Call it the ultimate road trip.

This spring, I’m embarking on a six-month odyssey along the perimeter of the North American continent — from Orlando west to San Diego, then north to Seattle and via the Alaska Canada Highway to Fairbanks. Finally, I’ll cross through Canada to Montreal and return to Florida. It’s more than 11,000 miles.

And I’m taking the kids.

Why? I’m a travel columnist for the Washington Post, USA Today and am nationally syndicated through King Features Syndicate. I’m the 2016 Journalist of the Year for the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and publish an award-winning blog about consumer advocacy. If I didn’t travel, I wouldn’t be doing my job.

I’m also the home-school learning coach for my kids Aren (14), Iden (12) and Erysse (10). Like other American families, we have an almost DNA-level desire to explore. We want to see what’s out there, to experience it, and to learn from it. Travel is a great teacher.

But, most of all, I want to meet you.

I’ve spent far too long working in an office and covering consumer issues in the abstract. It’s time to get out there and visit with real people and talk to them about their experiences. I want you to tell me about the ups and downs of being a consumer in 2017 so that I can better help you. ASTA has also asked me to check in with its travel agents, share some of my insights with them, and to report back at its annual convention in San Diego later this year.

I’ll be continuing my day jobs as a writer, consumer advocate and teacher. The kids should wrap up their spring semester before we cast off, but I still I expect lots of long nights of editing photos and writing posts. Plus, you never know what kind of news might break while I’m on the road.

I can’t wait to meet up with old friends along the way and to make new ones. But I also plan to visit some of the publications that run my nationally-syndicated column and to thank them for allowing me to work for them. I look forward to listening to the concerns and comments their readers have. I believe it will make me a better journalist.

Journeys like this can lead to profound discoveries, growth, education and enlightenment. I expect we will return home this fall a little wiser and with a thousand discoveries to share with the rest of our extended family.

Please join me for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

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See you next week!

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