Travel. In an RV, with our whole family. Why? Are we crazy? Are we running from reality? Too poor to afford a house? So rich that jobs are beneath us? Are we totally irresponsible and selfish?
The comments we receive when our family is in the news are either full support or rip our heads off absurdity. There is no middle ground. It’s so incredibly insane, that little obscure us could illicit such anger. People either understand our desire to live a simpler life or they feel Oh! so bad for our children!
I mean, really, the poor kids. They don’t get to watch the 32 hours per week of TV the average 2-5 year old watches! Such a travesty. And they don’t get to spend 13.2 hours per week playing video games that the average 8-18 year old plays! the injustice! They don’t get to sit in a classroom 7+ hours per day being taught the standardized tests and they don’t get to start “school” at 6 weeks of age. How insensitive, right?
No, no, the poor Kellogg children are forced, to spend the majority of their days outside either kayaking, snowboarding, climbing or caving. They are forced to explore and fish and simply play … outside! And they are forced, to learn by experience and learn that which they are interested in by actually doing!
They get to actually see where the battles they are learning about in US History took place. They get to visit the Holocaust Museum after reading Corrie Ten Bloom’s book, The Hiding Place. They get to travel to different countries. They get to make friends who live in different locations across the country who are from different backgrounds and have had different upbringings with different interests. They get to start businesses and build business plans. They get to face their fears and learn to use that fear to motivate and strengthen their inner self. They get to forge lasting relationships with each other and become each others greatest ally and best friend. They are free to glorify God and love and serve Him. And they get to be cuddled and loved and taught by the very people who brought them into this world from birth to death!
Isn’t’ that just plain awful? LOL. The comments about how miserable we must all be, never getting away from each other say much more about the posters family life than ours. We love each other. Genuinely. Our kids actually enjoy spending time with us. We do cool things with them. We are adrenaline junkies. We’ve spent their whole lives building a relationship with them. We are as tight a family as you’ll find. You might think that because you judge us, based on your perspective, from your lives, we must judge you, but fortunately for all of us, we don’t have time for that. We are entirely too busy enjoying the heck outta life and that my friends is the best response to hate there is … pure unadulterated happiness.
But, I’ll let you in on a little secret. We chose to travel, not as an escape from our lives, because our lives are awesome wherever, but to discover and learn and live and love and enjoy life. We chose travel as the means to educate our kids in the entire spectrum of life. And we travel in search of adventure.
Full time travelers, regardless of where they are from, how old they are, whether they are single or married, retired or young, they understand. We all speak the same language, we understand the deep desire to live simply, yet adventurously! We understand that time is our greatest commodity, it is the great equalizer-we all, travelers and non-travelers alike, have the same allotted time in a day, we all have the same mortality, none of us are here indefinitely. We choose to spend the time we have been gifted lavishly with the people we love the most … our family, each other and our children.
I think most people believe travel, especially extended travel, to be that which dreams are made of…an exotic thought, left mostly to the rich and famous to pursue. Money becomes our shackle. It’s a great Catch 22. We associate travel with expendable cash; hence we convince ourselves that money is what is needed to travel, to live, to fulfill our every dream. And as a result of this belief we become slaves to societal rules that insist you follow the script so we spend our lives chasing that raise, that bonus, that better job, so we can better position ourselves for that day when the time is right to finally let it all go and travel. And then, after years of chasing our tails, we are weary and, hence, become convinced that we are too poor to purchase our own freedom!
Don’t buy into this falsehood. The timing is never right for a major upheaval of your life. There will always be excuses, there will always be the fear, and there will always be the “what if’s” but there is never a time like the present! Trust me. Sometimes you just have to Go For It!!
We feel like the luckiest people on earth! But what about our kids? Are they having “the time of their lives”? Heck yes! I mean seriously. This is the ultimate life for a kid, at least for kids who would rather be outside exploring than inside glued to a TV screen or addicted to video games. Our kids love this life. Anytime, and I mean anytime we talk about going home because the house isn’t rented, they revolt!! They don’t want to go home, they’ve been home. They want to go to new places, see new things, run new rivers, climb new cliffs, board new back country … they are loving this, absolutely, positively loving this. And so, as long as this is working, as long as everyone is happy and thriving, we see no reason to end this adventure.
This doesn’t mean nothing ever goes wrong or we never long for the luxuries of home. It just means we’ve nurtured an attitude that makes life more rewarding. We deal with trials and difficulties and keep forging forward. We are unstoppable, we truly are. It’s an amazing feeling to know this, to know that nothing can keep you down. To know that you will make the best out of every situation, that your family is with you through all is liberating! To trust so deeply in God and your family that you will land on your feet makes you feel invincible!!
This feeling of invincibility is what gave us the courage to follow our hearts and take our kids on such a remarkable journey. And our faith is what allows us to no longer measuring our life by our possessions, but rather by our love, our quality of life and our options and experiences. We ultimately measure our wealth by our time and how we utilize it. Our goal is for our life to justify our work, not the other way around. As Jesus Christ said, It’s pointless to gain the whole world, but lose yourself. Each day is spent strengthening our family, strengthening our faith, and simply enjoying life.
But how with 12 children do we do this, let alone anything at all? That is a great question, because 12 kids is my wonderful life. I don’t think I view it the same as the majority of the people we encounter. I count myself as the most blessed woman alive. I have kids that I love, that I want to spend as much time with as possible, who I enjoy, kids who make me laugh out loud every single day. I have a husband who cherishes me and makes me feel loved unconditionally. Is my life really as great as I portray it? Yes. It really truly is amazing. Does this mean my life is perfect? That I don’t get frustrated or angry or feel upset or sad? No, of course not. Does it mean my kids and husband are perfect and never ever get on my nerves. Please, we are not robots, we are not a Stepford Family. But I am happy. Very very happy. And I choose to plow through the less than admirable times to get to the good stuff. I choose happiness over anything and everything!
And we made this dream of traveling with our family a reality not in spite of the fact that we have 12 kids, but because of it. Our journey into the world has given our kids an unparalleled education that has inspired new interests and passions. The experiences and discoveries that come from travel are the absolute purest form of education! As St. Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only one page.” It is our responsibility to see to it that our kids read every possible page of that book.
It wasn’t an easy decision. We tried to sell our home, but we didn’t get any offers close to what we needed to make selling a viable option. We couldn’t afford to travel and pay a hefty mortgage and so we did the next best thing to selling … we rented it. By renting our home we are able to live virtually debt free. We chose to live outside the box, outside the “script” so-to-speak. Most people don’t live this way. Most people choose the boxes in which they live, always proclaiming, “I wish we could do what you do, but …” The but being that they can’t give up their life of possessions. But, as we all know, the fact is we do what is most important to us, we always do. So the important thing to keep in mind, is to try to align what is important to you with what is best for you … and for the foreseeable future traveling and living in an RV is both — important to us and best for us.
If ever there comes a time when one or more of us is not thriving, we’ll find a new adventure. That’s the great thing about life … it’s not stagnant. There is always something great around the next corner. There is always something to look forward to, to get your blood pumping. Life is truly the greatest adventure of all! What’s your favorite adventure?