One of the best parts about this trip has been getting to know people, and hearing their unique stories. Sometimes, we meet people who have overcome so much adversity in life, it makes us ashamed to have ever felt an ounce of self-pity over our own trivial challenges.
Last weekend, we met such a person. Well, a family really. While staying at the McDowell Nature Reserve outside of Charlotte, we met Annette Protani and five of her six kids who were camped out next to us. Annette and her kids started calling their RV home when they left Houston back in August, in search of a new town in which to lay down some roots.
Annette is one of the most courageous women we’ve ever met. She is a widow, whose husband Ken was killed in a car accident two years ago. It’s impossible for us to imagine the kind of strength that she has found within her to stay upbeat and continue strengthening their family ties.
Her children, Tiffany (19), Andrew (10), Clairisse (9), Sarah (7), Vincent (4) and Jacquelyn (almost 3), are adjusting to life without their Dad, and their laughter and playfullness is true testimony to the resiliency of youth, and the strength of their family. Annette says that her own strength comes from her relationship with God, and their church.
She had a little RVing experience under her belt during her early years together with Ken, but really didn’t know much about the technical part. So she bought a couple of books, Trailer Life’s RV Repair and Maintenance Manual, and The RV Handbook, read up, and hit the road in August.
“It was a relief to be moving forward with our lives. I miss my husband like crazy, but it was time to take the next step.”
One of the steps she has taken is starting a business and becoming an online travel agent with her own travel booking site. The other step she took is to buy a home in the Charlotte area. Soon, she and her children will leave the RVing life for a while, and settle down into an all new family routine. Nobody deserves that kind of happiness more than anyone we’ve met.
Good luck Annette and Co.!