We weren’t even supposed to be at Long Key State Park. After the Dry Tortugas, we originally had planned to stay at Bahia Honda for another five days to decompress. We knew we’d need to catch up on work and school and little to no driving sounded great. However, we found an open spot at Long Key State Park that fit our dates, wasn’t that much farther of a drive, and we had heard good things from other traveling friends so we switched up our plans because we like new places.
I’m so glad we did.
Sam was grilling outside at the picnic table our first night, and as a woman was walking up and down the beach she eventually approached him with a question. She had seen our website on the back of the Airstream, looked up the blog and realized that we were also a traveling family and desperately needed advice.
After that first meeting we hit it off. The Siminoff family have two kids that are right around our kids’ ages, had been on the road in their truck camper only a few months into their year long sabbatical and were really struggling with schedules, motivating their kids, and finding a balance. Ellen fired off question after question after question while the kids happily played in the bedroom due to the pouring rain outside.
We loved talking with them. I can’t say we got a whole lot of school or work done those two days, but we definitely made some life long friends. We invited them over for a Family Home Evening where Sam gave a lesson on the prophet Noah and Ellen taught us how to make Key Lime Pie. Afterward the kids played Castle Panic, and the adults sat in the bedroom alternating discussions between theology (we are LDS, they are Jewish) and full-time family travel until far too late into the night.
You know when you meet someone and you just click? It was like that. Our time together was far too short, but we made the most of it.
The spin-off from this meeting happened a few weeks later when Ellen and I were texting about their upcoming plans to fly overseas and tour New Zealand and Australia before finishing the United States. Back in college Sam and I participated in a New Zealand study abroad with the Recreation Management program and we were hosted by the most amazing elderly couple whom we’ve kept in close contact with over the last twelve years. Just recently the wife died, and Dave, our host dad, has been a bit lonely. He loves to travel, having taking us touring the South Island during our studies, and we knew he’d have great advice for the Siminoffs.
Before I knew it, Dave had offered to pick them up at the airport, and TOUR them around in his eight passenger van! I was so happy for all of them! If we couldn’t visit New Zealand and hang out with Dave, at least our friends could. Their meeting came a great time for both parties and from what I’ve heard everything is going swimmingly.
Everyone once in awhile we receive affirmation that we are where God intends us to be. Its no secret we feel led to travel. I’m sure there are many reasons including personal growth, education, and opportunities to spend time together as a family. Most importantly the people we meet. When life and events come together so perfectly, I can’t help but be amazed at the love and understanding God has for our lives.
We love all the friends we’ve met along our journey and continue to be inspired and encouraged by everyone we meet!