Imagine taking the road trip of a lifetime to reconnect with family. This woman made it happen.

When you think of road trips, the first things that probably come to mind are awesome playlists, random snack stops, and whether your Subaru will make it all the way there (don't worry, it will).

You might not think of somebody like Marcia Orland, who hit the open road this summer after her 76th birthday.


Marcia Orland with a picture of herself as a child growing up in Warsaw, New York, and with a map of her trip. Image by Pam McComb Podmostko, used with permission.

She wasn't just looking to visit antique shops and disconnect for a while. The trip was a way for her to reunite with relatives she grew up with in the upstate New York town of Warsaw, an hour's ride east of Buffalo, and capture their childhood memories and family stories.

“I hadn't seen my cousins in 50 or 60 years, and I realized if I didn't do it now, the stories would be lost forever," Orland said.

She hunkered down in her home in Summerland, California, a beach town near Santa Barbara, and mapped out a 37-day road trip to visit her cousins, who were spread out throughout the country from Tucson, Arizona, to Fairport, New York.

Marcia connects the dots. Image via Marcia Orland, used with permission.

In preparation for the trip, she started a GoFundMe campaign to help with the cost of the hotel stays, food, fuel, and the Toyota Prius she rented (by the end of the trip she had raised $5,500 of the $6,950 she requested).

Image via Marcia Orland, used with permission.

The packing was relatively light: She took two suitcases of clothes, an iPod and laptop, CDs of family photos, digitized old family films, and a cooler for water and snacks.

Along with the provisions, she also packed two video cameras (she mounted one on the dashboard), a tripod, a microphone, and four external hard drives. Orland has been a personal historian for 11 years, which means she helps families tell their stories in video and print form. Now she's applying those skills to her own life — she plans to make a documentary about the trip.

Capturing the trek with a dash cam. Image via Marcia Orland, used with permission.

By the time she left on Aug. 2, she was excited.

“I had been looking forward to the trip for so long, I was happy to finally start it," she said. “I had originally had the idea for the trip in 2010, but life kept getting in the way. As I was leaving, I realized I was accomplishing something fun and meaningful, and I felt proud."

On the journey, Orland was hoping her cousins could tell her more about her parents and her aunts and uncles.


Marcia and her cousin Bill Embury in Lee's Summit, Missouri. Image via Marcia Orland, used with permission.

She wanted to learn things about their early years in Warsaw and gain more insight into their family dynamics.

Her cousins confirmed and added to the memories she had. “We talked about the simplicity of the times we grew up in, the feeling of being safe in spite of World War II going on, and the relaxed small-town atmosphere," said Orland.

Marcia and another cousin, Diantha Heitmiller, in Richmond, Virginia. Image via Marcia Orland, used with permission.

Along the way, she also encouraged people to save their own family stories (as a good personal historian must do!).

To accomplish this, she posted clips of her travels on Facebook (#FindMarcia) and held “show and tell" events, where community members in the places she visited shared stories about heirlooms, mementos, and precious objects.

Orland originally became interested in helping people preserve their memories after her parents died just a few weeks apart in 2004. She founded her company, Afterglow Media, the same year, with the goal of helping others preserve their histories.

As for people interested in creating their own epic family history road trip, she recommends having a plan and preparing as much as possible, but to expect the unexpected.

“For instance, at one personal history 'show and tell' event that I hosted, I noticed a 13-year-old boy sitting at a nearby table listening to the stories being told by the adults," she said. “I asked him if he'd like to join us, and he eagerly did. When the participants realized how much the stories meant to him, it did more to inspire them to continue personal history conversations with their own families than anything I could have said to them. It was a wonderful moment."

You can watch Marcia Orland talk about her trip here:

Sometimes it's not about the destination, but the memories we form along the way.

Terence Power / TikTok

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It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

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