Venture Online students Avalon and Honor Martens, ages 8 & 6, have embarked on a year-long road trip with their photographer parents, Jess and Justin Martens, exploring the country and searching for the perfect place to call home. Venture Online is providing curriculum and support for the children as they travel, using the many different places they visit as their classroom.
The family is from Temecula, but plans to sell their home this summer when they finish their trip. Top on their list of places to move include Idaho, Colorado and the Flagstaff/Sedona region of Arizona.
Justin explained, “We are looking to get away from the heat, crowds and fast pace of Southern California.”
Jess and Justin are professional photographers, mostly photographing weddings. Although the business has been successful, they hit the road “primarily to get inspired and try something new.” They plan to work on the road as opportunities arise. Clients include eHarmony.com, for whom they take photos of couples for their “success stories” campaign. Justin continued, “Although we didn’t set out for work, there is always a potential to work.”
The family rented out their home this past July, and left when the children finished the school year. Their traveling home is a 36-foot RV with 200 square feet of living space; they are also towing their Jeep. Home is “wherever we park for the night.”
They have traveled up the West Coast, Idaho and Colorado. They spent Christmas in Texas and New Year’s in New Orleans. Upcoming stops in the list include Florida, the Carolinas and Virginia. As they travel, they’re stopping along the way to visit family and friends. Justin continued, “We are on this trip to get re-inspired as artists, see the United States and spend quality time with our kids as a family. The kids are getting a real world education. They make new friends weekly, sometimes daily and have adjusted well to the new routine.”
Avalon and Honor began with Springs’ Montessori program in Murrieta two years ago. The family was pleased with the program, but switched to Venture Online this year to fit with their trip. It’s been an adjustment, but the Venture program has been “working out great for us. Avalon loves the free time it affords her to spend just being a kid. Both [Avalon and Honor] spend lots of time in imagination land playing, exploring, swimming in rivers, hiking mountains, taking epic pictures, having campfires, sitting under the stars … things that most kids stuck in a routine don’t get to do. Honor is ahead of his grade level and is easily and able to move on to stay challenged.”
Their motto on the trip is “navigate by heart.” Follow the Martens on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/innersong/