For some time now, my wife Wendy and I have contemplated taking an extended leave from our home in Ontario Canada for a journey around the US and Canada in an RV with our wonderful 3 kids in tow!
About 14 months ago, we made the monumental decision that we wanted to try and travel to new fun places for as long as we can OR as long as we have the courage to be away from the stable but constricting life we have here.
Don't get me wrong, we love our life in the suburbs and we appreciate all that it has to offer, but we can't help but feel there is so much more to life than simply working the same job Monday to Friday, shopping at box-stores on the weekends and get sucked into the tremendous over consumption of 'things' we have accumulated over the years.
FLIPPING THE SCALES OF HAPPINESS
We've found that our most memorable moments as a family was not playing with the multitude of toys they all have OR the new kitchen renovation we did, but the experiences we've had when we've traveled as a family. Every single trip we've done whether it was a cottage vacation, a trip out west to British Columbia, Vancouver Island, Montreal, Orlando etc. we have bonded so much as a family. The problem is we get to do this only a couple of weeks a year if we're lucky.
Starting in January 2017 that will all change. We've opted to flip the scales of happiness. Instead of looking forward to weekends and holidays each year and then working like a dog the other 48 weeks a year, we have decided to take a journey of a lifetime and travel around the United States and across Canada living in an RV while learning and spending quality time together as a family.
WHERE TO BEGIN?
From our investigations, there are a myriad of ways that any family can do this type of adventure, but for us we need to figure out what way works best? For months we have mulled over a countless list of questions that the analytical person in me strives to have a buttoned-down answer for each and every one. The reality is, some of these questions are more important than others and as such they deserve more of our attention. Nonetheless, here are some of the multitude of questions we struggled with...our blog will try and address how we gained answers to some of the more pressing ones.
1. Should we sell our house or simply rent it?
2. Will we sell all our belongings or simply store our 'things' until we come back?
3. How long should we travel for and what implications will this time away have on us?
4. What type of RV should we get?
5. How will we manage to teach our children while traveling?
6. What sorts of RV sites and parks should we book?
7. How much money do we need for this trip?
8. Should we try to earn income while traveling?
9. What kind of insurance should we get?
10. ...but most importantly, where exactly do we want to travel to and what things do we all want to see and do while we are there?
There simply are endless questions that go through our minds as you can imagine, but one thing is for certain....we've decided to leave and that's the first step.
GOING PUBLIC WITH YOUR PLANS
To further hold ourselves to our word, Wendy and I opted to tell our children and our families that we are planning an extended time away which will inevitably result in me quitting my job and taking the kids out of school (cue the drama). Not surprisingly, many of our family and friends thought we were crazy and that we're going through some sort of mid-life crisis and that our desire to do this would subside like a passing fad. Our kids on the other hand, were ecstatic about the idea and there hasn't been a day that has gone by where one of them hasn't mentioned it. Their only issue thus far has been the factor of time. As our kids are young, their concept for time isn't quite established yet so telling them that we're going on a huge trip about a year away is resulting in them asking us weekly "Mommy/Daddy are we going to travel the world yet?" Nonetheless, we love their excitement and they help feed our passion to follow through with this amazing adventure.
LIVING IN THE MOMENT AND NOT WAITING FOR RETIREMENT
The extended family and friends, however, had a bit of a different reaction. "Are you crazy?" "Don't be ridiculous" were common and expected responses. But over the last few months, as they could see that we are quite serious about doing this, several of them have respected our decision and even encouraged us. In fact, we hear many friends and family say "Wow, I've always wanted to do something like that but I don't have the courage (substitute "courage" with money, means, time etc. as we've all heard these excuses)". Trust me, we understand how hard it is to actually put this into motion. Wendy and I have just reached the point where we've realized there is so much more to this world that we need to experience with our children and with each other that these excuses are no longer acceptable to us. Waiting until we retire to do all these things just doesn't make sense to us. The fear of not doing this has now completely outweighed our fears of actually doing this trip. It has to happen now...