“It’s a long road before us – and its a hard road indeed. But darling I swear I’ll get us there – wherever the trail may lead.” Tim McGraw
It began with the statement: “And then we drove away” and trippinwithsteveandlisa.com was born. Now I am writing our 100th blog describing our travels and experiences over the last year. And what a year it has been. I retired, we began traveling with Lisa’s job with stops in Hanover Pa., Loma Linda, Ca. and Kingman, Az. and along the way became grandparents. Yes – this has definitely been an eventful year. From Gettysburg to the Grand Canyon our travels have given us a lifetime of experiences that we have attempted to chronicle with this blog site. We are honored that people have faithfully read about our adventures and, we hope, have enjoyed the journey along with us.
I’m not sure what I expected when we began blogging on June 30, 2012. I do remember we were still at the “Altland House” in Abbottstown Pa. waiting for our RV to be readied when I typed out that first blog. It is hard to believe I have managed to hammer out 99 more since then. Reaching 100 is more a testament to the encouragement I have received from faithful readers than my writing endurance. Writing is not always an easy thing. I often struggled to find things to write about and sat for hours trying to create a single post only to delete the entire thing and begin again. Other times the writing came quickly as the stories and experiences generated in our travels poured out on the pages with ease. The “Tarantula Story” (7/13/13) was written less than an hour after it happened while other stories idled in my mind for weeks.
Our kids have teased us about the name, “trippin with steve and lisa”. To them it sounds like a couple of hippies in Colorado – living “high” – high on some mountaintop. I don’t know why that name was chosen – but trust us – we are not “high” on anything. It is hard enough to keep up with our lives now without the aid of the wacky weed. We are high on life – man!
To date over 7,000 hits have been recorded on this little blog site and though that is small compared to some – I am overwhelmed by people who stop by and catch up with our lives. Some have commented that they live their lives vicariously through ours and dream of being able to travel in their future. I hope we have inspired people to live out their dreams. It has also been interesting hearing from people who do not know us personally – but happened upon our blog and visit regularly. Traveling with Lisa’s job has been something we have dreamed of doing for years and God has granted us a wonderful opportunity to live out that dream. Because of that we feel compelled to share our experiences with others.
Writing has helped me in many ways. It has been good to have a record of the events in our lives and I hope my children and grandchildren will someday enjoy reading these stories. Furthermore as I get older I find it harder and harder to remember certain events in my life and this has allowed me to go back and relive moments I would have otherwise forgotten. It’s tough getting old. But mainly this blog has forced me to keep writing – something I have a passion for and although may never be paid for anything I write, I want to improve as a writer and storyteller. And who knows? – there may be writing opportunities for me somewhere down the road.
Of the one hundred posts archived here – some stand out more for me than others. One of my favorite posts was the second one called “GPS or God’s Positioning System” and it told about how our navigational system directed us to the wrong church in Hanover one Sunday in June 2012. Our plan was to attend the First Baptist Church of Hanover but our GPS directed us to the Nazarene church instead. We did not realize our mistake until the service was well underway. But, we loved the little Nazarene church so much – we decided it must have been God’s plan for us to be there – so we continued to attend having never made it to the Baptist church. Other posts included our stay in Gettysburg which inspired me to write numerous posts about the historic battlefield. One favorite was, “A New Birth of Freedom” (8/30/12), which described the location of Lincoln’s famous “Gettysburg Address”. Others detailed my observations of the battlefield and its famous monuments.
While in Pennsylvania Lisa spent a weekend in New York City and her trip resulted in my writing “Lisa and the Big Apple” (10/9/12) and it turned out being one of her favorites. Another favorite of ours was written after returning home in March 2013 from our four-month stay in Loma Linda. It was at home I wrote “God’s Perfect Timing” which described our arriving home just hours before our daughter, Heather, went into labor with Conner Jack.
One of the most popular posts of our readers was a self-deprecating description of my experience trying to repair a leak in our RV bathroom. Many posts involved stories of living in our RV but none funnier perhaps than one titled “Knots on My Noggin” (7/24/12). The story is about getting my head stuck in the tight spaces of our bathroom and how I manage to bang my head on anything and everything. Many readers responded that it was their favorite.
My stories are often about people we meet. I wrote about ‘John’ in Hanover who I met while shooting basketball in his neighborhood near the hospital where Lisa worked. John was taking care of his wife and mother-in-law both of whom suffered from Alzheimer’s. He was carrying a heavy cross and I think about John often and hope to visit him again someday.
In October 2012 Lisa’s parents visited us in Gettysburg and during that visit we came upon a little Amish food stand where we met a little eight year old boy and his unforgettable older sister. They sold “Whoopie Pies” and other homemade items as part of their family income. In that blog (10/15/12) I described her telling of their newborn sibling who was born premature – but, (thankfully) slowly gaining weight and strength. Her words, “Every once counts”, will stick with me forever as will the wisdom of that remarkable middle school aged girl.
On average most of our posts are read by forty to sixty people. Some have been read by nearly one hundred or more. Without a doubt the most read blog was “A Painful Day and a Future Glory” (7/26/13) telling the story of my late brother, Gary. In a twenty-four hour period that post was viewed over five hundred times. I thought his story was worth the telling although it was one of the most painful for me to write. I knew it would have powerful impact and hoped it would be read by many. Knowing it was read by more people than anything else posted on our blog was personally satisfying.
Writing is a vulnerable business. I put my heart into all I write and have had my share of random and anonymous criticism. Criticism is not easy to digest – but it has made me a better writer. If something written made people laugh or think or cry or feel something – it will have been worth the struggle.
So Lisa and I will keep writing and telling our little stories for as long as God allows. Thank you readers for following our blog and “trippin” with us! We hope you will stick around a while longer. After Kingman, Arizona we have no way of knowing where we will be next. But you are invited to join us – wherever the trail may lead.
Steve and Lisa