I’m working my way through answering some basics about our upcoming RV trip, namely, the what, when, where, why and how questions I know you’re asking yourself. Don’t worry, I asked myself the same things.
Despite the many questions we’ve been asked about our upcoming RV trip, no one has ventured to ask us why. Once again, I’m sure my answers to that question will vary from my husband James’ answers, but I’ll give you some insight into my rationale as the planner, the mom and the cautious adventurer.
Adventure seems like the obvious answer as to why we want to take a cross-country RV trip as a family. Though James and I both traveled before kids, I pushed the idea of traveling to the back of my mind once we had kids–especially three little ones. Vacationing for a week at the beach is a lot of work, so I couldn’t imagine jetsetting to Europe while we’re outmanned in numbers. But when James proposed this idea of RVing, I soon realized that this was a travel adventure that would fit our young family perfectly. Instead of sleeping in changing hotel rooms or condos, the kids will have their own familiar space, while the scenery outside changes every few days.
James and I love the great outdoors, and by default our kids do, too. We often set off on family hikes and explore our little corner of Georgia. I can’t wait to explore more regions of the U.S., further propagating an adventurous childhood for my three.
Before selling, James owned his CrossFit gym for 7.5 years. Over the years, we’ve said no to many trips because he simply couldn not leave the gym. Family vacations really meant me and the kids vacationing with my side of the family, then James meeting us for a couple days if he could find a reliable person (who was Crossfit certified) to cover the gym. Though he has employed trainers over the years, for the majority of the time he owned the gym, he coached all the classes himself. Doing so meant that he was gone from 3 p.m. until 8:45 p.m. on weeknights. So you can imagine how stressful it was for me to put the boys to bed when I was 8 months pregnant with Scarlett. And, of course, it got even harder to figure out how to get them all to bed by myself once Scarlett was born. The first couple months of her life, it took me 1.5 hours to get all three down for the night. I remember nursing her before bed and just praying the Rowdy boys weren’t getting into too much trouble unattended.
So I know that’s a lot of backstory, but it helps to explain why we are seeking a life almost opposite from the one we were living. For just a while, we want to enjoy the freedom of not being tied down in one place by a job. We want to make up for all those vacations we missed out on and instead take a year-long trip of a lifetime. We want to sit around the dinner table at night as a family and recount the day’s adventures. We want to divide and conquer the nighttime routine (oh wait, that’s just what I want!).
3. Quality time
Freedom goes hand in hand with quality time. We have enjoyed much more quality time this past month as James has been home more. Sure, he’s still wheeling and dealing working his new business and his managing his other business, but oftentimes, he can eat lunch with the kids and he’s always around in the evenings for dinner, Daddy wrestling time, baths, books and bedtime.
As a mom, I’ve been around for many of my kids’ firsts. But on this RV trip, we will be creating new firsts together as a family.
4. Our Kids Are Only Young Once
During the past few years, so many people–random strangers, even–have stopped me to tell me to enjoy this time with my kids, because they’re only young once. I absolutely agree, which is another reason why we’re taking that philosophy up a notch and making the most of this year we have before our oldest begins kindergarten. We are forgoing what would be his year in Pre-K and instead unschooling on the road. At four years, James Michael is already a little sponge, and Beau, age 2.5, is becoming one as well. They may not remember that time we explored the Redwood Forrest, but this time of togetherness and adventure is one that is sure to shape their little minds forever.
Additionally, raising our kids is our main responsibility at the moment. Years from now, our responsibility may shift as our parents begin to age and need our help. But for now, both sets of grandparents are healthy, which is allowing us to travel at length.
5. We’re Only Young-ish Once
And not only are my kids only young once, but the same can be said of me and James. Though I like to think we’ll always be active healthy people, the truth is we won’t be more active in 30 years than we are right now. Right now, we’re used to running on the fumes of interrupted sleep, tending to sick kids and keeping up with the boundless energy of the Rowdy boys. Right now, we work out regularly and cook healthy meals. Right now, we’re flexible and adapt to whatever life throws our way, not because we always want to, but because we have to.
Thankfully, RVing isn’t just for retirees anymore. In my quest for RV knowledge, I’ve discovered so many other families who are taking the leap to RV full-time with kids. For us, it’s near-perfect timing between the sale of the gym, the flexibility of scheduling Atlanta Affiliate League Events, the launch of a new (more mobile) business and James Michael’s impending kindergarten start date. Who knows where we’ll be five years from now when all our kids are school-aged: where we’ll put down roots, the state of James’ businesses, etc.
When our year in the RV draws to a close, I want think of it as a springboard to another new beginning in life, and not as an ending. I’m sure there will be plenty of hard days in the RV, much as there are at home now. But I don’t want to have any regrets about that trip we never took.