The Heaviland family from Shoreline just retuned from an epic nine month road trip exploring the United States. The goal? To gather around 100 different tables.
Jessie Heaviland, mother of five, tells us it was a dream 14 years in the making.
"My husband Mark and I were traveling abroad before we had a family of our own and we came across a family traveling with their three young children, " she said. "We knew right then and there that we wanted to do that with our own kids one day."
Fast-forward to 2020 - this was the year to make the dream a reality.
"We decided that there was enough to explore in the U.S. versus leaving the country," she said. "It took two years of active planning, with five kids, our youngest being 6-year old twins and our oldest is 13. We felt like this was the perfect time, age-wise, to make this happen."
So in August of 2019, the family of 7 piled in their mini van and hit the road for what would be an adventure of a lifetime.
"It was a miracle that we pulled it off," said Jessie. "My husband, who is an architect, took a sabbatical from work and we pulled the kids out of school."
The family goal was to eat at 100 different tables.
"It was less about the meal and more about where the table was," said Jessie. "For example in Arizona we volunteered in a food kitchen and that was the table that day. We connected with old friends and family, we met new families to dine with along the way. We tried to stay a week in each destination so we could really get a taste."
When COVID hit, the family had to cut their trip short.
"In all, we visited 36 states, 95% of our excursion was completed," said Jessie. "We made it to 80 tables of the 100."
On the last leg home, friends and family lined the streets cheering the family on, holding signs that signified the missed tables - "it makes me cry just thinking about it."
How sweet is this welcome home video!
But don't feel bad for this crew, they had the trip of a lifetime and now have another adventure-seeking goal in place.
"Once we got back we definitely needed another big project, so we made a new family goal of seeing all 50 states before our oldest graduates high school."
Jessie's advice for other families considering hitting the road?
"We had talked and dreamed about it for so many years and then finally realized unless we actually put a date on the calendar, it would never become a reality. Once the date was set [two years before we actually left] we had concrete steps we needed to take to make it happen! I’ve talked to so many people who have said, 'I’ve always wanted to do something like that!' in which I reply, 'Put it on the calendar!'