We had so many thoughts, ideas, goals, and expectations for our Great Adventure . . . a whole year on the road?!?! The possibilities are endless!
Yes, the possibilities are endless; but the realities are not. So far our life on the road has been brilliant, wonderful . . . and exceptionally challenging. Is it everything we had hoped? No. Is it more but in different ways that we expected? Many times. Would I trade this experience? Not on your life.
When we started planning our journey, we had specific goals. Along the way we've had to modify many of these, drop some of them, and add in others. For instance: I brought our full-size electric piano. Yes, you read that correctly - not a keyboard, but a FULL-SIZE electric PIANO. All my kids were going to learn to play piano along the way! After all, all we would have is time . . .
The reality of living on the road is that everything is harder, and everything takes way more time than anyone could imagine. Yes, our house is tiny - so cleaning it top to bottom doesn't take long . . . but because its tiny & we are so many, it gets messy and/or dirty constantly. Because we have to share such a small space, each square foot is used way more than any square foot of a sticks and bricks house - and it shows. Kids' toys? Yes, we trimmed and purged and the amount of toys they have compared to when we were in bricks and sticks is tiny, but their play area in the house is 5' x 5' . . . and that 5' x 5' space is also our living room....so toys come out, toys get cleaned. Toys come out, toys get cleaned (with much whining and complaining each time) - all day every day. We can't leave anything out . . .because we need the space.
I wanted to see creameries, wineries, and breweries along the way. If you've been following us on Instagram (TheTraveling5) or Facebook (TheTraveling5) you've seen we've hit our fair share of breweries & a few wineries. We haven't been to nearly as many as I had expected because the cost is more than I had bargained for! In America its common practice to charge for wine tasting - up to $20 for four pours! Outrageous I tell you! I would be frequenting many more wineries if tasting were free, dependent on purchasing a bottle. And finding creameries has been much harder than expected, much to my dismay.
We also wanted to volunteer along the way - give back to the communities. We are rarely in any one place long enough to locate & line up a volunteer opportunity; especially since most of our party is comprised of minors. For Christmas we wanted to volunteer at a soup kitchen but our campground was over an hour from any town and my emails reaching out to the local soup kitchen went unanswered.
Each day is filled to the brim with . . . what exactly? Some days fly by without even realizing they are gone. Mornings are filled with reading with the boys (a more recent habit that I am quite proud of myself for finally implementing), breakfast (I cook a full breakfast of eggs, scratch pancakes, or French toast most days), and getting going. If we have a travel day we are looking at an hour to an hour and a half of breakdown, three to six hours on the road (including lunch), then another hour to hour and a half of setup. Travel days are full work days - but we still try to squeeze in schooling and cleaning.
Laundry? Laundry for a family of 5, as many of you know, is never-ending. I have switched to laundromats for ease - but laundromat day is still an hour and a half to two hours away from everything else. Shopping can no longer be fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants and we can't Costco up on everything to have on hand 'just in case'. Due to the extremely limited space, menu planning is vital - and I have to shop every 3-4 days to ensure we don't run out of space in the fridge.
All said and done, life on the road simply takes longer.... for everything. But the bond between our family has tightened and grown far more than we could have hoped or imagined - and this bond, this time together - was our #1 reason for our travels. Yes, we all have the travel bug and yes, we all love to explore and live life on our schedule but better than all the ups and down is our family. Together, for better or for worse, all day every day.
This family love and connection is the best thing that could have happened to any of us; I feel fulfilled and I feel our real, true goal has been realized.
If these trials, tribulations & love sound to good to be true for you and your family, please reach out to me! I'd love to chat and share how we got here and how you can too!
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