Amanda Brown! I loved seeing your adventures, too! Costa Rica, babay!