About 4 years ago, when our first born was only a year old, we caught the road tripping bug and decided to buy a small travel trailer. We began traveling locally in California and Arizona and fell in love with the lifestyle.
A year later, as we were expecting our second child, we upgraded to a 25-foot Airstream and began contemplating longer and more extensive road trips. Being self-employed in the software industry, we were able to work from anywhere. Even though our home in California was a small bungalow less than 1,000 square feet, we felt like it was a lot of space for our little family of 4.
When our second daughter was just 5-months old, we packed up and left our house for a cross country road trip. Unlike most other road trips, this one was not a vacation but rather a working, living, and learning experience on the road. For the next 4 months, we lived in our Airstream with less than 200 square feet of space. We learned to live small, conserve our resources and were surprised that we were happier than ever.
When we returned home from our first 4-month trip, our lives were never the same. We tried to settle back into our 950 square foot California Spanish bungalow but we longed for our life in our Airstream. The days at home seemed to all blur together and knew that soon we will have to find our way back on the road.
When we had our third and (hopefully) last child 7 months ago, it had been 2 years since we returned from our first cross country trip and were now planning to get back on the road with our three little children and cat named Yoda. This time around, we sold our home, packed everything that we didn’t bring, sell, or give away into storage and left for an undetermined amount of time. Our newborn boy, Luka, on the day of our departure was only 3 months old.
We have been everywhere from the Golden Gate Bridge to Key West, Lake Michigan down to the Gulf of Mexico. Everywhere we go, we try to make it a learning experience for us and our children. We don’t usually know where we are headed next but as long as there are good roads, decent phone reception and something spectacular, our tiny home on wheels can take us there.
Our cat Yoda loves the ever changing view out of our window as much as we do. Since she is an indoor-only cat, she is a very easy going, road loving travel buddy. The only thing we have to be careful of is the weather. We have to avoid being in places that are too hot so Yoda doesn’t overheat in case the electricity goes out at the campground and air conditioning stops working while we are away. Fortunately for us, this lifestyle lets us follow the nice weather around the country wherever it may be.
We often hear from people that our life on the road brings up fond memories of them going camping with their parents when they were kids. We can only hope that our children will grow up feeling the same and maybe one day they will fondly remember our time on the road while complimenting another traveling family on their adventures.
Living on the road with little children has its fair share of challenges. Our oldest daughter Ava is almost 6 years old and is currently in kindergarten. When we decided to leave for another extended trip, we had to also commit to home schooling her. We will be the first to admit that, like most people, we were more than a little nervous about tackling home schooling. We are not traditionally trained educators and the last thing we’d want to do is to keep her from getting the best education possible.
As it turns out, we couldn’t have hoped for a better kindergarten experience for her. The road is full of learning opportunities and the education she is getting is unlike anything she can get while sitting inside a building. Not too many people can say that they learned about Abraham Lincoln while visiting his birthplace in rural Kentucky. I don’t suspect many kindergartners can claim to have learned about the story of Rosa Parks while sitting in the same seat of the actual bus that ignited the civil rights movement.
We keep a blog of our adventures at malimish.com and document our adventures daily. We hope it may inspire others to realize their dreams of seeing the country with their family. It takes a fair amount of planning and even more sacrifices to realize this dream but I am certain that there will be no regrets. Since 2010, we have spent over 400 days on the road in our Airstream. We hope to spend hundreds more in it before we eventually settle back into a traditional home. When that time comes, we hope to continue to live small, simply and richly.
Dan from MaliMish.com