Donnie Tuttle moved to Maine with his wife and seven of their eight kids this past summer as part of a plan to “live purposely,” shed things, enjoy life and hopscotch across the U.S. every 90 days.
The family’s in Idaho now, getting ready to leave soon.
God put that plan in their hearts, Tuttle said in an early December interview. Part of that is living by example.
“I want to give my children permission to do what they dream, to do what the design is that’s been put in them,” he said. “We believe that we were all made for a purpose and that we have the ability to go find that. We don’t find that in the definition of others or what others would say, but we find that by what our creator says. A part of that is being willing sometimes to go and take risks.”
The family left most of their belongings behind in Florida when they made the first move, to Charlestown Beach, Rhode Island, in March. From there, it was on to Rumford, then a few weeks in Bethel.
They arrived in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on Sept. 20. It’s home until Jan. 31.
“In the next couple of weeks we’ll have it figured out where we’re going,” Tuttle said.
Eugene, Oregon, and Seattle are on the short list.
They loved the natural beauty of Maine and they’ve found that, too, in Coeur d’Alene, living near a lake in an area metropolitan enough that he can walk to work.
“Sometimes I’ll set up an office on the lake and I’ll watch hundreds of eagles diving for fish,” he said. “My favorite part about this … is you never know what’s coming next. Sometimes it’s cool and sometimes it’s a beautiful gift, and then sometimes it was just normal, but even normal’s beautiful.”
This is their first northern, snowy winter and they have a full slate of “all of those goofy things you would do as a family during Christmas” on tap: building snowmen, caroling, watching Christmas plays.
“We’re Christian,” Tuttle said. “A part of our thing is just to show freedom. We all have a purpose, we all have a set of gifts, and it doesn’t mean you travel, but it just means that you’re free. You don’t have to be afraid.
“It’s very fulfilling to know why you are here,” he added. “If you know God, that’s how you get it. This is just our individual expression of that. It’s the idea that we don’t have to be the same as everyone else.”
Donnie Tuttle, his wife Chris and seven of their eight children moved to Maine last summer as part of a mission to travel the country living “purposely,” enjoying more experiences than things. Tuttle said they felt called by God to start the journey. (Sun Journal file photo)