Rules of the Road
In order to truly "travel with a purpose," the Alcantars created a list of family goals for their journey.
The Alacantar family and their list of goals for "Phase 1" of their journey
1. Visit every temple
The Alcantars plan their journey around the location of LDS temples, and it’s their goal to eventually see all of them. Visiting a temple doesn’t just mean taking a picture in front of it, either. “In order for it to count we have to do an ordinance,” Sal said. He and his wife take turns in the temple while the other sits in the waiting area with the kids, doing activities like reading the Friend magazine or touring the visitor’s center.
As of our interview, the family had just finished visiting the Washington, D.C. temple, number 19 of the journey. They regularly post their progress on their family blog.
2. Serve in every state
At first the Alcantars anticipated volunteering in soup kitchens and elderly homes all across the United States, but they quickly realized that scheduling was difficult for a family always on the move. Instead, the book Masquerading Angels inspired them to give notes to people they meet across the country. According to Drezen, their notes say, “We just want you to know that someone cares. From, The Alcantar Family. Have a blessed day.” A candy is attached.
Drezen had an extra special experience when he met a homeless man in the New York subway. “He was a father of nine and one of his arms was missing, and so it must have been hard. I came over… and pulled out a $10 bill and gave it to him,” Drezen said. It was the majority of his spending money, which he’d earned himself.
The man tried to give it back, but Drezen insisted. The man got a little emotional and said, “God loves His children, especially when they freely give.”
“It was a tender experience for our 10-year-old,” Ange said. “Most of the night he was very emotional and feeling like he wished he could do more. It was really good for him to be able to see that there’s people who are less fortunate and to be aware of them.”
3. Share the gospel
When Sal was released from a stake high council calling before the family trip, he expressed how weird it would be not to have a calling. His stake president replied, “Sal, your calling right now is just to be a missionary. Be an example to everyone you meet.”
The Alcantars have taken this to heart. “It’s super easy,” Sal said. “When people ask us what we’re doing…we just say, ‘We’re Mormon, or we’re LDS, and we’re traveling around seeing all of our temples,’ and we just stop there and inevitably it starts a gospel conversation.”
They carry copies of The Book of Mormon with them and are working on memorizing the Articles of Faith as a family. “It’s important to learn this because it's our basic principles and you never know when you’re going to have a chance to share them,” Sal said, after describing an experience of using the Articles of Faith to share his testimony and a Book of Mormon with an Uber driver.
4. Make Memories
Some of the kids’ favorite spots have been Blue Hole Lagoon in New Mexico, Niagra Falls, and Church history sights like the Joseph Knight home and the Sacred Grove.
“The memories that we’re building with our kids at this time in our lives is, to us, pretty darn amazing,” Sal said.
Sal keeps a note that Zander wrote to his brother Drezen using a “charcoal pencil” from one of their campfires. It says, “Dear Dre, I love you. You are so fun to play with. I have had a fun time with you on this trip. Love you.”
A note from Zander (7) to Drezen (10)
“To me, if our trip was to end right now, that right there would be worth it all,” Sal said.