The day after I graduated from high school I caught a plane to Alaska to work for the summer. Turned out that summer would turn into seven years.
I needed to put my little town in the rear-view mirror. Our family had always struggled to get by and the feeling that I could never get ahead felt claustrophobic to me. I didn't understand it at the time, but that feeling was much like what my parents felt when they set out on their journey as hippies, long before there was a me.
After I'd been living in Alaska for about two years, my parents sent me a video tape - a documentary about the sixties - which was their way of explaining why they'd chosen to live the way we did - first in the Gypsy Wagon, and then eventually off the grid, in the mountains of Siskiyou County. And after watching it, I understood we'd all been seeking freedom from the lives we'd been living. It made more sense to me.
My parents journey was one of peace and happiness as we traveled about North America. They named it Happy Trails. And everywhere we went, that was their message: "Happy Trails to You!" They had found their peace and love and wanted to spread it around the world.
We made our income from donations people would give us for getting a tour of our little home on wheels and by selling postcards with the image of our Gypsy Wagon and the happy trails message that my brother, sister, and I would handstamp on each one.
When I grew up, it was a message that stuck with me and that I try and pass along whenever I can. My happy trails message is be happy! Spread joy in what you do. Lift up others whenever you can. Shine a light on the good that exists in the world. And we will all be better because of it.
Happy Trails to You!
P.S. Now you know why this Happy Trails to You message bids you farewell as you leave The Farm Chicks Show each year. ♥