We were an average, everyday family of 5, living the “American Dream.” Brady worked in corporate america in an upper management position and made a nice income. We owned a beautiful 4,100 sq ft house on a 1/4 acre, a mini van, a motorcycle and a truck. We had fabulous friends and neighbors. We vacationed in Hawaii, rented cabins for weekend getaways and the kids were involved in sports. All in all, life was great.
Then on September 30, 2013 Brady announced that he wanted to take the family on an extended road trip. A plan was conceived as Mom (Amanda) and Dad (Brady) talked late into the night about our dreams for our family and how we were going to accomplish them. With much prayer and faith we decided that Brady would quit his job, we would sell everything we own, including our house and cars, buy a 5th wheel toy hauler (Big Mama) and huge truck (Goliath) then hit the road to see America with our 3 children, Katrina (15), Tyler (13), and Carter (10). We left on our GRAND ADVENTURE on January 18, 2014.
Now were are a not so average family of 5 doing something different, making everyday count, and remembering that life is too short to wait for someday.
What about school?
We have home educated our children for since 2010. School is not part of our lives, rather we focus on education. This means learning from everyday situations, studying whatever the kids may be interested in and/or Brady and I feel they need to learn. Our daily learning consists mostly of studying the classics, online research and conversations with our kids. We are excited to take our family education to the next level by experiencing things first hand rather than reading about them. We follow the principles of Leadership Education and are working as a family to raise future leaders who can think for themselves and Do Hard Things.
How long will you be gone?
We don’t know exactly. This is not just a trip or vacation. This is our new life. We have left our home in Mather, CA and do not plan on returning to live in that area. We aren’t sure where or if we will settle down again. Our current travel plan is outlined for about 18-24 months. That will take us across the continental US and then to Alaska to visit Amanda’s family in summer of 2015.
How will you afford to live?
In 2008 Amanda started an in-home business selling custom, home decor, vinyl decals to her friends at home parties. Later that year we made it an Etsy store and sold a couple items a month. Over the last 6 years this small hobby has become a full time business keeping Amanda and the kids working from home several days a week. BushCreative is location independent and we feel blessed to have the opportunity to support ourselves from the road.
Brady is also working with a business partner on a start-up in his field of expertise, Digital Cinema. We are excited for the opportunities this will bring over the next couple years.
Where are you going?
The plan right now is pretty rough. We started in Northern California, and our first stop was only about 2 hours from our old house. This seamed like a good place to stop and get a feel for our new life. From here we will head out towards Soledad, CA then we will work our way down the California coast, making stops in San Louis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Disneyland and San Diego.
From there we will go to Yuma, Arizona to visit grandparents, then to Lake Havasu, and then Las Vegas. The plan is to spend April and May exploring northern Arizona and Southern Utah, specifically The Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, Gobblin Valley and Moab.
June in Utah County with family, July and August in the northwest then quickly beeline across the country to the east coast. We are hoping to spend fall in the northeast, and then Christmas 2014 in Florida. Early spring we will start heading west with the plan to be in Alaska the beginning of June.
It’s a REALLY rough plan and we don’t intend to get very detailed until just a few weeks before. We will not travel a lot in one day and plan to stay in any given area for a couple weeks.
Travel days will usually only be 3-4 hours and we would like to keep the monthly miles down to around 600.
What kind of RV/vehicles do you have?
After much research we chose a 2013 Keystone Raptor ToyHauler Fifth Wheel (Big Mamma) which is towed by our 2014 Dodge Ram 3500 Dually Mega Cab (Goliath.)
What about your mail?
There are many options for full-timers when it comes to mail services. We chose to use Brady’s parents address as our new permanent address. It does not give us the tax advantages of using a service in Texas or South Dakota but Utah will always be home for our family so it just made sense.
How do you get internet?
Internet is a HUGE part of our lives and a must have for our business. So I spent many hours/days/weeks researching options. (Special thanks to Technomadia for great information and posts about full-time rving and staying connected.) After all the research we decided to use the Verizon network through Millenicom, like most full timer out there. It seamed to be a no brainer with 20G for $70 a month and no contract.
How can you be in such close quarters all the time?
We all get along pretty well. When we brought our kids home from public school 4 years ago something amazing happened. They became friends. It took a few months of detoxing from the social expectations, the idea of “class mates” and age restrictions, but then suddenly one day they were started getting along. They found they actually enjoyed each others company and became friends. We still have the occasional bickering and squabbling but for the most part it’s not a problem and when it becomes a problem there is an expansive world just outside the door of the RV. Our rule in this new life is that inside is for sleeping and preparing food, other than that you need to be outside.
What about church?
We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or in other words we are Mormon. We have a “home ward” or congregation that our membership records will stay in. This is our ward in Mather, CA. We LOVE this ward and leaving that group of friends was one of the hardest parts of our move. We will return next summer for a weekend so Tyler can be ordained to the office of a Teacher. The boys track their scout achievements online and Brady is their Scout Master. Katrina does the same for her Young Womens achievements and emails her seminary assignments to her teacher weekly. Our ward leaders were generous and invaluable as we worked out these specific details.
As for Sunday meetings, we will attend church in the area where we are staying. We are excited to meet new people and comforted knowing the church will be the same wherever we attend.