Kendall and Mark are looking for more than a vacation for their family of four. They’re looking to cultivate a new lifestyle by moving their lives into a Class C campervan. With lots of preparation but minimal planning, they’re hitting the road for an indefinite amount of time to visit family, friends, national parks, campgrounds, museums, and whatever else they find along the way. Their two girls, Parker and Taylor, will be homeschooled from the road as the family embraces a more fluid style of education with lots of hands-on, in-person exploring.
“This trip is an audacious choice and I am looking forward to the things I think will bring me the most pleasure and that are also a step towards a better future for us all.” — Kendall (Mom)
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Kendall, Mark, Parker, and Taylor will be sharing their stories from the road and offering advice on the many adventures and challenges they encounter, from how to pick the right family RV to finding their favorite campgrounds.
Meet the Family of Four, Embarking On an Indefinite Road Trip
To start, can you each introduce yourself and tell us what you’re looking forward to most about this trip?
Lil Sis: My name is Parker. I am 10 years old. I love cats but never had a real one. My spirit animal is a panther, but unlike a panther, I will miss my grandparents, my friends, and my neighborhood when we’re on the road. I am looking forward to the flexibility of homeschooling and adventuring with my family.
Big Sis: I’m Taylor and I am 12 years old. I am like Anne of Green Gables in my imagination, love for storytelling, and feisty nature. I am looking forward to having the world as my backyard and community, meeting new people and seeing old friends. But I know I will miss my grandparents, friends, and aerial silks class.
Dad: I’m Mark and I bring the Y chromosome to this party. For the past few years, I focused on my work and spent long hours working and traveling. I loved that my career introduced me to amazing people, businesses, and new ideas. All of that work means we can now travel as a family and have this adventure together. I am looking forward to visiting many of those business colleagues, meeting new friends, and spending quality time with my wife and kids. My family says they’re looking forward to having me around more, but I wonder how much of that is because I can fix the WiFi and make fun meals when there seems to be “nothing” in the fridge.
Mom: I’m Kendall and I wear many hats in addition to mom and wife: possibility expander, curator of resources, and historian. I call myself a “pleasure activist” which means that I believe the path to creating a more sustainable, just, beautiful world is created by choosing pleasure. This trip is an audacious choice and I am looking forward to the things I think will bring me the most pleasure and that are also a step towards a better future for us all: Slowing down the pace of life; being more connected to the natural environment; having freedom to learn what we want to learn and contribute where we feel called; and living a radically minimalist life with less consumption and waste. I want my life to model the brilliant suggestion from black feminist writer-organizer Toni Cade Bambara: “make the revolution irresistible!”
What inspired the idea to take the whole family on this road trip?
We have talked for years about wanting to travel more, to show the kids the world, to see more of the world through the eyes of our kids. It was fun to dream and watch other people have those adventures, but school and work and life duties made actually doing it difficult.
A confluence of events this year suddenly made this possible for us: a change in Mark’s work that would allow him to take some time off, the graduation of our eldest from elementary school, and the loss of our beloved 12-year-old yellow lab who wasn’t able to travel anymore.
Looking around the country at all the friends and family we hadn’t seen for years, at the national parks we’d never visited (hello, Grand Canyon!?!?), and the many opportunities to learn about history, current events, and business ideas, we realized there was such a treasure of opportunity right in our own backyard. We want to see our beautiful country from the road.
What type of vehicle will you be traveling in?
After completing a lot of research on van and RV options, we only found one that met all of these criteria:
- Four seatbelts
- Sleeping room for four
- Not too long (so we could fit in all national parks, cities and grocery store parking lots)
- Well made + good resale value
The winner was the Serenity by Leisure Travel Vans. Ours is 24 feet long and built on the 2020 Sprinter chassis. It runs on diesel and includes solar panels, a generator, propane, outdoor shower, fresh/gray/&black water tanks — pretty much everything we will need to plug in or boondock.
How long will you travel for?
For as long as it feels good! Currently, we hope to be nomadic and world-school through the girl’s middle school years (for the next 3-4 years).
Leaving our plans open to spontaneity, invitation, and curiosity feels great.
With so much freedom and so many places to explore, how have you narrowed down the possibilities?
We haven’t. Leaving our plans open to spontaneity, invitation, and curiosity feels great. The anchors of that freedom are our desire to visit the national parks, see friends and family, meet inspiring people, and experience museums. The Dyrt is going to be a huge resource for us in figuring out where we should stay while we’re out exploring.
What types of experiences will you prioritize on the road?
Connection! Connection with people, with nature, with the moon and stars, with ideas and history, with each other.
Tell us about your plans for homeschooling while traveling.
The poet Mary Oliver asks the question we want at the heart of all our educational endeavors (both for the adults and the kids):
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
This trip is an audacious choice. I’m looking forward to the things I think will bring me the most pleasure while also taking steps towards a better future for our family.
And by “plan to do” we don’t think Mary Oliver is talking about the plan of “what you want to be when you grow up.” To us, she is talking about intention and choice, inviting us to be active participants in our one-time, magical, precious journey on this planet.
Our intentions include learning through play and curiosity, discovering new ideas from people we meet and places we visit, by exploring our passions and interests, and following our pleasure. This will involve things that look more “schooly” like playing math games and writing, but does not include any specific curriculum or structure.
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Are there any particular challenges you’re anticipating?
There are many, including:
- Adjusting to living in 160 square feet with four people
- Having only one bathroom and two pre-teen girls
- Finding good organic, local food outside of metro areas.
- Continuing to reduce the amount of trash we generate
- Creating plenty of mom and dad alone time.
Where is your first destination?
While we love the Pacific Northwest, this fall we’re going in search of sunshine and warmth in the Southwestern U.S. We’re dreaming about hot springs in Nevada, a yoga retreat in Lake Havasu, and hiking in the deserts of New Mexico.
Is there anything you’ll bring on the road that isn’t 100% necessary but will make you feel more comfortable while traveling?
Lis Sis: My stuffed animal, Snow Tiger.
Big Sis: A really heavy and soft pillow.
Dad: A skateboard, slackline, and hammocks — we want more playtime!
Mom: Our yoga mats.
What are the places you’re most excited to see?
Lis Sis: Austin, Texas to see some new friends that live there.
Big Sis: I’d like to drive on the overseas highway through the Florida Keys.
Dad: New Mexico! The entire state has fascinated me since I was a young east-coast kid looking at pictures of the amazing desert landscapes.
Mom: Sedona, Arizona.