One of the most important things we did before hitting the road was connect with other like minded families. We had an easy in on this since Travis’ cousin and her family had already been on the road for a few years when we started out. The insight and answers to our moments of “what now?!” have been a priceless treasure!
We have been so blessed to get to know other families traveling down the road through a group called “Fulltime Families”. Founders, Kimberly and her husband Chris, knew that they wanted to make a change. Like so many others who find this lifestyle, they wanted more time to focus on the important things, like their family. Before hitting the road they started a company now known as “Fulltime Families”. This fabulous community offers insight on fulltime travel life and supports risk takers, pioneers, and enlightened families blazing their own path across the country.
Kimberly graciously allowed me to interview her so I can share some of her insights with you guys, my readers! On top of that, she has offered a fantastic giveaway to 4 of you! Be sure to check it out and get your entry in below! I’ll also be sharing my review of her newest work, “Our Journey Journal”, a journal for families who are hitting the road, soon!
Here’s my interview with Kimberly:
What made you want to uproot your family, sell all your stuff and hit the road?
In 2007, on an impulse, my husband Chris bought a pop-up camper so our, then family of 5 could go camping on the weekends. We’d never camped before, but the popup was intriguing so I was willing to try it.
When I stood in the popup for the first time, I was struck with the idea that everything a family needed to live, the real necessities of life, where packed in this tiny little box on wheels. I looked at our 3500 sq ft home and immediately saw all the excess of our regular middle class American lifestyle and realized all the stuff we had been accumulating was actually robbing us or our time and freedom.
I understood, at that moment, if we paired down to just the essentials and got rid of our debt, we would have the freedom to enjoy our time together with our family and live an amazing adventure.
What were the reactions of your family and friends back home? They were not pleased. In fact, on Roadschool Moms, Mary Beth and I just shared our best tips for dealing with naysayers. The bottom line was, they were going to miss us, and they didn’t understand the attraction to the lifestyle that we had. We didn’t want to go on a vacation. We wanted to shift our priorities so that we could spend these fleeting years, the years when are children are young, with them.
What would you say are the greatest benefits of full time family travel? The greatest benefit has to be exposing yourself and your children to a world view. Seeing the world through the lens of a traveler, creates an attitude of empathy and understanding. While it’s lovely to see awesome things like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, if that’s what this journey had been about, we’d have been done a long time ago. This journey, we learned is about the people we meet, the talents we share with them and the experiences we have as a family.
How do you educate your school aged children while you travel? We do what we call “roadschooling” with our children, which means we focus on curriculum and learning opportunities around our travels. For instance, we just went agate hunting on the shores of Lake Superior yesterday so this week, we’ll do a geology study to learn what makes agates different from other rocks and rabbit trail into the various types of rocks, etc.
What are the greatest challenges you face? Well, living in 350 sq feet with your family does not come without challenges and fitting all the personalities into that space can be hard sometimes. In my previous life I could send a misbehaving child to their room, but now, I have to use all the patience I can muster and really deal with the behaviors. IN the long run, I know we’re a much stronger family for it, but there are days when I really don’t have the energy and that can get hard.
How do you support yourselves on the road? Before we left our house (or sticks and bricks as rvers call it) Chris and I created Fulltime Families. When I got that epiphany back in 2007 to live on the road, I googled “families that live full time in an rv” and kept coming up with information for full time rving retirees. There was nothing that addressed the challenges that full time rving families would face like finding an income, educating our kids, getting health insurance, etc. We created full-time families to address that need. To establish a one stop spot on the web where families could find the resources they needed to make the most of their adventure. To support our members, we host annual rallies across the country where families living the lifestyle or interested in living the lifestyle can connect with like minded individuals and I wrote, “How to Hit the Road” as a step by step guide for setting the foundation for a great launch.
What advice would you have for other families who are interested in pursuing a full time travel lifestyle? If you are really serious about transitioning from a traditional lifestyle to a mobile lifestyle, Write down your intentions! The power of the pen can not be overstated. By putting something down on paper, you are setting the wheels in motion and turning your dream into a goal. Next month, we will be releasing our most powerful tool for making your dream a reality. It’s called the Journey Journal and its a professionally designed workbook that takes you through the transition, step by step and helps you to distill what’s most important to you. My favorite part is that it will become a treasured keepsake for the children you bring on this adventure with you. They will certainly enjoy their life on the road, but they will not understand why you made the leap, unless you record your motivations somewhere. The Journey Journal is the perfect place because unlike a blank notebook, it asks the real questions and provides a window into your soul.
What tools would you recommend for families preparing for this type of adventure? A sense of humor and and sense of adventure. Patience will also come in handy. A lot of the beginning is two steps forward and one step back and keeping your head straight will be the hardest part. Being able to look back at your Journey Journal and remember why it is you’re doing the things your doing will also be very helpful.
Where can we find more information about Fulltime Families on the web? We are on the web at fulltimefamilies.com, we have a great Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/
Where can I get my copy of How to Hit the Road and Our Journey Journal?
You can order your e or hard copies of these timeless tools at a discount at: http://fulltimefamilies.com/