Why? Why? Why?!?
That is the one question many of my friends, colleagues and others asked each time I told them I was planning a cross country trip with my wife, Jasmine, and two of my children,
Levi-Joseph and Opal.
I answered with a basic question...
It was surprising that so many people thought our plan was crazy.
For me, it seemed like driving across country was what you did with your kids in the summer. Growing up, I remember zig-zagging the States in the back seat of our family car. In fact, I was introduced to this country framed through the window of our Chevy Impala. It was the best of times.
Back then, summer meant driving to Arizona and LA to visit our relatives. My memory of walking on the tiny foundation of the home my mother grew up in near Williams, AZ left an impression. Later I climbed desert trees with my cousin Frankie and can still recall the snapshot someone took of us. Then there was the time I spit sunflower seeds, for what seemed like hours, off the porch of my Aunt's bungalow in Long Beach, CA. I remember returning to Virginia and crossing the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel - my little cousin Jennifer pushed a button that sent the trunk flying open. Unable to pull over we kept moving along - thankfully, nothing was lost.
What may have seemed like insignificant moments at the time, I found were actually the foundation of my childhood memories. Each trip offered insight and introductions to a larger unknown world. For a young child, it was magic.
It was in these reflections that I was inspired to give my children, too, an American Summer.
*Click on any image to view larger or begin slideshow. Visit my site to view the complete essay.