I have an incredible niece.

Ok, well, I am lucky enough to have a LOT of incredible nieces, but one of them is doing some pretty big things recently like accepting an offer to swim and study at Columbia (!), and putting together a “senior project film premier” evening to showcase a documentary she put together of her family traveling across the United States in an old diesel G-Wagon converted to running on waste vegetable oil (what we like to call “greasel” in our family).

And when you have an incredible girl like that you’ve got to bet her family is pretty incredible too. These guys have made a conscious effort to live life in a pretty unique way and I love how Ana documented this little portion of it. I loved this documentary so much I asked if I could share it here, you are going to love it.

I think it’s so interesting how many different good ways there are to live life. And sometimes we’re so quick to think there’s only one “right” way, especially in our divided world right now. But when we look at the world through different lenses (like this documentary helps to do), we realize there are just so many awesome ways to live life! I love how intentional my brother and his wife are with how they parent (they have the best kids) and how they take on adventure like nobody’s business.

So, without further ado, here you go!

Here is the trailer:

And here is the film:

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  1. I saw this and it was so good. Scary and risky and filled with family beauty. My children would be horrified with double dipping of the food or/ and drinking from same vehicle of fluids. Congratulations on her graduation and her hard work with studies and swimming. Wow! Great school and a Scholarship too. Hard works paying off. You have a super talented hard working family. All the best !

    1. I also cringed a little, but I think that’s a testament to the superb film-making. I hope Po is not too scarred and looks back upon this journey fondly or forgets it!! Congrats to your niece, Shawni. She will go far.

      1. It’s when you dip a fry in shared ketchup, take a bit and then dip it back into the shared ketchup.

  2. I was so impressed by your sweet niece, your brother, and their family with this video. What an adventure of a lifetime for them! Amazing! All the emotions for sure! Thank you for sharing!

    1. So fun to watch the world from that perspective, right? I learned so much that I didn’t know and they are my family! So many things I want to incorporate better into our family.

  3. Your niece sounds very motivated and accomplished. It’s so nice to see kids who work so hard achieve so much.

    However, Columbia doesn’t have swimming scholarships. None of the Ivy League schools offer athletic scholarships, they’re usually need-based. Columbia is a great school in a wonderful city and it’s even more impressive to me that she was accepted on merit + her athletic accomplishments.

  4. Great job on being able to pay for school by swimming. I don’t think they are breaking even considering all the airplane fuel. What an interesting generation. I wish the car could better fit that many people in it. Just doesn’t look safe.

    1. “And sometimes we’re so quick to think there’s only one “right” way, especially in our divided world right now. But when we look at the world through different lenses (like this documentary helps to do), we realize there are just so many awesome ways to live life!” Maybe focus on this message more Kristine, it’s too easy for us all to nitpick. The family is so spirited and the documentary is so well done and generously shared by this wonderful young person. What about just appreciating it?

  5. What an incredible Senior project!! And what an amazing family! I really appreciate you sharing this. Oh, and the campground officially dubbed the worst ever (Douglas, Wyoming) my husband was born and raised there. His family goes generations back in that area. I am sure the campground was not the best, (poor planning on the sprinkler system haha) but I have to say the wind is the VERY worst thing about Douglas! Thanks again for sharing.

  6. Wow! Those kids, especially the teenagers, sure are good sports! I guess they don’t have a choice and just make the best of it? The bugs, lousy food, and lack of privacy makes sheltering in place at home for months seem luxurious.

    Congrats to Ana on getting into Columbia on scholarship! So Impressive!! And she’ll think dorm life is super comfortable after living like this….

    1. She really is so awesome. And yes, I agree, they are the all the best sports! I think this type of thing has made them into pretty incredible people, it’s been fun to watch them grow up so beautifully over the years.

  7. I LOVED her video! She did a great job capturing the trip. I watched it once by myself and then again with my family. Those kids are TOUGH!!! I’m so impressed by them! This made me want to take a grand adventure with my own kiddos. Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. I have never commented here, but I watched this film and I just have to say: Ana did an amazing job. I had tears in my eyes, goosebumps, I cringed, I smiled and laughed out loud. What a Beautiful gift she has and what an impressive young woman she is. I hope she will continue using her voice and keep on creating. I have a feeling she will go places!

    P.S.: This trip would definitely not have been for me but I’m impressed how they dealt with it all – the lack of hygiene, privacy, sleep and decent food. Your brother and his wife deserve a medal for planning and doing this – and also enjoying it! Deeply impressed to see a way of life so different to my own. All the best to them all the way from Germany!

  9. I LOVED IT! My family did a similar trip many years ago. My family and two of my brothers and most of their children drove cross country. There were 19 of us and it was a very bonding experience. Our trip differed because we stopped at gas stations, McDonalds and other places to eat and each evening we stayed at a motel or hotel. It was great and the memories still make us laugh!

  10. This was really well done. Ana is very talented. Overall you can tell there is a lot of love and respect in this family. The kids are very good natured and not entitled at all. I think your sister-in-law deserves a medal for all the work she did getting them there, packing, planning, etc. They certainly made some memories. That said, I feel like they got very lucky in that they escaped any injuries or significant problems. What would have happened to those kids if there had been a wreck? All the roadside stops on busy roads, pushing a car and then jumping in, some of those campsites…..just seems kind of reckless to me. I’m glad everyone was ok.

  11. Oh my gosh! This was amazing! I LOVED seeing how tough this family is and what good sports they are. I’m so glad she shared what happened to the wagon at the end, because I was wondering! I watched this with two of my kids and now, my oldest, hearing about what she missed out on, is going to watch it as well. Way to go, Eyre family! You guys are rockstars!

  12. This movie was great! Honestly one of the best documentaries I watched! I can’t believe how good sports those kids were. I don’t understand though what was the point Of going in an old broken down car. 🤷🏻‍♀️. I don’t think it saves you money since you have to purchase the car and get it over to United States. Plus the cars that run on used oil are bad for an environment. Wouldn’t it be better, safer and less hustle to rent a car and drive?

  13. My family just watched the documentary (13 and 16 year old boys, my husband and I). We all really enjoyed it. Amazing trip. Kudos to your brother and wife.

  14. Thanks so much for sharing this. She did such an outstanding job!
    I cant wait to show it to my grandchildren!!
    A wonderful light in the middle of this covid stuff!

  15. This was outstanding. What a tremendous gift for that family to have the opportunity to create unique memories they will cherish for the rest of their lives. Kudos for making decisions based on “need” vs “want.” Thank you for sharing it.

  16. WOW!!!! What a future she has! This was awesome – just watched the whole thing. Fun, captivating, real!!

  17. This was brilliant.

    I really enjoyed it & admire them all so much for what they went through on that trip.

    The things that would’ve got me would be the loo situation, not being able to shower every day & camping.

    By the way, Ana is Grace’s double. She’s the image of her.

  18. Thank you for sharing this. What an adventure they had!
    It was enjoyable to tag along on their travels by watching Ana’s film. They seem like great planners and inspired me with their approaches and attitudes.

  19. Loved the documentary. Loved the patience shown by everyone. What an experience. I imagine your brother gets that from your dad (remembering the cabin building experience you had one summer) – it makes for memories never to be forgotten, and Ana did such an amazing job with the film. Loved the music.

  20. Enjoyed her documentary but honestly several ‘cringe’ moments. Have your friend send you dealer plates because you didn’t follow the law? Ask for a discount at a Goodwill that uses profits to secure jobs? Take (steal) food from breakfast buffets? Those places have such a slim margins anyway and then will have to raise rates for others. Not sure those are good lessons to be teaching kids. She is young and talented. I hope she has more discrediting in her choices.

    1. I agree! The epitome of ‘ Entitled’ for a family who’s core is not allowing their families to be entitled, the Eyre/pothier are the most entitled families I know. Not following any laws, rules, ( no helmets, no quarantine, no travel unless essential) kids now driving new cars, new cellphones, brand name clothing , somewhere along the road and their bubble they forgot what they were so ‘ passionate’ about. They just can’t see it.

      1. The entitled theme the elder eyre teaches is only for kids not to expect to get their parents wealth. Its not about the other forms of entitlement. It’s not about being entitled to haggle with two people to get cheaper blankets at the Salvation Army when you spent $ flying to Northern Europe and the mainland US from Hawaii. All for living the “green” lifestyle. It makes as much sense as a dozen of zillionaires flying privately to discuss how to “heal” the environment at a google camp. It’s google. They could have google meet online if they really worried about oil for pity sakes. I hope they paid something or bought food at the places they are entitled to the used cooking oil. I wonder how much the senior Eyre’s have they are so concerned about this? It’s not about being entitled to miss a few days of school at the start of the year so you can fit in BYU sports camp which you could not do earlier in the season cause you signed up late or it conflicted with girls camp/summer school to fit in seminary/family reunion 1 and 2 and trip to California. It was for an enrichment not a doctors appointment or family vacation. If the enrichment was so important take one less trip sign up for one less obligation. Very telling when grandma passed away she took one daughter to the funeral with husband and kids left behind. That would be the time to uproot the family and expect the world to adjust to you. Maria why can’t a person drive a new car? The kids are capable of a car payment and should be driving a reliable car.

        1. Wow. This is just a tirade, Kristine. This is just a family blog. Honestly, consider reading blogs you agree with rather than stalking the Eyres if find them so objectionable. It’s best for everyone, including you.

  21. Our family watched this last night and it was one of the most wonderful films I have seen. I loved getting a glimpse into how another family lives. My 19 year old said if we ever take them on a trip like this she is going to cry just like Ezra ha ha. Ana has a real talent for film. I loved how resourceful they were and how everyone pitched in and helped wherever they were needed. I loved how simple they made this whole trip and by that I mean finding spots to stay for free for the most part, buying food to share and going without all the little conveniences we think we have to have. I would love to do a trip like this and get to spend a whole month with my family. I love that we got to see so many lovely spots in our country. I loved that she didn’t cover up all the hard work that went into the trip either. It was a grand adventure and I’m so glad we got to come along. Well done Ana. Good luck in all your new adventures.

  22. What an awesome experience and project! Very well done and it felt so good to see a family bond and work together on such a unique and wonderful adventure. My kids and I loved it!!! I also love how you support your extended family no many how alike or different you are. Such a great fortress of respect and admiration.

  23. Dear Maria, I’m sorry you feel that way. The next post is about brotherly love, definitely not about disregard for fellow man or which parts of social distancing rules and interpretations are right or wrong. I’m sure there are plenty of other places on the internet to debate that. I do, as always, wish you the very best!

    1. Actually your pandemic concerns are ALL subject to interpretation. One doctor says this, another says opposite. There is plenty to debate. Good thing God is the judge of our behaviors and our hearts.
      Congratulations to Ana. Beautiful film.

      1. You assume incorrectly, Jannette. I do not do a lot of traveling. In fact, I haven’t traveled in 17 years- since I became a caregiver for my sister who is a paralyzed quadriplegic and my mother who was diagnosed with terminal cancer many years ago. I care for them 24/7. No days off. Driving to the cancer center, and other medical appointments is the only time I leave the house. My husband does the grocery shopping on his way home from work. So, despite your false judgments, I am at peace with letting God judge me for how I care for those around me, thank you.

  24. I loved watching this! I use to read a blog by that family, but I don’t think they write it anymore. Does anyone know if they do? It was a very interesting read.

  25. Very well put Shawni. You’ve been very gracious and kind with what are turning out to be trolls on your blog.

    It’s probably time to just start deleting comments as they seem to be feeding off each other.

  26. I read the comments before they were deleted. I wouldn’t call the comments “virtual daggers”, but rather very well-put with legitimate concerns and arguments. It’s not really about “different points of view”, it’s about cold, hard facts. I could add a whole slew of arguments as well, but I think most has been said already. I’ll just add this (or, rather, reinforce what was already said): practice what you preach. Do the hard thing. The real hard thing (which is staying at home; pretty doable, I think). Care about your brothers and sisters. Do your part in helping curb the spread of COVID. To keep it close to home: your own sister is currently pregnant with twins, and with the current situation, she won’t be able to get help from your parents or her in-laws. Travel to or from the US is not allowed with how widespread corona is at the moment in your country. Be sensible, and forego some “velvety experiences”, and instead hunker down and do the hard thing.
    I know it’s hard to be criticized, but it’s pretty easy to just shut up the commenters and act like everything’s A-OK. It’s a lot harder to truly reflect on your actions, to take the feedback to heart, to see whether it could apply to you and whether you can make actual changes.

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