This year marks our 5th year as a Full Time Travel Family in search of Adventure. 5 years since we embarked on the biggest and most thrilling, if not the most ridiculed, journey of our lives. We’ve been dubbed the Pioneers of the 21st century by Bob Dotson of the Today Show’s American Story for having revived the Great American Road Trip and turned it into a lifestyle that thrives on a carefully orchestrated dance between love and peace, chaos and adrenaline.
Five years ago we loaded 12 of our children on board our 36’ RV with all our kayaks and gear and left our mountain home with little more than expectations and hope. Full Time Travel was not something we’d ever even discussed, let alone dreamt about, but truth be told, we’d been on this path for years, searching, reaching for our dream life. We just had no inkling of an idea that it would take the form of all of us in a RV, full time.
Really, I am still shocked. At the time, I was still under the impression that we needed our 3000 sq ft home with 7 bedrooms for our family of 14.
But, we were united in ideology, united in our quest for freedom, united in our quest to get rid of the mortgage, the car payments and just breathe. We did it for freedom. Full Time Travel offered us freedom from ordinary lives.
Full Time Travel is not the norm, it’s not ordinary, but it is perfect for us. You see, we are not an ordinary family. In fact, we are far from it. Our life decisions, our passions, our quest for adrenaline, our refusal to settle, our unstoppable nature, our refusal to compromise. All these things and more set us up apart from our peers.
We had no desire to fit in with the crowd whose sole purpose is to rise as winners in the corporate world, maintain the status quo and Keep Up with the Jones’.
No doubt we did this for a few years. It was what was expected, but all it did was exhaust us. We didn’t thrive in this environment. It was too stressful, there was too much pressure and entirely too many expectations from outside influences. But, most importantly, it wasn’t our authentic selves. And, if you’ve ever tried to fake something, you know what an exorbitant effort it is … it’s literally unsustainable!
So, we quit. We literally quit society and prioritized our values, our wants, our needs and our goals. Faith, Family and Fun became our motto. Kayaking, snowboarding, climbing, hiking and biking became our mission.
We carved out time for work and school every day, as necessity dictates we make money and the kids get an education. However, showing our kids the other side of life, the side no-one tells you about, became our purpose.
Table of Contents
Living the RV Life – The Art of Chill
Our travels have evolved over the past five years, from frenzied excursions to every place new, to more chill enjoyment of where we are at the moment. Today, our family of 14 spends about 9-10 months per year in our RV, traveling North America kayaking, climbing, caving, and all around adventuring.
I can tell you that while it is not easy, it is so worth it. We much prefer the freedom and wildness of RV living to the more sedentary suburban lifestyle. The excitement, the unknown, the daily prioritizing of quality time spent with each other on rivers, mountains, etc. This is where we find ourselves. This is where much of our education is amassed. Most importantly, this is where we are ourselves, the Kellogg’s, a family — not a public spectacle.
Learning the art of being quiet, the art of being calm … while it sounds simple, it is incredibly difficult to achieve, at least for me. I’m the girl who can’t sit still, who flips out if traffic is just going the speed limit. I do the hurry and wait on the daily. I’m always in a rush, regardless. I start a book or a movie and I just want to know how it ends. I try to learn a new trick and I get frustrated after a dozen or so tries.
I AM the poster child for instant gratification. But, Full Time Travel has calmed me or at the very least given me the skills to attempt to chill, or maybe the knowledge that I should. 5 years in and we are still seeking that inner peace, touching upon it at times and at others, failing.
We are freebirds, literally. Full Time Travel means we can go where the wind blows us. We are location independent. At any moment we can uproot and head in any direction. Case in point, 3 years ago we were headed to the PNW. Stoked, excited, motivated we were barreling west. Then we got a call. GoRVing Canada wanted us in Eastern Canada.
Well, heck. We love the Ottawa. We just cannot afford to stay on the Ottawa. And with our numbers, literally we’d have to be independently wealthy. Every campground insists on a meal plan that accompanies the camping. It’s akin to eating out 3 meals a day for one week, two weeks, three weeks. Like, sorry folks, that’s why we have a 1999 RV … money is tight.
We attempted to stay in dark alleys or in private lots in Forester Falls and in Beachburg, but we got busted each and every time! The owners were always so nice, like everyone in Canada. They let us stay the night, but with the expectation that we move on in the am. That’s how we are … we ask for forgiveness, not permission. But, within a few days, we found ourselves camped out at the Walmart in Pembroke, traveling 30 miles back and forth each day.
Our biggest problem is that we suck at asking for help. We aren’t keen on promoting ourselves either, so we just suck it up and suffer. Maybe we make things harder on ourselves, because we are conscious of our numbers, than they really need to be? I dunno.
But, with the knowledge and understanding that GoRVing Canada was funding this trip, we did an about face and headed East to Canada. We saw Niagara Falls for the first time ever. We toured Toronto, the zoo is outta this world and I’m NOT a zoo person!! We played matchmaker with a PR pro and a reporter … they are still together today!! 🙂
We spent over one week in Beachburg, ON playing on the Ottawa River, thanks to the bankroll of GoRVing Canada … hands down my favorite river. The water is gold, it is warm and it is arguably one of the safest places to play. Were we to visit today, surely all of us would be paddling portions of the river! We visited downtown Ottawa, where I was amazed and enthralled by the buildings and the city … again, my favorite city. It was amazing.
Then we headed to Quebec, where we immersed ourselves in the language and the culture. Our kids competed in a freestyle competition on the Lachine. We made countless friends, in fact, one we remain in contact with and she has taken Maddy under her wing and tutors her in French, when time allows!
Being free and location independent means Dan can work from anywhere so long as there is a cell signal.
Furthering our freeness (yes I am a writer and I teach our kids English, ha ha), our kids are roadschooled, their focus lies more on real life experiences than anything found in a book. Mechanics, electricians, plumbers, designers, construction, architecture, and so much more. This year their education has included the art of coding as they help their dad build websites and apps.
It wasn’t always so well oiled. So many different curricula, so many different philosophies, books, DVD’s, teaching styles. It was chaos and not very fine tuned. I finally rested on following our kids’ lead. If they don’t lead, I throw a book at them, a classic, math, History, Art, Non-fiction, whatever. I insist that they learn. They have to know that every day they need to be learning something, anything. Maybe it’s a revalation, maybe it’s something in the world, political, social … honestly the options are endless. When your realize educational opportunities are endless you actually free yourself of all the stress and hardcore worry than encompasses homeschooling.
Of course, if our kids had it their way, they would never exit the river. They are true bonafide river hippies.
Jackson Kayak will always have a very special place in our hearts, we are so grateful for this company. They saw something in us that we didn’t even see, wayyy back in 2012 when they invited our entire family, to be part of the JK team.
We’ve never once looked back on that decision, I mean how could we? They are an amazing family run company. We are so blessed to be a part of this team and are as loyal to them as the day is long. Without Jackson Kayak’s support we definitely wouldn’t have been able to make kayaking an entire family sport, which means we probably wouldn’t have three kids heading to the World Competition in Argentina in November and we definitely wouldn’t have a 4 & 6 year old shredding the river today!!
We have been very blessed to partner with other brands too, for whom without these sponsors, our kids wouldn’t be able to kayak at the levels they are kayaking.
Kokatat, hands down the best kayaking gear on the market with the best warranty EVER…lifetime! Without Kokatat, cold weather kayaking would be out of the question and our younger kids wouldn’t be able to stay in the river for long at all!!
Accent Paddles, arguably the best paddles made for both kayaking and SUP. I love their blades, they make even me look like I know what I’m doing!!
SnapDragon, who have been incredibly generous and their turnaround time for orders is remarkable and their skirts keep the water out of our kayaks which means we stay warm and dry ALL the time!
Then we have been blessed by these amazing companies as well …
GeigerRig, used by the US Army, and serves our hydration needs on and off the water. Both filtered and pressurized, they make bulky filtration systems obsolete. These packs are our go-to for every adventure.
Newmar, Inc. no words for the quality of their workmanship, other than to say 14 of us in their 44’ Dutchstar barely put a dent in the 6 months we demo’d it. Should we ever hit the lottery …
Shred Ready, cuz, yeah, rocks hurt and I insist on the best headwear for my kids in all sports!
Isagenix, for energy and clean eating and building lean muscle and for FAST healthy meals! Kenny swears the e-Shots are magic. Brody swears by the Whey Protein and we all LOVE the Amped Line! Should you want to learn more, ask me or follow the link.
Teva, I mean who sends 14 pairs of sandals to anyone? And I can honestly say that 5 years later, I am still sporting their river shoes and their sandals! #quality
Goal Zero, has generously given us gear for our own use and for raffle purposes at various RV Shows we’ve participated in, keeping adventurers laptops, cameras, phones and tablets charged and ready…important when you rely on generator power.
True Induction, saved our lives when we ripped out our ridiculously tiny gas stove.
Should I go on? Vitamix supports my very existence, I mean who can live without fresh fruit smoothies?
Then there is Camo Bunk for all our camping comfort. And I mean comfort!!
All About Reading. What can I say about this program? I feel this reading program changed everything for one of our kids who seriously struggled to read. AAR was our saving grace. By all means, check it out …you won’t be sorry and you will see immediate progress!
Over our 5 years of near Full-Time Travel, meeting and partnering with such environmentalist, adventure-loving, family oriented companies, our cup is over flowing.
Every company listed is 100% KelloggShow approved. Every company has positively affected our family and has our loyalty. Every company mentioned has greatly improved our quality of life on the road. And to them we offer the most sincere thank you.
I fully believe with every nerve in my body that our philosophy of being grateful is the reason we have been able to pull off Full Time Travel with 12 kids in a 36’ RV. Sure, there are countless other people who travel with their families, but they have one or two or maybe three kids. It’s a totally different ballgame, y’all, when you are talking 14 people! It’s not better or more admirable, just wayyyy different.
It’s not as easy, or as amenable, or as relaxing, or as possible when you have 14 people. I mean, simply going to a campground, something most deem an RVing necessity, is a hassle. Negotiating a reasonable price is a nightmare, as most places charge $5-$10 more for every individual after 4. Thank heavens for State Campgrounds and boondocking! Paying hotel prices each night to camp in dirt in my own RV, that has no housekeeping, no continental breakfast, no shower (it doesn’t, don’t ask) … is absurd!
Full Time Travel with 12 kids means there is little to no downtime. I mean, let’s face it, very few people invite a family of 14 to crash at their home, or to come for dinner, or even to a party. Those that do, we are, again, eternally grateful. We have to get 2-3 hotel rooms, when we need a bonafide break from our tiny home & given the expense, that definitely doesn’t happen often.
Then there is the fact that no-one in their right mind sends young kids off to the river or the mountains on their own, so Dan and I are ALWAYS moving, always. I mean this blog is being written in the wee hours of the night and Dan is right beside me working.
Now, don’t for one second think we are complaining. We are absolutely not! We never would, because this is the life we choose. BUT, we don’t choose it because it is easy. We choose it for the big picture, because of the rewards and for this we are YES, so incredibly grateful. To just be able to do this, for it to be possible, with 14 people, it’s kinda like the holy grail for us.
I honestly think that if Full Time Travel was a walk in the park, a breeze, that we wouldn’t have learned so much. We wouldn’t have had the benefit of becoming truly unstoppable in our quest to become closer, to become less of this world and more of our faith. Five years of Full Time Travel and we are 10 times more adventurous in our quest to become truly free. 5 years of Full Time Travel and material things mean little to nothing, unless they enhance our lives, like gear and food.
Our lives seem to ebb and flow with nature. We wake with the sun and retire with the moon. No two days are the same unless we will them to be. We have friends across the country and beyond, who have truly become family. Our kids are free to learn anything and everything that is of interest to them.
Ask yourself what you have gained over the last five years. Can you pinpoint it? What and who are you forever grateful for?
I need to add one more group of people to whom we are grateful too … YOU. Thank you for reading our blogs, for liking our photos on Social Media, for subscribing to our YouTube Channel. For PM’ing us, asking for advice or just offering support. It’s comforting to have such loyal friends. Someday, we hope to be in your neck of the woods. Someday, I hope you will reach out and say, “HEYYYY! Kellogg’s! Let’s go adventure.”
If you see us in the river, or on a mountain, or wherever, come say hi. Don’t hesitate to ask to join us. We’d love to have you! xoxoxo
Wow, 5 years of RV’ing with such a large family. I’ve got 3 daughters and that’s more than I can handle on 2-3 week vacation. Your story is amazing.
A Family that RV’s together, stays together.
Hey Dennis! It’s the only way we could truly afford to travel and when everyone wants to do wild and crazy stuff, you make it work! 🙂 You are absolutely right, A family that RV’s together, stays together.” So true, you really learn how to deal with human faults!!! 🙂