Open Road

Open Road

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Guilty.  I'm the one that hatched this crazy idea.  I'll be the one to either be celebrated or blamed at the end.  Frankly, right now it's 50/50 on which way it goes.  Maybe 70/30 is more realistic.  Which way?  Depends on the day.

It all started when...  Actually, there were a couple of events that precipitated this.  The first was the summer of 2005. The second was a decision by my firm to provide a sabbatical benefit.

Let me start with the summer of 2005.  I was in between my first and second year of business school, doing my internship at Hewlett-Packard in beautiful Palo Alto, CA.  The downside of the summer was that I left April and the kids back in Indiana.  The upside was that HP did an amazing job of building a community amongst the interns and I had an amazing summer.

My internship lasted ten weeks, and I used every weekend with my fellow interns to explore the Bay Area.  From visits to San Francisco; to weekends in Napa and Sonoma; to heading WAAAAY up to Redwoods National Forest; to multiple trips to Monterey, Big Sur, and Carmel; to the highlight of the summer - hiking in Yosemite.

At the end of the summer, I had a week to make the drive back to Indiana.  Over the course of the summer I had the opportunity to meet lots of people with lots of recommendations on what to see across this great country.  So, over the course of the week, I went back through Yosemite one last time; dropped down to Death Valley; up through Vegas; up to Bryce Canyon and Arches; over to Denver; over to Kansas City; down to St. Louis; and finally, across to Indiana.  Only hitting a small fraction of the recommendations everyone had given me.

It was the first time I was able to spend time driving across the country and I couldn't help but think how great it would be for April and the kids to be with me.  Every time I went to Yosemite, I thought how amazing it would be to bring my kids to the top of Half Dome.  Granted, my kids were two and four at the time - but, I knew with patience and time they would be ready to share the experience with me.

After b-school, I started consulting.  An amazing career choice, I get to work with best and brightest to design and build the future.  But, the work keeps me traveling from Monday to Thursday practically every week.  As amazing as the work is, over the past eight years I have missed every Boy Scout meeting, most dance practices, most parent/teacher conferences, and a majority of birthdays (not the parties, just the actual days).

So, a little more than two years ago when my firm implemented a sabbatical benefit, I started thinking - how can I make this amazing?  How can I use this time to reconnect with my family in a way that my kids will remember forever?  I pushed myself to come up with the craziest ideas I could imagine, and slowly this idea that combined all of these elements started to take shape.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Team Woods

Welcome to our Blog - Ten Weeks in a Tin Can.  Yes, our family is actually going to spend ten weeks traveling around the country this summer in a motor home that feels big now, but won't at the end.

With a focus on national parks, historical sites and excellent places to eat, we can only tackle part of our amazing country.  So, with respect given to New England and the mid-Atlantic states, we gotta skip ya.  Next time.  

You see, Jason (my dear husband) is the camping type.  He loves the outdoors.  Hiking, fishing, exploring, and doesn't mind a little dirt under his fingernails.  His dream has always been to show his family what a beautiful country we live in and to expose our children to the wonders of it all.  He had the opportunity to take a sabbatical this summer, so the dream of "Ten Weeks in a Tin Can" was put in motion.

The Mom, myself, April, enjoy trips to the beach, soaking up the sun on our boat, getting manicures and shopping.  I'm excited about this adventure, but know that I am stepping out of my comfort zone.  My early worries included where was I going to get my hair highlighted while we're gone.  Trust me, I'm not shallow and have gotten over that.  I'm an involved Mom, active in my children's schools and community.  I'm just going into this knowing that my patience will be tested, I will crave a hot shower and a little solitary time.  

Our children are the best.  Sorry, they are.  Our daughter Katie, will turn 12 on the trip.  She is right on the cusp of still enjoying our company, so we knew we could not put this off much longer.  Keeping in touch with her friends is of the utmost importance to her.  And we accept that.  This trip we hope to ADD to our children's understanding of life around them, not take them completely out of the life they enjoy.  Thank goodness for FaceTime and Skype.  

Our son, Jack, is ten and very interested in this trip.  Helping to select the motor home to purchase was important because he needed to know how many TVs would be on board.  He's a big history buff and has read more biographies than I can shake a stick at.  Technology buff that he is, we're making sure that his skills continue to grow while expanding his view of the world around him.  

Ultimately, this trip is about togetherness, family, providing opportunities, exploring new horizons while laughing all the way.  We'd love for you to join us on this adventure.  Put your seatbelt on - it promises to be a wild ride.