There’s No Place Like Home – Looking Back and Looking Forward

Reflections by Angie

One month after our return we are nestled back into life as we know it in Knoxville. There were many blessings awaiting us upon our return- treasured friends & family, Mac(our dog), a warm home with separate bedrooms, unpacked suitcases, our community of faith at St. John’s, school and work. We have talked often about how the magnificent trip feels both recent and far away.

I have been profoundly changed in 2011. The transplant and the realization of this trip (a five year dream come true) have been the primary change agents in my journey. I have acquired an inner peace I did not know before. I have developed and am committed to a self development plan anchored in healthy body, mind & spirit rituals. New passions have been lit within and through intentional prayer I am awaiting the guidance to bring them to life.

There are so many people to thank for their contributions in making our dream a reality. Nature’s Way Montessori (for working with us to create a learning plan while “on the road”), Project GRAD Knoxville and Knox County Schools for granting my leave of absence, co-workers for covering my “shifts” with absolute commitment and professionalism, spirit-filled “send-offs” and “welcome back parties” with homemade cookies, dog and house sitters extraordinaire(thank you Liza, Amber, Amy & Karen) and last but not least – all of you for your prayers and support along our path!

We have been thinking about some of the lessons learned through our journey. I am confident those lessons will continue to blossom and develop as we carry this very special time of our lives with us everywhere! A few I offer you are;

*Dream big but be willing to modify your dream to give it wings! Our original dream was to travel for a year. If we had stuck to that dream the Green Lantern would still be under 200,000 miles. Adjusting our time frame brought the dream to reality.

*Pack light. Really. I mean it! I am notorious for over packing – whether it’s a weekend trip to Birmingham or a week at the beach. The amount of stuff we took was absolutely crazy! Loading and unloading it in 35 different cities gave me a new appreciation for less is more. Pack for your trip and then remove 1/2 of it!

*Don’t take your washer and dryer for granted. We encountered too many that don’t live with the gift of cleanliness. The negative energy I sometimes carried with me as I traveled downstairs to do laundry has been replaced with an appreciation for that convenience in our lives. Coin laundries just aren’t that special. Examine what you think about in a negative “have to” way and reframe your thoughts- embrace them as “get to” experiences and appreciate them for the hidden blessings they carry with them.

*Be intentional in reaching out to others – everywhere you go!  We both shared and received blessings through the people we encountered along the way. We all have needs. We all have gifts to offer. We really are a connected group of brothers and sisters.

*God’s creation is amazing, detailed and inspiring! Whether you are on a trip to a new land or in your own backyard – be mindful and grateful for the miraculous beauty all around you!

I am so grateful and blessed! I am excited to explore the ways we can help other families achieve their dreams.

Stay tuned!

Reflections by Beck

First off, I am happy to be back in the sense that we are with family and friends again. But I am also sad because the trip is over.  You have to imagine that we met many people on our trip and you have to understand that people are what they are. Definitely another thing picked up on this trip – love your life for every moment is beautiful.

Travel (a poem by Beck)

Travel is wonderful

Near or far

Beauty of nature

Bustle of city

Travel is wonderful

As one

The butterfly that flies

The human that walks

Travel is wonderful

In love




Reflections by Griffin

I learned a lot on this trip. I enjoyed the entire experience and all the memories that will stay with us. A few things I learned are:

  • Live in the moment
  • How to pack for two months into one suitcase
  • That our family has great taste in music
  • And that this is a very, very big country.

Just the whole adventure was really something to smile about. It is hard to put it into words. It still feels surreal to me. But at the same time I know it is very real. And I won’t ever forget that.


Reflections by Scott

As we pulled out of Angie’s parents’ driveway in Birmingham and headed toward Knoxville on September 15 a bittersweet feeling that our “grand adventure” was coming to a close became reality.  Everyone was happy at the prospect of getting back home to our own house and our “normal” life, which is anything but normal with all the blessings in our lives. But there was also a feeling of sadness knowing that the trip of a lifetime covering over 9300 miles, 22 states , 70 days and numerous experiences and lessons learned would be ending as quickly as it began on July 7th, when we left our driveway for our first stop in St. Louis. Lucky for us all our planning worked out great and our van the “Green Lantern” did not give us a bit of trouble, as we traveled the highways and byways of this big, bold beautiful country.

After being back home for a month, the kids are back in a routine, Angie is back hard at work and I am in search of my next opportunity and the trip seems in some ways close but yet faraway. We all learned a great deal about ourselves, each other and the United States of America while on our “wanderlust” and here are a few of my thoughts;

  • Most hotel chains need to spend a little more on toilet paper
  • My wife really does not like bears, bats or snakes
  • Orange barrels and “Caution road work ahead” are not just native to Tennessee but exist all over the country
  • The Western states are full of Subarus, coffee shops and casinos

But Seriously,

  • People are the same all over they just want to be treated with respect and courtesy
  • America is beautiful with glorious vistas and huge areas of undeveloped land
  • Unfortunately there are major areas of need in the U.S.
  • Every day is a brand new day so enjoy it
  • The long term effects, blessings and lessons of this trip will be far reaching and are unrealized at this point
  • Dream big for even the fool knows you cannot touch the stars but that does not keep the wise man from trying

I could go on and maybe I will at some point but for now let me just say a word of thanks to all who supported our dream with their time, talents and prayers. Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing us this “odyssey”.