There are many reasons why I started Stock the House. But, the main inspiration comes from my deeply rooted philosophy around living a life full of experiences instead of things. That’s how I want to raise my kids. And that’s how I built the framework for Stock the House. Time is precious. If Stock the House can give a busy vacationer more time to recharge, reconnect, and rejuvenate while traveling away from home, then we have achieved our mission.

As I watch my kids grow, I often reminisce on my own childhood. It’s pretty clear that I have always valued experiences over material possessions. As a young girl, I learned to cherish the family vacations we went on.

Every summer, for a single week, my family would take a trip to Myrtle Beach, and they truly strived to make each visit perfect. My parents would buckle us up into the family station wagon at 9 PM and drive for 13 hours straight from West Virginia to South Carolina through the whole night. They wanted the first thing we laid our eyes on in the morning to be that beautiful stretch of shore.

And we never lacked for company either. One of six siblings, my mother and her entire extended family would congregate with us in paradise. They’d rent a house close to the water (long before AirBnB) and miraculously fit six families into it. My cousins, my siblings, and I forged some of our deepest friendships during those summer weeks filled with joy and play, but also lessons for adulthood.

My family would save and plan for an entire year to make that trip. I’m thankful that they did that. Those experiences have stayed with me, shaping who I became.

There’s science that backs up what I went through. One study conducted by Dr. Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University found that because of how the human brain adapts to change, it continually seeks out new experiences. A purchase can be fun for a time, but it will inevitably collect dust as it becomes an all too ordinary part of one’s every day life. One’s experiences–especially with others who shared them, become an ingrained part of their identity.

Today, I have two children of my own, and I understand more than ever that what we buy or bring home matters much less than those wondrous experiences that leave an impression on our hearts as a family. I try to offer my kids as many travel opportunities as possible—especially opportunities for them to bond with their cousins.

I still don’t know how my parents mustered such an endeavor with so little time and coffee, but it is a legacy worth upholding and encouraging in others. At Stock the House, we hope to connect you and your family with everything and everyone you need for unforgettable experiences.