Think you love Trader Joe’s? No matter how big of a fan you are, chances are you haven’t been to as many Trader Joe’s as the Patterson family.

Michelle and Brandon Patterson are on an epic road trip across the United States with their five-year-old son, Carter. According to their Instagram feed Travelin Pattersons, they are on a journey across the lower 48 in order to decide which state they want to call home. The family sold their house, paid off all of their debts and have been driving through 34 states since April, Insider reports. They are hoping to find a new place to live by the time Carter is ready for Kindergarten.

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We hit our 40th Trader Joe’s on our trip! Check out this warm welcome Carter got as we walked through the store. Trader Joe’s has been such a huge part of this trip for us. It has actually become a form of therapy for Carter, believe it or not. This is a kid that was so rigid and stuck in his routine that if we had a detour on the way to school and I had to turn left instead of right, he would lose his mind. Visiting all these TJs locations has given him a chance to embrace change. Even though it’s the same store, every location is different. Different layout, different mascot to find, different carts, different locations for things etc. Carter is now so excited to explore these changes and requests wearing his TJs shirt & nametag every time. We have met some of the most wonderful people at Trader Joe’s, many of whom we still keep in touch with. Carter also used to be non verbal and didn’t really interact with people he wasn’t familiar with. To now see this little boy march up to the crew and say “Hi, I’m Carter! It’s nice to meet you!” just makes our hearts burst! Thank you @traderjoes for giving our son Carter a place to call home, no matter what store we visit! 👪🇺🇸🏠🧩 #TravelinPattersons #AdventureIsOutThere #Wanderlust #Explore #GetOutside #Travel #RVLife #Overland #USRoadTrip #America #USA #GodBlessTheUSA #TheAmericanDream #TheUltimateRoadTrip #RealEstate #HouseHunters #Autism #AutismFamily #AutismAwareness #FamilyTravel #TravelTips #TravelFamily #FamilyFirst #Illinois #Chicago #TraderJoes #TraderJoesLove #TraderJoesArt #TraderJoes #TraderJoesRecipes

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Along the way the family has visited 40 Trader Joe’s locations, which happens to be one of their favorite stores. Their visits to Trader Joe’s have acted like a touchstone for their son along this unique trip. Carter was diagnosed with autism and sensory processing disorder and the regular Trader Joe’s trips have helped give him a sense of routine.

The family shared pictures of their 40th Trader Joe’s stop in Illinois last week and captioned the post with an explanation of how much these stops have really meant for Carter. “Trader Joe’s has been such a huge part of this trip for us. It has actually become a form of therapy for Carter, believe it or not. This is a kid that was so rigid and stuck in his routine that if we had a detour on the way to school and I had to turn left instead of right, he would lose his mind.”

The post continues, “Visiting all these TJs locations has given him a chance to embrace change. Even though it’s the same store, every location is different. Different layout, different mascot to find, different carts, different locations for things etc.”

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I have always been obsessed with Trader Joe’s and told Brandon that I wanted to go to as many as we could across the country. I’m in a Facebook group for TJs Meal Ideas & met the manager of the Cary store, Rachel through the group. We made plans to meet up when we were in the area and finally got to today. This is our 23rd Trader Joes we have been to on our trip and I cannot believe the warm welcome we received! We had this amazing sign outside, they made an announcement over the intercom when we walked in and even gave us a goodie bag with our favorite things. Rachel made Carter an honorary crew member and gave him a Hawaiian shirt with his own name tag 😍 We could not believe it! So touching, this was a perfect day in North Carolina that we will never forget. Thank you Rachel, and your amazing staff for everything! Who knows, we may end up being neighbors 🤗 👪🇺🇸🏠🧩 #TravelinPattersons #TripOfALifetime #AdventureIsOutThere #Wanderlust #Explore #TheGreatOutdoors #GetOutside #Travel #RVLife #Overland #USRoadTrip #America #USA #GodBlessTheUSA #TheAmericanDream #TheUltimateRoadTrip #RealEstate #HouseHunters #Autism #AutismFamily #AutismAwareness #FamilyTravel #TravelTips #TravelFamily #FamilyFirst #NorthCarolina #Cary #TraderJoes

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Trader Joe’s employees across the country have welcomed the family, gifting them with baskets full of goodies. At the Trader Joe’s store in Cary, North Carolina the family was welcomed with a banner and plenty of fanfare, while Carter was presented with his very own TJ’s shirt and name tag.

No matter where the Pattersons end up, it’s clear that a Trader Joe’s, which has become like a second home, will be near by.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

Featured photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr

 

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