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The Cost of Travel

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We are in GA visiting my parents (who met us here from TX) for a long weekend.  It is a weekend that I’ve dreaded and greatly anticipated for months now. I had budget $250 for the trip, but in reality it will really only be $100 to cover the gas to get here and home.  So that’s good.

We got a really sad piece of news upon our arrival.  The decision has been made to sell the lakehouse (shared family vacation home owned by my dad and his two siblings jointly, inherited from my grandparents.)  I guess I had in the back of my mind that in April when we leave our tiny space, we could come here for a bit and kind of use it as a base for some travel if we don’t find housing immediately and if I’m still not sure where we will settle.  (Keeping myself open to any possibility.)

And with that news, my fingers have been busy researching travel with family, pets, last minute flights to anywhere, etc.  And I’m curious to know if any readers here have ever traveled for any length of time.  My thought is that by that time my monthly commitment (since rent, utilities will cease to exist) will be quite low.

So I’ve started looking at different ideas:

  • Camping
  • Living in a 3rd world country (met a family this year who spent a year in Panama living on a farm so their kids could learn Spanish, how cool is that?  And they have 10 kids!)
  • Using sites like AirBNB, Kayak and other economic, out of the box travel sites.
  • Just getting in the car and going with no set plan or destination

I don’t really know.  I like the idea of taking a break from “real” life these days and especially right now as I am wrapped in the many mixed emotions I deal with being around my parents.  Obviously there is alot of time before anything will be settled and even more so, there are tons of details I would have to address to make any of this happen.

But I’m just wondering, has anyone ever traveled for a few weeks/months and what was your experience?  I’ve found some families who do this and blog about it so I’m checking there too.  Do you have any blogs like that you follow or recommend?

This is in no way shape or form a plan for the future, just me exploring options and being prepared for whatever opportunities may present themselves.


17 Comments

  • Reply Maureen |

    Check out the blog-Take that Exit (http://www.takethatexit.com). They sold everything and are homeschooling (dad is taking a 1-year leave from public school teaching so they normally don’t homeschool). They bought a new truck and airstream and traveling the country for an entire year. Mom is a blogger and supporting the family with another coupon blog she has (http://thekrazycouponlady.com).

  • Reply Marzey doats |

    Any chance you canuse this time to have a mature discussion with your father aboit what went wrong with the house sale? You could share with him the financial rpogress that you have made as a result of not having a mortgage and maintaining such a large property. And express to him hoe you feel the he reneged on his side of the deal on paying you back for all the money you put into preparing the house for sale. Enough time might have passed for you to be able to have this discussion without undue emotion.

    I would think that a rootless, traveling existence would be very difficult on the kids. How are they going to make friends and create a peer group? And it does not fit with your life goal of creating a home for more adopted children. Have you broached this with the kids? My understanding is that you promised that they would be out of the cramped apartment by spring. I doubt they were envisioning that you would leave the apartment and move into an even more cramped camper. It would impact your ability to work at your job as well, wouldnt it?
    Maybe you could focus on more practical solutions, like renting or buying a house in a less expensive area?

    • Reply Hope |

      Hey Marzey,
      Thanks so much for your constant presence. I appreciate your voice of reason so much, it’s a great balance to my sometimes whimsical and off the wall ideas. I want to address your comment backwards…
      First, practical solutions is my end goal, no doubt. However, I have failed miserably to find anything near where we are presently that suits our needs on all fronts. Therefore, I have opened myself to the idea of moving elsewhere and am consistently letting the kids know that I am open to this so there is no surprise. That being said…I have NO IDEA where that would be. So I guess the idea of travelling sprung from that. Perhaps traveling around the US would serve two purposes: expose us as a family to different places we could consider for moving too and give my kids a much broader life experience.
      As for a conversation with my dad…I have come to the realization…I am burning up with anger over the situation. And know of no way to deal with it. I recently had a conversation with a friend and this is what I have come too. I love my parents, I respect my parents and I own my responsibility in the housing debacle. However, what it comes down to me more than anything is that my dad lied to me, flat out lied to me. And that is one thing my dad always emphasizes, he doesn’t lie. I am not going to re-hash it now. But I am angry, due to his lies I made decisions that didn’t just affect me but also my children. Honesty would have the changed this story in its entirety. So no, I will not be having a conversation with my dad. I will continue our yearly visits because he is my dad and more importantly my kids’ grandparents, but my relationship with my dad is altered forever.
      I just have to forgive and let that go, and learn from it, hopefully making me a better mom for my children. In the end, that is what matters.

      • Reply Marzey doats |

        Thanks for replying to my comment Hope! I think you are doing amazing things with your children, and I am really rooting for you. So sorry that things cant be resolved with your Dad, I am a little too “just hug it out!” Sometimes 🙂 I am sure that this all is entangled in family dynamics that were set up long ago.
        I think traveling for a year, with a destination at the end is very different for kids than the more open-ended idea of living the travelling life for “a while” which can end up being much longer than intended…..have you thought of doing a short term rental in an area you might like to live in? These are pretty easy to get, and cheap, in smaller university towns where the professors tend to go somewhere else for the summer. Just another option, as if you didnt already have enough!

  • Reply Rachel |

    Hope, I’ve wanted to write this for a long time. Not really related to this post, but I want to take a moment to write it anyway. I commend you for thinking outside the box, living an unconventional life, and putting your kids and yourself first. People are very quick to judge others and to voice their opinion when you don’t follow a typical path. It’s not always easy to brush off the criticisms. Major kudos to you for being brave enough and strong enough to listen to your heart and lead the life that’s best for you and your kids.

    • Reply Hope |

      Wow, Rachel, I visited your site to see a glimpse into your story. It seems we may have some things in common with our spouse’s and children situations. Thank you for speaking up and letting me know that I am not alone. It certainly causes some knots in my stomach when I put some things out there, but I lived in silence and under someone’s thumb for too long. Now I continue to try to take baby steps to regain me and to give my kids the confidence and skills to be the best them and have the best future.

  • Reply JuLie |

    We recently sold our house and are traveling with our 5 boys. Many families travel fulltime. We purchased a used thousand trails membership and camp for very cheaply through it in nice places. We homeschooled before going on the road so for us this works. My husband also already worked remotely so our income was not affected. We plan to travel, make memories, pay off some debt and then decide where we want to go.

    Your very brave to share your ideas as some comments I have seen on other posts would scare me from posting even thoughts. It is ok to think outside of the box. Not everyone is openminded enough to do that.

    Our life has become amazing after breaking free from our mortgage and the American Dream. Our kids are learning so much more from visits to historical sites, museums, etc than any book could ever teach them. There are many opportunities on the road to meet up with other families too. We are growing closer as a family. Obviously this choice is not for everyone but dont let negativity discourage you from reaching for your dreams.

    Julie

    • Reply Hope |

      JuLie! Yes, this is what I have in mind for us come next April right now. I don’t know how long we would travel for, but since I can literally work wherever and when I work, and it would be the twins last year of high school, I can’t think of a better way to spend it other than seeing parts of the country and/or world otherwise left unexplored.
      And I am afraid that once I do purchase a home or lease one, this opportunity will not present itself again until the kids are grown and gone and out of college…financially that is.
      So any tips or lessons learned you have…I would love to hear them as I roll this idea around in my head.

  • Reply Cory |

    I can partially agree with Rachels comment. I think about things much the same way as you are explaining here. Having essentially unlimited options and trying to weigh the pros and cons. Since I think the same way, I know its tiring. Always analyzing and hypothesizing outcomes. Too many options and you want to make the right decision. With so many choices I think you and I end up making similar choices too. For instance, you had nearly unlimited choices when your lease was up. You could have bought a camper and traveled, you could buy a home, move to another rental. Buy a couple tents and find some land, or stay where you were. With all those choices and not being able to come to a conclusion of which of the options were best I’m guessing you defaulted to status quo. I don’t have much to offer in terms of advice, since I struggle with similar mindset but I think Marzey has valid points. Generally “normal” works for most people, and its an easier choice. Living in a camper or moving to a third world country isn’t easy, and from all my blog reading isn’t generally a long term solution. Not trying to be negative at all, more I sympathize with you on trying to find the best solution for your family and being burdened with the endless options.

    • Reply Hope |

      Cory, I LOVE knowing that there is someone else out there who has this same spinning wheel brain mentality as I do, especially with so any options. And you are right, I chose the status quo in order to get more time for myself to make the right decision. However, I was NOT open to leaving this area as I approached this lease end.
      Now, after the frustrations and continuous roller coaster of the past months of house searching…I am OPEN TO EVERYTHING. Literally the sky is the limit. So thanks for your words of encouragement. If you stumble upon some great advice, I would love to hear it!

  • Reply Kili |

    Hi Hope,
    I travel a lot and it’s quite essential to my life.
    Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. I take advantage of a lot of cheap offers for trains / busses / planes & try to chose cheap accomodation (Couchsurfing; deal offers on trustworthy travel sites…) That definitly takes some time to research (and not to fall for scams), but it’s quite rewarding.
    Where I grew up there were also lots of travel options via local clubs / the church / the shool etc. (e.g. visiting the town’s sister city with a group; going on a language course; going on a canoe trip…) Are those kind of things available in your area/community?

    There are lots of blogs of families doing the Digital Nomad kind of life,
    e.g. http://thefamilywithoutborders.com/
    Being a Digital Nomad would work with your line of work I’d assume (judging from how you’ve presented it in the past at least) and your homeschooling – but as others have pointed out, it might be nicer for your kids to keep the stability they currently enjoy…

    • Reply Hope |

      Thanks, Kili, for the pointers. I have stumbled upon digitalnomads.com recently and haven’t really checked it out, but will certainly do so now.
      As far as kids and stability…if we did travel it would certainly not be forever…at least I wouldn’t think so. So my thought is that since we will essentially be “free” from the big monthly expenditures, it would be the ideal time to take advantage of that and see a bit of the country if not the world. Once I purchase a home, I don’t know that I will ever have this kind of freedom again. A few months of travelling will certainly not hurt the “stability” they’ve had having lived in the same place their entire lives. I have moved 1/2 dozen times to different states by the time I was my youngest age.
      Anyways, that’s my thought. Just a lot of logistics to deal with if we end of going that route, which for now, everything is still up in the air.

  • Reply AT |

    You can rent an RV for a week and give it a try before you decide. Maybe you’d want a trailer with a pick-up or van so there’s more privacy. Maybe a class A motorhome (can the kids get insured to drive that rig?). These kinds of decisions usually go better with more data, so a rental that costs some vacation money but helps you make a better decision is money well spent.

    • Reply Hope |

      That’s an idea I had thought of…and in fact, we have a local family who I know who rents out RVs. So just have to find the time and ideal destination to try it out. Watch out world, here we come on a trial RV trip 🙂
      Although, seeing how uncertain I am of this. I think we would probably start with cheaper camping gear to see if it really is a good fit for us. But I like the idea of trying it out.

  • Reply SAK |

    A couple of random things. I’d take time with each kid individually and ask them what they would like to do. Travel for summer? Travel for one year? Where would they want to go if you did travel for 3 months or a year? There is little’s gymnastics to think of. And senior year – even homeschooled – can be tough. Since you do homeschool you could plan to travel for “summer” and see how it goes for everyone. But I would talk with each one separate from the others and be open to what they say. I would also think about just domestic travel. Going to be hard enough traveling with pets (are they good travelers?) but trying to do that internationally will be difficult – unless you are thinking Canada/Mexico – but still need to check quarantine rules.

So, what do you think ?