These reflections are from our family seven-month motorhome journey around the entire USA in 2014.
It takes a lot of determination to follow through with a journey such as ours.
If you decide to take off on a journey like ours, people will think you are crazy and will tell you to your face. Others will be so intrigued and look at you with googly eyes. They will make bets on how long you will last and some will give you advice on how they think it should be done.
Whatever. Do your thing. It’s your heart. Your family. Your dream. God will bless you through it all if you have the tenacity to make your family sabbatical happen. Just remember you’re talking about a very small portion of your life here. What can feel like an eternity definitely comes to an end. I know because I’m home now. Don’t give up.
Obviously, you can plan and plot away and things will happen to alter your course. Weather, breakdowns, sickness, and the list goes on. If you aren’t ready to go with the flow, then you’d better stay put.
Living as a family of six in basically two rooms for half a year is not what I would call easy. By no means were we roughing it, but by no means was it living as usual. Flexibility is the key to staying sane and happy.
3. A sense of adventure
If you’re going to take a family sabbatical, you might as well get out of your comfort zone once in a while. I was apprehensive to go ziplining, caving, or doing anything with heights, but I put myself in all those situations and survived.
I figured if I’m out here doing this family trip, then I’d do it to the best of my ability and amuse my kids in the process. I still wouldn’t say I will seek out ziplining excursions in the future but I can at least say I’ve done it. Our kids are adventure junkies so this piece came easy to them!
4. A nest egg
Yes, you will need some money in the bank if you plan to take off around the country in an RV with your loved ones.
Things will happen that cause you to spend outside of your planned gas, food, lodging, and entertainment budget. We had minor things break on the rig that had to be fixed immediately, causing us repair costs and hotel stays as well.
You do not want to be in these situations and then stressed about the money going out to fix the problems either. You’re already tenacious, flexible, and adventurous, right? You will make it through anything, but it will just be easier to do so if you have a nest egg set aside for unforeseen mishaps.
Do not let money stop you from taking your dream sabbatical though. We met many a family out there living life together with little in their pocket!
5. Willingness to be a team player
This sabbatical is not about you or any individual bearing your same last name. It’s about unity.
Yes, you will have to put yourself on the back burner for a bit in the name of the family sabbatical. It’s the point, right? You will wake up some days and look around you and “they” will all still be there. No one is going off to school or work. Your days and nights are spent together. It is a definite adjustment and some days feel amazing while others cause you to want to run screaming into the hills.
Luckily, when you are surrounded by nature in the campgrounds it’s always easy to clear your mind and regroup. Many times I had to have talks with myself. “Amy, you’ve got this. This isn’t forever. Embrace the day and the moments you have with your kids as it will be gone tomorrow.” My inner coach really got me through and most likely you’ll have to have talks with yourself too.
Your personal time awaits you when you get home. Don’t worry “your stuff” will be there. My yoga mat still functions and my nail tech is still accepting appointments.
6. A sense of humor
You had better be able to laugh if you take on a family adventure like this.
The best times we had were when we were all cracking up about something together. Hearing the kids laughing amongst themselves, in between their quarrels, made it all worthwhile. Laughter is always the best medicine and you will definitely need that prescription along the way!
What are you worried about when it comes to traveling around the country with your family?