7 Reasons To Live Fulltime In an RV

On May 1 we finally move into our new 192 square feet of RV! We’ll be local and Pete will keep his same job through the summer. So, we’ll be staying at a beautiful park near the Mogadore Resevoir.

People, of course, think we’re nuts. Unfortuantely when you make decisions outside of the mainstream it can be judged as an indictment of their (more mainstream) life choices.

I think the important thing here is to remember that my decisions are made from my values, goals, and dreams and my weaknesses, fears, and circumstances. They have absolutely nothing to do with anyone else. When I say I want out of the capitalist economy it doesn’t mean I think you are evil for staying in it. Everyone makes the world a better place as best they can at the time. You’re doing your best and I’m doing mine.

With that in mind – here are 10 reasons we are becoming Nomads:

1. Find a New Human Dream.

We played the “American Dream” game well. I had a job at NASA and a mortgage and 2 cars and a bunch of debt. I worked to pay my debt and went into further debt to survive the monotony of my life. Since leaving my job I’ve become a so much happier person. I’m healthier, sleep better, and just feel JOY. All. The. Time. When I was working so much and then spending my non working hours working on my “stuff” I didn’t have any free time to grow as a person or contribute to the world meaningfully.

That’s the problem with the American Dream, in my opinion. It keeps us navel gazing and blind or helpless to the reality of the world around us. We wanted to find a way to acheive our dreams that made us better citizens of the Earth. (This reason is #1 because it guides all of our other reasons.)

2. See New Places.

The most amazing experiences in my life have been visiting new places. I’ve been fortunate to live many places and visit some wonderful and beautiful things. This reason also falls into the “stop living for your next vacation” things. If you are lucky enough to be one of the few people making enough money to travel on your vacation…are you working so hard to afford a vacation?

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

3. Meet Virtual Friends.

One of the best parts of living in the age of social media is that I have truly wonderful friends all over this globe! How wonderful to get to share a s’more with them around our campfire? Oh, btw, internet friends…prepare, lol.

4. Meet New People.

I am a white woman married to a white man living in just about the whitest small town imaginable. That’s ok. I was raised here and learned to respect and love all people. I don’t think living in a mono-culture precludes soemone from being a social justice advocate but it sure is easier when you experience cultural differences in a relationship instead of in a book.

Now, RVing is a predominately white past-time so, that’s not what I mean. I mean by going out into the community where we are staying and getting to know the locals – local people, local food, local customs, local problems and successess. In my “homeschool” the number one most important curricululm is what I call “Poverty, Inequality, and Money: Causes and Solutions.” My kids will get to experience this in living color.

5. Meet the Earth.

If the poverty and inequality lessons are the number one goal of my parenting then the second is “Amazing Earth: Plants, Animals, and Symbiosis. (lol, I’m loving my course titles. Of course, in case you don’t know, I’m a “un”schooler so there won’t be any curriculum at all). You simply can’t ignore the needs of our planet when you strongly realize that WE ARE OUR PLANET. We aren’t separate. We are one. The love of one is the love of the other. The health of one is the health of the other.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. – Henry David Thoreau

When you think of environmentally-friendly living the word “RV” probably doesn’t come to mind. And yes, RV’s are gas guzzling hogs. Especially if you use one on vacation to travel 3000 miles in two weeks! There are fulltime RVers that live very “on the grid” and may have an equal or larger carbon footprint than someone living in a traditional home. But, there are others that live a decidedly “off grid” life in an RV. I’ll write more about the “Green RVing” life we’ll be persuing!

6. Escape the Monetary Economy.

This is not the space to get into this in detail but we believe that the current monetary economy/capitalism is incompatible with human-honoring goals. We hope to experience things like communes, ecovillages, barter/borrow economy, and cooperative living. Check out the resources on this post for more info.

In our rich consumers’ civilization we spin cocoons around ourselves and get possessed by our possessions.
– Max Lerner

7. Family Centered Living

I’ve always been fascinated by the Amish. (Right, Zoe?). It isn’t the religious aspects I like but the family-centeredness of everything they do. We see them work 1478954_10102028271020644_1208691901_nso hard to make food without modern conveniences like tractors or washing machines and think “yuck!”. What I love about the life of the Amish though is every task they do is in service to their family and community. They (rarely) wake up and leave all day to work for someone else. They wake and work hard with and for their family. I want this for my family.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is not safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. – Helen Keller

I could think of more but this sums up the primary philosphy that’s guiding our path right now. It is our path for our family. Yours may be different and that’s ok! That’s better than ok. It’s what makes our world so rich: diversity.

2013 Year in Review!

Another year ending and a new one begining. I love New Year! It is so nostalgic and hopeful. I enjoy planning for the new year’s goals and reflecting on what happened in the year ending. Here’s my year in fives.

Top 5 Selfies

I actually used my own mug as my facebook profile several times this year. Part of the reason I rarely did this before is that my kids are damn cute but it is certainly a mark of progress in my journey of self-love that I found myself cute enough to unseat the kids form this coveted spot. Oh, and I like hair color.

New Year's 2013

New Year’s 2013

red hair

red hair

pink hair

pink hair

pink streak

pink streak

white!

white!

Top 5 Moments

I finally published my Gender Neutral Parenting book in late October (print in November) I hope it really takes off in 2014

I finally published my Gender Neutral Parenting book in late October (print in November) I hope it really takes off in 2014

I got my "mom" tattoo commemorating our infertility journey and my beautiful kids.

I got my “mom” tattoo commemorating our infertility journey and my beautiful kids.

We took our first family vacation!

We took our first family vacation!

I started an etsy shop for infertility related goods and jewelry. I liked my snarky cards.

I started an etsy shop for infertility related goods and jewelry. I liked my snarky cards.

This was actually taken at the end of 2012 but that's my grandpa and my sister and cousins. Grandpa died in January which isn't "best" at all but this year was filled with thoughts of him and that *is* good!

This was actually taken at the end of 2012 but that’s my grandpa and my sister and cousins. Grandpa died in January which isn’t “best” at all but this year was filled with thoughts of him and that *is* good!

 

Top 5 Articles

1. A Framework for Feminist Parenting

What Could Feminist Parenting Look Like?

Not feminist parenting as in “I’m a feminist and a parent”, but more in the actionable, skill-based philosophy of parenting through feminism. What if you didn’t use power over your kids but instead shared power with them? What if you nurtured socially conscious adults ready to challenge patriarchy? Let’s explore a fresh look at parenting rooted in feminist ideals of respect, equality, and social justice.


Source: Getty Images

2. Are You Raising a Bully Bystander? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

Steubenville is a horrific example of the bystander effect. But what if your kid is a bystander to teasing, to name calling, to social ostracizing – behaviors that some refer to as “kids being kids?” Have you addressed that? Are you sure you’ve modeled the proper way not to stand by? Let’s look at some ways parents might inadvertently be supporting bystanders.


3. Men Feel the Pain of Infertility Too

Plenty of men feel depressed and isolated because they’re unable to conceive, but there are few outlets for support, says Paige
Lucas-Stannard.


 

4. My Homeschool Philosophy Series

Part 1: Introduction Holistic Education

Part 2: Transfer, Transact, Transform

Part 3: Unschooling


5. 4 Ways Parents Teach Kids that Consent Doesn’t Matter

This video blog I did about consent was my most viewed video of the year on my new youtube channel.

Starting a new year and so excited about the changes coming! I have a new book in March (based on the Transformative Parenting class), I have a new unified look for all the websites, and I’m working on a free series of workshops that will be a kind of virtual parents group. I hope you’ll join me!

Gypsies

Did you know my ancestors on my Dad’s side are Romani? No, not Romanian, Romani. And no, not like the Romny you see on My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. But, yes, Romani are historically called Gypsies because people thought they were Egyptians. They are not. They are from the northern part of India and were forced out of their homes to wonder Asia and Europe. They are the ultimate wanderers.

So maybe it is my Rom blood? I’m not sure but I have it bad. Wander Lust. Always have. When I graduated high school and my parents wanted to buy me an expensive piece of commemorative jewelry I asked instead to go on vacation. Twice in college I got to take classes that traveled: I studied the geology of the Colorado Plateau in Utah and Arizona and I studied Phycology (study of algae) in San Salvador, Bahamas. My honeymoon was a month backpacking through Europe.

Having kids makes traveling harder. Money is tight and there is always family to visit when you have the time off of working 50 weeks a year. Pete and I have talked about our retirement dreams for years: buy an RV and travel the country.

Then I met a woman named Tara and she and her family – a husband and two kids – were traveling around Australia in a camper. I kept waiting for the end of that sentence…”until the money runs out” or “for work” or “for two weeks”  There had to be *something* after that sentence, right? You can’t just raise kids without a home can you?

That was 4 years ago and I didn’t think “yes! I’m going to do that!” on that very day. But, in my heart I dreamed that I had that life. Then, one day out of the blue, Pete said he dreamed of that life too! Here we were dreaming of something different but not pursuing it because it is SO CRAZY!

Families are supposed to “put down roots,” buy a house, have a steady job, save for college, and vacation occasionally if you are very lucky. We couldn’t just make travel part of our lives could we?

Then the last two years happened. I was forced out of my job after having kids which was a nightmare at the time. In hindsight, I don’t know that I would have ever left such a lucrative job on my own. Then our house went into foreclosure (not due to losing my job ironically but because of my time in the hospital with the twins). Pete couldn’t find work. He actually started driving to Boston for job interviews. Yet, here we were with a house we were trying to short sell which tied us to one place. That place had no jobs. It was a horrible catch 22. It seemed that owning this thing called property was an albatross.

We were able to move and downsize our lives but, strangely, we had gotten a taste of freedom. Freedom from a work-till-8-pm job and the mortgage that went with it. We hated the forced stationary quality of that life. We hated the live to work paradigm. We hated dreading Sunday nights. We hated spending Saturdays working on house stuff instead of having fun. We wanted something different.

1478954_10102028271020644_1208691901_nWe wanted to work to live. We wanted our weekdays to be so wonderful that the weekends hardly felt different. We didn’t want to count the days till our next vacation because our life was so wonderful it felt like vacation. We didn’t want our vacations to be a scurry of hitting every family member’s house with sight seeing thrown in. We didn’t want to come home from vacations needing a vacation from our vacation.

We didn’t want to be owned by stuff. We think we own it but then we are slaves to it. We have to maintain it and continue to pay for it. We are owned by the bank we pay each month. We fill our lives with things. I had a dozen pans for different uses. I had 3 different meat thermometers for different purposes. My kids had more toys that I ever wanted them to have. We were buried under stuff and the time the stuff took. All those toys needed tidied up and cleaned. All that house needed work and cleaning. The yard. The two cars. The bills.

So there it is. We are doing something different. We have sold everything we own. We have our clothes and necessities. We have keepsakes in storage. And…

We bought an RV. We are going to travel and work. Travel and live. Travel and raise our kids. Travel and school.

I was thinking of starting a new blog (and I probably will document what we learn as we travel here) but this is just more of our Baby Dust Diary so I’m going to stick with it. I’ll continue to post things about homeschooling, unschooling, and now ROADschoooling.

Unschoolers Underperform Homeschool and Public School Peers

ZOMG!  Studies show that unschoolers – children with no curriculum or set subjects tend to be “below grade level” compared to traditionally homeschooled kids and their public school peers.

Well duh.

This “problem” is often trotted out by those afraid that unschooling is next to child neglect.  The study used 5-10 year olds and used a standardized test to rank kids.  Are you surprised that unschooled kids did not excel at this?

Of course they didn’t and here are some of the reasons why:

  1. Unschooled kids have little to no experience with “academics” – learning broken up into discreet subjects with abstract assignments and then tests of knowledge regurgitation.  Why would they suddenly excel at taking a LONG, BORING standardized test?
  2. Unschooled kids learn to read when it is right for them.  Sometimes that may be 9 or 10 years old. If any of the kids taking the test were not able to read then they wouldn’t do very well.  That doesn’t mean they won’t learn to read – unschooled kids read “late” by public school standards (and homeschool curricula) but often jump from non-reader to voracious, advanced reader in a short period of time because they were ready.
  3. Unschooled kids learn math when the time is right and in real world situations.  Being asked to do something purely arithmetic with no application doesn’t make any sense to them.  Maybe they should test the kids on their ability to build something, budget something, or solve a problem instead?
  4. Unschooling families are not raising 5-10 year olds that compare well to other 5-10 year olds.  They are raising adults with curiosity, learning passion, and critical thinking skills.  Where they are on an arbitrary level of “grades” compared to their same-age peers is of no consequence at all and NOT indicative of future success.  E.g. a 10 year old unschooler who isn’t reading yet isn’t doomed to be a poor reader.  He may be the next Hemmingway by the time he’s 20.

Unschoolers aren’t on the same track as public schooled kids or traditionally homeschooled kids and this can be scary.  For teachers, critics, homeschoolers, and for YOU.  As an unschooling mom it is hard not to notice when your child doesn’t know something that a kindergartener “should”.

Take a deep breath.  They will learn when they need to.

Homeschoolers and public school folks – you take a deep breath too.  My child is not neglected and will not end up “stupid” because he isn’t on your same time line.  We aren’t apathetic about education.  We disagree with the method and timeline.  Education is VERY important to unschoolers.  So important that we take our kids out of a system that we feel could stunt their learning passion.

You don’t have to agree and discussions are welcome but calling unschooling neglectful because my second grader isn’t writing cursive is missing the point.