As humans, we grow attached to the things we own and the habits we form, and sometimes, that can mean sacrificing goals and dreams that would lead us toward a sense of fulfillment.
The Perry family, originally from Wyoming County, realized about six years ago that the only thing stopping them from achieving their dreams was themselves.
Now, after two long years of traveling, the Perrys have completed what they set out to do - visit the capital city of every state in America.
Husband and wife, Marc and Connie, embarked on their massive journey after years of research in planning, and they weren’t alone.
“One of our goals was always to visit the state capitals,” Connie Perry said. “And that was long before we even had children.”
That’s right- Connie and Marc have traveled the country for two years straight and their nine-year-old twins Marcus and Caroline have been there every step of the way.
Although they’d originally put their plans on the back-burner because of their children, an experience in Tunkhannock gave the Perrys an epiphany.
“My husband and I were driving around in Tunkhannock and we saw a Class A camper for sale and we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to travel with our kids?’” Connie said.
It took three years of research and explaining to family that they were leaving their jobs and traveling, but soon enough, the clan was on the road in a fifth-wheel camper hitched to a Freightliner Truck.
Luckily for Marcus and Caroline, their mother is a teacher.
“I think they’ve enjoyed it very much,” Connie said. “It’s worked out very well. It’s hard to teach your own kids, but it’s very rewarding. A lot of what we’re learning is hands-on.”
In reality, it may be one of the best ways to teach your children.
Not only are the Perry twins exposed to every single capital in the country, but they’re also exposed to the vast cultural and climactic differences across the board.
“We come across things every day,” Connie said, noting the advantage her son has had in pursuing his interest of the Civil War by being able to visit many historic sites.
Along the way, the family found help in a variety of outlets, most notably the Fulltime Families program.
The program was started by a family of six who, like the Perrys, noticed quickly that resources for traveling families were very scarce.
Fulltime Families works to assist families with advice, support, guidance and opportunities to socialize with similar families on the road.
For Connie Perry, it’s been one of the most rewarding aspects of her family’s journey.
“There’s a lot of meeting new people that you would not have met,” Connie said. “The kids have even made friends that we meet up with in other places.”
For nine-year-old Marcus, the National Park Foundation’s Junior Ranger Program has been a big asset to the trip, as well.
Connie estimates the family has visited at least 50 national parks, and the Junior Ranger Program gives the Perrys a chance to explore and learn about national parks and their importance.
At their final stop in Honolulu, Hawaii, the program helped Marcus learn about the history of Pearl Harbor.
Also, the Perrys have had numerous interactions with political figures from different state capitals, including hometown state legislator Rep. Karen Boback, R-Harveys Lake; Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee; and recently, they took a place on the state senate floor in Hawaii, being introduced as having visited all 50 capitals.
Now, as the Perrys relax with their toes in the sand in Hawaii, they are contemplating what the future will hold for them.
Other than visiting some areas that were particularly special or memorable to them, the Perrys’ future remains a question.
“I think that when we started out, we thought we would find the perfect place to live. I don’t think we’ve found that yet,” Connie Perry said.
Instead, what they’ve found is that the perfect place to live is the place where they’re together as a family.
One thing is for certain - wherever they go, the lessons they’ve accrued in their two years of travel will always be a part of the Perry family.
“I think we have learned the most that we can live without a lot of stuff. It’s more about being together,” Connie Perry said. “We really don’t miss all of the things that we left. We sold our house and gave away a lot of things.”
“I don’t think that there is a perfect place to live.”
The Perrys’ journey is cataloged on their blog: www.unpredictableperrys.wordpress.com.