What in the world? Marriage, kids, suburban home, church, school, busy activities and the list goes on and on. With the hustle and bustle of modern family life, something was missing. There was a void.
My husband Tom was traveling for work and would be gone for weeks and often seemingly months at a time. Our kids (ages 5 and 7 now) and I stayed busy with activities and tried to fit in to suburbia and find our niche. Having worked as a busy band director for the first 8 years of adulting and as a conference manager for a large construction trade show and conference for the next 5 years, the words slow down were not in my vocabulary. So in order to keep busy, I just found more ways to keep busy and more ways to spend money on stuff and activities. Homemaking and homeschooling is not an inexpensive, low-stress and simple lifestyle… at least for this mama.
Tom and I sat down as a couple in early January of 2016. I asked my husband “What if we weren’t tied down to all of this? What if we didn’t have a mortgage and could pay down our debts even faster? What if we didn’t feel like we needed to be at every church activity or children’s activity and didn’t have to spend money on all of those things? What if we didn’t have to keep finding places for stuff? We took a long, hard look at why we were working so hard and spinning our wheels and ending up no better off than the years before. We evaluated and re-evaluated. I cried and we prayed.
Add on to that, I have three medical issues that I don’t want to slow me down, but sometimes they just do. I have hypothyroidism and hypoparathyroidism, both which resulted from surgery to remove my thyroid due to thyroid cancer as a 19 year old. The hypothyroidism is a drag, but the hypoparathyroidism adds insult to injury, causing more lethargy and ridiculously achy legs when calcium levels and electrolyte levels plummet. Degenerative disc disease was discovered after I decided to train for and run a full marathon in 2005. These issues alone are somewhat manageable, but throw them all together, and it has become more difficult to work out, run around with the kids and keep up with a determined, active life.
We discussed the fact that we were not getting younger, the kids were getting older and in the hustle and bustle of activities and stuff, we were missing out. All I wanted was the energy to be present with my kids and my husband throughout the day. And my husband just wanted the energy after a long day of working to be present with us. Our desire was not some utopian lifestyle or some standard that society has placed on us. We simply wanted more better days together.
We calculated the costs and the risks and decided to sell our less than 2 year old house.
Our original plan was to become an Apartment Life Cares team and work as a family to help create community within an apartment complex for two years. In that time we would be able to help others while saving money to pay off debt and then look for land and build a smaller home further out of the hustle and bustle. And after we closed on the house and were accepted into Apartment Life, we found ourselves homeless. And Apartment Life didn’t have a place for us or even a timeline to let us know when a possible placement would be available.
Plan B had always been to find an RV and travel the country. After living with family and then in a hotel, we came to the conclusion that it was time to execute on that plan. We found a great deal on our 2010 Class A Winnebago Sightseer and promptly named her Sally and drove her to our first destination nearby.
Not knowing how to drive a bus, we dipped our toe in the water by driving to a few neighboring states first. We traveled to Catherine’s Landing, Arkansas near Hot Springs, then Branson, Missouri, then Dodge City, Kansas on the way to Colorado Springs. But while in Dodge City, Tom got a call from work that they needed him to go to Australia for three weeks! Not being tied down, we quickly drove back home, parked Sally with a relative and boarded a plane for the Land Down Under and an amazing adventure! Petting a koala and attending a concert at the Sydney Opera House. A year ago, this opportunity would never have come about.
We have spent more quality time together as a family and have reached our goal of more better days in the short time we’ve been living in our tiny house. We are still on a learning curve, but we’re navigating together and loving every minute. In the months ahead, please join us as we share the things we love about full-time RV life and some of the challenges we’ve had along the way. It’s not all sunshine and roses, but there are many better days ahead.