Whirlwinding through the States

We only spend about a month per year in the United States. Consequently, when there, our time is action-packed with errands and visiting family in four different states.

Ever wonder what a full time nomadic family tries to accomplish in the US in the space of three weeks?

Here it is…

Ryder applied for and received a Social Security card.

We went last-minute Christmas shopping.

We had Christmas in Texas, Iowa, and Missouri spending quick but lovely visits with grandparents and great grandparents.

grandma spencer

I ordered lots of stuff on Amazon. Most of it we kept. Some of it we didn’t. Which we then had to mail back. This hat I got for Jacob was too Heisenberg-ish. It didn’t make the cut.


Got my annual laser hair removal treatment.

I found old photos of Jacob and I’s courtship.


Had the best Indian food ever for New Years Eve with the typical crew.


I pushed my brother and sister-in-law out the door to get them to the hospital because of her ruptured appendix. We visited them the next day.

I watched my niece for a day while her mom was in the hospital. Ryder really only has one cousin. They needed some quality time!


I saw my friend I met in Uganda. She’s so awesome. Her plan is to go open orphanages in Mozambique. And that’s just a start.


We had dinner with our friends from the FLSR. (That’s the foreign language housing at BYU.) They’ve known us as a couple just about as long as anybody. Spicy couples unite!


We met our friends who we vacationed with in Thailand who have a daughter the same age as Ryder.


I got documents notarized.

I got letters of recommendation.

I mailed postcards to friends in Turkey and Mexico.

I renewed our business abroad.

I got my wedding ring out of our safety deposit box. It’s been there for years and I’ve missed it, but I haven’t wanted risking it getting stolen in Latin America or Africa. We’re going to Europe now.

We bought bigger luggage so we could get down to two suitcases using our Bed Bath and Beyond gift card from our wedding.

We went shopping for winter clothes and shoes for Ryder and Jacob.

I got my winter clothes out of storage and donated several bins worth to charity.

I got a library card so I could borrow books online.

I lost and subsequently went to the orthodontist to replace my retainers.

We visited my grandma twice on her deathbed and got to say our final goodbyes. A wonderful blessing that we were in town after being gone for 16 months.photo (6)

I sang with my three brothers at my grandma’s funeral.

Applied for foreign transaction-less credit cards with Chase Sapphire and renewed soon-to-expire Charles Schwab debit cards.

Took my ipad in to get it fixed and learned that it’s my computer’s problem with charging and not the ipad itself that has the problem. That was a $25 annoyance.

Met our friend/real estate agent and his family for our favorite waffles at Bruges and Frites in downtown Salt Lake City.

Met Jacob’s best friend’s mom for the first time, who treated us to dinner and a free stay at Best Western.

Went hot tubbing and doughnut binging at said hotel.

Went to get a Lasik consultation. The doctor, after examining me, said, do you have a high tolerance level of pain? I had an ulcer in my eye. I was put on no contact lenses for two weeks and had to go chase around prescription eye medication for the next two hours, which frustrated me to no end. In other countries you can just buy things, for cheap, without the whole rigamarole of pretending like the pharmacies actually have your best interests at heart.

Organized and arranged future travel, including our apartment in Edinburgh and our visa application for Russia. I’m always printing things when I’m at my parents house. Should I get a traveling printer? I debate, and then decide each time—no. You only print things once a year.

Spent time with my mom’s parents and brother, including quality rocking horse time and eating ice cream. And of course, getting the best pho in the world at Pho Hoa’s.

rocking horse gpa


Went out to dinner for the first time, just me, Jacob, Luke and his new wife. In which I then learned that for the first time, I think I prefer real Mexican food to Tex Mex. It was quite the realization for me. I like it spicy and rich, not bland and processed-cheesy.

Went out to dinner, Kai, Elayna, me and Jacob at some seriously good Thai food in West Jordan called Thai Delight Café. Jacob says—don’t get anything but mild though. It’s spicy!

Avoided catching my parent’s swine flu—and had to convince everyone not to rush Ryder to the emergency room when he first started showing symptoms. He was fine within 24 hours, but it was a refresher on how it would be scary to be in a less developed country with a child who couldn’t tell you what was bothering them and have to get medical care.

Got my hair done at a hair school. I have bangs now for the first time in at least 10 years.


Spent some quality time with my aunt and uncle for what feels like the first time as an adult. Ryder really loved playing with their dog.

ryder and dog

Went tubing in Soldier Hollow.


Wandered BYU campus including the music building for nostalgia’s sake with Ryder and my dad.


Met Ryder’s new second cousin.

second cousin

Grabbed some In and Out with Uncle Jack and spent some time getting to know his goals and plans for the future.

Hung out at Regan’s house with roommates and Samantha.

Reconnected with high school friends and met new traveling family ones. Jacob’s best friend in Missouri, a travelling family from a forum we’re a part of, and a new friend who served in the same mission as Jacob but at a different time.

josh wrolstad

Tried to catch a plane on standby-missed it. Finally caught a flight to London from Dallas to result in the worst jet lag we’ve ever had.

flight attendant


I love being in the States each year.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 369 awesome articles for us.

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