A gap year is what they call it. Imagine packing up your RV, your family and a few items and leaving home for a year to travel around North America. It sounds like a dream to many people, but that is just what one family from Oxbow did. Caleb and Verlynda Simonyi-Gindele, along with their three daughters, Raquenna, Cassia and Lanaya, have just returned from their “gap year”.
The family left about a year ago, August 4, 2016. The trip took them south along the west coast. The family then traveled into South America, visiting Mexico and Nicaragua, and then traveled east through the southern part of the US. They then made their way up the east coast and back into Canada for the last month of their trip. Stopping in Ottawa for the July holiday.
The family had been planning this since the May of 2016, however had talked of it since the fall of the previous year. “It was something we always wanted to do,” said Verlynda. The family had a good RV, a reliable vehicle capable of making the trip and work that could be done while telecommuting. The girls, who attend Oxbow Prairie Horizons School, could learn on the road. It was meant to be!
“We started planning the trip and told the kids about it in January of 2016. The kids had a very positive response, although our oldest had some reservations about missing driver’s ed,” said Verlynda.
The family camped along the way. Often times trying to see as much of the National Parks as possible throughout the US. The family visited over 20 National Parks during their trek across North America. “Death Valley in California was definitely a highlight,” said Verlynda, “it was so different from anything we’d ever seen before.”
They were even able to meet up with other local faces during their trip. Carter MacFarlane was doing mission work in Nicaragua during the family’s time there. They were also able to connect with Matthew Taylor during a trip to Texas. Another MacFarlane, Morgan MacFarlane, greeted them in New Brunswick.
The family were also able to meet new friends along the way, often connecting through various churches throughout their travels. These new friends would invite them into their homes and lives and want to share a little piece of their home life with the Simonyi-Gindele family. Verlynda said, “so many people gave so much of themselves during this trip. It is really a neat experience to be served by so many people; so many people wanting to share their lives with us!”
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