The Story Behind The Trip – The Power Of Doing What You Love! Day 157

So just what exactly is the story behind the trip?

The question comes up often whenever we meet someone out on the road. In fact, usually, at least a few times every single day. “How did the idea for this trip come to you – and how did you two plan it and pull it off?”

Chevy Silverado and Camper
This trip is truly a dream come true. Hard to believe it is almost 6 months now on the road!

Well, we happened to have an opportunity to talk about all of that today during an interview with a local TV station here on the Gulf Coast. And it got us to thinking that perhaps it is a story we should share on this blog as well. ( You can see the video segment from today here : FOX10 With Jim & Mary )

The Real Story Behind The Trip

So who is this crazy couple leaving their home for a year and heading around the country to all 50 states?

The story really begins in late 2010, when we decided to start a little 3 acre self-sufficient “farm” just east of central Ohio. We came up with the name Old World Garden Farm, mainly because we wanted it to be a throwback to the more simple farms of yesteryear. Where most of the food you consumed was grown right there – and all organically.

the story behind  the trip - old world garden farms
The farm as it looked the summer of 2010. One mass of overgrown field for sure!

At the time we were busy with both of our professional careers, and 4 teenage children and crazy schedules. We longed for a slower pace to allow time for the things we loved to do most, and to simply spend more time with our family and friends.

We had always both loved to write, garden and travel. Those hobbies and passions were our shared loves. But we simply never made it a priority to focus on those loves. We were guilty of what many are, thinking “someday” we will have time.

We dreamed of having that little tiny farm. A place to grow some of our own food, raise a few chickens and maybe even keep a honey bee hive or two.

We also wanted to be able to travel more, maybe see all 50 states! And lastly, we wanted to share it with our family and friends and finally have time to write. Both of us, long before we were together always dreamed of someday writing a book.

But most of all, we wanted to do those things when we were young enough to be able to enjoy them all. But those can all be hard when your life is hectic and cluttered. And even harder if you simply keep saying “We will do it someday.”

chickens on the farm
I think one of our proudest moments came when we raised our first flock of chickens in 2011 on our little farm. This was Foghorn – he was one of our favorites for sure!

Making A Pact

So we made a pact together in early 2010. To focus on our dreams in some shape or form every day. Even if it was for just 5 or 10 minutes each day.

It started with simplifying our life. Realizing we didn’t need to work for things, but for experiences. Our first action plan was to start working on an overgrown 3 acre plot of land we owned to turn it into the little farm we had always wanted.

the garden at Old World Garden Farms
Combining our loves of gardening, writing and cooking has been a dream come true for us.

And we loved every minute of the process. So much so that every spare minute we had, you could find us out there. Planting a garden. Building a chicken coop and barn from recycled materials. And loving what we were getting to do.

And then a funny thing happened that changed our life forever. It turns out that doing what we loved and focusing on simplifying our life helped us more than we even knew possible.

Old World Garden Farms

In 2011, we started a little blog called Old World Garden Farms. It honestly began as a joke. A way for us to update friends and family on our progress. Family that perhaps thought we had lost our minds creating our “simple life” on the farm.

the real story behind the story
We have loved every single minute of building Old World Garden Farm together from scratch.

We began writing about all of our crazy adventures. Like building a chicken coop and raising chicks for the first time. Or creating the farm’s barn for nearly free by tearing down (2) hundred-year old barns and making one from the remnants.

Along the way we would post a few of our favorite recipes too. All simply to tell the story of slowing down and making life matter.

We are still not sure to this day how or why, but the blog somehow resonated with folks from all over. First a few followers, then a hundred. Within a few years, it had grown to a few hundred thousand following from 200+ countries around the globe. And it just kept going.

the barn
Tearing down two old barns to create ours was one of our favorite projects looking back. I think we were more proud to say we built the entire barn for under $500!

It was nothing special. Just simple recipes from our garden. Articles on our garden and how we grew things. And of course, more stories of the fun we had with the whole process.

We discovered how much we loved writing and speaking about our adventures and our passions of building, gardening, cooking and traveling to place to learn more. And before we knew it, we had published our first book, Growing Simple, in April of 2016.

In general, finding love in the simple things in life that we enjoyed most. We never imagined it could become our “career”, but it somehow did.

Chasing Dreams…

In 2018, we published our second book, Raised Row Gardening. and launched two additional websites, This Is My Garden, and Make Your Meals.

Each allowed us a dedicated outlet to concentrate on two of our most favorite loves, gardening and cooking.

The barn and the camper together before we left in September.

It was at that point that we knew we had found what we loved to do. And, what we were meant to do! Over the course of a few years, we each retired from our professional day jobs to work at our passion. To do what we love to do every day is and will always be more important to us than chasing corporate dreams or salaries.

As we now often say, it is not that you only live once, it is that you only die once. And neither of us wanted to ever die not doing the things we love most.

But there was one thing left we had still had to accomplish. And that is the final chapter to the story behind the trip.

Setting Sail – The Story Behind The Trip

We had made a pact that when we retired, we were going to set sail and travel. And we realized, that now that we could write from anywhere, it was time to make it happen.

It was a dream for both of us, and one that is now full on as we head across these magnificent 50 states!

the story behind the trip
It will be one incredible day when we get to fill them all in!

We still continue to write on the road for all of our sites, and of course, added this travel site to document our year long excursion in the camper too. On many mornings along the route, you can often find us for a few hours enjoying a cup of coffee in a local coffee shop in the early hours of the day – writing all about our passions.

And one thing is for sure – to us, those few hours are anything but work. It is a dream come true – and the real story behind this trip!

Happy Traveling – Jim and Mary


  • Day 157 of 365
  • States : 20/50
  • National Parks / Monuments : 20
  • Stayed In : Mobile, Alabama
  • Miles Driven : 63.6
  • Total Trip Miles To Date : 16,875.5
  • Total Gallons Used : 1,214.06
  • Biking Miles : 0.0
  • Biking Miles To Date : 158.4
  • Hiking Miles : 1.8
  • Hiking Miles To Date : 352.4

4 thoughts on “The Story Behind The Trip – The Power Of Doing What You Love! Day 157

  • February 16, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    I can’t wait to read the book and see all the pictures of this trip!

    • February 17, 2020 at 11:58 am

      Thanks Anne! We are excited to share more about the trip in the book as well!

  • February 17, 2020 at 9:38 am

    Do you ever open the farm for people? I have followed you for a year and looking at the shed you built, the beautiful flowers and the gardens, made me wonder if people come to tour your beautiful place. Enjoy the rest of your trip. I can’t wait until Mondays to read your travel post.

    • February 17, 2020 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Pat! Yes, we have a lot of visitors that stop by our little farm back in Ohio. When we get finished with our trip, you are more than welcome to email us at to set up a visit. Thanks for following our journey! Mary and Jim


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