OUR XPLORIE ADVENTURE
On July 1st, we had a Celebration of Life service for Simon.
Over 350 people attended and we all celebrated Simon’s life and message.
Afterward, however, we quarantined ourselves in our house. During those first days, we didn’t want to talk to anybody or do anything. We cried and mourned together, but then we decided, as a family, that we needed to honor Simon with an adventure.
Of course, we had no plans for a vacation. With everything that had happened with Simon, we hadn’t had a chance to think about anything else. Because we had nothing ready, we needed to act fast. So along with Lily, who is 21, we began searching all over the internet trying to figure out where we were going to go and what we were going to do.
When we started planning our vacation, Simon’s adventurous spirit was heavy on our minds. We wanted to honor Simon and we asked, “What would Simon do?” With this intention, we decided that St. Simons Island in Georgia would be one of our destinations, but we also wanted to stop in the Great Smoky Mountains along the way.
As we searched the country via the internet for a place to stay, we decided that Gatlinburg, Tennessee, was a perfect place for our family to rent a cabin in the woods, reconnect with one another, and have exciting experiences.
While searching, we found a few cabins on different websites. We found one cabin in a great location, and one cabin that wasn’t exactly where we wanted to be, but it came with free activities. We soon learned that this was the Xplorie program.
We thought, we really would like to do these activities, so we looked up Xplorie directly. On Xplorie.com, as we were searching after midnight, we discovered the cabin that we liked in the location that we wanted could be booked right on their site. It included all the activities we wanted and it was cheaper. We thought, this is a no brainer. We’ll book through Xplorie.
Little did we know, Xplorie.com had just launched their site that allowed cabins and rooms to be booked, so by chance, this was how we became the first family to book directly through Xplorie.com.
It really intrigued us that the house came with activities, things for you to get out of the house and go do together as a family. This was a great compromise with Theo, who is 12 and loves extreme sports just like his older brother.
Theo wanted to go to waterparks and amusement parks. So when we saw that the cabin had the opportunity for whitewater rafting and zip lining, which were things that we’d done on Simon’s bucket list trip, we thought this is perfect. These are the things that Simon loved and we all love. Let’s go. We can stay in the woods and quietly reconnect as a family, and we can be adventurous as well. There was also free ice cream!