This assignment called for a map of a journey that one might take, personal, historical, or ideal. I decided to make it into a personal history of my family (or, more specifically, my mom). Here’s the actual map, but I couldn’t really figure out how to share a whole road trip, so hopefully at least the lines show up like they do in this screenshot. And yeah, we drove every single time, so this is pretty accurate as far as the trip probably went.
My family history is just one long road trip, and I joined in a little less than halfway through. My mom grew up near Trenton, New Jersey, and later her family moved to California, where she met my dad. They got married and had my oldest sister in Orange County. Then, since my dad was going to school to become a chiropractor, they moved to Davenport, Iowa, since that was where his school was. While they were there, my second oldest sister was born. My dad got his license as a doctor and he and my mom decided to move closer to his family back in Utah. Two months before they moved, I was born. Then they settled in Lehi, Utah, where my little sister was born and where I lived for 8 years.
My parents got divorced after I turned 8, and my mom decided she wanted to move back to the East Coast. So, after they sold the house, we packed up and took a summer-long trip to the coast. We went from New Jersey all the way down to Virginia, but I remember Philadelphia the best, so that’s where the map stops. We were in search of a house during this months long road trip, but that just happened to be the same year Hurricane Katrina hit. People were moving north from their tattered homes, and many of the states and towns we were looking at gave them priority housing. At the same time, my grandma was dying in the hospital back in Utah, so we opted to return to that square state and take care of Grandma. We moved into a place in West Jordan, where we stayed for three years while my mom worked on her undergraduate degree and became the first woman in her family to graduate from college. Grandma moved in with us for about a year and got better before moving into her own place again.
When the time came, my mom decided she would pursue graduate school in a university back east. She applied to all kinds of places, with her heart set on the College of William & Mary. She got in, we packed up everything, and took another three day road trip to Virginia, where we set up in a hotel for about three weeks while Mom started school and found a home in a nearby town for us to move into. She got her graduate degree and began working, and we continued to move into a different rented house in the same town for five or six years. Finally, we saved enough money to buy a house, and my mom swears she’s never moving again. One year later, I went to college, but at least there’s always a house to come home to.
I’ve told this story a thousand times, but I like to think about where we started and how we ended up in Virginia. We had moved around so much that my oldest sister started calling us “borderline nomadic,” which is pretty accurate. Putting this story on a map is really cool to see, too! I hadn’t realized we had traveled so many miles to get from one place to another.