Rooftop camping with a whole family, up off the ground on a military trailer

The open road is an amazing place. There's so much to explore. Things to see, people to meet. It flows like a living being. What's even better, it can show us sights we never knew we were missing and open us up to a whole new world.

Rooftop camping with a whole family, up off the ground on a military trailer

This exploration is invigorating and exciting, and sometimes can help reset our internal clocks. When Chelsea and I first started exploring the open road, it wasn't easy. Our engine was humming but our children weren't. We quickly learned to take breaks and travel shorter legs, stopping between destinations as a family. What's to be found when your stops leave you out in the “between”?

Rooftop camping with a whole family, up off the ground on a military trailer

A strange and mysterious land away from the hustle and bustle of civilization.

Through a four-part series with Abbott, we’re sharing stories about how we live fully. People have their own unique ideas about what living a full life looks and feels like, but we all want to live the best life we can. Abbott is on a mission to find out what that means to people across the globe. Here’s the story of how our family lives a life full of adventure – even with toddlers and babies in tow.

Rooftop camping with a whole family, up off the ground on a military trailer

A few years ago, our family set out on the road for what would become a five thousand mile journey. We learned that making wrong turns is okay, but you SHOULD be careful where you choose to park and camp.

You tend to make better decisions after accidentally setting up your bed on top of a fire ant mound forty miles in the middle of literal nowhere.

Despite our itch and burning setbacks, we fell in love with family exploration.

Rooftop camping with a whole family, up off the ground on a military trailer

So, we advanced our outlook and elevated our thinking. Rooftop exploration became our new modus operandi. At first it took a few tries to get our setup just right, but eventually it was down to a science.

We use a Cascadia Vehicle Tent called the Mt. McKinley. It's the largest tent they make, because we have three boys and Chelsea and myself. Always consider the appropriate size for your family and your needs, not to mention the size of your car. They have some that can mount directly on top of vehicles as small as a VW bug!

Rooftop camping with a whole family, up off the ground on a military trailer

We wake up off the ground and with a view. Some people never get the chance to think outside the box, let alone outside the car. Our friends looked at us a little strange when we invested not in a grand cruise or airplane tickets, but in this thing that's meant to be encapsulate us amidst dirt and snow and rain.

Rooftop camping with a whole family, up off the ground on a military trailer

Our family loves the open road. We've also learned to love the “between” because we can setup our tent wherever we go, camping on public lands and state parks. Any off-pavement dirt road becomes the driveway to our nature castle, which means we've taken to a lot more exploration. They say that home is where the heart is.

Our home travels with us, eight feet off the ground.

Rooftop camping with a whole family, up off the ground on a military trailer

We’re proud to partner with Abbott to share our story about living fully, and we want to know how you do, as well. Take the quiz on the LIFE. TO THE FULLEST. website to reflect on how you choose to live your best life, and let us know! Share your own stories, videos and photos using the #fullosophy hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

How do you live fully in your own unique way?

Rooftop camping with a whole family, up off the ground on a military trailer. You can camp for free on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and find other free spots with FreeCampsites.net or book for a small fee through Reserve America.