Posted by  Brooke Tower on Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I wonder if there is a parent alive who hasn't heard this phrase countless times. Especially when their child has one or more siblings. I remember saying this phrase while I was growing up, hoping that it would bring about the "justice" that I hoped for, usually in relation to something my sister had or didn't have to do.

And my dad's annoying and wise response was, "Well, Brooke, life's not fair. And you should be glad it's not."

I knew, of course, that life in the world wasn't fair, but this somehow didn't quite change my desire to want it to feel fair (to me) in my house. However, the more I was exposed to places and people outside my home--at a camp for inner city kids in South Bend and in Kenya especially, the more I saw how life truly wasn't fair, and how much I had been given.

As I have had the incredible opportunity to see so many beautiful and interesting places with J., Luke, and Lauren, I have thought many times about how often I am on the privileged side of fairness and opportunity. How it is so not fair that we get to travel this country while so many others can't. How others have dreamed longer and deeper of doing something like this, but haven't gotten to yet. How others love and do traveling so much better than I do.

Honestly, when J. talked about traveling in an RV after we retired, I hoped he would just forget that dream. I really like routine, predictability, being home, being near friends and family, and knowing what to expect. However, when J. shared the story of the Boyink family traveling full-time, I uncharacteristically couldn't let the idea of doing this with our kids go. So, 37 months later, I find myself writing from an RV, in Portland, Oregon, 2300 miles from home.

And dealing with my own children saying, "it's not fair" because they miss their friends and home so much and didn't really have a say in whether or not they wanted to travel or live in an RV. So, I occasionally, regularly question whether or not all the preparation work, challenges, constant changes, are worth it. I wonder if the fact that J. and I were doing the exercise program "Insanity" when we first heard of and started pursuing the possibility of full-time travel for a year is significant.

The reminders from friends and strangers that this is a chance of a lifetime, and how much the kids will learn from experiencing different places is encouraging. I hope that as they look back on this 48 States Project year, that they will remember the vast beauty and variety of this country. That they will learn different skills and be able to problem-solve and interact with people of all walks of life. That they will be open to different possibilities and have the courage to dream and pursue their dreams.

And maybe, hopefully, someday realize how blessed they are when they see others and think, "It's not fair."


  • ed

    10/1/2014 at 5:22 AM

    All the trips, camping and things we did with our kids while growing up we said we were making memories. Sometime a year from now, three years or ten years, something will be said, a situation will happen and the four of you will look at each other and say "remember when?" You will laugh together. Then you will know that what you are doing now had a lasting impact that will carry into their families and it was worth it. We have those moments with Jim and Kristin often and still enjoy the memories.

  • Swansons

    9/30/2014 at 5:37 AM

    Beautifully, honestly, poignantly, insightfully written. Thank you!