Our Story

 No, we didn’t hit the lottery (you’ve gotta actually play it to win it).  No, we didn’t cash in our 401k ( you’ve gotta actually have one to cash one in). We are a lower-middle class family, living paycheck to paycheck with enough money in our savings account to maybe take a week’s vacation to, hmmmm……….A CAMPGROUND!                                                     
We live simply and don’t complain about what we don’t have. Because, what we do have isn’t valued in dollars. We have our health. We have our life. We have our family of four.  I can say that two of us are survivors.  Survivors of that horrible C word.  Cancer struck our family twice and  failed to bring us down. River was only two when Lymphoma knocked at my door and then Leukemia decided to come and pay him a visit three years later. Mercy was just 14 months old. We fought the battle, physically and mentally and came out victors. We fought together as a family and so I will say that all four of us are survivors.
  
Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, Portland Maine
Perhaps part of our reasoning for wanting this experience may be due to the fact that we were forced to take an up close look at how valuable life is. On the other hand, we could say that it is just because we refuse to conform and let society dictate to us how to raise our kids and what our American Dream should be!

We have been diligently researching and carefully planning this trip for quite some time now. After all, Brian and I aren’t totally green when it comes to living on the road. We spent the better part of one year traveling cross-country in a beat up old van when we were in our twenties. Back in the olden days as the kids would say………no internet, no cellphone, no GPS.  I must admit, that times were a little trying, not knowing how far a tank of gas was going to take us and eating peanut butter sandwiches EVERY day. But, the memories of all of the breathtaking sights, the historical landmarks, and the colorful characters encountered along the way, definitely overshadow any of those not so glorious 10 days without a shower memories.
 

We both realize the magnitude of this mutual and well thought out decision. I must admit, that when I first conceived this idea a few years ago, I immediately wanted to act upon it. It is safe to say that I am the one in this marriage who tends to possess that impulsive disposition. You know, jump right in feet first.  Brian, on the other hand is very cautious and rational. We balance each other well. He is the Yin to my Yang.  So, it was not until a couple of years later after reading a very profound narrative written by Neil Peart, that a sudden epiphany came over him. I’ll never forget that moment in the kitchen when he came to me, looked me in the eyes and said “I’m ready”.          
 
We have been met with all kinds of comments and opinions……. invited and uninvited. We understand the concern for our kids. What we don’t understand is why people believe that our parenting skills will change once we become mobile. We actually had someone very close to us tell us that we would do our kids an injustice by not providing them with a solid base, continuity, a continuing education and a chance to make and keep friends. Let’s see…our solid base will have wheels, our backyard will be continuously changing, their education will be hands on and their friends will be diversified.  While we may not be conforming to conventional social and educational standards,  our children will not be deprived whatsoever of their needs and security in these areas. We are simply enhancing the ways in which they attain them.  For the most part, people have been supportive of our decision, especially those who truly know us. We dance to the rhythm of our own music, we enjoy our own company and we aren’t afraid to be different. This is our passion. This is our life.          
 
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
 
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14 thoughts on “Our Story

  1. Just read your story about tending the Walnut Creek Xmas lot thsi year;As a Walnut CReek resident, I wish I wasn;t Jewish so I would have had a chance t come meet you guys !! Anyway, I think the ide rocks; travel is the bestn educatioon there is becuase it teaches tolerance; my other suggestion woul be to get them travelling outside of the US so they can escape the ignorance that almost all Americans share about the rest of the world. Good luck!!

  2. Congratulations! Enjoy every moment as they fly by quickly. In 2009 we sold our home and headed for Florida. We purchased a motorhome and towed a vehicle. Our daughter completed her high school education online as we put on 80,000 miles and visited 48 states….missing Alaska and Hawaii. We had a fantastic time and became closer than ever as a family. We are now back in a stick built home and read your Blog with envy that we are not waking up in a campground or Walmart parking lot!!!!! Wishing you adventures and safe travels! God Bless

  3. As a huge fan of the National Park System and someone who teaches Social Studies…I am an ardent supporter this journey! How fortunate for your children to experience the country that I attempt to teach about (historically, geographically, culturally, and psychologically). My only disappointment in your decision is that I cannot accompany you as the kids’ private tutor. I look forward to adding your adventures to my curriculum.

    Oh, and I happen to be a big fan of Rush as well. Will talk soon!

  4. Tanya, this is your life, your family’s life. We only live once, and the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time, not wishing you did stuff way back when. Go get yourselves a piece of this world, drink it up, enjoy each other and come see me when you get to these parts. I’m so happy for you all, such a great undertaking, a dream unfolding as the road carries you on…

  5. Tanya, I wish you and your family a wonderful and safe adventure. I also, would be waiting in line to read and have you sign this book. I think you are doing what so many people dream about. Good luck and enjoy.

  6. Tanya and Brian,

    You have my full-fledged support on pursuing YOUR American Dream! As an English teacher who often talks about the theme of the American Dream, I so appreciate your choice to define it in YOUR own way. Our world is changing rapidly as are the definitive “constructs” by which we are allegedly expected to subscribe to. Your children only need your love, that’s it. Everything else is just gravy.

    Please let me know how I can help you fulfill your dream.

    Meanwhile, I’ll plan on seeing you at Yosemite National Park real soon!

    Love,
    Caren

  7. We are what we believe we are, and nobody can take that away. Believe in what you are as well as where you’re going, and those of us that truly know you will follow vicariously on your beautiful journey, with great anticipation and envy…

  8. Tanya,
    what an amazing incredibly family you have and I am so excited for you all in this great adventure! It will be an invaluable experience that will change you all for the better. What a gift to your children, rock on lady! xoxo

  9. Such a beautiful story and how fortunate your children are to have you both! Such and adventure for all to be remembered for a lifetime! Best wishes in your adventure and hope to hell you sell your house soon! Sending much love all around!
    ~Siobhan =)

  10. Tanya, you need to write a book about all this…..and start at the beginning. I’ll be waiting in line to have mine signed when it hits the shelves!

  11. You have brought me to tears of joy and sincere good wishes on your adventure. I am truly inspired and will seek out Neal Peart’s book for my own satisfactions. Good luck again!
    SR

  12. Wow. We’ll be sad, but its a selfish sad. We know that you guys will take life on and hit the road HARD. Those kiddos will come home with so much experience. With your parenting skills, they will gain compassion, which is something missing from many of our public-educated kids now. I can’t say I have the strength and guts to take it on, but I know you guys DO!!!

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