On a warm Wednesday afternoon in August, the idea of traveling across America started to form in the minds of Sal and Ange Alcantar. The plan was to visit every Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple in the United States, along with local historical sites. By Friday, they had held a family council, and less than three weeks later they were headed out on the road.
With a busy household of five children, ranging in ages from 2 ½ to 19 years, the Alcantars, members of the Trovita Ward, Alta Mesa Stake, weren’t exactly sure how they would accomplish what they wanted to do. Downsizing from a large 5,000 square foot home to a 31 foot RV would be a challenge, and the children would need to start homeschooling. Other trials cropped up — a glance at their original itinerary will show that it was detoured slightly by the arrival of Hurricane Harvey, with hurricanes Irma and Jose following close behind — but the Alcantars were making their dream a reality.
The idea of doing service as they traveled came from the book Masquerading as Angels by Lance Richardson, given to them by a family friend. “We always try to be very creative and keep our eyes open for service opportunities,” says Brother Alcantar. “We also have to do service in each state or it doesn’t count as being visited. Sometimes, we use JustServe.com, but sometimes it can be something little, like when our son Zander noticed that a meter was expiring on a parked car, and we put more quarters in. We also leave a little note that says, ‘We just want you to know someone cares—hope you have a great day!’ Sometimes, we’ll leave a Laffy Taffy with it, too!”
“We are very vocal about being Mormon, too,” says Brother Alcantar. “When people ask us what we’re doing, we tell them we’re visiting all of our church’s temples in the U.S. It usually leads to more questions and more discussion. We’re also videotaping our experiences as we go. We’re doing this to build family memories that will last a lifetime.”
Their odyssey will take anywhere from 2 to 4 years to complete. Their oldest son, Dokken, has a job and stayed home to work, but says he is planning on joining them for Phase Two of their journey: Europe.
If you’d like to follow the Alcantar family on their journey, find AlcantarsAbroad on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or on their website: https://alcantarsabroad.com.