Mom’s talk about Life on the Road

First of all what is everyone’s reason for the RVing lifestyle?

Carla: We wanted to take our kids on an American History trip.

Carolyn: We started considering the “fulltime” lifestyle many years ago (ultimately want to convert a coach/bus) — but hadn’t figured out how to make it (financially) on the road, so we put the idea “on the shelf” — didn’t dump it, just knew it would have to wait.

Lydia: We kind of went into it of necessity. My husband is a heavy equipment operator and his job in Colorado ended and his company wanted him to work a job in NE. We couldnt afford for him to be without a job at that time and there wasn’t much construction going in Colorado. So we bought a 5th wheel and off he went. The kids and I sold the house and joined him 6mos later. I love it. The kids love it/hate it depending….:)

Katherine K: I was a stay at home mom with two small children, while my husband traveled on the road by himself.

Kimberly E.: My husband and I were/are avid campers. Once our son came along, that didn’t stop, and in fact, it got even more fun–showing this new little being the beautiful world around us. However, our small toy hauler wasn’t cutting it for two plus week vacations with two adults, a toddler, and a dog, so we upgraded to the motorhome we have now. Full time RVing had always been a dream of both my husband and I, but we always thought of it as “a retirement dream”. Then, one day, when we were getting fed up, my husband called me at work and said, “you know how you’ve always wanted to travel???” and the rest, as they say is history.

Theresa P: We want to spend more family time together and to see the country. We long to be able to get away to a quiet place that isn’t so rushed all the time. We want to simplify our lifestyle. And we hope this will create some wonderful memories for our 12year old.

Bryce: We want to travel, see the world up close & personal! I also love how simple this life is and freeing!

What made you decide to go for it?

Carla: We’d been planning this trip for about 10 years. Our target date was my husband’s retirement date from the military. By the time Pete retired, we had the trailer & truck paid for (bought them both used), and the house sold. Now we live pretty comfortably on his retirement.

Carolyn: Over the past couple of years my husband (burned out on his old job) went back to school…initially with thoughts of becoming a teacher but evolved to a major in Oceanography. Reader’s Digest version: we found a great program at Humboldt State University (Arcata, CA) he applied and was accepted.

Once we started looking at rent prices there we knew we would have to do something different…

So, for the time being we are most of the year in Humboldt County, CA — then we visit family and friends during semester breaks. Once Hubby graduates we look forward to traveling with his research. We anticipate that he will take short contract jobs or get a job where it takes him from place to place. That’s the goal. Then eventually we would like to live aboard a boat (probably a sailboat) and travel some by water.

Katherine: In the beginning the family traveled on the road with dad. But our oldest was school age and I was fearful of homeschooling. Partly because I felt I needed the me time and did not have the patience. And a small fear of messing them up! So we bought a house in Oklahoma, and settled into life. School, soccer, piano, friends, lawn mowing, house renovating, and family. But as David traveled further and further away with little to no days off to come and visit us, we all missed him. Then one weekend home, we had an incredible night and nine months later came our third daughter – Aug. 2006! The day that she was born, he almost missed it. He was three hours away, driving home fast. He made in time! But this prompted us to re-evaluate. He almost missed a pivotal moment in his daughters life. So he never went back to the job. Called and quit, said he was stay home with his family. However, this meant 75% pay cut. Boy were we in for a change. We gave this try for 10 months and then the budget couldn’t spread it any further. So David went back on the road. Again, same problem, we missed him. So I caved. We bought another RV, loaded the girls and minimized our living style to fit in an RV. Which I might add we still are downsizing!

Kimberly: We looked at our monthly expenses and our projected monthly expenses and there really was no going back after that.

Theresa: My husband is way past burned out. He is so ready for a break. He has been grumpy and unhappy for a long time. Just the fact that we decided to go for it and that he has set some dates has helped him feel better. I’ve been unsure about this, but now that I see the changes in him, I am ready to do it. I hate seeing him so unhappy.

Bryce: We tried it out last fall for 4 months while we were moving from UT to NC. I really loved it and my hubby wasn’t so sure. He enjoyed it, but wanted to homestead. But after buying 2 homes here (one was supposed to be a flip)and finding out he has NO time to garden or do anything fun and we’re always broke with 2 mortgages to pay he became a lot more open to full-timing!

How did you tell friends/family?

Carla: They’ve been hearing it for 10 years and probably didn’t think we’d ever do it.

Carolyn: As far as telling friends. Friends are easy. If they think that we’re crazy we just giggle and say “Works for us!”. We have had just as many friends tell us that they think our traveling is cool and they wish that they could do it, as those who told us that we’re crazy. But we remind ourselves that we only get but one chance to live this life that God has given us…so enjoy!

Kimberly: We waited until the house was sold then gradually spread the news. My parents thought it was a great idea, but I don’t think they get that this is permanent. My mom keeps talking about “when Winter hits…” and “when the grandson is in school”… Our friends knew we were crazy, so weren’t overly shocked. Two quotes that my husband got (both from female friends) were “How did you talk Kimberly into this?” and “Where will Kimberly put all of her clothes?” Both of these are funny, because if anything, I talked HIM into it, and I was never much of a clothes person anyway, so downsizing really wasn’t a problem for me.

Theresa: We’ve talked about doing this for some time now, so many of our family and friends are aware that we have it in our heads. We will likely get prepared to leave and then tell everyone right before it happens. I’m sure some will be shocked that it’s actually happening, but we are doing what we feel is best for our family.

How long have you been on the road?

Carla: A little over a year; planning to stop next fall.

Kimberly: Since May 28 of 2007.

Theresa: We aren’t there yet, but we are getting close. My husband plans to give his notice the end of summer with his last day being late September. At that time, we will work on preparing the house to be sold and purcasing our new home on wheels. We hope to be on the road no later than February.

Lydia: We usually move every 3-4 mos. Although we’re currently on a long term job in West Texas. We plan to settle down for a few years in Oklahoma while the youngest goes to 1st/2nd grade and the oldest starts high school. But we’ll see. I think that’s the family motto now….We’ll see!

Bryce: 4 months last year and getting ready to go again!

What’s a typical RV day with kids?

Carla: My kids are older–my oldest son just left for college; and we still have our seventeen year old son and two younger daughters with us. When the kids were little we leaned strongly towards unschooling. As the kids got closer to high school age they wanted more structure so that is what they do now. Typical day: up by 8 or 9 am, eat breakfast and the kids work on their schoolwork; my 12 year old daughter is done in 1-2 hours, my other daughter & son spend anywhere from 2-5 hours a day. Probably every other day we go out and see the world around us. The kids do not like to sight-see every day (neither do I) so we look at what is available and decide what and when we’ll go to see things. We’re all homebodies so hanging out seems to work for us.

Carolyn: We don’t do “routines” well. We love exploring and life is a journey.

Kimberly: This is what I imagine, based on our current days off. Wake up by 7am, eat breakfast, play (either indoors or outdoors, weather dependent). My son will have a snack around 10am, and then we’ll work on his workbook (letters and numbers at this point), read, color, or do a craft. Then lunch around 11:30, then a nap, during which I put things on eBay for sale. After his nap, he has a snack, then we do some kind of activity, groceries, laundry, banking, followed by a visit to the park. We are still local, so there’s not a lot of sightseeing to do, but I imagine we’ll be doing some of that too.

Theresa: I won’t even pretend to know what our days will be like, but my husband and I plan to share the responsibility of homeschooling our son. Of course my husband will also be working. We hope to choose a destination and stay for a little while so we can explore the area and use our experiences as part of our son’s education. We also hope to participate in ministry, things like Habitat for Humanity. I don’t know how it will all work together, but hope to make it as smooth a transition as possible. Currently our days consist of sorting through our things and deciding what can go, what will be stored and what will be going with us and preparing for the new school year. Our days will get a lot busier with other preparations when my husband has left his job.

Bryce: Hmm, well it was hard to get used to sleeping in such small space where everyone can hear every move you make, so my kids always went to bed late 9-10 and woke up between 8-9am. We never stayed at any one place to have a “normal” day/ wk. I think that’s part of the fun seeing new places and doing different things everyday.