19 Nov Intentional Travelers Feature: Ditching Suburbia
Today I am really excited to introduce you to the Boyink family of DitchingSuburbia.com. I can’t tell you how many times Jedd and I have heard some variation of: “Now is a good time to travel, before you have kids.” Yes, bringing kids into your life adds a whole new dimension, but it doesn’t have to stop you from traveling. In fact, there are thousands of families traveling together full time. Just look at Ditching Suburbia’s blog roll of 202 full-time RVing families, for example. The Boyink family is the first that I had read about who travel full time with teenagers, no less.
I’ll let them tell you the rest of their amazing story in their own words…
The Boyink family on the porch of Johnny Cash’s Boyhood Home, Dyess, AR
In a paragraph (or two), who are you and what do you do?
We are a family of four who have traveled the USA full-time for 5 years by RV. Our kids were 12 and 13 when we started. The oldest is now 18 and has moved out to start his own adventure.
How did you get started in this lifestyle?
We started in 2010 with a plan to take a one-year RV road trip adventure. With our oldest becoming a teen and the youngest not too far behind, we felt we had one last chance to do something cool together as a family before the kids would be off on their own.
Our goals were to enrich our homeschool curriculum with in-person visits to historic places, to create good family stories, and to become closer as a family.
We initially kept our suburban house. We moved a friend into it to keep it secure and handle our mail.
Around halfway into the first year of travel, we realized we had been ruined for suburbia. There was no way we could foresee going back to a lifestyle that’s all about comfort, minimization of risk, acquisition of possessions, and status.
We returned long enough to purge our remaining belongings and sell the house.
What are some of the highlights from your 5 years in the RV?
Our favorite moments include: my daughter becoming a cactus expert, spending a couple months on a Texas ranch, Meeting the Keiters – who remain close friends, surfing lessons in California, and we’re about to complete the Great River Road – following the Mississippi from the headwaters in MN to where it hits the Gulf in Louisiana.
What’s the best part of your current nomadic/RV lifestyle?
We decide when to get up. We decide where to go. We decide how long to stay. We aren’t beholden to a HOA, to an employer, or to a school system.
We own our days.
There is no freer way to live in the USA.
What’s the most challenging aspect?
Recently it’s finding our equilibrium after moving our oldest out.
On a practical level we’ve had to re-shuffle trailer setup and tear-down chores. On a relational level, we’re figuring out how to be remote and nomadic parents for a now-adult child while still being in-person parents for a teenaged child.
We also have a younger sister who misses her big brother and is more inclined to be lonely without him around. We’re probably going to have to purpose to be around other families more than we might have in the past.
If you could give one piece advice to other families interested in your lifestyle, what would it be?
Go for it! We’ve been so blessed during our time on the road – enlarging our worldview, having awesome experiences, and building life-long friendships.
But you will meet resistance. Our culture doesn’t always encourage people who think for themselves and don’t go along with the crowd.
It will also require sacrifice. Fewer jobs. Smaller living quarters. Less food storage. Consistent shopping options. Organized sports. Fast, cheap and unlimited internet.
You can’t have all of the advantages of travel with all the comforts of suburban life.
Crissa and Miranda by the Mississipi Headwaters
Where are you right now and where are you going next?
We have been driving the Great River Road – which follows the entire length of the Mississippi River (see image at top of this post). We started at the headwaters in Itasca, Minnesota and are currently in northern Louisiana. From here we go to New Orleans and then on to the end of the Great River Road in Venice, LA.
Are you a fellow Intentional Traveler? You don’t need to be a blogger. Share your story with us to be featured in an upcoming blog post (and potential book project). Help inspire others to pursue more meaningful, transformational travel!
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