To Inspire in My Children…

What I hope traveling as youths will instill in my boys as they grow into young men.

three boys hiking with their mama

By

I am the father of three truly beautiful boys. While all three are good looking in the physical sense, a testament I suppose to their mothers, they each shine in their own way more so for their personalities than anything one can record with a photograph.

Travel has become a major part of my life. Believe it or not, though, I never really had much of an urge to adventure before my oldest son, Tristan, was born. I grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, went to the city for college, and sort of imagined I’d move home and find work and live out my days. It was only after he came into my life that I began to realize how limited I would be for the rest of my days, or at least while he was a boy under my roof. I suppose the fact that, at least the way I saw it, I could never travel now and since I wasn’t able to do it, I wanted it all the more.

I began going on roadtrips, my first cross-country in 2004, and was immediately hooked. Life progressed and I realized that Tristan, or any amount of children, didn’t have to mean that travel was out of the picture. Raising children on the road, I believe, is every bit as good, if not significantly better, than doing so in a solitary location.

a young man peers out through the window of a volkswagen bus
Tristan David, 11 years old, stares out from the window of our VW Bus.

What I Hope Traveling Gives my Children

Further, the typical arguments–children need structure, they need friendships that last longer than a few weeks, connections to extended family are weakened, homeschooling doesn’t work–have simply proven to fall short over the course of our life. Tristan has been on the road, traveling from state to state since he was in first grade, nearly half of his life. He is an incredibly social kid who can make friends with nearly anyone in less time than it takes most of us to work up the nerve to talk to a stranger in line at the grocery store. Friendships are not always required to involve physical contact; indeed most of my best friends live nowhere near me, and I only knew them for a short time initially in person. Now we keep in touch over email or occasional phone calls and anytime we’re near one another we make a point to spend oodles of time together. As for homeschooling not working, again, Tristan has gone to public school for the past year while we were pregnant with our latest child, at his request, and he’s been an all A’s student, even without the traditional early years of learning in the hallowed halls of our “get ’em ready for the factory” outdated mode of learnin’.

a young boy photographs a waterfall
Tristan photographs Catawbah Falls in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, just before climbing it.
a toddler with wild hair grimaces on a beach
Winter Erik surveys the sands of Florida’s beaches.
a baby dressed primarily in sepia tone sits on a couch
Our youngest, Wylder Reisen, will hit the road with us come Spring.