Today is May 20th, 2017, and I find myself thinking about something I truly haven’t thought about seriously in about six years.
Two weeks ago, on May 3rd, my wife, Megan, sent me a link via Facebook Messenger with the short message “What do you say?” The link was to Happy Loud Life’s “Goodbye, Dream House. Hello, Dream Life” promo video. (HERE IT IS, if you’d like to watch it on Facebook.)
The video struck a nerve with my wife. And she asked, straight-up, if I’d be interested in doing what the family in the video was trying to do. My answer was really quite simple: sure.
For two weeks, I have found myself regularly coming back to the idea of selling everything, buying an RV, and taking our family of six on the road—for a year or even permanently.
Our first real conversation in the evening on May 3rd about traveling the country as a family was short. We watched the Happy Loud Life video and just talked. Megan wanted to set a definite time limit on our excursion: one year; and she said she wants me to book shows and perform music along the way; and I thought it was important to consider financial feasibility, among other things. With our busy schedule that week, we quickly concluded we’d need more time to work through simple details, see how much it would cost, and start writing ideas down.
May 4th. The text messages begin. “So…are you serious about Road Schooling? Like for real?” Megan asks. “Yes. Absolutely.” I respond. She wants to do a dessert truck. I mention beer truck. She smells a competition! (Neither of us think “state and local licenses”.)
A few nights ago, Megan asked me for a gut check: “Do you think we should go?” My answer was no. I cited concerns about community and family, our kids building friendships, and living in close quarters (something we aren’t strangers of already). Storage was a big concern (especially with all of my music equipment), and, of course, I mentioned the difficulties of fermenting beer on a moving vehicle [insert Breaking Bad reference here 🙂 ].
But I also mentioned the possibility of adjusting our life here to be less… suburban. Maybe we could set aside more money to pay for bigger, better family trips (something we really haven’t done. Family wedding in Idaho aside)? Maybe smaller, closer trips, but more of them? Maybe we give away half of all of the kids clothing now. In order to cut our laundry in half now. What can we do now. here. in order to make the changes we feel will bring us greater joy and satisfaction? (I want to simply mention here that I do believe joy can thrive even in adverse circumstances when it is motivated by a sure sense of purpose… That’s another blog post for another day!)
I “ran the numbers” out loud; and taking a year on the road as a family to learn and grow and see and do life together is definitely possible, money-wise. But we’d have to sell the house. And the two cars. And decide what to do with all of our stuff. (Some of it, we thought, we’d like to have around for whatever comes next—assuming there is a stationary life that exists after becoming nomads.)
There’s a ton of work to be done if we are going to pull this off in the kind of timeframe that we are talking. Megan wants to begin our tour a few days before the weekend of the total solar eclipse in August. We already have plans to be in down-state Illinois for it, doing some rock climbing and camping for the first few days prior, then enjoying the eclipse near Carbondale, IL, before driving home. It would be perfect timing.
So many details must be discussed that I told Megan we need a night out just to talk and write and plan. We’ve talked a little about what some of my goals would be for a year-long road trip, about school curriculum and making sure to be in warm places during the cold winter months of the North. We’ve talked blog names and about a big fancy word called “monetization”. Well, she’s scheduled the planning night for this Sunday, so I guess you could say she’s taking this idea seriously!
So why would I choose this adventure? Honestly, there are pluses and minuses for staying and going. My feelings seem to shift back and forth even in a single day. At this very moment, it’s a meh. But one thing I know: when I ask myself this simple question, the answer is clear:
Am I home? Not yet.
In my next post, I’ll try to lay out what I think is the good, the bad, and the beautiful about taking the plunge into RV’ing with a family of six. Thanks for tracking along.