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Our Family of Explorers:
HI! I’m Crystal and I’m so glad you’ve stopped by to meet my family of explorers. Although I started out in a research laboratory in corporate Chicago my focus turned to sharing my love of learning and adventures online once kids came around! I share my travel adventures and unique hotspots in the USA here in Exploration America and I also run Surviving a Teacher’s Salary – a very popular well-established educational lifestyle site. Caves and unique natural formations are my core obsession but I just love exploring and experiencing new things.
My husband Craig is an elementary school principal and spends his summers joining us on the road as much as possible! Teaching is in his blood but he’s got the travel bug just like I do. He’s my partner in crime when it comes to navigating around the USA and exploring attractions and it’s a little scary how accurate his ability to tell direction is. He secretly hopes someday we’ll find Bigfoot and reads every single sign in historical museums and locations.
Summer 2019: Route 66 and the Pacific Coast Highway (from Chicago to the Grand Canyon, to California to Seattle and back to Chicago).
Summer 2020: Florida + Harry Potter World + Disney World
Summer 2023: Oregon Coast
Summer 2025: Cruise!
SOME of our Past Trips:
2018– Indiana Cave Trail, Weird in Austin Texas, Magical Harry Potter Orlando, Shawnee National Forest, Mackinac Island
Meet our Youngest Explorers:
Dakoda is our oldest Kid Explorer, currently in the 6th grade, and he has a strong obsession with the technology, conspiracy theories and pretty much anything you can find outdoors or travel related. He is a an extremely smart kid with high functioning Asperger’s who isn’t afraid of any creature or challenge. He has a special bond with animals and knows more than I do when it comes to technology. He is always up for a good adventure and soaks up traveling and educational learning like a sponge.
Landon is our middle Kid Explorer and he’s in the 3rd grade. He’s the social butterfly of the family and is extremely easy going. He’ll do anything to make you laugh and shows us how to live life to the fullest. Just sit back in amazement and watch him find the joy in everything. If he gets bored the silly will come out and make everyone around laugh! A true hands on explorer who learns by doing we often find him in the creek covered in mud or sculpting with clay in his room. He’s not afraid to be himself and makes friends with everyone he meets.
Don’t let those innocent blue eyes and cute face fool you – our youngest Explorer Bayleigh is on the move and can outlast with her brothers! At 3 years old our spunky whirlwind never sits still and loves explores everything she can climb on. She’s not afraid to taste a good stick or touch a bug and she brings laughter to the whole family.
We are just obsessed with travel and as you can see based on our upcoming trips above we are ALWAYS planning a trip somewhere. We are meticulous about pre-planning and budgeting although we can totally fly by the seat of our pants if we need to. We’ve skirted around the USA hitting about 80% of the states – mostly on the road – and are known to our friends for some pretty epic road trips (averaging 3000-7000 miles!). With over 30 caves under our belts we really thrive on exploring nature.