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Our Life On the Road With a Toddler Doing Concerts in Strangers' Homes

When we tell people that we live and travel in a renovated Airstream trailer with our 4-year-old daughter, playing house concerts and exploring the country, we get a lot of questions. People want to know how the little one does and how we make it work with her. The short answer is “Great! She loves it and does really well.”

But if you really want to know the nitty-gritty truth, I’ll have to go back a few years and tell you how it all started:

As many stories begin, a boy met a girl. This boy and this girl immediately became inseparable. Then, as boys and girls often do, they fell in love. Like the sun coming up over a hill lights the landscape below, their love was revealed to them and they saw that they would spend the rest of their days together. Not long after, under the canopy of a Magnolia tree, they vowed just that.

We left our house, sold almost everything we owned, moved in with family just long enough to record our first EP, “I Found You,” bought and renovated a vintage airstream trailer and hit the road.

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Young, wild and free they thought nothing would change but one of their names. Ha! That's young love for you. Life had different plans and, in fact, nothing would ever be the same (but one of their names). The giggle of a pudgy little infant would soon fill the air of their home and ignite their hearts with a newfound drive—literally, we'll get to that—to do something. Life began to take on a whole new meaning. They weren't the first parents to discover this. The sense that their days were hurrying by and the gravity of becoming a teacher to a gentle new soul set them on a path that they had never even dreamed of.

And this, let me tell you, is the seldom-mentioned and perhaps most profound detail of the journey that we’re on. What we're doing is all for her. It’s all for our daughter, Magnolia. She isn’t just being carted around, she is the reason for it all.

At times I’ve felt like a caterpiller being melted down into the “caterpiller soup” that holds the information to make a butterfly.

From the moment Magnolia was born, and we became the recipients of her big brown-eyed gaze that was (and is) so full of love and trust, we knew that what we wanted most was to be her worthy teachers. We knew that we wanted to instill patience in her but had to figure out whether we could even teach that. We looked within ourselves and asked whether we possessed patience. We knew we wanted to encourage her to follow her dreams, be brave, trust. But, we thought, can we show her the way? Do we love the way we hope she will? Do we live with passion the way we hope she will? Are we peaceful the way we hope she will be?

This turning of our attention to inward things became a spiritual Pilgrimage of sorts that ultimately led us to one pivotal moment, shortly after Magnolia was walking, in which I symbolically cut off my long hair and we decided to go for it—to go after the dream that had been stirring in us. We left our house, sold almost everything we owned, moved in with family just long enough to record our first EP, “I Found You,” bought and renovated a vintage airstream trailer and hit the road.

And that's what we are doing now.

Since that moment, life has been incredibly full. Challenges and triumphs, pain and bliss. At times I’ve felt like a caterpiller being melted down into the “caterpiller soup” that holds the information to make a butterfly. Sometimes, I’m the butterfly. Always, I'm a mother and always I remember the why behind everything. Those big eyes staring up at me with love and trust. I travel the road the show her the way.

So, while this journey is observably about music, adventure, perhaps a little rebellion, it is at the core a letter—a quiet love letter to our beautiful Magnolia.

“Follow your dreams,” say my hands as they carry music gear up the front steps of a stranger’s house.

“Never give up,” says the crunch of my step, as I carry firewood to the campsite.

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“Fall in love with life,” whisper my eyes, lit up from the sunset, as it carries me away in its beauty.

“Offer your gifts,” breaths my voice as it fills another’s home.

I hope the message is delivered straight to her heart and tucked away safe, and I wait for the day I can be a phone call away, ready to be a listening ear as she dives courageously into all she could ever dream of.

If you want to know more about our travels, hear our music—or book a house concert by filling out a host page—you can find it all over at our website, Pilgrim. We'd love to meet you.

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Photographs by: Katie Thomas

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