2020 Gap Year in Review / What I Learned

2020 you have been the year, the year for everyone.  We each have a unique story this year.   I’m sharing my 2020 gap year in review from our traveling sabbatical in a timeline and what I learned. 

My husband and I started our travels with an open mind. We made plans but we knew that God could change any of our plans.   Yes, God changed our plans.  When I started the year, I had no idea what was ahead.

live it and see what God brings your way

I will post blog links to the blogs I wrote that pertain to each of these areas.  

2020 Gap year in review and what I learned
2020 year in review

2020 Gap Year in Review

January 2020 Starts the Traveling Sabbatical

We started the year off on our traveling sabbatical.  Our home was sold and we had quit our jobs in December.  Now we had freedom.  At Christmas we were visiting family in Florida, so we started our travels on January 6th.  The beginning of a 120-day Traveling Adventure staying at Airbnbs each night of our journey.  

We spent our first night near Hilton Head, South Carolina just to say we started at the beach. I loved riding my bike on the beach.   On to Lynchburg, VA for a few nights and then to Ashville, NC / Hendersonville, NC which we enjoyed as tourists and for more hiking.   A day was planned to visit a friend in Greenville, SC, and do some biking on the trail.

On to Tennessee. We stayed in Sevierville/Knoxville near the Smokey Mountains to explore that area and hike for a week. It was cold with a few days of below freezing temps. We also ventured to Chattanooga, TN, and Nashville where we were tourists in the cities and found some hiking on chilly days. Link to blog on How to see Tennessee for free.

God was directing every step of our travels, including the people we met.

link to blog on How to See Tennessee for free
Our Town
Link to blog on How we spent the day in Laurel, MS

February Travels

This month completed our time in Tennessee and we had a few 70-degree days in Nashville which we were excited about.   We headed to Huntsville, Alabama for a week and toured the area, and met a great couple from the area.  This is when the rain and chill settled in and we had to be creative with our time.  The NASA Space Center was amazing to see.  

From Huntsville, we headed south to Laurel, MS where they film the show “Our Town” on HGTV.  This was a fun way to spend Valentine’s Day and we met some really fun people there. They were recruiting us to live there and buy a home. How we spent the day in Our Town, Laurel, MS.

From there we spent some time in Madison, MS to see the capitol city. Next on to Arkansas- we spent almost a week in Hot Springs and one day in Little Rock.   We enjoyed hiking and tourist activities in the area along with the hot spring mineral baths.  They have wonderful State parks and nature areas.  Link to How to see Hot Springs and Little Rock for free.

We drove across Texas and ended up in New Mexico.  Before our trip, I was not excited about New Mexico but from my blog you will see that I enjoyed visiting it.   So many unusual places we visited in the state.   We loved our Airbnb hosts and the unusual hikes, mountains and National Parks.  I am in awe of all the beautiful places God has made for us to explore and see. We are blessed to travel. Link to blog New Mexico the land of Enchantment.

New Mexico
White Sands National Monument – Now one of my favorite places
Link to Blog- Life Lessons from a Saguaro Cactus
No fear

March Madness Review

We headed to Tucson, Arizona, which was our first time there.  The weather was great, but I don’t think living there would be an option.  I don’t want to boil in the summer.  Great hiking and the first time I saw a Saguaro cactus and many other strange cactus varieties.  

Unfortunately, while there, we started to hear about COVID and people started to hoard toilet paper.  We had to trust our Airbnb host would provide it for us.  We also had to trust God that we could get our food from the grocery store every 5-7 days.

Travels Continue Week by Week

Next, we headed north and spent some time near Sedona, AZ, and met some friends from the Midwest there.   We loved hiking in the area with all the pretty rock layers of the canyons.   More info on COVID was coming out on the news.  They shut down Sedona stores and the once-bustling place felt like a ghost town.

Our Airbnb host called us and asked if we were coming to Prescott, AZ. I told her we were because we had no home to go to.  We hiked and biked and enjoyed our visit with our hosts.  Our travels allowed us to meet some friends and enjoy a very diverse group of people.

March was ending and we headed to the Grand Canyon where my husband hiked 8 hours in a day on the only trail open down into the canyon.   I stayed in the car for a nap and books.   The next day we left Grand Canyon, and they closed the National Park and AZ was going into a stay-at-home order. God orchestrated the timing because we were now moving on to Utah.

We had to trust God with our day to day and our week to week.  They were God’s plans, not ours.

Be Still

 April By Car

The popular National Parks were now closed and some of our Airbnbs were shut down. We made new arrangements and stayed at a place for a week near Capitol Reef National Park.  Every day we hiked or drove someplace and enjoyed the outdoors in the Bureau of Land Management areas.  We ventured out on day trips to see a few cities like Kanab and St George. 

Around Easter we headed to Layton, UT, watching our Easter Service online.  We stayed in an Airbnb apartment below a family.  The Family gave us tips on hikes and bike rides and drives around the Salt Lake City area for the week.  

Off to Idaho where we spent most of our time in Boise.  We hiked and biked on the beautiful river greenway, and visited with a couple we knew from MN.   Again, we were tourists for outdoor activities.

Next stop to Oregon.  We found some places to stay but when we arrived, we discovered they had shut down beaches, overlooks and even had a sign that said: “Forest Closed”.  

We found the road less traveled was the way to go for open hiking trails. Much of our site seeing was by car.  With COVID many Restrooms were closed along the way, so here is my blog on let’s talk about Restrooms.

2020 gap year in review

2020 Mission Impossible

Since we were that far west, we drove to Oakland, CA where our daughter and son-in-law live and spent 24 hours seeing them.  We got a car tour of the area without much traffic.   Our plans were not working out so we decided to take the next week to get back to MN. We would end our travels a week early. 

Back to the Midwest with stops in Nevada, Wyoming, and Kansas.  We ended up in Fayetteville, AR since we missed it earlier.  To stay in our Airbnb, we had to tell them we were homeless.  We were good because that was the truth.

God supplies all of your needs when you trust in him.      

The cows were free to roam in the open range area in Utah.

2020 Gap Year in Review Blog Links

Our Traveling Sabbatical Start– Planning and packing. Our First 25 Days of Travel Link. Days 26-60 days of Travel Link. How we spent days 61-90 of our Travels. How we spent Days 91-12O of our Travels. Top 5 places to live. Counting it up, our traveling Statistics. 10 Tips for Staying at an Airbnb. People Stories from our Travels. People stories Part 2. The rest of our Story- The Move.

May in Minnesota

On may 4th we arrived in Minnesota to end our Traveling Sabbatical. We opened up the winterized home of our relatives to stay with them until a job could be found.   This month was cold in MN and on May 12th it was 21 degrees outside and the water pump froze.   Reminder…this is why we want to move south.

The family came up north for the summer and we researched the places we would apply for jobs and would like to live.  If you think this story ends, it does not. It turns into a Gap year, so read on.

We learned that God can bring you to safety and protection wherever you are.   Even out of your comfort zone.

summer fishing
summer fishing

June to August- Summer at the Lake

This summer was spent applying for jobs, hanging with family, enjoying the outdoors biking, hiking, and stand-up paddleboarding.   We lived with my mother and father in law and our son.  I did the cooking and household chores while we all had fun together.   My husband had interviews every week, but the doors were closed.  Link to blog on Yes, NO, and Wait. Blog on Mumbling God’s Word.

My husband and I kept asking God, what is taking so long, what are you doing? We waited and waited. 

Link to Blog on Savor the Moments in Life.

September Plans Change

We planned to leave on the 21st to someplace unknown, but my husband’s dad became ill. He went from ER to Hospital to Hospice Care for Sudden Terminal Leukemia and went to heaven on September 29th. Our wonderful father’s life was celebrated on Oct 3rd as a family. It was a sad goodbye.

God knew this was going to happen and that is why all the doors were closed this summer for jobs.  He had us where we were most needed, with our family.

October in Minnesota and Job Offers

On October 6th we left to stay with our friends north of the twin cities.  For this month my husband applied and interviewed for jobs.   God orchestrated two jobs with many interviews and by the end of the month, he had two job offers.   One in Arizona and one in Virginia.

God did more than we could ask or imagine in his timing. We had to choose where to live.


November On the Road

We headed to Iowa on November 3rd to visit our friends. He accepted the job offer in VA and since the job didn’t start until the end of November, we traveled to Moab, UT to see the National Parks we missed on our traveling sabbatical.  Back to Iowa to get our trailer and off to VA by the 21st to get settled in an apartment until we can find a house.

We had no idea that November would look like this, but we are glad God gives you the delights of your heart.

December a New State

Here we are getting settled in the Virginia area meeting people, finding a job for myself, a church, a home, and repurchasing a few things we need.  My husband and I are living minimalistic and spent Christmas with family in FL. 

2020 gap year in review

2020 Gap year in Review and What I Learned

  • It has been a unique year.  God is Good all the time.  Trust Him in All Things.  Pray about everything.   
  • Enjoy the people God puts around you.   I have spent almost every day with my husband this year and we still love each other.    
  • Be healthy, get outside to exercise, eat healthily, and connect with people somehow.  
  • Rely on God for everything.   Trust him for your day to day and week by week.  He knows the future.  
  • Keep praying through your struggles. God sees you and knows your thoughts. link to Mumbling and Meditating on God’s word.
  • God works even negative things out for the good.   He has you covered even when there are troubles ahead.  
  • We learned what it’s like to live homeless for a year. See blog on intentional homelessness for details.
Intentional homelessness
2020 gap year in review

Like Abram, Noah, Job, and Joseph during our 2020 Gap Year in Review

  • I know what it’s like to feel like Abram.  Go to a place unknown I will tell you.
  • I know what it’s like to feel like Noah.  Just do the next right thing God tells you to do. Be obedient.
  • I know what it’s like to partially feel like Job.  I had to give up my home, my church, I became an empty nester, I gave up my friends and job and many of my possessions.  I still had God, my health, and my family.  
  • I know what it’s like to wait on God like Joseph. Joseph waited for God to give favor.   A favor for jobs.  It was God’s way and His timing. 

Joy Coming your Way in 2021

I hope this encourages you to look to God for your completion in life and to help you through your struggles, circumstances, and problems that you may carry with you into 2021. We find our day to day joy in life with Christ and wish you Joy for 2021.   2020 Gap Year in Review / What I Learned

Decide today that God will be there for your Day to Day.   He is our only Hope and our day to day Joy.

Joy coming

2 thoughts on “2020 Gap Year in Review / What I Learned”

  1. Thank you for sharing your journey in 2020. I look forward to more posts in 2021! Happy New Year! 🎉

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