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Amy’s American Adventure

Dear Friend,

Amy was an adventurous blond, blue-eyed tomboy living an ordinary suburban life when her parents announced that the family would be purchasing an RV motorhome and traveling the United States for one year on a journey of discovery.

She was a bit sad to leave her friends behind, and she wasn’t sure what she would do to keep herself busy for an entire year.

Then her parents got the idea that it might be a cool to get the signature of every State Governor in the United States when they visited that Governor’s state. Amy wasn’t sure how they might go about doing that but the idea struck home. From that moment on, Amy was polarized by the challenge of meeting every State Governor and obtaining their signature.

Her parents also got caught up in the idea and wrote letters to each Governor’s office to arrange the meetings before they began their journey. Some Governor’s offices responded coolly or with little interest. Others seized the moment and got excited by the prospect.

When Amy and her family were done, she had, one way or another, succeeded in obtaining the signature of every U.S. State Governor and the signature of Bob Dole, who was then running for President of the United States. She had also drawn the attention on her journey of the national press, including CNN, C-SPAN, and MTV, who were fascinated and excited by what she and her family were doing.

When she returned, Amy turned a daily journal that she had kept into a book that was published through Ironwood Press, titled, My American Adventure. The book’s forward was written by Governor John Engler of her home state of Michigan.

Amy missed out on a lot during the year that she was gone. There were activities that she missed, classes at the local public school that she didn’t attend, a whole lot of TV time, and much more.

Instead of those activities that Amy missed, she participated in something that at first seemed impossible, but that instead changed her life forever.

After personally interviewing government officials from across the U.S. for a year, do you think that Amy will be shy as an adult to make her views known to her local representatives? After setting forth on what must have seemed to her a surreal and impossible task, experiencing that task morph into a personal mission, and then succeeding in that mission, do you think that Amy will shy away from difficult tasks in the future, or seize them with the open arms that are required to overcome life’s most difficult tasks?

I was struck by Amy’s story, as I’m sure you are too. I want my children to have the opportunity to discover the world and what they are truly capable of before they set out on their own as adults. I also knew that my children would never get such an opportunity if my family continued on the conventional life path that my wife and I had them on up until that point.

But how did I make the change? How does one go about transitioning an entire family’s lifestyle, source of income and money management style, educational arrangements, living quarters and conditions, daily routine, attitudes about how much stuff that we needed to live comfortably, and all the rest? It sounds impossible, I know. And it takes balls to take it on. But we did take it on. And so can you.

I slowly convinced my spouce of the benefits of these changes through simple examples like I am presenting to you now. She went from a firm traditionalist to a very open minded adventurer. You’d be surprised how people’s views can change when faced with facts that cannot be denied.

You also may not need to make so many changes to your lifestyle. It all depends on what it is you’d really like to do with your family before they are grown and gone.

The hardest part of all of this is waking up from the haze of everyday living. It seems hard to seriously reconsider the life that you are leading, and the life model that you are holding forth in front of your children. Yet you must reconsider, because this is the life model that your children will likely follow you in or, possibly, rebel against.

If you absolutely love your life just as it is, and you are convinced that your family’s lifestyle sets an excellent example for your children, then you don’t need to follow this blog. But I am thrilled that you do! In fact, I’d love you to leave me a reply note at the end of this post because you have something to teach others that they need to know.

If you are not the person that I just described then you need to take this post as your personal wake up call. I am talking directly to you. Right now. Think about the life you are leading. The clock is ticking on your children’s future. And on yours. What are you going to do about it?

If you do anything, do it today. Do something now. Even if it is just to make up your mind to do something. Put your life on it’s natural path, the one less followed. You might have to give it a sudden jerk to pop your life out of the momentum of the old rutted path that everyone else seems to be following, but you can do it! I can’t wait to hear about your coming adventures!

Talk to you soon,

Hugh

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