Yesterday morning, I passed by the kitchen counter thinking, “I need a fortune today.”  We keep a bowl of fortune cookies there, because you never know when you’re going to need one.  I opened my cookie and read, “Your hard work is about to pay off.  Congratulations!”.  A true fortune indeed.

I went into work to find an email from my brother – the Travella Guides website is…..UP!

So, if you’ve been following my blogs, you learned that I accidentally deleted the first week of posts.  I apologize to you loyal readers who’ve heard all this before, but I’d like to tell the story of how Travella Guides was created again (with some added insight). 

The picture on this blog was taken at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.  We decided to go on a family vacation last Thanksgiving and make the most of it by visiting several national parks along the way.  Several days of several hours in the car – it was Ella’s first road trip. 

We were going to be driving through beautiful country…Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, and I didn’t want Ella to be mesmerized by her portable dvd player and video games! So, I created a binder full of state-by-state activities.  She followed our route on maps, learned about each state’s history and came up with funny fill-in-the-blank stories that made learning fun. She was completely engaged in the trip, and those long hours in the car turned into fun, discussion-filled adventures.

I was strongly encouraged by Greg and a few key friends to market the idea, and I started on this journey.  Ella and I visited our local library at least once a week - our arms filled with kids’ books on each state. I asked Ella to point out the things she thought was “cool” about each state and we designed the pages with that in mind.  We tackled the states alphabetically and it took over seven months to complete all the research and design the pages (over 1,000 pages of information!).  We also created general travel games and answer keys, as well as keepsake pages. 

What an adventure!! I am so grateful to my brother, Jeremy Porter, for designing and creating the website and for Ray Batts and Mark Roth, whose creative input and constant enthusiasm helped keep my head up. I also appreciated the help of the Short family – their son Joseph gave Travella Guides a test drive on a family vacation this summer.  Of course, I couldn’t have done it with out Greg and Ella.  This is a team sport – no doubt about it!

So, here it is….it’s out there. What a great adventure, filled with great vistas, wrong turns, unexpected treasures and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.  Now, I am focused on the families out there and their road trips…I hope Travella Guides will help bring back the American road trip where kids are engaged and inquisitive and families make the most of every minute together.

Happy Trails!


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    My name is Kristen Porter ~ I am a corporate attorney by day, and a writer/artist/renaissance-woman wanna-be by night. 

    This is my blog...my summary of life and attempt to capture small moments forever while appreciating their impermanence.  Those small moments are what make life so wonderful!

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