Traci (the mom)
I have had the travel bug ever since my first plane ride at the age of 21. My family did not travel much when I was growing up. We took a family trip to Florida and I did get a chance to visit relatives in North Carolina when I was a teenager. I was grateful for these opportunities to visit other states, however I longed to see the United States and continue to explore beyond the tiny borders of New Hampshire.
Through my various positions as the Marketing Manager/Director of international companies, I have interfaced with people around the world from many different cultures. My travels have taken me to Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Canada and throughout the United States. Once I started my marketing consulting firm in 2000, Bisson Barcelona , I traveled extensively for client projects.
Thanks to advanced technology and dedicated clients, I have a rare opportunity to travel full-time and see the United States with my husband and two boys. We rented our house and moved out on June 25, 2014 and became a full-time traveling family. Our eight-month ultimate adventure to explore the United States, meet new people and open our minds to new ideas starts August 27, 2014.
Ray and my camping adventures started in our twenties, long before kids. We camped frequently with his family – first in a tent – then when Jacob was born, we graduated to cabins. When the kids were older, we upgraded our tent and continued roughing it for a few more years until we purchased our first travel trailer in 2011. In 2013, we purchased a 40 foot Keystone Montana Mountaineer; our home for the eight-month journey across the United States.
Ray (the dad)
My family camped every summer when I was growing up. I learned to love the outdoors, which aided in my decision to study Civil Technology at the University of New Hampshire and become a land surveyor. I started my own business, Stonewall Surveying, in 2011 and enjoy the freedom it gives me to explore additional interests. I have over 20 years experience, am licensed in New Hampshire and Maine, and have completed many projects, including surveying the endangered Appalachian Trail corridor in Maine to protect it from development. My business is mostly seasonal, which allows me the flexibility to explore this opportunity with my family and see the Unites States during the winter months and early spring.
I have always had a burning desire to travel and take pictures. I am an amateur photographer; you can see my work at Ray Bisson Photography. My goal is to climb as many mountains as possible on this journey and help our kids learn to appreciate all that nature and this country has to offer. We look forward to meeting new people, experiencing different cultures and expanding our minds.
Jacob (the older brother)
Jacob admits that his favorite memories are from the many vacations we have taken together as a family. He was accepted to Coe Brown Northwood Academy, but will be studying at the Virtual Learning Academy for his 9th grade year. This online learning format will allow him to explore his other interests such as soccer, baseball, persuasive writing, astronomy and music. His goal is to visit as many baseball parks as possible as we cross the United States.
Jacob loves new experiences but admits he will miss his friends and the security of school and home. Our hope is to open his eyes to new experiences and opportunities that he could never have imagined. He has traveled several times by plane and car since the age of five and has seen most states on the eastern seaboard. He has fond memories of St. Augustine, Florida as well as Savannah, Georgia and South Carolina.
While traveling, Jacob wants to play soccer and baseball with home school groups or find some camps at high schools or universities. He loves the ocean and looks forward to seeing the Pacific Ocean, visiting Disney Land and riding the largest roller coasters he can find. Jacob is blogging about his trip across America at Travel Reviews by Jacob.
Lucas (the younger brother)
When we told Lucas in April 2013 about our upcoming adventure, he asked if we could leave tomorrow. He was very excited to embark on this trip and had a laundry list of things he wanted to do and see, including visiting Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, panning for gold in California, and visiting a Sonic Restaurant. When we hung a three foot map of the United States on our wall to help the kids visualize the trip, he pinned many locations he wanted to visit. I think we ran out of pins by the time he finished.
Lucas enjoys horseback riding, cooking, Lego club, Cub Scouts, magic, arts and crafts and animals. He is anxious to ride a donkey into the Grand Canyon and visit a diamond mine in Kentucky. Both Lucas and Jacob look forward to visiting good friends in Florida and South Carolina that they have not seen since 2012.
Lucas will also study at the Virtual Learning Academy for his 5th grade year. The kids love the flexibility they will have and look forward to sleeping in later. While on the road, they will learn about technology, advanced computer skills, how to write a blog, how to use a map and compass, about geocaching, wilderness survival, astronomy, marine life, organizational skills, cooking and meal preparation, about people and places as well as giving back to many charities as our family works to earn the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Lucas is blogging about his trip across America at The Traveling Turtle Blog.
Dakota (loyal canine)
Dakota is a beautiful, five year old, collie-Brittany spaniel mix. She was rescued as a puppy from a high kill shelter in the south. She has been our faithful companion and has traveled with us every summer we embarked on a new camping adventure.
Surprisingly, we debated leaving her behind with family for eight months. We were concerned about her exposure to other areas as well as the heat and arid dessert climates we would be visiting. The possible threat of rattlesnakes, scorpions, bears and other wild animals also worried us.
Last year, we saw a segment on ABC News about The Science of Animal Emotions. This study suggested that pets, dogs in particular, experience emotions similar to humans, including fear, anger, love, jealousy and greed. How could we leave behind a family member we love, and who loves us, if that absence may be difficult for her. The decision was unanimous…Dakota goes with us. She will get a rattlesnake vaccine before we leave as well as any other check ups necessary before the trip.
Dakota looks forward to long hikes and new smells as well as meeting new four-legged friends and playing stick. She hopes there will be a few beaches on the west coast that will allow dogs to visit, play ball and splash in the waves.
Sylvester (fuzzy fur ball)
Sylvester is a scaredy cat and the perfect type of cat to travel with us across country. He will not want to go outside and possibly run away and get lost. He enjoys the comfort of dark small places where he can curl up in a ball and snooze the day away. He will also provide Dakota with companionship. He is an affectionate cat and the kids love him.
We could not take all three of our cats with us. The other two cats like to go outside and we were concerned about them escaping. They will remain safely behind with some good friends who will care for them.