Gulfoss. Finding peace
Kids,  roadtrip,  USA

Finding peace as a family

My husband was driving on highway 1, we had to be on time at San Francisco airport to catch our flight home. Home being Utrecht in The Netherlands. Far away from the beach and rolling waves I was seeing out of our car window. Yuri was asking why we had to go home, why couldn’t we keep on driving, he didn’t want to go home. Paul said shall we drive on? We all wanted to go further North on highway 1, was going through my mind.

Half a half year before driving on highway 1 Paul, my husband, was unhappy in his job. That Monday in February, I was still dreaming about our week in the snow in Austria. Savoring the memory of a snow fight with our son and sledding down mountains in the cold. Paul came home grumpy and complaining about his job. My spirit went down with his grumpiness. Something had to change.

Snowball fight
Snowball fight

That week I told my husband that he had to quit his job and that we would go away Yuri’s whole Summer break and that he could find a new job when we would be back. Paul of course objected. You see my husband doesn’t like change or insecurity and this would be the epitome of that. My answer back was that going away for a while would give him peace of mind.

Going through with it

Fast forward to July, last day of school for Yuri. We boarded a train to Dusseldorf and off we went on a plane to Iceland. Our first few days were in Iceland. Rainy days on which we took advantage of to show Yuri the Golden Circle. Despite the rain we loved our 3 days in Iceland. The waterfalls were magnificent and the geysers a sight to see for Yuri. He loved seeing the Hallgrimskirkja, a beautiful church in Reykjavik.

Yuri and me in front of Skogafoss. Finding peace
Yuri and me in front of Skogafoss

After a few days we boarded our flight to New York City and adjusted to the time change with a few days in the city. After NYC we drove to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. We visited sites, but also had a pool day in our hotel near Philadelphia. We had all the time so could do whatever we wanted to. We decided to head for the Blue Ridge Mountains instead of the coast after D.C. It was the best choice we could have made.

Us in front of the Washington Monument in Washington DC
Us in front of the Washington Monument


When we were just driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway I saw something dark moving. Paul turned around and sure enough there was a brown bear on the side of the road. We watched it from inside our car, until it eventually crossed the road and disappeared in the bushes. It was one of those magic moments, of which we had so many on our road trip.

The next day on the Blue Ridge Parkway we found the perfect overnight stay. Cabins in the middle of nowhere, with perfect views on deer, fireflies and the surrounding mountains. The only downside were the mosquitoes. We savored the peace and quiet up there. From the Blue Ridge Parkway we went to Orlando and then headed west. In Texas we stayed with friends we had met 7 years earlier on the Narrow Gauge Railroad between Silverton and Durango. We loved getting an inside look in small town USA life, by going to a potluck and church with them.

Bear crossing the road in front of our car
Bear crossing the road in front of our car
Yuri in front of our cabin on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Finding peace
Yuri in front of our cabin

Finding peace

All the time we were road tripping, despite that there were things that went wrong or different from plan, Paul was relaxing and getting peace of mind. We had reached our goal: finding peace as a family. Then came the day we had to take our flight back home. We played on the beach one last time and took in as much of the scenes of highway 1. The cliffs, the beaches, Big Sur, all of it. That’s when Yuri and Paul said to keep on driving. It was a lot for Paul to say this. He would start a new job in a week. Then came the turnpike where we could take the skyline boulevard or go the other way to the Airport. The sea was longing….

My application for the World Nomads Travel Writing Scholarship 2020

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  • Rhonda Albom

    Life is too short to be unhappy. Discontent can be infectious. I think you all made the right choice for your family.

  • Taylor

    I love this! I can relate to a lot of it as I was very unhappy in recent corporate jobs. It isn’t worth it to be unhappy when life is too short. I’m glad you guys got to disconnect and go on a nice family trip. 🙂

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