The idea of traveling full time has been a dream for Brad & me since around 2007 when Brad started his own graphic design business, Apt Design. The thought of not being tied down to any one certain place, but roaming around the country and exploring while still maintaining a regular stream of income was so appealing!! …but it also always felt like too big of a risk. It never seemed within reach. And there were always plenty of reasons to stay put which ranged from – mostly local clients for Apt, I loved my work with Wenatchee Parks & Recreation, leadership opportunities within our church family, and an amazing group of close friends, …just to name a few.
Once kids came along, the dream changed to “someday when the girls are older we’ll take a year off & travel the whole country…” To be honest, these conversations always felt like fiction to me. I knew that we both shared this dream, but I didn’t really think it would ever happen. There would always be a reason to stay put. Too many obstacles between real life & this possible life. Too much responsibility to maintain.
Then last winter, something snapped. It was a combination of things that happened near the same time – I had been doing some soul searching about my job which I have loved for 11 years – whether or not I wanted to stay there for years and years more as it was the 1st job I took out of college. Sometimes I could picture myself there for another 20 years, but I started to realize that decision was based more out of the fear of the unknown rather than a desire to stay. Brad and I had both talked extensively about how we were feeling ready for “the next thing”, but neither of us had a clear picture yet of what that was going to be.
The other piece was that Brad had started to consider the possibility that down the road he might like to hire an account manager. I had jokingly made the comment once, “maybe you could just hire me!”. Even though our personalities are very well suited for such a partnership, the thought of working together to achieve a single income had never been appealing to us in our current way of life.
After a morning run one day, Brad came inside the house to find me sitting at the counter drinking coffee. “You know…I know that you were joking about working for me,” he said. “But if you did – we could move into an RV and travel full time.” I just stared at him. I’m pretty sure that was the whole conversation – he was already off to shower. But the idea stuck in my brain, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Could we really do this thing we had talked about in different versions for so many years?
For several weeks, Brad & I thought about this idea separately all throughout our days, and talked about it extensively each evening. What skills could I bring to the table for Apt Design? What would we do with our house while we were away? Could we handle spending all hours of all days in a tiny space with our kids? Could we juggle running Apt Design and homeschooling the kids? How long would we travel? How would we get our mail? Health Insurance? Wifi? Thinking up all of these different obstacles felt like a fun game of whack-a-mole to me, as we considered all of the different aspects of life that would completely change and discussed the ways we could make this crazy plan work. We leaned heavily on the community of people out there already full-time RVing with their families and road schooling as they went. We read blogs; we exchanged emails. It definitely wouldn’t be an easy transition to make, but if we wanted it bad enough, there were plenty of people already out there living the answers.
The main point of all this is just to say…we decided that for us, this crazy idea was worth the risk at this point in time. We talked about so many potential negative consequences of traveling full time for a year+. Brad and I struggle with some fears as individuals, and others as a couple. What if we can’t make enough money on the road and end up deeply in debt? What if the kids drive us insane? What if we can’t find good camping spots? What if a renter ruins our house? What if I regret quitting my job? We talked ENDLESSLY through all of these fears. And ultimately, each and every scenario still led us back to the same conclusion – it would still be worth it.
What’s the crazy dream that you have that you don’t take seriously? Because as I’ve read more about this type of thing and gone to the interwebs for support in making this kind of leap, I’ve seen one theme over & over again. Everyone has the desire to make some sort of jump. It’s just a matter of mustering the courage to do it. It’s knowing when opportunity is knocking, and being ready to answer. It’s wanting something bad enough that even having the dream fail miserably would be easier to stomach than saying “No” again out of nothing but fear. I want to share a few of the resources that have really inspired me through this decsion, so that maybe they could inspire someone else to take a leap when it’s time for them as well.
First, some favorite quotes:
“Traveller, there is no path. The path is made by walking.” Antonio Machado
“Not all those who wander are lost.” JRR Tolkien
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” Mark Twain
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving the mark.” Michelangelo
“Dreams don’t work unless you do.” Dusty’s Burgers marque – nearly brought me to tears on my way to work one morning!
Jason Calhoun of suburbanpilgrims.com took my breath away by saying so many of the things swirling in my head so eloquently in this blog post, my favorite quote being:
“To nutshell this article, I’ll just say that I’m leaving my job to go on a little adventure. To follow a “one day” dream, and to hopefully live intentionally. We may fall on our face, we may limp back to suburbia, and I may wish I had my job back. But I can promise you, we won’t regret it.”
Some other blogs from full-time RV’ing families that we’ve loved so far:
There came a point in making this decision that everything in the world around me seemed to be point me towards taking this plunge. Every podcast. Every song. Every conversation. Every Dusty’s Burger marque quote. The joke between Brad & me every Sunday afternoon became, “What did you think of the sermon today? ‘Cuz I thought he was saying that we should definitely move into an RV!”
There is a fascinating new website that is being developed and will soon be a book, that deals specifically with how we all have something inside of us we want to try, but we are afraid to do it: whentojump.com I would especially recommend checking out the “Quotes” page if you’re needing some inspiration. In a Rob Bell podcast where the author Mike Lewis was being interviewed, he said something that blew me away.
He was considering the possibility of quitting his fancy Wall Street job to play squash tournaments all over the world. He made a bullet list of all the reasons why he should take the jump. But he said something that brought me to tears at about minute 22:30 (although I highly recommend listening to the entire interview) “I just firmly believed as I started to think more & more…that it would be terrible to go & to get injured & to come back unemployed…I knew exactly what I was giving up. But it would not be nearly as terrible as not going and having that window close.”
As he travelled the globe playing in squash tournaments and sharing his story with people from all kinds of different cultures, he started to notice that this common thread runs through all humanity – that we all have something that we long to do but don’t ever try for any number of reasons.
Let me be clear here – I am terrified. This adventure might not go well for us, or at least not look anything like I would hope. But if we don’t try it, I think I will regret it for the rest of my life.