The Streett family took what might be the longest road trip ever to get to Sequim.
On Aug. 12, the family of four, Robert, Josslyn, Robby and Sawyer, hit the two-year milestone from when they began their 14-month, 31,000 mile RV trek from their native Chino Hills, Calif., to find the perfect place to live.
After 28 states and 71 overnight stops, Sequim became their home.
"When we arrived here, the massive 'greenery' and running water was so foreign to us," Robert said. Staying here three weeks in December 2007, the family experienced snow and wet conditions, which suited them just fine.
'Some think I'm crazy'
"Some think I'm crazy to move here, but I wanted to experience 'weather' and the seasons," Josslyn said. "I love a cold beach with driftwood."
Sequim was one of two places where they had extended stays; the other was with relatives in Triangle Lake, Ore.
Besides the area's beauty, Sequim residents' hospitality won them over. On Christmas Day, a man in a Chinese restaurant gave Robert his telephone number to call if he needed anything and suggested a number of things for them to do during their stay.
"People are 99 percent of the
time helpful and want to help," Robert said.
"In metropolitan life, where it's busier, it's not that people don't want to help, it's just that their priorities are different."
"People just seem so happy to be here," Josslyn said.
On Oct. 17, they will celebrate living in Sequim for one year.
History of the trip
Calling themselves RV gypsies now, the Streetts weren't always nomads, but growing up in Southern California, Robert and Josslyn always desired a change.
"Even before having kids, we wanted to have a place that our parents didn't choose for us," Josslyn said.
Following the deaths of Robert's parents, he proposed the RV trip.
"There were so many reasons why we couldn't have done it.
We aren't risk-takers by nature," Robert said.
"We decided that we wouldn't let fear get the best of us."
Selling most of their possessions, the family was at peace with the situation.
"We found the happiest people
are those who make do,"
Threat of fuel prices
The family budgeted for their trip to last one year and they lived in their 2008 Titanium fifth-wheel trailer throughout. However, they didn't anticipate rising fuel costs as diesel peaked at $5 a gallon.
The family said their staple food was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but not because of high gas prices.
"We tried not to eat out much because that can get expensive," Josslyn said.
"It was a lot of lunch meat sandwiches."
Penny pinching played into Robby and Sawyer's education, too, as costs of laundry and groceries became part of math class.
Their on-the-road-home-school provided history and geography lessons as they visited landmarks including the Pony Express, Oregon Trail and Underground Railroad. Robby said his favorite part of the trip was visiting the different museums in each city.
"We were able to live the education," Josslyn said.
"Robert and I learned a lot, too."
The RV parenting life
Robert had never been a full-time father before he quit his sales job prior to leaving. When he proposed the trip, he thought there would be more time for his personal interests.
"I wanted to do art, so I brought my chalk, drawing paper, musical instruments and more," Robert said.
"I didn't break it out once ... I had no idea what it was like to parent 24/7."
"Most full-time RV people are retired," Josslyn said.
"With kids, there's no rest on a trip like ours because there aren't fences to keep them inside. We are always on the lookout."
The couple said their boys were at the right age for the adventure because if they were older, the trip could have taken a different tone.
Robby and Sawyer occupied themselves on the road with Tinker Toys, Legos and reading.
"One of the best things we did was read out loud," Josslyn said.
Both parents were grateful for the extended time together with their children.
"It gave me the insight into full-time parenting that I never would have had," Robert said.
"I'm not necessarily a better parent, but I feel like I've learned a lot."
One year later
Narrowing their choices among several cities, the Streets had a strong idea where they'd end up.
"By the time we were in Virginia, we knew we wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest," Josslyn said.
Their expectations for a home city included a community that endorses organic products, had a holistic and "green" mind set, and "got away from the sanitized system of doing things," Robert said.
When visiting, their favorite places were, and still are, Railroad Bridge Park, the organic farms, Dungeness Valley Creamery, the local festivals and lavender farms and Dungeness Spit.
Now, they rent a home on Eunice Street in Sequim.
Robert works for Home Depot selling at-home services and consulting on potential projects.
Josslyn remains a full-time
mother and volunteer and does Reiki, a hands-on healing therapy.
No more leaving friends behind
Both boys are active in Cub Scouts and school begins soon with Sawyer going into first grade and Robby into third.
"They are happy to have friends who they don't leave behind every week," Josslyn said.
The couple plans to raise their boys in Sequim and does not have another RV trip planned.
But, both parents seemed open to another venture with stipulations.
"If I were to do it again, I'd stay longer in places and go longer on the road," Josslyn said.
Their trip inspired a family friend to take monthly adventures.
"She found something to break her mold," Josslyn said.
"We encourage others to get outside their box."
More on the Streetts' trip can be found online at www.rvgypsies.us.
Reach Matthew Nash at mnash
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