WEST CHAZY — The Martins of West Chazy traversed 45 states in 22 months and survived life on the road and each other.
Their exploits and lessons learned are captured in the self-published “Napkin Dreams” available on Amazon ($16) and Kindle ($10).
“The book is called ‘Napkin Dreams’ because before we started, we wrote down on a napkin with a Sharpie marker what we wanted to accomplish,” said the Rev. Marty Martin of West Chazy Community Church.
His wife, Patsy, and sons — Blake, Tanner, David, Brendan and Chase — accomplished most of things on their dream list, which included trying new foods, having fun and growing together as a family.
“Our book is more than a travelogue,” Martin said. “It’s about what we did learn and the adventures we had on the way.”
In 2010, the family decided to take a break from regular life.
“We decided to travel around America. We bought a motor home,” he said.
The peripatetic seven inhabited a 32-foot Forest River motor home and shared 350 square feet with their family pet, Sunset, an Albino python.
“We try to keep to the south in the winter and north in the summer,” Martin said. “We went to the West Coast the first year, and the East Coast the second year. It was dictated by churches who wanted us to come and speak. I did some training with churches about children’s ministries.”
During their sea-to-shining-sea sojourn, the boys ranged in age from 4 to 13.
“We traveled around and homeschooled,” Martin said. “We called it road-schooling. We visited national parks, state parks, zoos and museums. Of course, we went to some bigger cities and out into the country. We really wanted to see America and our history firsthand and went to all kinds of historical sites.”
He realized there are still a lot of good people in the United States.
“We hear the bad news all the time,” Martin said. “There’s a variety of different kinds of churches and different cultures. There are still a lot of people who still believe in God and want to serve him and their fellow man.”
“Napkin Dreams” features sections penned by him, his wife and his sons.
“She wrote about the time I went into the shower and a guy in the shower was whistling songs, name that tune, with me when I was taking a shower. It was a unique, weird experience. That was in St. Augustine’s, Fla.,” he said.
Martin wrote of grizzlies and bald eagles in Wyoming.
“It was really a cool experience for us. That’s something you see in a zoo. To see them out in the wild was awe-inspiring.”
The Martins missed Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Idaho but learned about their family.
“When it’s just us, we learn to get along and be each other’s best friend,” he said. “Those memories we will have for the rest of our lives, the time we spent together. Obviously in close quarters, we had our disagreements. We learned to work through them and work together.”
“Napkin Dreams” is a collection of blog posts (www.napkin-dreams.blogspot.com) and journal entries.
“A couple of my older sons wrote essays and assignments for homework,” Martin said. “We kept having people tell us (to put it) together in a book to share with other people. It will make you laugh and touch you.”
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