Eric and I are kinda crazy. Lots of people think so.
We aren’t crazy ALL the time. Just in the summer, when it is time to travel. And maybe in the springtime, when we start to plan our travel. We do things that no one in their right mind would ever think of doing. I promise, we don’t try to be crazy. It just sort of happens.
It all started when the kids were little (really little) and we took them all to Hawaii. Seriously, who takes three kids aged 5, 3 and 11 months, to Hawaii? We do. And guess what? It all turned out really well. We had an amazing time. Which just got us going.
Another time we flew to Denver and decided to rent a 31 foot RV and camp in the Rocky Mountains for ten days. The fact that I had never been camping for more than one night didn’t stop us. Neither did the fact that Eric had never, ever driven an RV before. Why not drive (and back up) a 31 foot RV at 15,000 feet? I mean, how bad can it be? It wasn’t bad at all. We perfected the art of praying while driving with our eyes wide open and had one of our best family vacations EVER. And I only showered three times in eleven days. Can you believe that? I can’t.
Last year, we decided to take 18 days and drive 4500 miles across the Western US, ending up in San Diego, where we joined a group from Amor (a ministry based there). We then drove into Tijuana to build a house for a young family in need. It was a life changing, truly remarkable experience.
At the end of the trip, we arrived in Dallas at my parents’ house and the kids were full of excitement. Eric and I listened carefully and you know what we heard? Clayton, Austen and Gracyn had spent the last 18 days going to Carlsbad Caverns, traipsing through Roswell, New Mexico, exploring the Petrified Forest National Park, taking a train to the Grand Canyon, spending several days at Disneyland, meeting the animals at the San Diego Zoo and playing in Legoland. Guess what they told my parents? “We went to Mexico and WE BUILT A HOUSE!” That’s all they wanted to talk about. Gracyn asked Eric the second we stepped back on the bus to head back to the US, “Daddy, can we come back next year?” Of course, the answer was yes.
So, this year, part of our trip was planned. But part of it wasn’t. Because guess what the Dunavants don’t like to do? The same thing twice! Elements can be the same (building the house, going to Disneyland) but not the WHOLE thing. What to do? We pondered and thought and googled and thought and explored airfare (because I was not driving again!) and thought. Finally we landed on our plan. A crazy plan. That probably no one has ever done before. But you know what? That’s us.
We decided to fly to Canada. Why? Because when Eric and I were engaged we used to look longingly at the pictures of the Fairmont Banff Spring Hotel as a possible glorious winter honeymoon destination. But we didn’t go on a honeymoon. So, quite obviously, we should take our three children to Banff approximately 17 years later in the middle of the summer. I promise, it was logical to us. It was fabulous. And there was lots of driving (I didn’t really expect that). It was so amazingly beautiful that after a while, you became a little immune to the gloriousness of it all. But we hiked, we sailed, we traipsed across a glacier, we ordered deli meat in grams at the grocery and saw the most beautful, powerful, amazing waterfalls that moved me completely.
From there, we hopped on a plane to California to spend 27 hours at Disneyland over two days (we love Disney) and spend time playing in the moody waves of the Pacific.
And then, it was off to Mexico. Which, oddly enough, was the highlight of our trip. We had been working toward this goal for nearly 20 days (yes, 20 days–I told you we were crazy). After all the sightseeing, flying, swimming, boogie boarding and exploring, we were getting to our grand finale–serving.
I kind of wondered what this year would be like. Would we have that same feeling again? Would it feel old and tired? Would we miss the exciting, exhilirating emotions?
It was like we had never left. The tents were there, but this time we had packed smarter. The row of outhouses was still there, but this time it wasn’t quite so bad to have no plumbing.
We had a new family. The young family from last year had been replaced by a family matriarch who asked for a home to be built on her property for her daughter, who was in school. Ermalinda was a solemn woman who never failed to smile when she saw Gracyn hopping and skipping around the build site. She was eager to share her homemade popsicles with the hot, thirsty workers and cried and prayed through the moving key ceremony. You see, it was all the same and all very different but a completely amazing experience once again.
Tijuana is dusty and dirty. It is not a possible honeymoon destination. It is not a place that you “tour” and I wouldn’t suggest exploring it on your own. That being said, it is a remarkable place to experience, to serve and to savor. . . year after year.
This blog is written by Angel Dunavant and Angel Dunavant is independent of LPL Financial. The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.