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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Working on Income Options

Our next step in this journey is to figure out how to pay for the trip without incurring debt and have health care while traveling.  If we are lucky we will find a single source of pay during our trip, if not, we will piece together from several different resources.  While the planning is good, and of course responsible, the fear we have is too much planning might mean that we never dive in.  Is anyone ever really ready and prepared to leave everything behind and hit the open road for months or years?  It is kind of like having kids- your never ready, but what a wonderful adventure they are!

I have done Internet research on working from an RV and even found a library book on the subject, but they offer vague and similar advice:  freelance writer, blogger, photographer, repair man, temporary nurse, multi-level marketing, online business, workamp situations (, looking at for short-term opportunities, etc.  The best I read about included working at a National Park and volunteering for Habitat-for-Humanity that sometimes included a free or discounted parking space -- both of which I want to do, but are more for the fun of it.

The first avenue to explore is online consulting or short-term fill-in work for non-profit organizations in need of fundraising support.  (My pre-SAHD career) I could either offer an on-site fresh set of eyes or offer temporary leadership in-between their former chief fundraiser and the next.  I figure these assignments would last from one week to several months.  Regardless, the pay would be sufficient and we could just relocate and explore along the way.  I don't think there are any fundraising consultants currently practicing in this unique way.  I've also contacted my alma mater in the hopes of working with them as an on the road representative.

If these ideas don't pan out, our other options include my wife working on curriculum for people who travel and educate their kids (she is an early intervention specialist in our local school), scrapbook consulting, take and sell awesome photography along our journey, develop our Send Out Cards distributorship ( that we have largely ignored for several years, write & blog, teach online, tutor online, etc.  I think we may have enough to piece together our finances.

It seems there is much to plan and get ready for and we may be a few years out.  So for now we will keep exploring, and keep cleaning out our house.  It is amazing what our small family has accumulated.  Just the act of slowly cleaning out our belongings will help us stay on track.  Our new motto when faced with purchases big or small will be "would we rather have this or the RV?"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why would we choose this?

Why not!?  But really, here are a few very quick things that came to our minds in no particular order:

1.  Tighter family bond (focus on each other and not the distractions of life while working better with each other).
2.  Spiritually grow as a family.
3.  Reduced stuff (learn what we really need) -- live simple.
4.  Successfully produce an income on the road and save.
5.  Love our country and environment more deeply.
6.  Meet new people and learn their stories.
7.  Be physically active and fit.
8.  Determine where we might choose to live someday.
9.  Do the things we want to do.
10.  Stay better connected to friends.
11.  Experience different cultures.
12.  Fill Passport books with National Parks and Monument stamps.
13.  Be happy!

I am sure there is more, but this is what we scribbled down last night and a very good starting point.

This is really a good exercise for any family (or anybody) whether road-living or not.

Will keep you posted.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Are we the only family with this crazy idea?

Hardly.  Actually I was a little disappointed to see so many doing this.  I thought I had this great wacky idea all to myself.  But then I was grateful for the trailblazers ahead of me because I have found great advice and inspiration from their blogs, some of which I have listed in my blog list section and encourage you to read.

Additionally, I found two web sites that connect full-time traveling families: and -- both of which inspire and instill confidence in the adventure.

Check them out and begin your dream.  I received an e-mail from Full-Time Families today that encouraged us dreamers to set a launch date and then do it.  We don't have a launch date yet, but I would guess it to be about two years out, but perhaps sooner if we can swing it!  Until then, we prepare.

Are there other great sites designed for traveling families?

Have I ever driven a motorhome?

Nope.  Never.  In fact, I wasn't certain I had ever been in a motorhome until I went to see them this past Thursday.  I went to one dealer (Midway RV) and was hooked.  Have you seen these things?  My three-year-old son described it as a house on wheels and busted out laughing when he opened a door to find a toilet.  And how about the slide-outs!!!!  Amazing!  The more the better.  They certainly make you feel like you are at least living in an apartment -- and in some cases a downright palace.

I loved a new motorhome at $122,000 for retirement but would be satisfied with the 15-year-old motorhome for $9,999 for our family experience -- though the Golden Girls' mauve would have to go!

I was so pumped by the decent living conditions that I told my wife what the kids and I had discovered that day and I brought her back to the dealership the next morning.  All said, we found a 2006 Damon Daybreak, gas-fueled motorhome, heavily geared for family, that had built in bunk beds for $50,000.  "That's the one!", exclaimed my wife.  If and when we do it, that's what we need.  I assured her, if I knew how to provide a good income on the road, we would surely buy it.  But there will always be another somewhere.

And frankly, I think we owe it to ourselves to explore other brands and other dealers.  This could be a long process, or a short one if a miracle drops.

I have learned so much already about an industry I knew nothing about and will share my information as I acquire it.

The American Dream

I remember in one of my college classes that we collectively determined the American dream to be owning your own house along with having freedom and opportunity.  It stuck, and that is how it was defined for a group of young collegians.  It evolves and everybody will come to a different definition.

Now, nearly 15 years later, I see a house (even if paid off) as a tremendous burden.  And the bigger the house, the more the burden.  It ties you down -- sometimes permanently.  How many families today are upside down in the mortgages?  Stuck?  We have 3,300 feet of living space and I would give 2/3 of it away if I could.  We wanted big when we bought it.  Now I want to run from it -- perhaps even rent.  The constant cleaning and maintenance sucks precious time away from what I may deem as much more important matters in life.

So the idea:  Rent (or sell) the house, obtain an RV that can nicely accommodate a young family of four or five, and travel the United States.  This would allow us to be where we want to be (my son abhors cold winters), when we want to be.  The size allows for maximum forced efficiencies and with so little space to maintain, will allow for better building of relationships with our immediate family and friends and allow the opportunity to explore new places, new people and cultures, and truly be free.  Free from debt and place.  This is my/our new American dream.

I had this thought on March 24, 2011.  I am a stay-at-home Dad.  To make this a reality, we will have to find a way to produce an income on the road and a way to obtain a motorhome.  My initial thoughts are toward writing and blogging about our experiences.  I'm willing to take on sponsors, so if an RV company, a travel magazine, communications provider, camp ground, etc. want a writer for hire to blog/brag about their great product/vehicle, you can let me know.

The Same Hour

It has occurred to me at various times -- but always as a fleeting thought -- that the one common denominator amongst all people on this earth is time.  We can be divided into this group or that group (usually biased based) based on religion, color, sexuality, income level, social status, geography, interests, friends, degrees, etc.  But, everybody shares the same hour.

So then the question becomes, how can you make that hour -- every hour -- be the best that it can be for you, your family, your friends, your community, the environment?  There is no correct answer.  The hour is yours.  How many hours have there been in your control lately?  In the last day, did you control 12 hours?  Six?  Even one?  When do you decide?

Stuff dictates how we spend our time.  Over the past several years, my wife and I occasionally lament how a purchase we made requires additional money and additional time -- both of which are very limited.  Some examples for us have included, dvd's, cd's, books, cars, and so much more.  We still have older television sets, the largest being 19 inches (crazy, I know!).  But one of the biggest reasons we don't upgrade is the importance we then place on that item and the additional services and equipment needed to fully utilize it.

Example:  It has been suggested by many that we get a Wii.  "They are so much fun!", they say in excitement.  I won't deny the fun aspect, and I have enjoyed playing Wii games at friends and families homes, but it requires time and more money.  If I got a Wii, I would also have to get an additional controller (+ cost), the racing wheel (+ cost), Wii fit (+ cost), and additional games (+ cost).  Then, and perhaps most demanding, is the time I would inevitably waste on such a device.  But that's me.  I would rather be doing something else.  Perhaps you get 100% enjoyment out of an hour of video games.  I'm just suggesting that perhaps we fill our lives with too many options instead of the best option or two and waste a lot of our money and time because somebody said we should have this or that.

Have you ever known anybody who had so many toys/options that they felt bad they had to neglect one or more of them on a regular basis?  How many pools, houses, motorized toys can you use?  And then to have them all costs storage, maintaining, insurance, and TIME.

So we have decided to purge again.  It seems like an endless process.  I wonder how we accumulate so much stuff.  We rid ourselves of piles of clutter several times each year, yet it always seems to return.  Sigh.

How will you spend your hours?  How will we spend ours?  We all have the same hour.  And what some of us do with it will make us far richer than others -- if you know what I mean...