We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark & Jenn Clemons and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mark & Jenn, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
Living outside the social norm is probably the most important and life changing thing we have done as parents.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Mark is a software developer. He started from an early age and attended the University of Central Florida (UCF) for computer science. He has built training software and simulations for the navy and Marines, websites for fortune 500 companies like Disney and Marriott and most recently is focused on mobile app development for the financial industry. The biggest challenge with programming is the changing landscape and constantly learning new technologies. These skills translate well for life on the road where conditions, surroundings and issues are always changing. Life on the road requires you to learning how to maintain and fix your RV, figure out how to navigate around your latest destination and research new and exciting activities to explore. I was a teacher at our kids’ small private school. This gave me a good foundation when we made the decision to homeschool our kids on the road. There were lots of ups and downs our first year of homeschooling as I was trying to recreate the classroom. It was rough. Too much and not needed, Our second year, I really embraced what we were doing. In addition to regular math and language arts studies, I started making our education really revolve around where we were in the United States. The history, the science, reading and social studies. It just made sense and the kids love it. I do tons of research. The more hands they can get, the more they learn.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
A Week in Arizona using Phoenix as a jumping off point. Day 1: An early morning hike at Lost Dutchman State Park – one of our favorite parks. Then maybe cool off or do some paddle boarding/kayaking at Theodore Roosevelt Lake.
Day 2: Day trip to Sedona and do one of the many hikes or check out Red Rock State Park. Then drive down to check out Montezuma’s Castle National Monument. Lunch at Montezuma Burger Haus and dessert at Yavapai Apache Fry Bread & Jewelry. Then drive over to Tuzigoot National Monument and check out Jerome.
Day 3: Hidden Gems in Phoenix using resources like Atlas Obscura, Pinterest and our favorite source, locals. Take in some local eats and maybe check out the Hall of Flame Fire Museum.
Day 4: Day trip to Tucson starting with a tour of the Titan Missile Museum. Next stop would be Saguaro NP, take in a few hikes and enjoy a picnic lunch. If there is still time, a quick trip to Tucson Mineral and Gem World or check out Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
Day 5: Explore the city more and maybe check out the botanical gardens.
Day 6: Day trip to Organ Pipe National Monument
Day 7: A tour at Shamrock Dairy Farm because who knew there would be dairy farms in the desert. Look for the wild horses near Wild Horse Pass. Explore, hike and definitely enjoy the sunset a South Mountain Park
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Our inspiration definitely came from fellow travelers, particularly the sailing vloggers like Sailing La Vagabond, Project Atticus, Gone with the Wynns and Parley Revival. They gave us the desire to travel and see the world. To get out of the house. To live differently. Another vlogger, Sailing Zatara showed us we didn’t have to wait for retirement, but we could get out there and do this with our kids too. And while our hearts ultimately hope to take our adventures on the water one day, it was my cousin Rhonda who encouraged us to start our journey. She reminded us that we could combine our love for camping with our desire to explore by hitting the road in a camper. That it would be a good way to start. To see if we could live a life with less stuff in small space, while being on dry land. We are so greatful for her encouragement and support.