A few weeks ago I shared my big goal for 2014: we will be embarking on a 12 month roadschooling adventure with our children. Beginning June 2014 we will join the hundreds of families across the USA who are pulling up stakes and traveling in an RV for an extended period of time. During these trips, children are homeschooled with lessons reinforced by hands-on experiences at national parks, museums and other first person experiences. We are over-the-top excited about this and have been working hard all month to inch toward our goal.
It’s a huge goal to be sure. And some would say a little weird. But for us, it is just what the doctor ordered. We are longing to have a time of reconnection with each other and create some lasting memories after having a whirlwind of change and challenges over the past few years.
We. Need. This.
My daughter is a tween and was initially a bit apprehensive about our upcoming adventure. After all, at that age the last thing you want to do is leave all your friends behind for an entire year and hang out with your mom, dad and brothers. What a drag!
Since she has always had a huge interest in marine biology, we have spent the month discussing travel destinations that would allow her to explore this passion with hands-on learning. She has decided one of the must-see stops is the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Oregon. As she spends time researching other locations and adding pins to our map of the US, she is becoming more and more excited.
(This is our map, with the pins indicating places we’d like to visit)
In other news, we visited an RV dealership last week. There were a few used models we were interested in and wanted to see them up close. My hubby has been doing some research on how to examine and evaluate used models to be sure they will be able to hold up under such an arduous 12 month journey. He wanted to put his newfound knowledge to the test and this was the perfect opportunity. He crawled under it, poked around, looked at the piping and wiring. He fiddled with things, shook things, pulled and pinched and pressed things. He muttered “hmmmm” and “okay” under his breath a few times. He even took a few photos. I really don’t know what he was doing, but I was totally impressed. I remember thinking “I’m really in good hands here. This guy knows his stuff”.
When we got to the car he grabbed his notepad and began feverishly taking notes. I waited for him to finish, then said “Well, what do you think?” To which he replied, “I have no idea”.
I took a second to figure out what that meant. Really dude? What about the “hmmm’s” and the photo taking and the poking and the fiddling with the parts?
“I was winging it” was his reply.
We both looked at each other for a minute then burst into hysterical laughter. What a pair of dorks we are.
Gosh, I love that man. He really had me going.
Apparently it’s one thing to read about it and quite another to get your hands in there and do the evaluation. So it goes without saying that we still have some stuff to learn. But that’s okay. After our disastrous first attempt, we have enlisted the help of our neighbor who is a retired RVer. He agreed to accompany us to a few evaluations so he could explain what to look for. Thank goodness for the kindness of others. Because for now we are hopelessly and unapologetically green.
Side Note: if you’ve never been to an RV dealership before, beware the golf carts. These harmless looking things can go about 147 miles per hour if your salesman has had too many lattes. It can be scarier than the gravity-defying Dare Devil Dive roller coaster ride. I may be exaggerating a little bit. But I’m pretty sure this guy had a death wish and I. am. traumatized.
Another exciting experience this month.
I learned that Kimberly, founder of Fulltime Families also had a special needs child, so I immediately sent her an email asking for her sage advice. I was thrilled to be able to speak with her by phone and get some amazing inside information on roadschooling. It was surreal. I felt an immediate kinship with her because she was once where I am now. Mother of a large family including a special needs child, dreaming of a roadschooling adventure. Only she was doing it. Not only that, she had made it her career to equip others to do the same. I felt incredibly inspired and even more determined to see this dream to fruition. It was an experience I will never forget.
Since Fulltime Families is open to those who are roadschooling and those who are aspiring to, Kimberly and I are discussing the possibility of having me write a column for Fulltime Families magazine. I am so honored and excited to be doing this, and I’ll update you as soon as we have the details ironed out. It’s a great publication for anyone exploring this way of life.
The Nitty Gritty
As for real financial progress toward our goal, here’s where we are:
Goal #1: Be Debt Free
Medical Bills: $8300
Paid Off This Month: $1650
Left To Go: $6650
Goal #2: Increase Passive Income
You may remember that part of our passive income to help fund this trip will come from books I am writing. Today my first book Operation Dinner: How to Plan, Shop and Cook Ahead for Easy Family Meals is nearly finished and ready to go on to the editor. I am so excited about it! In it I share all the dinner tricks and techniques I have refined during my 18 years as a busy mom of five. It covers all aspects of meal planning, strategic shopping and prepping food ahead to simplify your dinner routine, including tons of recipes!
Goal #3: Pay Cash for a 5th Wheel
We will begin chipping away at this goal after our debt is paid off. For now, we are learning, exploring and testing out different models so we are well informed when the big day arrives. So far, the well informed part needs a little work. We are hopelessly green, but we will get there…
So there you have it. Month #1 has come and gone and we have made a few baby steps toward our goal. We are thrilled! Next month I’ll have more exciting news to share as we inch toward our roadschooling adventure. You can read my first post HERE where I share the details of our dream.