Road Trip Reset! How to Heal through Travel

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A road trip wasn’t our original plan, but it turned out to be just what we needed. 

How did you ring in 2021? Would you laugh if I said I wrote up my goals? Yes, I’m an uptight, type A, firstborn; an endangered species of the COVID world—a resolution setter.  

green typewriter on brown wooden table
Photo by Markus Winkler on

This is the first post in an ongoing series about our family road trip from Oregon to Georgia and back.

My entire list was obsolete in three weeks. Long-standing issues with Jennifer’s parents and their conduct in our local church came to a head, and it became apparent that we needed to take action.

By late January we’d decided to sell our home and by June I submitted my letter of resignation as a full-time Christian minister. We hadn’t planned any of this, yet here we were moving away and stepping down from public ministry.

Family and faith are prickly things, and few people could understand, let alone appreciate what we were doing and what it cost us. Over the course of two months we lost several valuable friendships.

thunderstorm with glimmering lightnings over ocean
Photo by Lachlan Ross on

No one likes going through a storm, but I think most of us would admit that they have their uses. Wind and rain quickly clears away the clutter, and shows what’s truly solid.

Even more, we learn what actually matters to us and who’s a friend indeed. We also get a clearer view of who we are both in the best and worst of ways.

Only God can make a storm—a disorder that brings order, something so ugly yet also so beautiful. But I wouldn’t have waxed poetic a month ago.

Road Trip reset. pinnable image of read of van with bumper stickers and URL. Text says ready set reset! when best laid plans are tossed out
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Out with the Old

No, a month ago I was in a hole—my mind was angry and my heart felt adrift. And it wasn’t just me; our entire family was reeling from a rapid succession of major life changes! New house, new job, new church amounted to nearly too much.

What’s more, the newness that surrounded us was a constant reminder of the grief that we’d hardly had an opportunity to sort through. Our new home was great and all, but we were still working through the sad reasons why we had to move in the first place. 

Thankfully, our garage held a big, blue blessing.

rear of van with bumper stickers in front of Mount Rushmore. Road Trips can provide a great reset from normal life.
Our collection of bumper stickers, Mt Rushmore in background

Into the Blue (road trip-worthy van)

For over six years, Jennifer and I transported our family of eight via two rundown minivans. Now, the sale of our old home had gone so well that it allowed us to purchase a large, new, twelve-seater van that could comfortably hold us all.

Sitting at our new address with no job and an open schedule, we began to wonder—what about a road trip?

@dinkumtribe #kidsroadtrip #familytravelblog #dinkumtribe #roadtripidea #smallbusiness ♬ Colors – Amanda Rosa & AMANDA ROSA

It was crazy, but a little crazy was just what we needed. So we hit the road and now we’re ready to share the journey with you!

Here’s the list of posts about each of our destinations. Check back as we continue to add more to our list!

Oregon (road trip began near Salem)

  1. The Sustainable Agriculture and Energy (SAGE) Center.
  2. Oregon Trail Ruts
Farewell Oregon sign by the road.


  1. Craters of the Moon National Monument Part 1
  2. Craters of the Moon National Monument Part 2
  3. Craters of the Moon National Monument Part 3


  1. Museum of the Mountain Man
  2. 5 Quick Stops for Long Drives
  3. Devil’s Tower National Monument (I-90 in Wyoming)


  1. Bailey Yard: Nebraska’s World Wonder
  2. Fort Cody Trading Post
  3. Gothenburg Nebraska: Sod House and Pony Express Station
Roadtrippers map showing trip out from Oregon to Georgia.
Map of trip from Oregon to Georgia as seen in the Roadtrippers app.


  1. Oceans of Fun Waterpark, Kansas City
  2. Waffle House diner
  3. National World War 1 Museum in Kansas City
  4. Slap’s BBQ and Penguin Park
  5. Ted Drewes frozen custard, St. Louis
  6. Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis


  1. National Quilt Museum, Paducah


  1. The Nashville Parthenon


  1. Moss Rock Preserve, Hoover
  2. Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark (Alabama National Parks)
  3. Red Mountain Trail (Best Hikes in Birmingham, AL)
@dinkumtribe Enjoyed the cool water and climbing the boulders at Moss Rock Preserve in Hoover, Alabama last summer. #familytravelblogger #familytravelcreator #familytraveltiktoker #familytravelideas #familytravelvlog #familytravelinfluencer #familytravelblog #adhdfamilies #adhdfamilylife #bigfamilies #largefamilymom #bigfamilytravel #outdoorfamily #outdoorfamilyfun #hikingwithkids #hikingwithkids⛰ #hikingwithfriends #boulderfield #playinginthecreek #1000hoursoutsidechallenge #alabamahiking #alabamacreeks ♬ Sunroof – Nicky Youre & dazy


  1. Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta)
  2. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield (Georgia National Parks)


  1. Metropolis, Home of Superman!

South Dakota

  1. Badlands National Park Animals (Wall, SD and Custer, SD)
  2. Driving Through Badlands National Park (Wall, SD)
  3. Road Trip panic attack at Minuteman
  4. Missile Silo National Park?! The Scoop on Minuteman Missile NHS (Wall, SD)
  5. Best Restaurants in Badlands National Park (Interior and Wall, SD)


  1. Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman
  2. Montana Ale Works, Bozeman

How do you reset after a big life change? Let us know in the comments!

© Copyright 2021 Brian A. Warren. First published September 24, 2021. Last updated November 3, 2022.

Epic USA 2021 Road Trip itinerary - Oregon to Georgia with Leaving Oregon road sign.
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About the author

Brian Warren is a native of California and has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and several other countries. He's husband to Jennifer, Dad of six children, and taught middle school history for several years. His special interests include craft beers, the American Old West, and geology. Brian is also an online marketing specialist and cofounder of Dinkum Tribe, a website dedicated to healthy, happy families. Feel free to send Brian a message at [email protected].


  1. Wow you visited a lot of states and I am glad you included some of the midwestern states. They seem to be ignored but have so much beauty and value. I still need to see Craters of the Moon.

    1. I hope you get to Craters of the Moon sometime – it was one of our favorite places! Definitely an underrated National Park.

  2. What an awesome road trip… it is truly epic and to do it with all the family wow you are saints or crazy (ha ha)…also, we always find our rocks in storms.. they can be very cleansing…

  3. Sometimes we need to detach ourselves from world and explore other areas of life. We will soon realize how beautiful the world is. You have a great story to tell.

  4. Road trips are truly the best, maybe not the fastest way to travel, but definitely the best way to see so much on the way and get the real feel for the places you visit. How long did it take you? I did a similar trip moving from Vermont to California but we had to rush it a bit because we were moving with our cat.

    1. Yes, we love road trips for the same reason – you get such a unique perspective! Our trip took 28 days altogether.

  5. My brother lives in Oregon and I cant wait to visit him again, looking forward to road trips and this post will be useful for us.

    1. Oh good! Check out our “Oregon” section for some favorite places we love to see!

    1. LOL! Best question of the day! Now we’re exploring our home state and thinking about visiting our Canadian relatives… maybe soon!

  6. Sometimes we are forced to make pivotal decisions that may sound crazy to the outside world and ours, and yet they are the best as new doors will open. What a fantastic trip. Thank you for sharing

  7. Hopefully you will look back in a few years and see that this was the best choice ever and that God was blessing your path.

  8. Thank you for sharing the journey you’ve been on as a family. It really resonated with me, especially the part about how other people react when you make choices that are right for you and your family. You’ve inspired me to take the step to write my own “reset” story – not in a washing dirty linen in public fashion, but as a way of sharing where I’ve come from, what’s shaped me and the lessons learned along the path. My faith has sustained me and I’m so glad to hear that yours has too.

    1. I’m glad you found it encouraging – I’m typically hesitant to share hard things with people, but I have slowly come to recognize that sharing out story appropriately can really help others.

  9. Thanks for sharing your story and your adventures. Did you guys also go into the Dakotas at all?

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