About a year ago, I shared a dream with you. It was a big dream, but one that my whole family was excited about. We wanted to sell all our belongings, pay cash for a 5th wheel and spend a year traveling across the country while homeschooling the children. It’s a little thing called roadschooling.
A strange lifestyle choice by conventional standards, I’ll admit. But for the past few years as we dealt with unemployment, a cross-country move, and an autism diagnosis, we found ourselves stuck in a rut that went something like this. We worked too many hours, and spent less and less quality time together as a family, while throwing ourselves into helping our special needs child. The other kids spent most of their time with friends and extracurricular activities, and slowly we grew further and further apart. In a nutshell, we lost focus on what was truly important. I’m sad to admit it, but it’s the truth.
Luckily, we recognized this growing distance and decided to take a hard look at our lives to see what could be done about it. For us, full-time RV living was the answer for many reasons. Here are a few.
1. We can have an income while traveling.
This blog allows me to earn an income from anywhere. Since we’re not independently wealthy, that was kind of important. So we had that advantage.
2. We need to restrengthen our family relationships.
In this whirlwind of challenges, our children spent precious little quality time with us. And vacations? Non-existent. This trip will allow us to create some much-needed memories and strengthen some bonds that have been weakening.
3. Autism often creates fear of new places & people.
According to the experts, the best way to alleviate this fear is overexposure. In other words, doing the thing he is afraid of over and over. Traveling the country, our son will have the advantage of bringing his home and all his familiar objects with him, but he will also learn to accept new things, instead of fearing them. We believe this will help him a great deal.
4. We were struggling with public schools.
I’m a firm believer that no one choice is right for everyone. And for our children, public school just wasn’t working. I have felt a tugging on my heart to homeschool for a few years now, but to be honest, it was not something I had ever envisioned myself doing. So I was reluctant. But a series of events gave me just the right push to convince me it had to be done. And that made us work even harder to accomplish this roadschooling goal.
5. Doors have opened for us to do this.
Spending 2 years working on a dream can be exciting. It can also be filled with challenges and disappointments. When it came time to purchase our 5th wheel, we had paid off our debt and saved $8700 for a rig. But finding an RV in that price range that would work for full-time living, and fit a family of seven was a near impossible task. That’s where our first miracle comes in.
We found a 2005 Excel (an excellent brand) that needed a LOT of TLC, and was in our price range. Luckily my husband is an amazing craftsman. He spent every evening and weekend for five months pouring himself into it. When the dust settled, we had a beautiful home that we OWNED, and that looked even better than the day it rolled off the assembly line.
6. We Wanted to Simplify Our Lives
Minimalism is the new buzzword, and there’s a reason for it. As this recession drags on, folks are taking a hard look at their priorities and looking for ways to restructure them. They want a simpler life. At least, that’s what we wanted.
Would you believe it took two yard sales and a huge donation truck before our belongings were mostly gone? That’s too much stuff, y’all. You may think that we are suffering or doing without, but to tell you the truth, I hardly miss that stuff. Everything I own, I love. The rest of it was just cluttering up my life. As a family, we have vowed never to let “stuff” take over our lives again. Having each other, our RV and the open road is more than enough for us!
Over the next year, I’ll be sharing my adventures from the road in a weekly blog post. The rest of the time, you’ll continue to get all the time-sensitive deals you need to save on essentials for your family right here at Moms by Heart. We have every internet doo-hickey you can think of built into this RV, and I’m confident I’ll have strong internet access as we travel across the country. I have some folks backing me up too, just in case.
In a few weeks, I’ll start sharing some frugal family travel tips and ideas that we have tested out in a little series called Savings Across America! We are so excited to get this dream rolling, and we hope you will come along for the ride! You can keep up with us on Instagram, or through our travel blog which is just getting rolling. Or get free daily email alerts from me here at Moms by Heart.
SIDE NOTE: We have a budget of $4,000/month while traveling. As we go along, we’ll show you how we are making it work!