The short version: Stephen and I were working a LOT. And passing each other by. He worked an opposite shift so that would have the ability to travel for my job. We were only together as a family for a few brief hours in the evenings on the nights I was actually home.
These precious years with our children were starting to go really, really fast and it felt like we weren’t fully present. We were working for “things” we couldn’t actually enjoy. The house was great but 3,000 square feet on two acres with a pool, so took up all our free time to maintain. We rarely saw our friends. We started to fall into the endless cycle of obligated kid activities; ballet, soccer, tee-ball… because that’s what everyone else was doing. One week long vacation per year and maybe a three day weekend occasionally–that was all we got. And it was time off that was still never truly unplugged from our jobs.
Then one day this tiny thing (in retrospect) happened while working for my former employer. The accumulation of stress and frustration caused a switch to flip for me. Stephen’s crazy idea suddenly wasn’t so crazy anymore. We were ready to stop living this lifestyle that was unhealthy for ourselves and our family. Ready to stop being scared of taking a leap and trying something different.
Picking Our Home On Wheels
I would like to say a ton of thought and time went into this decision, but we tend to make big decisions way too quickly, and small ones can take forever! We chose to go with a 27″ travel trailer (Forest River Wildwood). This trailer was the size we needed, fit our budget and we felt like there was very little we would need to change inside to make this space feel like home during our year on the road.
Adjusting Our Jobs To The Traveling Life
I have worked in property management and the real estate development industry for several years. I still work in the same industry but in a much different role–handling all of the marketing and social media for a smaller, much more family-oriented company based in Greenville, SC (where we are from). I’m working about 20 hours a week right now. Stephen was an operations manager for a large distribution center; now he is blissfully unemployed.
Do Your Research
We are just getting started so we don’t have much experience to share yet! But I will say that we wish we had done some more research on the layout of our camper with regard to the kid’s bunks. A bunkhouse with a door is a non-negotiable for next time. And a camper with two doors to enter/exit. Aside from that, it has been extremely important for our kids (2 and 4 years old) to still feel some sense of routine. We wake up around the same time each day, try not to mess up nap time too much and also keep a semi-consistent bedtime.
Our Plans For Adventure
We plan to travel for a full year, so until May 2019. Currently, we are heading back up the east coast after a hiccup with getting our domicile set up in Florida. We would like to volunteer as often as possible as a family and see as many National Parks as we can!