“How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp” – Review and Book Giveaway!

I meagerly followed Shawn, Maile, and their 4 children’s journey cross the United States via their blogs, but that didn’t prepare me for the internal struggles they dealt with day in and out as they shared in their new book, “How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp.”  Trips are never just about the places to visit, the scenic routes one takes to check another location off the list.  In a very rambling post podcast I posted back in June you may recall that I have some very strong opinions about traveling reflecting more of our past struggles, present lives, and future dreams, than travel is about the destination.

Shawn and Maile’s back and forth reflections of their 10,000 mile trip, written in a blog style format, bring to light the questions many of us ask in our day to day journeys; theirs being more enhanced by backdrops of New Orleans poverty, and the great depths of the Grand Canyon.  As Shawn questions his ability to make a living as a writer and to follow the path he feels faithfully called, Maile expresses her frustrations with parenting on the road and questioning her faith in God’s protection.

The book is a leisurely read with some visually written inspirations of their physical journey, heartfelt pleas for God to answer their prayers in some form, and soul stretching calls for not only themselves, but each of us to look deeper into ourselves to see beyond the mundane numbers that may drive our 9-5 choices.  Throughout each post, I found myself questioning my own motives for my career choice and path, wondering where my gumption was to finished my memoir once and for all, and wondering how in the world they are able to work past their trust issues with God.  Their questions are some of my own.

The Smuckers journey across the U.S. is a great read if you love travel, have an inkling to pursue a dream, and are raising a Christian family.  I wish the best for them as they plant their seeds in a new area of Lancaster and continue to seek after some of those unanswered questions.

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If you would like a Kindle or Paperback version of “How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp” by Shawn & Maile Smucker, please leave a question for me, Shawn, or Maile regarding travel, pursuit of dreams, and/or family.  One random person will be selected to win a free copy of this new book by the end of this week.


Shawn Smucker is the author of How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp and Building a Life Out of Words. He lives in Lancaster County, PA with his wife Maile and their four children. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook, and he blogs (almost) daily at shawnsmucker.com Maile blogs at mailesmucker.blogspot.com

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Comments 8

  1. Thanks, Brenda! I’ve got a question for you…I know you have traveled ALL OVER the place. Where is the absolute favorite place you’ve been? Would you ever want to live there?

  2. What’s the most overrated or overhyped travel destination you’ve ever endured (e.g. a Disney theme park, Las Vegas, whatever you feel didn’t live up to its billing)?

  3. Shawn and/or Maile, how were you most STRETCHED by your traveling experience?

  4. For Shawn and Maile, what was your biggest struggle regarding parenting while traveling? Did you homeschool along the way? I’ve considered extensive traveling with my kiddo but worry about feeling guilt over a ‘normal’ lifestyle.

  5. Gwyn – As we drove up to Mount Rushmore, I was rather underwhelmed. It was smaller than I thought it would be. But as we learned more about the history of the monument and what they were trying to do, I slowly became a little bit more impressed (this is Shawn speaking – Maile and the kids would vehemently disagree with me).

    Jon – The toughest part for me was in the beginning of the trip, when driving the bus was very stressful. I worried about everything and anything going wrong. As the trip progressed, I was able to bring that anxiety under control, but it wasn’t easy.

    Erin – I think the toughest thing about parenting was the tight quarters, especially after several days of rain or constant traveling when we were literally in the same 320 square feet for day after day after day. We did homeschool, and that went very well. I know exactly what you mean when it comes to feeling guilty about not giving your kids a “normal” lifestyle, and it’s something that Maile and I continuously work through and ponder and try to come to terms with.

  6. Shawn, thanks for asking! This one is a toughie, but yes and yes. My first trip “out west” I was driving into Montana from Wyoming and a horrid storm came in through the mountains. You could see the mountaintops and the storm actually settling between them. It was the moment I first fell in love with Montana and 4 years after that I moved there for 6 months. No regrets!

  7. Gwyn – I’ll answer this one too if you don’t mind. I’m not a city girl. Yes I lived in Downtown Lancaster for most of the past 10 years, but the big city? Not for me. I think the most overhyped place I visited was Atlantic City. I like the beach, but everything just felt fake. I went to Vegas too, and I think if we had ever made it to the old school part, I would have enjoyed it more, but just for the glitzy new city, I most likely would not return.

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