In 2016 when Ryan and I first talked of such adventure as to travel full-time and road school our children, I never foresaw how our lives would transform before we even left home. In the beginning you only visualize pretty destinations and cool experiences. I am seeing this enormous change in our lives. I think that a joyful life is leaning into difficult moments and finding peace there. I have been trying to figure out the best way to explain to you about our preparations for this unique lifestyle. Here goes my best attempt at answering many of your questions.
When and Where?
We have less than two weeks before we move out of our house and into the coach. We named it “Eagle” when we got it, but I have been leaning more towards “The Armadillo.” It’s a big shell of a home that we are a waddling across American to our first longer-than-one-night destination of Yellowstone! I don’t even think we will be getting enough time there to see all the animals on our list. Our spot is booked for September with reservations and visits with family around Lake Flathead. We plan to travel East with such destinations as Mount Rushmore, The Great Lakes and a friend’s house near the Catskills. After that I want to see leaves change colors along the New England coast for my twelfth wedding anniversary. I want to visit every Catholic Church, monastery and historic mission along the way. I am ready for the exhaustion, the unforeseen and the hangry people that call me momma.
I must share that I have had more breakdowns than you can count on one hand. Maybe two or three hands if you track tantrums or the occasional pop of attitude. But it appears that the more opportunities to loose your cool the better you become at not reacting at every small stressor. I am humbled everyday whether it is dealing with vomit or packing up a house. It is all relative. The cool part is that I am starting to identify the activities that no longer serve my goal of traveling with my family. Going through this process has helped me prioritize all the things I need to let go. As annoying and helpful as it is, I channel my inner Elsa and Let it Goooooo! I let go of my anger and gift wrapping materials I’ve been collecting for years. “It can’t hold me back anymooooooore!” For years I’ve told myself to keep things because your never know when you can use that cute ribbon. Recycle, reduce, reuse can close the loop. You can close the loop. Not anymore. It’s recycle, reduce and RELEASE!
For example, I need to release all the fabric, yarn, and craft supplies that I do not use often enough to justify carrying it around in a tote across the country. I also need to release all the “clothes that I am waiting to wear until the perfect occasion comes along or I reach that goal weight or I get pregnant” mentality.“ I just realized the clothes I kept, made me feel bad for not wearing them. Clothes should never make me feel that way. Shoes, yes definitely because they are expensive and you can never have too many options.
Most people are more concerned with our financial preparation than our mental preparation. The money is the easy part, the focus and areas of growth are by far the most difficult we have faced. Being a spouse is challenging, being a parent is challenging, being part of any relationship is challenging. Not binging episodes of Fraser is difficult. I might be too busy to sew or paint that dresser in the popular green that every home DIYer uses. I never want be too busy to work on important challenges. I want to spend my time in the uncomfortable especially when it is with the people that I love.
I have not always been good at communicating with others, being a good listener, or at being a responsible adult. Having children definitely emphasizes the areas that I need to address within myself. It also makes me very thankful that I am not depending on my strength alone. God’s timing and plans are way better. I don’t always understand but I pray that I am bringing Him glory and doing my best everyday.
Everyday I find a quality, quirk or talent that my children possess that is just like me. The good, the not so good and the I didn’t know I was good at that qualities. I am so thankful that forgiveness exists and that I am not too proud to be humbled by my past sins. It turns out I need forgiveness for years and years of being a not-so-good loser. I have been a bully, smart-aleck and a very annoying person in general who interrupts and can be highly self absorbed. But I am also human, capable mistakes and a lot more aware of how my actions have created my circumstances, good and bad. I also choose my attitude, good or bad.
I’m not sure if this answers any of your questions about Full-Time RV travel and road schooling, but I have not journaled like this in years and I am making time for things that bring me joy and hopefully help you understand what this adventure has been like for me. It should go without saying this all includes fights, the unglamorous side of flat tires, vehicle damage and yelling at my children. I know that on occasion one may experience all these things called life whether you live on a farm, in an apartment or an in an RV.