Does the thought of traveling across the country with an infant fill your heart with fear? How about traveling for a long duration of time with teenagers? How about teaching those same teenagers as you roadschool across the country?
For some of you, the idea of spending months, even days, together on the road traveling with your children sounds like one of the nine circles of hell in Dante’s inferno! I know, I’ve read the comments left by some who would rather endure Chinese torture than spend any amount of time with their families.
But, if you have a tight knit close family, or even a semi-close knit family and you can deal the inevitable high drama moments, wild antics, loud noise and incessant fighting (really, it’s not that bad) the benefits of traveling with your family far, FAR outweigh any negatives you may experience. In the end you will wonder why you wasted so much time avoiding your wife and/or kids.
I know this because we’ve spent the last 20 months touring the country (and Canada) with our gazillion kids and have had a total blast. I can’t imagine ending this amazing journey. 20 months and counting … for all you naysayers who said we wouldn’t last 2 months, that’s almost 2 years!! Yep! Our lives, our marriage and our family closeness have all improved so much … and, what’s crazy is, it was great before this adventure began.
And we are not alone as a traveling family, believe it or not. We may be alone in regards to the number of people we live this adventure with, but there is a growing trend towards full-time RVing amongst younger families. It’s true. We young-uns are sick to death of the rat race, the collection of crap that overtakes our homes, the infiltration of just plain bad stuff into our families, and working our lives away for nothing. I mean let’s face it, the idea of retirement is all but a fantasy now. Sure, in our parents day one would get retirement and a watch for their 20 years of service to a company, but now we just get a pink slip and a bankrupt retirement fund.
It’s a different world out there. With different rules. All any of us want is to live simply and simply live by our own rules.
But, living simply is not the norm! You know, I cringe when I see people’s normal every day schedules. They are insane, the schedules, not the people. All I can say is no wonder 50% of marriages fail and no wonder American families are in disarray! Ya’ll run around like chickens with your heads cut off from morning till night. And you justify it all as a sacrifice “for the kids”. I’m sorry, but if you are in the car from 3:30-6, 7, 8, 9 pm then there is no time to be either a family or to simply be a kid; your kids lives are too jam packed. School, Guitar, Piano, Soccer, Football, Scouts, Dance, Hockey, Swimming and the list goes on and on. I’m exhausted thinking about it, no way I would also have time (or energy) to be a good mom and be a good wife…AND be fun. AND be really present. No way!
Of course there’s those “super moms” … but I’m not interested in being a “super mom”, I just want to be a mom, a really great awesome, fun, loving, supportive mom (and wife).
So, of course, I get wanting your kids to have every opportunity, I want my kids to have every opportunity as well. It’s the main reason we have taken our family on this extended vacation to see North America (and beyond). It’s taking our parenting to the highest potential we can imagine today. Our kids benefit from a wide variety of activities from snowboarding to kayaking to caving to bouldering. They even get the value of competition in several of these sports. Their view of the world is bigger due to the people they’ve met & let me tell you we’ve all met some amazing people over the last 20 months. Their view of life is greater due to the lessons they have learned and they’ve learned some doozies.
You see, our goal is to simultaneously give them every opportunity in the world to pursue their passions while also building the bonds of family. We gallivant from rivers to mountains to valleys to beaches, always enjoying the time we spend at each place, while looking forward to the next destination. The entire country is our back yard. The kids are learning geography and history, science and math by living. They are learning about themselves and their interests and their passions and their strengths. In fact, Grady and Brody have completed their first Android game for Android phones, tablets and computers!! Traveling opened their eyes to their future and it’s enormous possibilities!
As a family, we are professional die hard adventurers! We do everything and we do it together. And the fabulous thing about being a family of die hard adventurers who travel is that home is wherever we are, weekends aren’t spent on the sidelines of soccer and football games, the little kids aren’t dragged from field to field for hours in the car every afternoon and we aren’t a splintered family coming and going in a million different directions. Instead life is exciting and simple. It is spontaneous and invigorating and slow-er. We are participants in our lives and our children’s lives, not just bystanders, not just footing the bill for epic adventures, but actually living out awesomeness daily with our kids. Dan & I, we wouldn’t have this any other way!
You know, anyone can do what we are doing. Every single one of us has what it takes to get back to being a spouse and a parent. Every single one of us can light that fire and really live a life filled with those things that are important to us. Living an authentic life, one without compromise is rewarding, but it’s not easy. You have to let go of the script, that which society has taught us is important. And get down to what you think is important. That may take awhile to decipher. It may be hard when everyone around you is telling you that you’re crazy. The mentality out there about parenthood is that your life ends and you become a frazzled martyr on the altar of your kids. That’s nonsense. With the right perspective and a good amount of courage you can have your cake and eat it to!! Being true to yourself, your spouse and your children is a great start!!
Now what’s on your bucket list for 2014??? Tell us in the comments below!