If you’re reading this, it means you’re either our mothers (trying to keep up with their grand-babies)…or have randomly stumbled onto our website while searching Google for something pertaining to exploring America’s National Parks with children.
I’m Matthew, and when I’m not writing this web-log, I’m an officer in the US Navy.
My wife Jen is a teacher and though she wasn’t all that excited to date me in the first place, we’ve been married now for nine years.
Together we have three daughters. Ainsley (5), Clarke (2), and Norah (1).
Like you, we heard the confident, well-intentioned refrains: “You’ll have to slow down once you have a family.” “Better get that out of your system now…you won’t be able to do as much when you have children.” On and on they went.
Wise people shared these insights. I believed ’em to a certain extent but, as wise as their warnings may have been, the global force for good we all call the US Navy had other plans. In nine years, Jen and I have lived in as many places. Both coasts in The States, abroad in Spain; we’re just barely stable enough to avoid claiming “nomadic status” on our federal tax returns.
You’d be right to assume we’ve seen some challenges along the way. It ain’t easy to grow a family when you can literally feel the soil shifting beneath your feet…But dammit; we wouldn’t trade our journey for the world.
You don’t know how proud you are to be of the American Tribe until you spend some time outside looking in. You don’t know how grateful you are for family until you’ve spent one too many days away. You don’t know what home really means until you find yourself in the most bizarre reaches of our globe, only to feel like it’s your old backyard because the people you love are with you hand-in-hand.
You discover that the surf bums and the Eddie Vedders and the ski bums and the Voltaires were right all along: “You must cultivate your garden.” You have to! But they didn’t say a damn thing about your garden staying in one immoveable and lonely corner of the globe.
So though we’ve made what we think is our LAST move with the US Navy, there is still so much to see. So many ideas to have, prejudices to shatter, and creation to explore.
We’re starting our next adventure or as our friends call it, “…stealing a little retirement early.” We’d love to have you come along as we journey through all 59 National Parks and 117 National Monuments in this beautiful country of ours. To see all 176 of ’em as fast as we can and as clearly as we can…through our children’s eyes.
We’re writing this because we hope to inspire someone to do the same. To punch resistance in the face and take those deserving kids into the great wide open!
John Muir, a personal hero and iconoclast unto himself in the “naturalist” movement once said, “Most people are on the world…not in it.”
To hell with riding along…
We’ll see you inside,
Matthew & Jen