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Monday, April 18, 2011

Bigger Fatter Faster Cheaper

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm uses the phrase "Bigger.  Faster.  Fatter.  Cheaper." to describe how Americans produce their food (and also what we should rail against), but I think it aptly describes American life in general.

I spent the past weekend at an indoor water park and watched the hundreds and hundreds of people (including me) pick up a tube, walk the stairs, slide down the slide and repeat that process all day.  But then I thought, is being contained indoors in a wet sauna with hundreds of other people worth $250+ per night (I didn't pay)?  Everyting about the park was designed to make you part with more money -- including walking past the arcade just to get to the pool.

I was thinking about all of the fulltime family blogs I am reading and I don't recall one family spending $250 on anything excepy maybe a weeks stay at a campground.  In fact, most of what I see them do (and I want to do) is free -- or close to it.  It's getting involved with nature, exploring wildlife, relaxing, reliving our history by visiting actual historical sites, or learning through hands on activities at museums or campround crafts.  It's being present and creating something fun rather than paying a lot of money to be entertained.

One of the fulltime families ( posted a video on the commercialization of our kids. I watched what only confirmed what we really all know and just need to think through.  We give our kids toys that talk, make sounds or move.  We sit our kids in front of DVD players and game systems.  We buy our kids stuff in hopes of finding happiness.  Simply, we try to buy their happiness and education.

On this same trip, there was an article is USA Today expressing concern about this generation of kids who are essentially being robbed of their childhood.  They don't get to create, explore and involve themselves.  Theirs is a world dictated by companies that rush them through their early years and into the tween years by age 7.

So, we reaffirm our commitment to minimize as much as possible and provide real learning for our kids to the best of our ability and look forward to joining some families who have found that on the road.

And to the fulltime families already accepting us, pre-travel, and providing valuable advice, thank you!  I'm envious that you can clean your entire residence in a half-hour!  Perhaps for some, the new phrase should be "Smaller. Leaner. Slower. Enriching."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Progress in Small Steps

If you are like us and have come up with this idea of family life on the road (or any life on the road), you want to get started today!  However, the highs of the moment of decision immediately sink to the lows after a few days of wondering about things like income, health insurance, gas prices, the fact that your new home is depreciating and not appreciating, etc.

We are determined to find a way and have several options we are considering -- all of which will be a year or more in the making.  This certainly demands patience, or at least the quick learning of it!

We submitted a proposal for me to work from the road for the college from which I graduated and received notice that it has been met with interest and is going up to the next level of consideration.  I never bank on any one thing and certainly do not want to get my hopes too high, but this is a good step in this journey -- and a tiny bit of positive news for the day.

If you don't have work you can take with you (and not many do), find the work to take with you.  My lesson of the moment.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spend Out

The journey toward full time rv'ing  has given us a new goal, sorting and clearing out the extras and simplying our current home life.  We have been busy the past many days trying to decide what can stay and what should go.  Most of the STUFF in our house can fall into two categories, love it or use it.  If it doesn't fit a category it must go, regardless of how much it cost, who gave it to us, or what memory it can be attached to.  Things that always seem important to keep, but never make it out of storage boxes year-after-year are either being discarded or about to be on a garage sale.  After all, in the end it is just stuff.

It's relieving to release.  We find it clears the mind and soul.

We also continue to reference a book we recently read, "The Happiness Project", that has encouraged us to do only the things that truly make us happy.  One of the principles the author suggests is to "spend out".  How many things do we have that we don't use because we are saving it for a special occasion?   So while some of our things are being added to the ever growing garage sale piles, others are being pulled out to use.  The nice bottle of perfume is now being used everyday.  How many people die with their bottle -- full -- still sitting on the shelf, never having been used?

This will be a long process and will need to be done several times before we are truly RV ready- but we are enjoying the process of prioritizing what things we want to be in our home and life.

RV dreamin'