Big changes. Our family is going through a major time of transition. God is moving us. Which requires a lot of faith, conquering fears, excitement, feeling overwhelmed, feeling adventurous. In our waiting, in the pain, God is working.
We’ve talked about it for years. Probably at least 4 years. We found ourselves in transition. We both felt the nudges. And it’s time to take a huge leap of faith….
We’ve been waiting for months to announce these changes for a variety of reasons but things are already in motion and we are so excited to finally be able to share our big news! Our family has been preparing to live and travel fulltime in an RV. It is something we wanted for many reasons, but the timing wasn’t ever right. Now it is. And we could not be more excited!
For those that are curious, I thought I’d share a bit about our “why”. The disease of busy has stolen our ability to slow down. To allow the beauty in life to let itself in and stay awhile. The simplicity in just being. Will we always have chaos? Yes, we have kids!
But what if busy isn’t the answer?
What if constantly taking on more isn’t the answer.
It certainly is making us happier.
What if we reset to a slower pace, to notice, observe, admire, absorb what the world around us has to offer?
I love my clients, I love what I do. I love IAPBP. I love homeschooling. I love cooking every meal for my family and keeping our home warm and well cared for. I love being a wife and mother. What I don’t love is not having any balance when it comes to all of those things. I struggle in choosing which of those things to be good at on any given day or moment. Working 80 hours a week during busy season, never feeling like I can give IAPBP enough of my attention, not meeting business goals, motherhood and desperately wanting to be a better wife to my really amazing husband. Oh the guilt of never being enough. Is going fulltime RV going to fix all that? Yes and no. It’ll reset our priorities. It’ll reset our financial situation so we can payoff debt by selling the house. Living a more simple life financially will take a lot of pressure off both of us. It’ll allow us time. Time to recover. Time to breathe. Time to experience. Because the truth is we want experiences to be more important to us than collecting stuff and maintaining a home. Taking care of the stuff is killing me. I often tell Jason my official mom title is “professional rearranger of other peoples stuff”. I’m so over all the stuff in our home. Stuff we collect that most definitely isn’t making us happier. It’s the opposite, it’s so stressful! I’m over not feeling like I’m enough. I want to connect with my family in a different way. One that’s right for us. I want to be more available to my children. Less connected digitally. I want to have time to nourish that which is so very important to me, instead of constantly giving them what’s leftover of me. My husband, my children, my businesses. Remove the stuff. Remove the big house. Remove the things that are distracting us from what we really love. Live simply. That’s what Jason and I crave. We no longer want to just survive, we want to live.
We started regularly camping 4 years ago. It’s been amazing for our family. Each trip has been a huge reset button for us. We all crave it. The time outdoors, the family time, the disconnect from electronics to reconnect with each other. Then we went on a trial run last fall in a travel trailer. It was…..hard. And interesting. It was uncomfortable. I was big pregnant. I was still sick all day, every day. And we chose the wrong RV for us. We learned a lot about what worked for us and what didn’t. Some things we thought we wanted we were totally wrong about. Some things we thought were important weren’t at all important. We learned. We tried it on. We wondered. We doubted. We dreamed about it some more.
We can’t leave Ty.
We love our jobs.
We love where we live.
We love our house, the layout, our view.
We love doing home renovations.
And Amazon Prime…
Giving up where we live and love, it’s a huge leap. For a long time, Ty was still in public school, then high school homeschool. That was a good reason to stay. We wanted another baby. Getting Zachary here took longer than we expected, 3 losses and struggling with fertility. We certainly never anticipated that it’d be through his birth that God would begin moving us.
Zachary’s birth was traumatic for us. I was fairly quickly diagnosed with postpartum depression. Severe PTSD followed. It was life changing, both conditions, not just for me, but our whole family. I haven’t told Zachary’s birth story yet, maybe I will someday. When the healing feels right. When saying it out loud helps more than it hurts. Right now, it’s too soon, I’m still very broken. We are all learning how to breathe again after being shaken so hard. I bring it as a whisper to this conversation because I need to say that our home became hard for me. And even with a lot of really kick ass EMDR therapy, over time we realized we couldn’t expect me to live and thrive in that space any more. I stuck it out, working hard through therapy, not wanting one really hard day to overshadow 10 years of beautiful moments in our home. I wanted to be stronger than that. I didn’t want the trauma to “win” especially since most of it occurred at the hospital. But then I realized there is strength in choosing to be in a new, healthy, space. And that makes it easier to let go of it. I wanted to be sure it was a healthy choice of letting go vs. running away, therapy and a lot of talking it out with Jason helped. I hear it’s common for those who have endured trauma to seek change, and that it’s a good, healthy, thing.
What about money?! How can you afford to travel full time?! This answer is different for everyone. We will both work on the road (although I will work much less than I do now). The short answer for us, we really can’t afford not to. We have had several major financial hits through the years, losing everything to Hurricane Katrina, Jude’s vaccine injury that cost us well over six figures, me being out of work with a foot injury for part of 2016 and then again for 6 unexpected months of recovery after Zachary’s birth this year. We spend a lot of money on food each month due to food allergies and chemical sensitivity. We have worked me in to the ground with running two businesses and homeschooling for years. Keeping up with the house, all the things in it, 2 cars, vacations, the stuff, it’s too much. We are paying for a lifestyle that’s draining and it’s wearing us down. Simplifying our life and expenses is needed at this point. Selling our home and cashing in on our equity, working our way out of debt, feeling that weight lift, will be huge. By significantly reducing our expenditures each month by no longer keeping up a large home and all the expenses that go with it, we will be able to afford to travel and pay off a huge chunk of debt while we are at it. For some fulltime families it costs the same amount to live in a home as it does to travel. That’s not the case for us and we are very thankful for the opportunity to simplify.
So what does this mean for…..
Ty. He’s 20 years old now and finished with school. He moved out a year ago and he’s about to take his national certification to be a licensed home inspector. He’s building a life here. It’s hard to say see ya soon. And we will. We plan to fly him out to see us at several destinations of his choice. We are buying an RV big enough to have room for him when he visits us. And we will do everything we can to still be together as often as we can and especially on holidays. We’ve budgeted to pay for his travel expenses to see us as often as he chooses and is able with his schedule.
Life in Motion. My photography business will remain open. I have sessions on the books in Austin through the end of 2017 and all will be completed before we hit the road fulltime. I absolutely love my clients, so many are like family, and it’s one of the hardest parts of this leap. I will miss y’all so much, I would not be who I am today without you. I will definitely be posting when we plan to roll through Austin so we can connect!
While on the road I will be taking on sessions while traveling. 2018 will include Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah. We will travel the East Coast in 2019. By the end of 2019 we will have hit every state except Hawaii and Alaska.
I will transition to an all inclusive price model for 2018 and 2019. You can view pricing for travel sessions here. Please feel free to email me for details if you’d like to book a session as we roll through your area. I’d be honored to photograph your family!
IAPBP. For years we have dreamed of us having more time to devote to the association. We have so many goals and this change means we will finally have the time to throw ourselves in. Big plans are already in motion and we are super excited to expand and devote more time and attention to improving IAPBP. It is our hope that our travels will help connect us with many of our members across the US.
The dogs. They are going with us. If traveling becomes too stressful for one or both we will reevaluate. But we feel confident they will both do well on the road.
Homeschooling. This will hopefully be an easy transition for us since we have been homeschooling for 5 years now (((say what?! Has it been that long?! Crazy pants!))). We will roadschool the kids. Focus on core subjects like math and language with books and learn the rest on the road. Integrating history, science, art, music, etc with our location is going to be a blast. They are each already knee deep in choosing states to plan our trips, where to stay, what to see and explore, etc. their research skills are working overtime and their history books will come alive as we travel across the country. Its been so interesting to see what they add to our experience wish list. Everything from snorkeling to riding in a hot air balloon, visiting an organic farm, whale watching and standing next to the Statue of Liberty. Their lists are amazing and we are already getting to know them in new ways just through planning. It’s an adventure of a lifetime but it comes with sacrifice. The sacrifice is the stuff. While it’s hard to let go of stuff, they are ready and really excited.
The house. Our house is currently under contract and we are set to close in September. We are living temporarily at my mom’s house next door to ours. Yay for not having to keep it show ready and living in it while on the market. We are thankful that it sold quickly to a really sweet family.
The stuff. We’ve already had two very large garage sales. It’s been freeing and emotional to get rid of things. We’ve spent so much time, energy and money filling our home with things I don’t even care about. I’ve spent so much time cleaning it all up, over and over and over. I want to put that energy from maintaining it all in to living. We will keep a storage unit of sentimental things, a few favorite pieces of furniture and we are letting the kids decide what they keep, store or sell. I’ve been impressed with how much they have been willing to let go of as we’ve worked through this process. I think giving them the power to decide helped a lot. Stuff is just stuff. It can be replaced. We cannot purchase a meaningful life. (The minimalists).
There isn’t one reason, there are a lot of reasons. Adventure. Feeling like we are LIVING this one life we’ve been granted. Freedom to move and explore. That freedom was taken from us for a time when Jude was very sick. If we traveled with him, he’d regress. He’s better and able to travel, and it’s something we don’t take for granted. Working through PPD and PTSD, knowing how hard that is, not wanting to waste that perspective that life is precious and valid and short. Too short to say someday. A more active, outdoor, lifestyle. It’ll be good for us financially and emotionally. Maybe we will love it. Maybe we won’t. But we won’t know if we don’t try. And thats something I really, really want to instill in my children…..
Try things on. Be brave. Seek adventure. See the world. See what’s beyond that lit screen. Step outside of your familiar. Even when it’s uncomfortable. Especially if it’s uncomfortable. Seek Gods will for your life. You might fail. You might succeed. Either way, you’ll learn something.
Our hope is that you’ll follow along on our journey, via this blog and on our Instagram account. We will be posting regular updates to both as we transition to being fulltime. I am very much looking forward to photographing our adventures across this beautiful country. We can’t wait to get started….