Today Show – American Story

The Kellogg family of Glenwood, Colo., would like to remind us that “work” and “life” are not the same words. They discovered that simple truth when they were on vacation last year and decided to do something that most of us only dream about: They bid goodbye to car pools and work cubicles, sold their house and bought an RV.

A lot of folks do that when they retire, but Dan and Susie Kellogg still have kids at home. Enough to field a football team:

Kerry, 19

Grady, 16

Brody, 15

Living in RVKady, 14

Kenny, 12

Dally, 10

Cardy, 9

Maddy, 7

Rowdy, 5

Emmy, 4

Ellie, 3

That’s 11. “Hah!” laughed Susie. “Dan thought our family was complete.”

Then baby Coby came last November. “OK, I guess now maybe we’re done!” Dan deadpanned.

The Kelloggs aren’t just a family: They’re a crowd, determined to live full-time in an RV. “We wanted to get rid of the mortgage,” Susie said. “Get rid of the car payments and breathe.”

That’s tough to do in tight quarters, so each kid took only a couple of favorite things. “One of them wanted to bring the trampoline,” Dan chuckled.

They left their mountain home with little more than expectations and hope. This is the kind of family who would have been first in line on the Oregon Trail; they would have fit right in with the folks in covered wagons. The Kelloggs set off for the same reason the pioneers did: Freedom — from ordinary lives.

“This is what freedom is,” Dan said, waving his hand at the open road. “You go after it.” They head in whatever direction will make them smile.

Cutting-edge technology makes this pioneer lifestyle possible: Dan doesn’t need an office to be a software engineer. But with limited space, food must be bought every day.

“Hey guys, who wants OJ?” Susie called, plopping fresh oranges in a blender. She was answered with chorus of “We do!”

Dan leaned out the door and called, “Come on, Rowdy.” A 5-year-old came running. It was his turn in the RV’s only bathroom, busier than a bus station. To ease overcrowding, kids camp when they can.

“How do you handle the chaos?” I asked Susie.

“We do try to lead and not bark.”

That’s something Dan and Susie learned when they started dating back in college. These days, they home-school their kids. Mornings are for study. Afternoons are set aside for exploring.

Susie watched her kids skip rocks in a stream. “I want them to live life in the moment and not be living for tomorrow or ‘After my kids are grown,’ or ‘Thank God it’s Friday.’” She paused to watch a boy climb a tree. “Every single day is a weekend.”

At first her oldest daughter Kerry, 19, didn’t buy that: “I thought that going in an RV wasn’t normal and was weird!” But she quickly realized: “We can do anything we want now. Anything. And nothing is holding us back.”

Kerry passed up college to start her own company, creating art for clients on the Internet. Most days her office is a picnic table.

When the family moves, all but the youngest kids have jobs to do. “And if it doesn’t get done,” Susie said with a grin, “we’re not going.”

The journey has brought the Kelloggs closer, and not just in the packed RV. Spend a day with the family and it becomes obvious they care deeply for each other.

Dan watched baby Coby fall asleep in a brother’s arms. “I just want our family to stay this close forever,” she said. Even when life twists and turns and pulls them apart.

“I have no idea how all this is going to work out,” Susie admitted. But the Kelloggs don’t dwell on the uncertainty ahead. Just the possibilities.

– Bob Dotson, NBC News

Watch the video:

Aired on the Today Show and published on Today on January 29, 2013

16 Comments

  • Love what you guys are doing…To see you guys breaking away from societal norms and the standard that most strive for in America is refreshing. Life is all about creating new experiences. Most wait for their “time”…and while waiting for their time to come…time is passing them by. You guys are an inspiration to creating a new definition to the American Dream…for as we know now…the American Dream has turned debtors into slaves to their lenders and the result is a realization of an imprisonment to a system undesired. Cheers to your adventures and new experiences.

  • Hope you all enjoy the carefree life while it lasts. There is alot of north America to enjoy and alot to just stay away from.
    Will you be keeping a log on your travels to share with adventurous people?
    Keep KY on your list , very interesting commonwealth state.
    Check out things to be aware of along the way. May God bless all of you. Ron:)

  • What a wonderful way to raise a family. These kids are getting the best education ever. If you are ever near Wichita Kansas please stop by our kite store and fly a kite with us.

    Hope to see you one of these days

    Les and Barbara Derstein

  • I am happy for you! This is homeschool at its finest.
    We were planning on doing this but the market changed right when we were going to sell the house…oh well. I am glad someone gets to do it! Enjoy! These will be the best years of your life…

  • Wow! How fun! I’m love to do this! Maybe someday! First, a job for the road! LOL We’re also new kayakers…I purchased our sit-on-tops for CALM WATER (LOL) just in September. We were only able to use them for 3 weeks before the weather turned too cold, but we’re hoping spring will arrive SOON!

  • My husband told me about your story, and then someone on a homeschool group started a thread and I had to go searching to see it myself. So fun to see a story on about a homeschooling family doing what they love on a national tv show. Congrats!

  • I admire what you all are doing! I am planning something very similar! Minus the 12 kids! lol but adding 4 pets! Be safe! Keep G-d as your pilot and you will be fine! G-d Bless!

  • You are such a lucky family to be enjoying your lives now. My husband and I have our RV and plan to go full time when we retire, about 5 to 7 years from now. Can’t walk away from the house and our jobs yet, but it’s getting closer now. I am so excited to be watching your family now. I sure hope you end up on a TV show because we’d be watching. Good Luck and have fun, fun, fun. And thank you for bringing us into your lives.

  • God bless you and your family for all you are doing. I am so jealous of you guys 🙂 I have always wanted to hit the road with my family and just keep going and not looking back. There is so many things I want my kids to see out there. We always thought (and still do) that it was/is super expensive- not only gas & everything for the RV but RV sites to hookup etc. We haven’t won the lottery yet to do it. We’ll keep dreaming, until then we will live vicariously through you guys~ hehe I wish you and your family all the best. Stay safe in your travels and good luck to all of you!! btw, kids~ Don’t forget to thank your parents every day for the wonderful life and opportunity they are giving you~ many won’t ever get to see and do the things you get to do. Are you quite lucky! =D It will be something for you to tell your kids one day! *hugs to you all*

    • I read your comment to the kids!! They all smiled and thanked me!! 🙂 We haven’t found RV’ing to be more expensive than rent and mortgages. The cool thing about RV’ing is if you are low on $$ you can stay put and not drive until you bring in more cash!! 🙂 Blessings to you and your family as well!!

  • Hello. I really enjoyed your site. I have been researching fulltime rvingI for a number of years.I have a 12 year old son just starting the 7 th grade and an concerned about him becoming bored because it’s just the two of us. What are your thoughts. I’ve been feeling a need to just go for years but now more so since my father died last Feb, 2014. He always wanted to go across country but never did. I was suppose to drove him. I see a lot of couples. I’m widowed. Just me and son. Are there many mom’s and Sons out there?

    • Hey Betty!!! We know so many one-child families that are making life on the road work. I don’t think being bored would ever be a concern because of the total lack of monotony on the road, so many things to see and do and so much time in nature!! I think it would be an amazing tribute to your dad that you and your son get to commemorate this dream of his. I’m pretty sure your son would LOVE it. Plus, campgrounds are normally teeming with kids!!!

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