Can you imagine selling your home, purchasing an RV and hitting the road to travel across the country for several months with four young children?
Amazingly enough, this is real life for a friend of mine who stopped in Greenville to visit this weekend.
This would not be the first time my friend, Mari Whiting Kjar, has been to Greenville. In fact, she grew up in the Queen City and graduated from Washington School in 2003.
Going by just Mari Whiting back then, Mari went on to attend BYU in Provo, Utah, where she met her husband, Josh Kjar. The couple married and had spent the past 10 years in upstate New York.
In September, they surprised everyone when they announced they had hit the road.
Rather than stay cooped up in their house throughout the course of the pandemic, they decided to instead travel the country by taking their children on a "road school" trip by exploring national parks and everything in-between.
Since they are homeschooling and Josh works from home, why not make their home wherever they want it to be?
I have been truly fascinated with their journey and have been following their adventures by reading the blog Mari somehow manages to find the time to write.
With a couple maps on the wall in their RV, they have drawn out exactly where they have been and plan to go.
On one white board, Mari writes down daily which state they are about to visit and what its state bird and flower is. She also teaches them several other fun facts about the areas they are visiting to make it as educational as possible.
Something else that is impressive to me is how little they eat out. As we ate at Downtown Butcher, Mari noted that it was their first time dining at a restaurant in several weeks, months even.
Since September, she has cooked every single meal for their family of six in the tiny, cramped kitchen inside their RV.
While traveling in an RV is something I would like to try for a couple weeks one day, I'm not so sure my sanity could handle spending several months in such tight living quarters with my family.
While the Kirks are not planning to hit the road in an RV anytime soon, we did get to experience it for an afternoon.
After lunch at Downtown Butcher that ended with scoops of ice cream for everyone, all six children ages 10 and younger and four adults climbed into their RV and off we went.
Both of my children were thoroughly fascinated at this traveling house on wheels; why can't our house move around like that?
We headed toward Leland and along the way, Mari reminisced as she pointed out to her children the places where she spent much of her time during her youth, like E.E. Bass Cultural Arts Center.
In Leland, we visited the Jim Henson Delta Boyhood Exhibit.
All of the children had a terrific time checking out the Muppets displays, reading books and playing with toys.
Outside, we took obligatory photos, the children played along Deer Creek for a bit and then we were back on the road.
By the end of the day, my 3-year-old daughter, Laura, and their 4-year-old daughter, Maggie, had become best of friends. Laura had gotten so attached, she was crying when we had to say good bye.
Admittedly, I was a bit sad, too.
A reunion that only lasted a few hours after 14 years without seeing each other was definitely not enough time. But, it was better than not seeing her and her family at all.
Like she said, we won't let another 14 years pass before we see each other again.
If you would like to follow their adventure which won’t last forever, check out their blog, thekjaravan.wordpress.com.
Catherine Kirk is managing editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.