We mostly post about our happy adventures here, mainly because we are blessed and grateful for all we have — and because we want to inspire all of you to get outside in nature and explore however and whenever you can — but living on the road is not without hardships and sorrows… and while we have mostly left those experiences unmentioned, we had to share the loss of Jenny’s mom, Hjordis — known to most by her nickname Tulla.
Tulla has a special place in our hearts and in this trip. Jenny spent much of the last decade living with her mom and helping her out — and helping her recover — through numerous health crises and scares. After Jenny and Ran found each other and started dating, Ran found a second mom in Tulla.
Tulla (along with her dad Dale) inspired Jenny’s passion for camping and exploring — and being active. Tulla loved traveling and did quite a bit of it until those health issues slowed her down. When we set out on planning this journey around the 48 states, we knew we had to include Mom as much as possible, and we did so through phone calls, FaceTiming, emailed photos and videos, and postcards from almost every place we visited. We loved sharing our travels with her and hearing her stories of about some of the same places, as well as her many projects at home that kept her quite busy and content.
We also had a feeling that this past Thanksgiving and Christmas might be the last time we would see her, so we modified our trip to spend five fun weeks visiting with her — taking her to places like Dixon Lake (shown above), listening to stories of her childhood, discussing her favorite postcards from our trip, reviewing old family photo albums, cooking meals and eating together, and just BEING with her.
Tulla was sassy, stubborn, and smart — a dangerous, but wonderful combination. After some initial caution about this new man in Jenny’s life, she completely embraced Ran and made him feel a true member of the family. Ran made sure to ask Tulla for her permission before he asked Jenny to get married — and Tulla truly embraced the marriage and Ran with words and hugs. While she loved having us around and helping her with various chores and projects after we got married, she sent us off on our trip in January 2018 with her blessings.
We will be making one more trip back to California next month to celebrate this amazing woman, gathering with family and close friends and sharing our stories… but for now, and also afterwards, we continue our travels knowing that Tulla is always with us.
Finally, we just have to say this comment one more time… there are no guarantees in life, and we encourage you to live your lives to the fullest. Do all the things you want to do (even if just in small doses) while you can.