Posted by: scintillatingspeck | December 2, 2013

Jen and Lily’s epic journey 2014: Step 1: Planning an itinerary.

I sent this to a bunch of friends today via Facebook, and thought that it would be wise not to limit myself to that particular medium for outreach.  Also, this is the closest I’ve gotten so far to a synopsis of what I’m trying to do with this project.  (More synopsizing and writing to come.)  Have a look.

Dear friends,

Lily and I are planning a cross-country trip next summer (2014), June 6th through the end of August.  It’s a journey of love, learning, and living creatively while we can.  I’m planning to write a book, a work of creative non-fiction about how I’ve been shedding and reevaluating my beliefs around parenting, education, health, home,community, the dominant culture, relationships, and what it means to live a good and joyful life.  (I’m still honing in on describing it fully… I’m working on a more compelling synopsis.)  I’ll be asking questions like, What is the meaning of home and community?  How can I be the sort of mother I hope to be?  How do I wish to relate to people?  What kind of learning can happen if Lily and I become semi-nomadic for a while?  Part of it, too, is my own response to Doom, i.e., the knowledge that environmental/social/economic disasters are happening and that it’s wise to live in a way that feels most meaningful, with the resources currently at hand.  (But of course, even for those who are not card-carrying doomers, surely there can be some agreement that our lives are finite, regardless.  And tempting though it is to veer into a philosophical tangent about time and consciousness and mortality and universal oneness, I will resist the impulse.  For now.)

Anyway, reeling myself back into the realm of the resolutely Practical: since I’m planning a journey and a project of considerable scope and expense, I’m diving into the process now.  I’m planning to do a crowdfunding campaign (probably through either Kickstarter or IndieGogo), starting in January or February, to fund the trip and the self-publishing process (with a signed copy of the eventual book to be offered as one of the incentives).  You’ll hear more about that as I develop my ideas.

In the meanwhile, what would be incredibly helpful to me is to get more of a sense of our options in terms of a planned itinerary.  My current plan is to travel counter-clockwise around the U.S., heading west from Florence, Massachusetts, beginning on June 6th(the day after Lily concludes all of her scheduled homeschool programs for the spring).  My hope is not to travel in a mad dash, if we can help it. I’m estimating we’ll travel approximately 9,000 miles in 3 months.  Some of those days will be devoted to long-distance travel, no doubt, but for the most part I’d like for us to sojourn a few days, or a week or two, in particular locations.  It’s important to us to stay with friends as much as possible, not simply to save money (although that matters,too, and I’m pleased to offer whatever work-trade seems agreeable to hosts in return), but also because this is primarily a relational journey: my relationship to Lily, and our relationships with our beloveds of all stripes, friends, family, the earth, the plants, the animals, and all that binds us together.  We’ll have our camping equipment at the ready, too, and there will surely be times that Lily and I are on our own.

I decided it might be easiest if I put together a survey to get a sense of what options Lily and I might have. Please complete it and send it back to me as soon as you can. And please don’t feel bad if you have to say, sorry, this isn’t going to work for me; it’s so much better for me to know that, so I don’t have to wonder, and I won’t take it personally, I swear.

My hope is that you, also, will not take it personally if you are so splendidly generous as to offer me and Lily a place to stay, but for some reason it doesn’t work out within the time and money constraints we face.  We would like to visit as many people as we can, but it may not be possible to visit everyone.

If you’ve already told me that you want to host us, it’s especially important for me to hear from you!

It would probably be easiest if you copy and paste this into a private message.  If you’d rather send it via email, send it to scintillatingspeck @







Please pick one of the following three options (and complete the associated items, if applicable).

1. Ready, willing, and able to have you and Lily stay with me/us sometime during the summer of 2014.

I can host you for (amount of time you’d be willing to have us):

I can offer:             (indicate all that apply)

indoor sleeping space

tent space


bathroom access

kitchen access

laundry access

I’d like:

help with housework (dishes, cleaning, tidying, organizing)

help with gardening (weeding, planting, harvesting, etc)
help with some other need(s):

let me think on it

        Dates that definitely won’t work:

2. I can’t host you but if you’re going to be in my area I’d like to see you.

3. No, it’s not going to work for you to come visit.

Additional notes (constraints, gray areas, advice, encouragement, humor, etc):



  1. That sounds pretty cool. I am in no position to help,especially since Moncton, New Brunswick (Canada) is not on your route. I enjoy getting your emails. I like writers. I may be turning into one myself, but very early stages and rather late in life. I hope that you hook up with all the right people, (and what a mixture that may prove to be) and along with all who care about you I say be safe. I’m confident you will be. ……………just a reply from one of your semi-anonymous friends on your list. 🙂

    • I appreciate it, Robert Manderson! Best wishes with your writing- it’s never too late. You’re right, Canada is outside of the scope of this trip, but who knows, maybe I’ll do a Canadian tour someday. 🙂

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