We are stoked to celebrate our two year nomadiversary this weekend! Two years ago we left our sticks & bricks house and pulled out of that driveway in Ventura, California…pulling our home behind us. What a journey it has been. None of us would of guessed that we could love it this much. We knew it would be awesome…and have some high points…some really high points…but I never thought we would love it so much that I would be planning out year #3! Well here we are, driving from Florida through Alabama, and into Tennessee. Today we discover our 36th state as a family. We have the next six months planned out and we are psyched about all of the National Parks that we plan to visit this year.
We spent a wonderful winter in Florida and thoroughly enjoyed the Sunshine State. We have spent the last month preparing for this next season of travel and dressing up our house on wheels to give her some Barry style. Stay tuned to see how we have updated our Swoosh (our 5th wheel if you are new here).
As we have remained in Florida for three and a half months, we are ready to see mountains…the mountains are calling our name! We miss the peaks against the skyline…although the sunset in Florida this week was pretty spectacular…we still long to hike upward again.
As we reflect on the last two years, we find growth, education, love and…adventure of course. It is a marvelous thing to see our children thriving. To truly know what they are learning. To see them bond with their siblings. To expose them to new things…new ideas…new cultures. To provide opportunities for them to discover who they are and who they want to be.
You should know that we are normal. My children are not perfect and I have my share of less-than-stellar days as a mama. We are sinners and my children do bicker and know how to provoke their siblings. We are real people. We do however have authentic relationships with one another and a bond, rooted in these experiences. We have traded things for experiences.
With that said…I thought I would answer some of the questions that I hear most often.
What have been our favorite places?
If you have a Pinterest account and have ever looked up photos of each state, then you will probably agree that each state has its own unique beauty. Here are some of our top favorites in no particular order…although the first three are at the tip-top of our list:
The Florida Panhandle
Are we retired? How dow we afford to travel?
Nope. My husband is very much in the working stage of his life. He has an outside-sales job that requires him to travel a lot…almost every week…to multiple cities. Our travel is one of the ways that we make his job work for us. Rather than have burn-out from this traveling position as a family, we claim the weekends as family time and use them to explore places and find unique adventures. Although it can be a bit tiring for him, the pros far outweigh the cons.
Me…I am definitely not retired. I am a road schooling teacher and mentor, a counselor, travel agent, cook….I’m a full-time mom on a land yacht.
How long are we going to do this?
That is a very good question. We ask each other this all of the time. Not out of frustration…out of inquisition. Chris and I both try to reevaluate the situation on a fairly frequent basis. We want to make sure that no one fills trapped or becomes weary. We definitely don’t want the kids to feel as if they are missing out on life “as they want it.” The funny thing is…it’s just the opposite. The kids have become engaged in their future. The enjoy helping to plan our travels and they are rapidly becoming proficient explorers. They relish trying new things and asking themselves if this is something they want to persue. So far, they all prefer to have these experiences rather than team-sports and other home-town ways of life. It probably helps that they all played multiple sports and that we had that crazy-busy life before we launched into this. I believe it has helped them to appreciate their freedom and the moments where they can just be kids without a social agenda. We all know that we will settle down into some “form of that” at some point…we’re just not exactly sure of when that will be. Perhaps that is why we love this…no one feels locked into a long-term arrangement. Although I’m sure feelings to settle will happen at different times for each person…so far the vote is to memorize that Johnny Cash song…I’ve Been Everywhere.…and see how many of the cities we can visit. Just kidding. Wait, no…this is actually true. It’s currently in our travel-day play list.
This past fall everyone was involved in testing out our route west for 2017. This is what the back of my island looked like while we were choosing destinations and determining the route.
Lord willing, we will continue this course through the year and into next. We will just have to wait and see.
What about school?
I have learned that for me and my family, we need to roadschool different then we homeschooled in a house. Obviously we cannot participate in our Classical Conversations community, nor can we take music lessons from our neighbor or play team sports for PE.
We now use some computer-based curriculum. This is very handy on moving day or when we are in route to explore a location. The drive time can be productive and does not require me to be teaching everything at every moment. This has taken time to acclimate to, however it affords me time to research and plan our travels. We also continue to use our traditional math text and other tried-and-true materials.
For music we now travel with a full-size keyboard, a violin and a guitar tucked away in our bunk house. We are exploring online teaching options and are very thankful for free YouTube lessons and instruction.
Right now I am managing everything they do. In planning for high school this fall, I am researching options for my oldest to take an online course or two.
In a nut shell, we balance traditional school work with life exploration…wherever we go!
Well, it’s a wrap
We’ve been full-timing for 730 days. We celebrated our nomadiversary by driving through Alabama…which took forever with spring break traffic. We attempted to boondock Alabama and be crazy….that translated to a stay over in a Harvest Host location. The spot was Yellowhammer Brewery. This place is awesome! We pulled up and there were kids playing games on the grass and the brewery and pizzeria were busting at the seams with people. We were able to stay in their lot, enjoy wonderful pizza, craft brew and leave our Swoosh there while we explored the Cathedral Caverns. It was fun and tiring all in the same swoop. Tonight…we rest and prepare to discover Nashville. Hello year number three….we are here!