From raising three kids as a single mom to buying a house and downsizing from a 5,000-square-foot one to a cozy 1,200-square-foot cottage in the woods — whatever challenges life threw at us, we met them with open arms. As a result of our willingness to take risks and embrace change, we’ve been able to experience things not many people get the opportunity to do. We’re redefining what it means to be “normal” and living lives that are filled with constant adventure. Read on for one family’s journey in becoming nomads as they embark on their own Q Family adventures…
A year of change and uncertainty
We had just finished renovating our 5,000-square-foot house and had moved in just a few months before. Being a single parent of three kids and a real estate agent, I was extremely busy. Then, my husband and I had a bitter divorce. We had been married for 10 years and together for 12 years. We were high school sweethearts. After the divorce, I moved my kids, my dog, and all my stuff into a smaller, one-bedroom apartment in the same town where we’d been living. We were going from a 5,000-square-foot house to a one-bedroom apartment. It was a year of change and uncertainty. During that year, my oldest son turned 21 and wanted to move out. My daughter was going to be a junior in high school, and my youngest son was going to be a sophomore in high school. I was all alone with no room for my dog and no car. I was single and didn’t know what the heck I was going to do next.
Traveling with kids: The good, the bad, and the ugly
There’s a lot of talk about traveling with kids, but there’s not as much discussion about traveling while kids are still in school or even after they’re done with it. I know many people who have traveled with kids, but I don’t know anyone who’s traveling with kids right now. I’d love to be able to share with other families out there who are considering travel with their kids that it’s possible. One of my concerns about traveling with kids is how people would react to seeing a family with kids on the road. Most people are very receptive and excited to see a family on the road, but there are a few people who give us dirty looks or want to tell me that I need to “get a life.” I was hoping to find other families who were currently traveling with kids so we could discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly about being on the road. I can’t say enough about how important it is to have people who understand what you’re going through.
Downsizing to a tiny house
I’m not new to living on the road. I’ve been traveling since 1999, and we’ve been full-time since 2013. My kids have known nothing else. We have a camper van and a tiny house on wheels. The plan is to sell our tiny house, buy a van, and build out the back to turn it into a camper van. We don’t have a specific route or plan. We’re playing it by ear and seeing where the road takes us. We are budget travelers, but we’re not living in squalor. We’re traveling well below our means. We’re not dependent on working at jobs or making money. We’re independent and self-reliant.
Why We Decided To Become Nomads
My kids grew up seeing me travel and live my life on my terms. It’s in their DNA to be nomads. They want to explore, and they want to experience new things. They want to see the world and live out of a van. My kids have been living their dream since they were little. They’ve been doing their own thing since they were eight years old. My kids are independent and self-reliant. They don’t need me to take care of them or provide for them. They’re old enough to take care of themselves, and they know how to find jobs and create sustainable incomes. The reason we decided to become nomads was because we can. We want to do the things we’ve always wanted to do but haven’t been able to because we’ve been tied down to a job. We’ve been living below our means since we were in high school. It’s time to live above our means.
There are a lot of things we want to do. We’re not sure what order they’ll happen in or when we’ll have time to do them. We’re just going with the flow and seeing what happens. – Visit all 50 states – Travel to places we’ve never been before – Visit places we’ve always wanted to go back to – See the pyramids in Egypt – Visit the Amazon Rainforest – Go to Burning Man – See the Great Wall of China – Stand on top of a tall mountain – Visit all the major cities – Meet up with friends who are nomads and traveling around the world – Get interviewed for podcasts and do video interviews – Find a publisher for my book – Find ways to give back to society – Teach my kids how to fish, hunt, and be self-sufficient – Teach my kids how to drive stick shift – Teach my kids how to speak another language – Teach my kids how to play an instrument – Go to school board meetings and talk about the importance of having a real high school experience as opposed to online high school – Go to parent-teacher conferences – Teach my kids how to drive a manual transmission car – Get my pilot’s license – Learn how to build websites and work with computers – Get my real estate license again – Teach my kids how to use all the technology we have – Work on my novel and find an agent or publisher – Get my real estate broker’s license – Learn how to build websites and work with computers – Write a blog and become a published author – Travel to every country we can – Stop and smell the roses – Teach my kids how to use a compass and read a map – Go on a few multi-month road trips across the country – Go to Burning Man – Visit all the major cities – Meet up with friends who are nomads and traveling around the world
Life is short, and time flies by quickly. Don’t wait until you retire to start doing the things you’ve always wanted to do. Start living your dreams now. We’re only getting older, and it’s important to do the things we want to do while we’re still young enough. Don’t wait until you’re too old to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Life is a journey, and the only way you can truly appreciate it is if you live it to the fullest. Don’t let life pass you by. Grab it by the horns and don’t let go. Life is a roller coaster ride, and there will be ups and downs. However, you can manage your emotions, expectations, and experiences and make the ride more enjoyable.