A friend of mine recently re-sent me an article that was published in the Denver Post 3 years ago. It was, out of all the interviews we’ve ever done, our favorite. The writer, Jason Blevins, got us, he understood the draw of the wild, of the adventure, of the fun and the family time that beckoned to us.
I ran into Jason a few days ago in FIBArk, he was surprised, to say the least, that we were still going 3 years later … he reminded me that at first we said 1 year.
So what compelled us to finish that year? Or, for that matter, to continue for another 2 and beyond??
I mean, sure it’s fun, right? We are for sure having a blast, but it’s not easy and I told Jason that.
He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “life isn’t easy.” We laughed and I said, “true, I tell people that all the time.” Like no-one ever answers your “How’s it going” question with, “Man, life’s a breeze. It’s so damn easy.”
Never. Happens. Ever.
So, what is the draw of RV’ing? I’ll tell you right now, I never had it in my sights as a mode of travel. Truth be told, travel for me was for the sole purpose of being at the beach.
And while that still may be my favorite place in the world, travel is so much more to me than that. Traveling has become our lifestyle, it’s so ingrained in us, I’m not sure it’s possible to separate.
And we owe it all to RV’ing.
I mean, let’s be honest, we have 12 kids (soon to be 13 — seriously) and we aren’t millionaires. We don’t have a trust-fund, we don’t make any money off our kids kayaking, we aren’t on the Obama RV plan, zero assistance. It may surprise you to know we make our money the old fashioned way … my husband has a job, well technically he’s an independent contractor, but he works his butt off to support us ALL.
Travel, the way we thought of travel isn’t an option for us. Enter the amazing, the dream creating, the superhero of families all-over … the omnipotent RV.
Why RV? Oh, let me just tell you…
Cheapest Travel Known to Man
RV’ing enables us to travel with our entire family for a fraction of the cost … no airfare, no hotels, no restaurants, no renting sports gear … we’ve been everywhere we want to go and each destination gives us another destination! Does that make sense? The more you travel, the more you want to travel and unless you are Donald Trump, you run into budget constraints when planning the typical vacation. Not so in an RV. No hotels, no restaurants … total luxury travel within budget!!
Get Outdoors with Little Commitment
I love being outside, I’m an adventure girl, in the true sense of the word, for sure, but I also love my creature comforts. I love coming home to the RV after a day of bouldering or hiking or kayaking and sinking into my own couch, sleeping in my own bed. I also am a big fan of air conditioning, heat and despise bugs and public bathrooms.
I also love that my kids pitch tents and hang hammocks, and love sleeping under the stars. They have such a huge appreciation for nature and God’s creation and I think it’s due partly to the amount of time they spend outside.
Bring Your Pets
We’ve done the yearly beach trip where we had to find a neighbor or, worse yet, a kennel, to care for our beloved pets because the hotel we were staying at didn’t allow animals.
We haven’t met a campground that doesn’t allow pets and some, like KOA are so pet friendly, they have dog parks for your furry family members to play and meet other canines!!
You are the captain of your ship, you are not boxed in to flight times or even check-in times, you literally can head out at your own leisure and bring as many bags and items to entertain the kids as you like!!
No baggage fees, no extensive security lines, no anxiety attacks over the kids and other passengers, just you and your nonexistent schedule. So just kick back, relax and enjoy the trip … it’s vacation time!!
We chase water year round, that’s no secret, but we also climb, bike, hike, cave and much more. All our gear, for all these sports, for us and all our kids, goes with us. Which means we can be travel to a destination specifically to kayak, but we can also wander off our route to another destination altogether to bike or whatever.
We aren’t relegated to one activity ever, limited by car space or cargo space, which is great for our family of adventurers. And after a day of in the rugged outdoors, it is so comforting to clean up in your own bathroom, cook your own healthy meal, relax and fall asleep in your own bed.
We have traveled to so many places, done so many things that really we didn’t even know anything about. We’ve been able to RV America and most of Eastern Canada!!
Last summer we spent the most glorious month in Canada, kayaking the Ottawa River, touring the city of Ottawa (jaw dropping and fascinating), and relishing in the true wilderness area that encompasses the Beachburg Whitewater Region.
We spent one week in Montreal, at Camping Alouette, had our first taste of “authentic” Poutine, brushed up on our French, surfed all week on the big waves of the St. Lawrence River, and the kids even competed in a whitewater competition, Montreal en Eau-Vive, and kicked butt.
We traveled to Saint John, New Brunswick where we were welcomed by the Maritimers like never before. We received a special blessing from Fr. David Martin at mass on Sunday, we went whale watching with the Jolly Breeze crew, we scoured the St. Martins Sea Caves, surfed Reversing Falls and hung out at the ever awesome, Hardings Point Campground which is ON the St. John River.
And in the midst of all this we did countless media interviews, radio, tv and print on behalf of GoRVing Canada! And it was in the midst of these interviews, while we were exploring Canada I realized, I had an epiphany … we are so blessed.
You see, prior to purchasing our RV we never traveled, we couldn’t afford it and we couldn’t find the time between all the kids sports and extra-curricular activities. It wasn’t until we were pushing 40 with 11 children that we finally broke free from the schedules, unplugged from all the distractions and really REALLY began to live a stress-free, exciting, adventurous and fun-filled life!
The epiphany was that we are living like the rich and famous on a rather minimal budget! We are traveling the continent, in a beautiful Newmar Dutch Star, seeing amazing things, having our minds blown, our eyes opened, we are learning so much more than I could ever put into words.
We’ve seen different cultures, learned different languages, camped on the sand in SoCal (beachfront real estate!), and the kids have friends in every locale we’ve ever visited.
You see, life isn’t about school or about prom or even about jobs. It’s not about any of the other things we all told are all important either. Your house – doesn’t matter. The car you drive – big deal. Your savings account – can’t take it with you.
No life is about everything untangible. It’s about faith. It’s about family, relationships and people. It’s about dreams and passion and having the strength to fall and get back up and triumph. It’s about seeing and doing new things, it’s about happiness and love and adventure. It’s about living authentically and leaving a legacy for those you love.
I think there is a revival of sorts. I think people are beginning to realize their high school counselor wasn’t omnipotent. I love the shape of my inbox, it’s filled with so many people who get it, who really get it and are looking for ways to spend more time with their family and live out their dreams, whatever they may be! There is such a movement to break free from the shackles and to seek freedom and liberation! It’s exciting.
My best advice, for everyone contemplating a big move, a total change, a chasing of a dream or the desire to realize an ephiphany … Just do it.
Just do it. Life is short, it’s really just a blink of an eye. Instead of waiting for the perfect time to go after your dreams, do it now, with the people you love. Show your children how to live a life with no regrets!! Show them what family can accomplish when you all stick together. Do something crazy … for their future.
Be a role model for greatness. Be … UNSTOPPABLE.