About Us

Hi, we are Lindsay and Chris! Together with our Australian Cattle Dog, Everest, we are Called to Wander!

Called to Wander is a travel blog committed to storytelling as a means to provide you inspiration and information that helps you overcome obstacles in your life so that you can travel with purpose! We believe that everyone has a story to tell and, by wandering across the world in search of adventure, we desire to share the stories of the people we meet and places we visit through journalistic prose, photography and videos.

On our site you will find inspiration to:

  • Find, fund and follow your travel dreams
  • Become more involved in the lives of people all around you
  • Learn to live on less in the pursuit of the Abundant Life

You will also find information on how to:

  • Prepare for long-term life on the road
  • Travel long-term with Crohn’s Disease
  • Take amazing photographs in a variety of settings
  • Find and share compelling story elements among daily routines

OUR GOAL IN FULL-TIME TRAVEL

After spending two years raising over two-dozen children in the foster care system, we have set our sights on pursuing the Abundant Life and following our dream to live a full time life on the road as we consider our own desire to have children. We have been aggressively saving, researching and preparing for this trip for several years and through careful planning we have developed a purpose for a journey that will be so much bigger than ourselves!

We are attempting to drive the “Pan American Highway” from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina in our truck and camper rig.

Our journey is divided into three parts:

Leg 1 – North America (all 50 US States + Canada)

Leg 2 – Mexico and Central America and

Leg 3 – South America

Our mission begins with the launch of Leg 1 in April 2018. We anticipate completing this part by Christmas 2018 and will take an additional month or two to spend time with family and friends, modify our rig, plan and prepare for Leg 2 and seek additional work, if necessary, to help fund the adventure.

We hope to spend 2019 in Mexico and Central America and 2020 in South America.

We believe that we have been given much in life. From the fortune of being born into a life of freedoms and prosperity in America to the opportunities that exist for us for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we have been greatly blessed. We believe that part of our responsibility, and joy, in being given much is to also give much to others. On our journey we will document the nature of the giver such that we can help others understand the importance, purpose and impact that giving can have on others.

 

We also want to show that, while we do not have as much as others to give, it is possible to change the world by sharing what we do have – whether it is time, talents or passion. We believe that most people naturally want to help each other and, by sharing what we learn about the nature of giving, people will find more and creative ways to give to others.

Despite the challenges that we face – from existing health concerns to fully financing the entire three-year journey – we believe that we are called to serve others in life and look forward to the opportunity to do so!

ABOUT “THE GRATEFUL AMERICAN ROAD TRIP”

In the first Leg of our journey to drive the Pan American Highway we are driving our truck and camper rig back and forth across the United States. Our primary goal is to raise funds and awareness to support 50 individuals and/or organizations with whom we are volunteering as we travel to ALL 50 states.

We have an ambitious goal to fundraise a total of $55,000 over the course of our trip. We will raise a minimum of $1,000 for each family we visit, with a $5,000 “grand prize” going to the “fans choice” at the end of the road trip.

Along the journey we will volunteer for at least one day in each state, with the aim to work with organizations that focus specifically on improving the lives of children who are orphans, sick (Crohn’s Disease or childhood cancer) or in poverty. We will share the stories of the people we meet and places we visit through journalistic prose, photography and ultimately a feature documentary (or documentary series). Our goal will be to bring awareness to the types of individuals and organizations that are committed to bringing a positive change to their communities and the world.

We have carefully crafted a meandering route that brings us to dozens of major cities and towns across the United States. The route will cover approximately 30,000 miles and also include stops in iconic national and state parks.

Our trip will last from April to December 2018. Our goal is to award all funds that we raise to the various individuals and organizations by December 31, 2018.

Thank you for following and supporting our efforts to make the world a better place!

OUR STORY

Lindsay and Chris were destined for each other, though it would take Chris over thirty years of wandering the world to find Lindsay. By the time they met he had traveled across the United States several times, throughout most of Europe, South America, Japan and Bali. He had a wanderlust that was fed by spontaneous trips to the Caribbean island of Utila, off the coast of Honduras, and the traveling he was doing in assisting in the production of documentary films. But the most important trip he ever made was to visit Cuba, a country he had dreamed of visiting since he was a child but that had long been forbidden and hardly accessible to US citizens.

Lindsay had been only slightly less active in her travels. She too had ventured across the United States and had visited a handful of countries on various cruises that she had taken with her father. With a wanderlust comparable to that of Chris, Lindsay sprung on the opportunity to attend a mission trip to Cuba as her love of the Latin culture, particularly its dancing, drew her curiosity to the closed country.

 

Lindsay and Chris attended the same church and sat within a handful of rows of seats away from each other for nearly three years before they actually met in the spring of 2013 on that fateful trip to Cuba. They both have pretty wild backstories for how they ended up on that trip. But as a result of similar interests to meet and photograph the Cuban people and places they visited they became fast friends. Chris, always the romantic, says that their official first date was on the last night of the trip when they had the occasion to share conversation over a mojito on a rooftop bar overlooking the Santiago city streets below. Lindsay claims the first date didn’t happen until they returned to the US and Chris invited her to go to Wal Mart to buy some stinky bait shrimp to fish at midnight in the murky flow of the St. Johns River. You be the judge to which is a more romantic beginning of their relationship!

By September Chris was convinced that he would marry Lindsay but he made the mistake to try to propose to her in the middle of a shore-fishing trip in Saint Augustine. He had asked her best friends and family, along with his, to observe the moment from a beachside condo. However Lindsay would hardly leave the water to accept the proposal because she was catching fish left and right and Chris had to trick her into changing out her fishing tackle so that he could drop to his knee and propose.

They were married on New Years Eve on Utila, the island of their dreams. Chris had spent the previous two Christmas seasons on the island and Lindsay could think of no better place to exchange vows. Neither wanted a traditional “white wedding,” so with only three friends present for the ceremony they were married in the eyes of God at sunset on the last day of the year. It had poured down rain all day, would let up only for the twenty minute ceremony just enough for the sun to set behind them, and then continue to pour the rest of the evening. But the moment was perfect and a few dozen strangers were able to witness the wedding that took place at the end of a dock at their favorite restaurant.

The next morning, while many people were busy making their New Year’s Resolutions or sleeping off their night before, they sat at a table next to the Caribbean drinking coffee and sharing their dreams of the future. They made a list of things they wanted to do in the new year — but more importantly in their new life together. And while they had a pretty extensive list for both, two things stood out the most that day still define them today:

1) Create a life together full of adventure and stories that inspire others to live an abundant life

2) Commit to a marriage that sets an example to others of how to live and to love

And so the story goes, each year of their marriage was filled with some spectacular adventure:

[1] In their first year of marriage they decided they wanted to learn to sail. Somehow, after sailing with a friend twice that spring, they ended up buying a 40 year old sailboat. Knowing nothing about boat maintenance, or sailing in general, they managed to fix up the boat well enough to tack back and forth across the widest parts of the St. Johns River dreaming of the day they could exchange the murky waters of that river for the blue waters of the Caribbean. They also celebrated their first anniversary by taking a Caribbean cruise, getting close enough to their island to be able to see it in the distance, and visiting several new countries along the way.

[2] In their second year of marriage they rented their first home together. Chris worked long hours and traveled frequently while Lindsay continued to turn their house into a home. The color turquoise took over the house and Lindsay excelled at gardening all sorts of plants and flowers that dotted the landscape. They lived close enough to friends to grow in relationship to others and could walk down the street to their favorite restaurants. They were able to travel together to New York City, Atlanta and Seattle and made little adventures out of each business trip.

[3] In their third year of marriage they made the unpredictable move to abandon their jobs and independence in order to move into a foster home to become house parents for 8 mostly teenage girls. They found, and fell in love with, Everest and watched her grow up that year as though she were one of their own children. While their responsibilities grew exponentially, they continued to seek out adventure and rented a house boat for a week long family vacation so they could explore the origins of the St. Johns River. After six months they switched to become house parents of 8 boys mostly under the age of twelve and found exploration in the acres of woods behind their house.

[4] In their fourth year of marriage Chris bought Lindsay a horse named Stitch, which Lindsay quickly fell in love with and adored. They also started making moves on a plan that was seeded in their heart almost a year before, to travel the Pan American Highway from Alaska to Argentina. They became very knowledgeable at researching the trip and ended up selling their sailboat in order to purchase their camper truck by the middle of the year. They spent the remainder of the year making repairs and modifications to the rig in order to prepare it for a multiple-year journey on the Pan Am. Over the summer they were also able to find adventure with their boys by taking them to the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina to explore the many rivers and trails that inspire boys to grow into fine, yet wild, young men.

Now in their fifth year of marriage they have stepped away from a life of house parenting in order to take to the open road eager for new adventure in every day. They are certain of the plans they have made, but know that plans are deliberately indefinite. It is more to travel than to arrive (Credit: Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). Life has become their adventure and they find joy and purpose in sharing the adventure with others along the way.

ABOUT LINDSAY

Lindsay is the photographer. She is the kind of girl that loves to experience as much as she can. She is content with little and makes the most of what she has. She is not afraid of change. She loves to move. She loves to try new things. To explore. To create. She doesn’t feel pressure to conform to the status quo. She is simple and she enjoys the simple things in life. She loves horses, photography and exploring new places. She wants to look back one day on her life and know that she lived it beautifully.

Lindsay was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. She had a delightful childhood until around the age of 12 when she experienced tremendous pain that led to an eventual diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease. Life became more of a struggle for her then and due to her illness and severe depression she dropped out of high school and began working odd jobs here and there just trying to manage her illness. In this time she happened to attend a horse camp and after only a week she fell in love with them. Lindsay ended up spending the rest of the summer as a volunteer at the camp just so she could be around horses. She became interested in all things related to horses and in the many times when she was confined to her bedroom due to Crohn’s flare ups she became an encyclopedia of horse racing. To this day she does not miss a single major race! She also found a deep desire to travel, as being restricted to the comforts of her home most days of the year led her mind to wander to the many possibilities of the world beyond her hometown. Eventually she enrolled in the local community college and earned her GED and continued to put herself through earning her Associates degree in art, where she focused on photography, a second passion of hers. She met Chris while on a mission trip in Cuba and from that point on life became quite interesting for her!  

ABOUT CHRIS

Chris is the writer. He loves to travel and to plan. He finds balance between enjoying where he is and preparing for what comes next. He has an insatiable desire to see more, to do more, to experience an abundant life. He loves the ocean, traveling to new places and sharing and teaching others the things he has learned in life. Chris loves the idea that anything is possible and, with the right planning and preparation, that he can live a life that inspires people in some profound and important way.

 

Chris was born in California but, before he turned one year old, he had traveled across the country several times as his parents settled into the home where he would be raised in Jacksonville, Florida. As a child, Chris was a jerk – well, a jock, who played pretty much any sport in which he could show fierce competitiveness. He fell in love with basketball, at about the same time in life he had a major growth spurt that gave him quite the advantage over his peers. Through junior high and high school Chris dreamed of playing college and, eventually, professional basketball. His backup plan was to attend the US Naval Academy and become a fighter pilot. However by the time he was a senior in high school he had abandoned both dreams in order to figure out “who” he was. As that story goes, he attended several colleges and, at the end of those years, still didn’t have a clue “who” he was. But he stoked a wanderlust, taking his first solo backpacking trip across Europe and then again, upon graduation from college, through the South American continent. He found that he wanted to start a career where he could help people and have enough time to himself to wander the globe, so he became a high school teacher. He traveled at pretty much every opportunity, exploring the United States (including Hawaii), Japan, Bali and Honduras, where he would return nearly ten times in as many years. He left teaching to work with a friend who he would later partner with in running a documentary studio, which was more of an excuse to get paid to travel more of the world. Ultimately he ended up on a mission trip in Cuba where he met Lindsay and from that point he began the greatest of all of his adventures in marriage.

ABOUT EVEREST

Everest is an Australian Cattle Dog. Her mother is more commonly known as a “Blue Heeler” and her father is a “Red Heeler,” giving her the perfect balance of color in her coat that draws the most complimentary attention. She was born in Missouri in January 2016 and, at eight weeks old, she made a road trip to warmer climates in central Florida where Chris drove to meet her breeder. Hardly the size of his hand, Everest the pup spent the two hour drive to her new home perched on Chris’ shoulder. When introduced to Lindsay, the sweet pup started climbing her leg, the stairs and pretty much anything else she could find to climb. She was given the name “Everest” because of her climbing tendencies and the fact that she was always seeking to be in higher places. Everest loves chasing squirrels and wild turkeys, rolling on the floor and catching an all-too-frequent nap wherever she can. Though a cattle dog by nature, she prefers to nip the heels of horses and goats and is deathly afraid of cows. Everest loves riding shotgun in golf carts, vans, trucks and pretty much anything that moves.

ABOUT OUR “RIG”

Our “rig” is a truck and camper combination often a “cabover camper” or a “slide in camper.” We searched very carefully and particularly for the right truck and camper combination and in our current setup we are as perfectly matched as we can be.

THE TRUCK

Our truck is a 2002 Ford F-250 Crew Cab Flatbed 4 x 4 with a 7.3L Diesel Engine. To date she has nearly 500,000 miles on her but continues to run strong as the 7.3L diesel engine is known to cross 1 million miles with routine maintenance. Because she is a flatbed, we were able to build custom storage beneath the camper where normal trucks would lose space with their bed siding. We have added a wench to the front, airbag suspension to the rear axle and beefed up our tires to the largest, most reliable all terrain style. The truck also has a “long bed” so she is able to comfortably carry either short-bed or long-bed campers.

THE CAMPER

Our camper is a 2005 Lance 845 slide-in camper. It has an 8-foot floor, whereby 6 feet fit on the truck bed and approximately 2 feet hang off the rear. We intentionally bought a short-bed camper for our long-bed truck so that in addition to adding storage beneath the camper we also have additional space between the camper and the truck cab. In addition to the cosmetic upgrades and convenience items, we have added an additional battery, two 100-watt solar panels and an inverter in order to provide us “off the grid” reliance on renewable energy.