What I fear most about our trip to the USA

Yep. I’ve got some fears about our upcoming road trip to the USA. Fears are a normal part of life, and will magnify with the greater risks and adventures you take.

Now please be aware that none of these fears are really large, nor are they going to get in the way of my travels.

I believe in the power of diminishing your fears by acknowledging they are there. When you put on a false sense of courage by pretending they don’t exist they pop their head up in ugly ways. Usually in subconscious self-sabotaging ways and by pointing the finger at how fearful and stupid others are.

fears usa road trip

Once you’ve shone the light on your fears, you know how to create a plan to overcome them and make your dream happen.

If you don’t know, we’re calling our USA road trip America Unplugged because we want to showcase the real America. You’ll notice some of the following fears are also woven into this theme, to showcase that these fears aren’t as real as they seem.

Endless choice

Donald Trump president

This may seem like a strange one, but it’s interesting to see how something like this can be somewhat of a fear and lead you to procrastination.

Planning a road trip around Australia is pretty easy. You travel around the outside and dip into the middle once or twice. You head up the top during the winter and down the bottom during the summer. And the majority of the country is natural experiences to enjoy. You’re not fitting in too many cool festivals, events, and entertainment. Easy peasy.

America not so much. You’re going in out, up down, and across. Plus the entire top is out of the question during the winter (when you’re road tripping) unless you want to deal with snow and unpassable roads.

Not knowing where to start has been quite debilitating to us. There are too many scenarios, too many pathways, too many seasons, festivals to juggle. Sometimes when you don’t know what to choose, you choose nothing.

Fearing that I couldn’t work it out and wouldn’t be able to see and do everything I wanted, I decided to do nothing and avoid the challenge, the disappointment and the fear of getting it wrong!

To overcome this, I sat down with a map of the USA and colour-coded each state as the best season to visit. I researched each state and coded it as either winter, summer, spring or fall – some overlapped. Having that visual was a game changer! Now, I could see how to make it work.

USA road trip map

Arriving in August means we’ll lose the optimal summer months for the top of the USA, so we scrapped the original plans. We think it will be best to arrive in NYC and head up to New England for the fall colours and then make our way down the East Coast to arrive in Florida for the winter.

We plan to fly to the ski-fields to incorporate that into our story. A ski trip in the US is a huge bucket list item. Even though we’ll be road tripping, we won’t be excluding these types of experiences because we can’t drive there. That’s an easy thing about US travel – the accessibility of destinations through flights. Australia not so much.

I’m disappointed not to hit the West Coast first as I’ve been aching to get to the mountain states and Pacific North West, but I don’t want to get there at the wrong time. And we LOVE the East Coast so are super excited to explore this region a little deeper, catch up with old friends in Raleigh and Charleston, and visit Nashville early in the trip (we’re more than a little obsessed with it at the moment).

(P.S. This is all subject to change between now and then!)

Visa issues

Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA
Working in the USA allowed us to travel the country

We love America. We want to live in America. We want to spend a good two years at least promoting what we love about it and why it’s a great destination. We do this from our hearts and our authentic travel journey.

But, it’s a challenge to get a visa to come over to the US for longer than six months. We’re frightened we won’t get a long-term visa. There’s not much we can do, except fill out the best application we can, and hope the powers that be will see us as a valuable addition to the country. Thankfully, we’re working with a great immigration lawyer at the moment in Memphis who is guiding us through the process.

We can only believe that this is our destiny and so the dots will connect.

Stay tuned as we may be asking you for some testimonials if you support what we do and our journey.

UPDATE: we did get a three year business visa. Here’s the process for getting an O1 visa

We’d love for you to start first by checking out our America Unplugged video and leave a comment and share it. Every bit helps!

Gun control

We lived in the States for four years and I never worried about guns, even with our monthly lockdown drills at the school I taught at, which completely freaked the shit out of me. God knows what it did to those poor children we were terrorising!

But, the incidents seem to be growing too much each year, which I find unsettling in today’s world where cases of instability, anger, frustration and disconnection are on the rise.

It’s not going to bother me once I’m over there, and it’s only a niggling, fleeting fear, but I’d feel better if you couldn’t just walk into Wal-Mart and buy a gun.

I’m going to pile on weight and have gluten issues

Top of the Hill Bar and Brewery Chapel Hill
Enjoying a few beers at Top of the Hill Bar in Chapell Hill, NC

No one serves a plate of food like America – huge, fried and sugary. One of our missions with the America Unplugged concept is to share the hidden food gems of the USA and food that’s not artery clogging, fast and full of high fructose corn syrup and Monsanto rubbish.

Many of the world’s current health food trends, that I love, a.k.a. kale actually come from the USA, most notably California. I love wholesome eating and am so excited to explore more of this side of the US.

Health and good eating is important to me, and if you follow us on Snapchat you know I’m a little obsessed with my daily green smoothie and healthy cake baking with the girls.

I am concerned about travelling through other areas of the US, especially when it comes time to finding healthy, gluten-free food. While I can tolerate small levels of gluten every now and then, it can make me quite sick if I have too much.

Be sure to follow our journey so you can help us find all the good food in the USA.

Update: How to supersize your health on a US road trip.

At least, I’ll always have Whole Foods to help me. Love Love Love Whole Foods and Trader Joes! Like BIG LOVE.

Oh and I’m devastated I can no longer drink beer because I also Love Love Love US craft beer. Any gluten free versions?

Jump in our America Unplugged VIP virtual suitcase

[newsletter]

Long-term friendships for the girls

Yardie Creek Gorge, Exmouth, Western Australia

This is the only thing that concerns me about long-term travel with kids. It’s not so much for Savannah, as she’s still a little young and has great social skills. I do worry for Kalyra. Parenting is hard. You have a wider perspective than a child, so you make decisions based upon that, which may not seem the best through the child’s eyes.

I feel this quality family time spent with us will give her a stronger foundation and more of an opportunity to express and live her unique talents and interests. She has an independent, creative spirit and I notice an impact upon this in a formal education environment.

I see in her a deep desire to fit in and as a result, withholding her true spirit to do so. I hate seeing that. But, at the same time, it’s her thing to figure out and friendships are important to her. I fear the impact this may have on her socially in the future.

I don’t have the answers, I can only go with what feels right, and what I think is best in the long-term. The good news is she is emphatically stating that she wants to do this trip and is ready to go! Hitting the East Coast first has ramped that up for her. She has her eye on NYC and Disney World!

Our intention on this trip is to give our children the opportunity to be as social as possible. We know the RV lifestyle is so awesome for this, and hopefully, we can find other travelling families to connect with.

On our Australian road trip, we travelled the last six months with a family and their daughter Maddy, who is the same age as Kalyra. It was awesome for the girls to have each other on the trip and they will be friends for life. They stayed with us just the other weekend and will be coming to meet up with us in the US and travel for a bit. Yeah!

Craig and I are pretty social and make an effort to connect with other people and hosting meetups with you, our community, is high up on our list of priorities on this America Unplugged Journey – so bring your kids when you come!

Family travel 24/7

Ducktours Singapore
Enjoying Singapore

I do think I’m verging slightly on the edge of insanity for willing volunteering to travel indefinitely with my kids again 24/7. They drive me crazy, but I rather a life lived travelling with them then one going through the motions at home.

Our recent road trip to Outback Queensland showed me that parenting life is slightly easier when we travel, and I adore experiencing life with them. It just doesn’t cut through the chaos enough when we’re doing the daily grind.

If I am perfectly honest with you, and I don’t quite know any other way to be, I am nervous venturing into this world again with Savannah. This may sound worse than it actually is.

When it was time for her to be induced (because she was late and my placenta was dying) there was panic in the hospital as they thought she was distressed and they’d have to caesar me. After a couple hours of monitoring and fluffing about, they worked out my lovely baby was not distressed, just bloody active!!

She’s been bloody distressed ever since. Holy hell. I didn’t realise what a breeze Kalyra was until Savannah arrived. We love her to bits, and she has the most adorable and sweet personality, and I know her spirit is destined to rock this world with a huge spark, but she’s hard work.

I am worried how the travel may again affect her sleep patterns. Ha, but then again she’s never had any healthy ones! And a constant source of worry for me is her diet. She’s the fussiest eater I’ve ever come across. I’ve tried every trick in the book multiple times. She has about five food items she’ll eat and if anything is slightly abnormal, or texturally wrong, she won’t go near it ever again!

This is her general breakfast order, “I’ll have toast, not cooked with peanut butter.” or “Toast, cooked with a little bit of vegemite on it, cut up into squares, not triangles.” If you get any of that slightly wrong, she won’t eat it, including a plate that’s dirty. Don’t ever serve her up yoghurt and give her the spoon you served it up with. It has to be spotlessly clean and the pretty pattern she loves!

I know at the end of the day I’ll be wiped out!!! But the Australia road trip was sooooo good for her physically, mentally and emotionally. She thrives when she’s with us all the time and I do love sharing this life with her. She gives us a lot of laughs!!

Like the other night when she was inspecting the small hole in my belly button where I once had it pierced.

“Get me the knife Mummy. I want a belly button like yours.”

Oh Lord!

Home-schooling

family travel

Jeez. I didn’t think I’d be returning to this point so soon. I’ve got six months of the US road trip to enjoy before Savannah joins my classroom too. At least we know how to make it work this time around and Kalyra is a little more mature and independent now. I think we’ll have this one licked.

Kalyra is telling us how bored she is with school and how excited she is for me to be her teacher again. Yippee! She also loves taking on the teacher role so I’m sure she will delight in bossing teaching her sister.

Leaving family

It’s never easy. But, it’s been our reality for many years now and we know how to cope and make it work. What worries me is my parents are getting older, in particular, my Dad, and he’s had a couple of health scares lately. He’s as stubborn and strong as they come, though. He would not be happy knowing that I was letting these fears get in the way of following my dreams.

Running out of money

I’ve never travelled yet without this fear (after 20 years of doing it) and I’ve never once not recovered from running out of money and the travel keeps coming. The trick is to work along the way, which we do, but to also ensure you have strategies and backup plans in place.

We’ve been working hard behind the scenes before leaving on this trip to ensure we have systems set up for consistent passive income. We do work a lot with Australian tourism boards and brands so we’re sacrificing a chunk of our income by travelling through the US. It’s a huge risk and brings up a lot of fear.

I’m concerned about the cost of travel in the US has increased since we last lived there and we’ll get a rude shock and I’m also worried about travelling on the Aussie dollar. There’s nothing worse than seeing a quarter of your money disappear crossing a border. But, living in Australia ain’t cheap either and potentially it will be cheaper for us to be traveling in the US than having a base in Oz.

One thing I do have is belief in our ability to find a way and create the income we need. Sometimes I don’t know the how, but I know if I’ve done it once, I can do it again.

I don’t believe in saying I don’t have the money for a dream. My belief is I can create the money for the dream. I focus less on scrimping, saving, and making sacrifices, and more on increasing my value, improving my money relationship, and opening up income streams.

And if all else fails, and you do run out of money, you can always come home. No big deal. It’s better to have given it a go, had some amazing adventures, and come home early, than not experiencing anything new because of fear and a lack of belief in yourself.

The work consuming us

blogging from the hill at Adels Grove in Outback Queensland
Ha. Trying to find internet in Australia, lol

As mentioned, this past year has been about setting up a bunch of processes and systems before we leave. I fear we won’t have it done in time, but it’s looking a lot better than our Aussie road trip. I fear going through that again – massive growth and no wisdom, nor time, to organise and manage it.

Now we know what we’re doing (sort of) it will be easier. But, I’m still worried that the level of output required from us may interfere with our ability to enjoy this road trip fully. We’ll be travelling slowly to soak it all in and we have some amazing team members who now take care of a lot of things for us.

It’s about lowering our own expectations and placing less pressure on ourselves to be everything to everyone. We’ll have very clear priorities in place in regards to content production, administration and social media. I’ll be practising the art of one of the very important strategies in my 30 Days to Money Mindfulness – say No more!

When we arrive in the US, I only want to focus on creating amazing content (including video and social) related to our trip. I don’t want to be concerned with creating any products, setting up systems, or managing administrative work I can give to someone else.

There’s bound to be a few more fears pop up over the next few months! The two biggest ones that I’m finding difficulty managing and toss and turn a little too much over are the visas and the finances.

If you want something bad enough you can make it work, right?

60 thoughts on “What I fear most about our trip to the USA”

  1. I live in Chicago, USA – which has one of the highest rates of gun violence in the country per capita. But it is a beautiful, wonderful city. I have traveled across the country many times and lived in places that if I was just researching virtually to travel to, I would have been too freaked out to consider. But the reality of traveling there was very different and we only encountered kindness balanced with the kind of travel awareness you should bring to any new place. I bet you have that skill in spades. I would invite you not to worry too much about gun control as it relates to your trip.

    1. Totally. It’s just a little niggling worry that pops into my head every now and then. It never really bothered me living over there as nothing ever happened – it was just something so fascinating culturally to me.

      We think Americans are some of the most hospitable and kindest people we’ve met which is why we’re so excited to return and see so much more!

  2. I can relate to some of these fears for sure! I’m still working on building up multiple income streams so I can set off once again!

    We have plenty of delicious, healthy, gluten-free, normal-size portions available here! Honestly, more so than I recall finding in Oz! When you make it out to Boulder, check out Blooming Beats! So good! In Wichita, stop by Doc Greens and in Boston, there’s a plethora of different options!

    Most of all, enjoy the trip! There will always be those worries and fears, but as you said, you can’t let that stop you from giving it a go!

    ~ Shannon

    1. Thanks for the awesome food tips! We love Boulder – only visited briefly over 10 years ago – we can’t wait to go back.

    1. I just checked out the second link (randalolson) Super helpful. It was interesting to see I’d mapped out almost a similar route. I was stuck when it came to Virginia though so this gave me a clearer picture of which way to go. Thanks so much!

  3. Sounds like an amazing trip!

    A couple years ago, we drove from Florida to Canada (only one way) and it was pretty cool to see the change of climate and culture. From heat and pickled pigs feet (sold at gas stations – one foot at a time) in the South to snow the strangely addictive Tim Horton’s coffee in Canada.

    You’re going to have a blast as a family. Excited to follow your journey!

  4. You should check out Deliciously Ella – she has some great gluten free, plant based recipes on her blog and app including yummy energy balls and other things which would be great for children on the go!

    1. I have her recipe book!! She’s great. I get a lot of amazing recipes from Simple Green Smoothies too. They’re awesome

  5. Since John has started doing some home-brewing, he is going to find a gluten-free version for you!!! We’ve got your covered, Caroline! 😉

    1. Yay!! Go John. I’ll bring some cigars for him! I can’t wait to taste it and I’m so excited about possibly seeing you both in Charleston way earlier than we originally thought!! Wahoo.

  6. If anyone can pull this off, you two can. I am totally confident of that. Lots of things rang true for me in this post but first of all thank you for one sentence that I hope to ingrain into my brain – We can only believe that this is our destiny and so the dots will connect. We are trying to move ourselves and my 90 year old parents to the Sunshine Coast and I am full of fears about making that happen with undue stress on us all. I think I’ll stick these words on my fridge door.
    I didn’t realise how full-on your littlest bundle of joy is, but on the education front and as a mother of two, I can confirm that Kalyra will love (play) teaching her and Savannah will learn so much without even realising. I think you are lucky with your first child being a girl in this respect because I’m not sure that boys have that same nurture and teach inclination (I know that mine didn’t!). Lastly, we hope to road trip around the USA one day so we will be following with interest. I can see my USA Pinterest board is going to be bulging.

    1. I’m so glad that sentence helped you Jan. There’s so much to worry about when you’re planning a big change. The move to the Sunshine Coast will happen effortlessly for you!

  7. Will definitely be following your U.S. trek. So excited for you! So glad you’re not letting your fears stop you. I have lived here all my life and still get overwhelmed at seeing all of it and taking in the geographical and cultural diversity. And as Dayle posted, gun violence is an issue AND the reality is so much more about the kindness of people and the beauty of it all. If you find yourselves in Fort Wayne, Indiana at some point, please connect!

    1. We most certainly will Ellen! There’s just so much to see and do in the US. The length of our trip keeps getting extended. I think we might need five years!!

  8. Great post! I live in California and our family is vegan and gluten free so I can relate to your worry about eating healthy while traveling. There’s an app called Happy Cow that is very helpful. You can search for restaurants and stores that carry vegan, vegetarian and healthy options. A lot of vegan/vegetarian places have gluten free options. People also rate the places which can be helpful. The app is free and they also have a website: http://www.happycow.net Hope this helps!

  9. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at number of new local/healthy restaurants options in the Raleigh-Durham area…and of course the craft breweries (GF too)! Welcome home!

    1. We’ve been hearing about the craft brewery scene emerging in the triangle. Super excited to come back and experience. So happy they have gluten free beer!!

  10. Hi Caz & Craig

    Exiting times are ahead of you. Looking forward to follow your trip.

    About the fear… can totally understand what you are talking about. Marcel and I are planning a road trip around the world – starting in Australia in September. The plan is overlanding from OZ to Europe, ship over to the Americas and and and… Can’t wait to start the big trip but there is so much to think about first. The planning seems overwhelming and it’s so difficult to decide where to start.
    But it is also what makes life so interesting and liveable.

    I’m wishing you lots of luck, happiness and fun along the road.

    Cheers, Reni

    1. I can’t wait to follow your journey Reni! It sounds epic!! I love that you’re coming back to Australia – it feels like you not long ago left. Maybe we may see you over in Americas – we can run into each other in Whole Foods this time!

      1. Well, yes, it’s not too long ago since we left Australia. We just never get enough of that amazing country.

        It would be so cool to meet along the way… we’ll definitely go shopping in Whole Foods 😉 Not sure yet, if we make it to the US in two years. But maybe you change plans and you stay longer… ?

  11. Would love to meet you when/if you come to the Raleigh area! We have some great veg. restaurant options – and several locations of Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods! Lots of new breweries in town and some (not local) bottled gluten free options.

    1. We’d love that. Definitely will be having some kind of meetup in Raleigh – maybe a craft beer bar crawl. We’ve a friend who has an annual Christmas party that we’ve attended three times, we’re hoping the timing will bring us back to this year’s one!!

  12. Very excited to read about and ‘witness’ your US road trip — as an American abroad (currently living and working in Singapore), it’s been about 6 years since I’ve been in the US long enough to travel it. Heading home this summer and going down South with my best friend (I’m from the Northeast; she’s Norwegian) — very anxious/nervous about lots of the same things you are! Guns and food especially, but it’s nice to read these comments and your posts to think through and acknowledge these things. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Yep. I don’t feel that worried about them anymore now that I’ve acknowledged them and the comments have been super awesome and reassuring. I’m so excited about all the food choices now!

  13. 1. Gun violence here in the US is a danger, statistically. But unless you start selling drugs or assaulting local mobsters or police officers, your chances to be shot are many times less than to die in, for example, a car accident (which are also pretty slim).

    2. To save some money and have more fun try UniGuide, our new free app for iOS and Android providing you with access to 300 free audio tours all across the US, including those you wound normally pay for.

    1. Thank you for the stats comparison – always great to see it laid out like that. I think we’ll be staying away from the crime dangers!!

      The UniGuide tip is awesome. We’ll be downloading that app!

  14. Am so excited for you guys – the planning is half the fun and it sounds like you are starting to get to the fun part! One thing that really *pinged* for me in reading this was around your concerns for Kalyra’s long term friendship – this is one of my concerns for my eldest daughter (who will only be 4 so it’s a little different too) when we leave on our trip. I’ve actually started a bit of a schedule for sending post cards and skype/facetime sessions, including with her childcare centre so that she’s able to touch base with all her friends while we’re away. We’ve been starting to talk to her a lot about our trip and she’s constantly telling me what she wants to see while we’re away, but we’ve also been talking about who she might want to send pictures and letters to and what things she things her friends would like to hear about, so we’ve started a list. Perhaps Kalyra could do the same with her friends and create a little plan of which friends she wants to tell about particular things you’ve got planned for your trip. 🙂
    Anyway, can’t wait to follow this journey – it’s really opened our eyes to the possibilities for us for the future and who knows, you may be paving the way for some of us to follow you in a few years time!

    1. Such a great idea Nardia! I think Kalyra would love to send letters to some of her friends. WE hope we can inspire you to travel to the US next!

  15. It’s good to be straight about all of the things you want to plan for and mitigate as best as possible as you prepare for your trip. You’re not being unreasonable but it also seems like you’re the kind of people who will find solutions. My husband and I dissolved our former life in 2012 and travelled around the US for 6 months (we’re from Canada) in a van. Here are our tips from our roadtrip: https://youngretirement.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/roadtripusa/

    1. Awesome! Thanks for sharing such a useful post. Great to know about the gym membership. I didn’t realise you could use a membership at different locations! Cool

  16. I want to encourage you about the food, at least. There are way more options in the US for gluten free than many other countries. I live in the Middle East now and it’s a little dicey for specialized diets, but getting better. And don’t just try Whole Foods. Try Sprouts as well. In my hometown we have a few restaurants that are 100% gluten free–everything on the menu. I am sad that I will only be “home” for a few weeks this summer on break to enjoy all of what the US has to offer, good-bad-ugly. I hope all your dreams for your US trip come true!

  17. Anne Maree Peachey

    Hey guys, I am so looking forward to following you on your America Unplugged Road Trip!!!!

  18. You are going to have a great time! I hope you have Erie, PA on your list. It’s often overlooked but is a great place to visit, especially if you are travelling between Cleveland, OH and Buffalo, NY to Niagara Falls. It is gorgeous in the summer at the beaches of Presque Isle on Lake Erie (recently voted best freshwater beach: http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-freshwater-beach/ ) . There is a fun festival just about every weekend, too. You helped me plan my first trip to Australia. Now our family is living in Melbourne for the next few years and you are going to our home! Enjoy!

    1. Oh wonderful! So glad we could help you travel to Oz. Melbourne is a great place to live. Thank you for the tip. I think we’ll be travelling in that way so will check Erie out!

  19. When you get to the Pacific Northwest, you’ll be spoiled for choice for craft beers – even the gluten free ones. Hope you like cider! I grew up in North Idaho, and when it comes to weather I’d say summertime will offer you the most activities but fall and spring will have some seriously ethereal photo ops, especially in Oregon and Washington. You probably have your itinerary planned out but…people who comes to Idaho usually just drive through South Idaho and maybe stop in Sun Valley or Craters of the Moon. But there’s so much here, it’s beautiful! Tons of lakes and waterfalls and gorgeous mountains/wilderness for days.
    As for visas, I’m going to be following your trials and tribulations religiously–my bf is Australian and we’re overwhelmed by the process for him to come over here long term. It took maybe minutes for me to get an Australian visa. *sigh*

    1. I’m so intrigued by Idaho, you don’t hear much about it but I’ve seen plenty of beautiful photos. Thanks for the tips to visit. I am so excited about exploring that region of the US – it looks amazing!

  20. We went around the world with our then 9 (Autistic) and 10 back in 2010 for 6 months (Oz – USA – Europe- China-japan- Singapore- Oz). Totally understand the fears here, but we had no trouble – 99.9% of people in the world just want to enjoy life, have fun and are like everyone else. You have to be very savvy with money. Don’t worry about the kids – as long as you can do a blog/travel diary with getting them to go some maths, they will learn more than they will in a classroom and learn that tangible understanding of other lands. Enjoy.

  21. Hey Caz – I live in Indianapolis & am so excited for your U.S. road trip! There are so many beautiful, unique places in the states, there are no wrong decisions when trying to decide what to see & what to skip. One of the first things I had to accept when I began traveling was that I’d never be able to see it all. (But it’s on my list!) I’m sure you know it well, but it’s just part of the wonder of travel that lights the fire to keep exploring. 🙂
    In the last couple of years especially, there has been vast improvement in the farm-to-table mindset & there are some wonderful fresh, organic options even in the boonies. Craft beer is exploding & you actually can find gluten free beer here & there. OMission (OR) focuses on gluten free. Dogfish Head (DE) makes a Tweason’ale. Stone (CA) has low gluten IPA. Ciders are naturally gluten free & of course, it never hurts to ask no matter where you are. Truly hope you & your family enjoy the states!!

    1. I know I’m struggling with wanting to see everything! It’s going to be hard to narrow it all down.

      Thanks for all the gf beer tips. There are none in Australia so I’m super excited!

  22. Hi Caz! So excited for you guys to start planning this trip! I’m in upstate NY, which means I’m close to the PA border but 3 hours from NYC. When you are in NY you have to check out the Finger Lakes region. Loads of wineries and great small towns with good food. Also, keep an eye out for Wegmans grocery stores. You will mostly find them in NY, PA, VA, MD. When are you heading over here?

  23. SO MANY suggestions!!

    Some places in Minnesota:
    -The National Eagle Sanctuary in Wabasha, right off of Lake Pepin. They have a great educational center for kids where they can learn about Bald Eagles, and even see some up close! During the eagles’ migratory season (late March/early April?) hundreds of them gather out on the ice. It’s an awesome sight to see!
    https://www.nationaleaglecenter.org/

    -The city of Red Wing is absolutely gorgeous! My husband and I liked to go on photo shoots there when we were in the area. There are great parks, hiking on the bluffs, and rock climbing!
    http://redwing.org/

    -Nelson Creamery. When I was a kid, my family would take day trips to Red Wing, and we would always end up crossing the Mississippi into Wisconsin for some cheese curds and ice cream from the Creamery. They have a restaurant now that I haven’t tried, but have heard good things!
    http://www.nelsoncheese.com/

    Of course Duluth, Two Harbors, Minneapolis, Itasca State Park and all that–I think Minnesota tends to get overlooked as a travel destination, but there are so many awesome places to see, and things to do!

    Oh…ahem…forgot to plug my hometown! People forget about Faribault, but it has some unique places.
    http://www.faribaultdairy.com/tourthecaves/
    http://bluebirdcakerymn.com/
    http://www.ftownbeer.com/ftown/
    http://www.rbnc.org/
    http://www.granplazagrill.com/

    Kay, I’m done. 😀

  24. Caz,

    I’m inspired to see that you are still traveling strong with your children by your side!

    Don’t worry too much about gun violence, but it is a real concern. A common concern I hear from people who travel to the US, but honestly, it is only a problem with certain circles. Plus, your gluten-free diet can be done here in the US and as the comments have said, Colorado (where I’m from) and California (where I live) have great breweries that have great gluten-free beer options.

    I can’t wait to keep reading about your USA adventures here on the blog. I am a huge fan and look forward to seeing more!

  25. Pat Hemphill

    Hi Caz and Craig……travel is also in my blood! I’m in my sixties and have just finished my TEFL Course to go teaching English anywhere in the world. I live in South Africa (where guns are part of our lives!) and I have a son in Arizona, but not sure I can get a work permit for the US.
    I was thinking of starting my teaching adventure in China or Vietnam, save some funds, and then move on to the States. Do you or anyone on your blog have any suggestions to point me in the right direction? I’m more excited than nervous.
    Will you both be working while travelling through the US, or will your media travel blog be your main income? Just found your blog….so just curious. Happy Travelling. Pat

  26. Hello Caz and Craig. I am so excited for you to have an opportunity to explore United States for such a long time (six months or more). I have have so much love for geography and traveling and would consider myself a world traveler but majority of all my travels I have done inside United States. I have visited all 50 states and drove from coast to coast around 10 times and I would like let you know that you should not have to worry about guns and not enough gluten-free food selection during your upcoming US road trip. Lately more and more places that serve food are turning to healthy, organic and gluten free food selections throughout United States and you should not have any problems to find gluten free groceries in regular grocery stores (not just Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s). I have read many of your posts and subscribe to your email community for a while and would like to thank you for all the inspiration that you bring me and many other people. I live in suburban Seattle and I would really love to meet you during your visit to Pacific Northwest. Please let me know if that would be possible. Again, thank you for sharing your travel stories and for all of your inspiration and motivation that you offer. Please feel free to let me know if i can help with anything for your upcoming trip.

  27. I’m rooting for you that you get your Visa, and will follow your trip to America. That you need to concern yourself with guns is an embarrassment. I share your fears. But do come to Eugene, Or, you will not have an issue with food here. Gluten fee, vegan, vegetarian, paleo diet, you name it. We have more natural food groceries than you can shake a stick at. And the Saturday market is a dream. They have organic produce already–don’t know how they did it in April. The carrots are so sweet they melt in your mouth, and there is lettuce, beets, radishes–lots of beekeepers around here, so honey of course. And I do believe we rival the East coast with our fall colors. Although now the area is laughing with flowers. Later on in the year there will be more, and come fall the fruit will not resemble what you find in the grocery store. I didn’t know how much I liked Bartlet Pears until I had one dripping off my chin.

  28. Caz, loved the color schematic of potential travel routes vs time of year. Very nice. We live in Seattle. Lisa and I found your blog recently. Love what you are doing with your family… Love the council on debt free living. . We have lived similar the past 20 years with our two girls. With your draw to the PNW don’t let the seasons fool you. Mild winters and little or no snow ever hits Portland and Seattle. 99% rain all winter. Above 3,000 feet mountains get lots of snow and great skiing awaits, but travel is easy in the lowlands. Generally always green and wet November through March. I-5 is a breeze except for one stretch over Nothern California. Bottom line, anytime a year is easy to travel Portland / Seattle. Look us up if you need a few free nights or a week to crash 20 miles east of Seattle. We are at foothills of the Cascades! Plenty of rooms, great scenery, and authenticity. A very target rich environment we live in: Snoqualmie Washington. Cheers to you guys. Your trip will be epic.

    Sincerely, Curt
    .

  29. The gun control issue is also something that scares me a little, being Australian we don’t have the fear of knowing someone can go to a market and buy such a thing.

    As far as everything else I think you nailed it on the head with your last statement.

    “And if all else fails, and you do run out of money, you can always come home. No big deal. It’s better to have given it a go, had some amazing adventures, and come home early, than not experiencing anything new because of fear and a lack of belief in yourself.”

    You can only make appropriate decisions on things in your control, the visa issue isn’t one, but everything else is something you can choose to take on and control so it won’t end up in the worse case scenario. Go for it, she’ll be right!

  30. Mahee Ferlini

    I’ve spent tons of time in the US and fortunately in a lot of places, the food landscape and options are changing rapidly. Even in areas that have traditionally had very deep-seated culinary traditions, such as the rural South and Midwest, it’s still easy to get more modern options.

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