Adventures of a Year Long Journey

Written by Terra Weiss

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We are excited, nervous, joyous and hopeful to set out on a year long journey of full-time living in our 5th wheel beginning July 7, 2019.  Our first stop will be Yellowstone National Park, three miles outside of the east gate in the most heavily populated grizzly area in the lower 48 states. One of many lessons learned on this journey so far is that a trailer over 40 feet is not accommodated in most National Parks, and a hard sided trailer is required in many areas in and near Yellowstone. Yikes! 

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As you can imagine, there is a lot that goes into a decision like this, and we plan to share the experience in hopes of inspiring others along the way.  We first had this idea pop into our heads last year, and then we set out on a trial run with a near month long road-trip during the summer of 2018. Upon returning home, I especially, couldn’t let go of this idea and held on to the amazing memories and closeness of the summer. For three months we “hypothetically” kept talking about the possibility of this full-time lifestyle. In October we went on another mini road-trip to Kansas and then to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. While in Albuquerque we met up with two other full-time families who shared about the richness of their lives while on the road, and we knew we had to do this. With one child going into high school, it was pretty much now or never, and we didn’t want to wait until we retired to live the life we were dreaming of. We also wanted to have this experience with our children. (We plan to move abroad when they’ve gone off to college, but shhhh, don’t tell them that.) Fast forward to today and we have found our home on wheels, a 2017 Open Range 5th wheel and we have a tentative route in mind. This is really happening! 

After Yellowstone we will begin our journey to the north and east, heading to North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Canada, Maine and down the eastern coast. If all goes as planned, we will be in over 30 states in the year that we’re gone. One of the aspects of our trip that is important to us is having flexibility in our travel dates. We want the ability to cut our stay short if we’ve had enough of a certain area, or to stay as long as our hearts desire if we’re loving a certain area. We are so excited to see many of our friends and loved ones along the way and ask you to check the map below to see if we’ll be in your area. We’re also requesting tips and advice from you if you’re familiar with a certain state we’ll be traveling to. Do you know of amazing places to see, stay, eat or adventures to embark on? If so, we want to know about them! 

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We also want to share a theme we will be embracing along the way. We are a family that loves food, believes in the power of good nutrition in the body, we are passionate about protecting mother earth and the environment, and while David and I continue to learn about food sustainability and sourcing, we want to teach the girls as well. When we currently travel, we tend to plan our trips around where we’ll eat. We read blogs, watch “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” read local travel books, and educate ourselves on the culture of the area and how it influences the local cuisine. We plan to expand on this and search out restaurants, cooking classes, tours, farmers markets, farms and ranches, and more to emirse ourselves in the food and education of the area that we’re in. If you have a suggested place for us to visit, please contact us at weisslifejourney@gmail.com or on social media.

The girls will be homeschooled during our year long journey. Miyah will be a freshman in high school, Jaelyn in 6th grade and Aubree in 2nd grade. We plan to use a combination of online schooling, workbooks, and a whole lot of hands on learning. We feel so blessed to have music, art and Montessori teachers that have offered to teach the girls virtually, help us develop lesson plans, and assist them when they need additional tutoring. To our pleasure, we received no resistance from any of the girls about this, and were only met with them jumping in feet first to the idea of traveling in 400 square feet for a year. I, on the other hand am absolutely terrified to become a homeschool mom, but I can do hard things! I know without a doubt that this time with them will be treasured and worth every minute of us all learning new things and new ways of schooling. 

Many people have asked us what we will do for work, what we will do with our house, our cars, and our belongings. We’ve also been asked if we truly plan to come back after a year, or what we’ll do if we get out on the road and hate it. We will answer these questions in more detail as we document this transitional process, but to answer them briefly:

-I run an international franchise that I can build from anywhere, as I have done for the last 9 years. My work goes where I go and can be done completely from my iPhone. David is more committed than ever to running a successful property management business and will do the majority of his work on the road, but he does plan to travel back to Denver as needed. The girls and I will have to get good at learning all things black water, hitches, slide-outs, leveling and so much more. We’re up for the challenge!

-We will be renting our beautiful Castle Rock, CO home with it’s breathtaking mountain views and sunsets. The home will be available for move-in around June 1st. We are hopeful we can rent it furnished, but we will do what is best for the renters that we ensure will take care of our treasured home as if it is their own. 

-We will be taking David’s truck with us, and plan to rent my SUV out through an insured service while we’re gone. Stay tuned for more information about this and how you can cover your car payment and make money using this option. This is one of many ways that we want to show people that when you think outside the box, you can live the life of your dreams!

-Do we plan to come back after a year? Yes, we do, but we are open to wherever this journey takes us and plan to make a family decision about this in January of 2020. That is the time when school enrollments and class choices for the 20/21 school year will be due.

David and I will be doing most of the blogging on here, which will be a lot about food, schooling, and adventuring, but watch for school assignments coming from the girls too. The girls will be 100% in charge of our YouTube channel, and we will all be contributing to our Instagram account.

That’s all for now. Please follow us on Instagram and watch for news of our YouTube channel coming soon. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to get updates when new content is posted.

 

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