Brian Jones is a Day Dreamer. He decided to go all-in on his dreams and is currently on a quest to complete 27 different road trips – each approximately one month long – in America over the course of two years. And the kicker is he’s taking his wife and his six kids! They are a modern day Brady Bunch of sorts, as a mixed family with kids from previous marriages. They’ve become a resilient bunch and have been inspired by their faith to continue on their adventures all over the States.
If Brian and his family can live their dreams, so can you. Read all about Brian and his family on his travel blog, 27 Loops. He’s here today to share some of his experiences and insights on how to tackle fear, live your dreams, and pursue what matters most.
Why did you decide to start traveling with your family for two years?
Both my wife and I love to be outdoors and were always looking for ways to take the kids out to parks and experience whatever there was to offer. Whenever we could get away for a little extra time we would go camping, though it was challenging putting all of us in the same tent. Regardless of the challenges, we loved finding adventures outdoors.
A couple of years ago, my wife saw an article with a family who was traveling around the country for two years and mentioned to me that it was something we should look into doing. I read the article and saw that they only had two kids and immediately said, “Yeah, easy for them to do, they don’t have six kids,” and we kind of put the idea on the back burner. Well, we really took it off the stove entirely until we saw another family that had twelve kids traveling around the country in an RV. It was at that moment that we looked at each other and thought, “If they can do it, so can we.”
At this point, we were wrapped up in extra-curricular activities for the kids, attempting to establish a new brand I was importing from Italy, and we were quickly losing time with each other. We saw one another, we ate together (sometimes), and spent some time together, but it wasn’t the same. As cliché as it sounds, the kids are growing up fast and we didn’t want to lose another day being with them and experiencing life together.
What is it like to be on the road with 6 kids?! What do you do about school and work?
We have been taking road trips with the kids since we got together and are used to the driving part of what we are doing. Now it is just a lot nicer because we have everything we use in life with us on every trip. The living space is considerably smaller but it has become home and is nice to have a roof over our heads when we get back in from a day out adventuring.
While we are used to the actual travel portion from the road trips, it is definitely the most challenging part. We split it up so we don’t travel too much in a day and do our best to avoid staying overnight in parking lots or rest areas so we can go to a nice park and let the kids stretch their legs a bit. Even though the days on the road are shortened, we want to take advantage of that time. My wife puts together lesson plans and goes through them with the kids while we are moving. The other kids who aren’t involved in the current plan are busy finishing up their previous assignments before they have their instructional time. It works out well and allows us to get most of the schooling out of the way before we get to a new destination.
Work is challenging, but no more than when we were back in our home. Early morning or in the evening after the kids are in bed, I will take some time to catch-up on emails and look at what I need to take care of over the next few days. Efficiency is definitely the key, and I have to keep myself on track to make sure I get everything done. I have my own business and have some contracts with companies to either distribute, or sell their gear to my market. We are also exploring other ways to introduce other streams of income to create more balance as sales often comes in waves.
What was your biggest fear before you started these trips? How did you overcome that fear?
The biggest fear actually revolved around finances. My wife had been in insurance for over sixteen years that provided a steady income. Going out and relying purely on our own business and the sales we generate completely was a leap and took a good deal of courage to conquer that fear. Honestly, the biggest thing that helped us overcome that fear was faith and a lot of prayer.
Finances weren’t our only fear, but definitely the greatest and an ongoing fear, but our faith in God has been the constant answer to those fears, specifically the wisdom that comes in Mathew 6:25-27
25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
By actually living your dreams, what have you learned about yourself and your family?
Our faith, patience, endurance, and pretty much everything else have been tested in one way or another. Despite any of those tests I have learned how much we all really love each other, even the kids that bicker the most. When something outside threatens one of them, they quickly step up to be there for their siblings. While walking the busy streets of New York City with six kids in tow, people don’t care that you are together and push their way in-between you. Our kids did a phenomenal job sticking together and making sure that nobody was left behind. On a nine mile hike in the back country of Yellowstone, they constantly encouraged one another even though we were all exhausted.
Through it all, I feel we are all learning what really matters most. We have seen some amazing sites and had some phenomenal experiences, but we look back and realize it was doing it together that made it so great. We know that there is no thing or place on this earth that is more important than each other. It might not always be clear that we feel this way, but it is incredibly clear when it matters most.
What’s your advice for parents who want to travel meaningfully with their kids, but never actually do?
You don’t have to travel around the world or even around the country, but do it. Start locally. In almost every place we have been so far in this country – and we have been through 25 states so far – we have found little gems along the way. Many times they were in the most unexpected places so take some time and look around and it doesn’t take much. We have seen bears, wolves, and bison in Yellowstone, gazed at the Statue of Liberty, and explored palatial mansions on the sea in Newport, yet one of the places the kids talk about the most is the foam blocks in a park in Newark, NJ. My oldest son’s favorite campground to date has not been the one with the best bathrooms, the greatest amenities, or even in the best location – it was the one that had the Nostrils – two holes in the woods that looked like a nose that the kids would crawl through and made a fort inside.
We will continue to visit many places over the next two years, but I have learned it isn’t about where we are going or necessarily what you are doing as long as it is together. Spend quality time with them. Talk to them. Make them the priority in your life and it becomes very easy to see how meaningful it really is.
About Brian and Melissa Jones
Brian and Melissa Jones are unlike many other American couples. Each has been through a marriage of over ten years that ended in divorce and each brought children into the new marriage. Brian brought three children – Isaac, Bella, and Alyssa while Melissa brought two – Shane and Colton – and together they had Lydia. They are a modern day Brady Bunch of sorts. Brian is a former US Marine and entrepreneur and Melissa was an insurance agent for over sixteen years who has now become a full-time mom and teacher of six.
Faith serves as their guiding force in life and they hope that they are able to share God’s love on a regular basis. Through their passion for the outdoors and their family, they are able to enjoy God’s marvelous creation which inspires them to be good stewards of both the earth and relationships with those they know or meet along the way.
Day Dreamers are living their dreams each and every day. They aren’t daydreaming about a better life; they’re living their best lives today. And because they’re living their dreams, they are truly happy, content, and passionate about what they’re doing.
I’ll be interviewing people of different backgrounds with different experiences with the common thread that everyone is living their dreams, right now, with every fabric of their beings. You’ll learn about their stories and journeys to become a true Day Dreamer and how they continue to live life on purpose. And you’ll be inspired to take your life back into your own hands and start being a Day Dreamer yourself.