We are the typical American family who spends most of our waking hours that the kids aren’t in school, shuttling them to activities. With four teenagers in competitive travel sports, music lessons and academic competitions, the majority of our family time consists of traveling to tournaments, games, and performances. All-star teams and specialized camps threaten even our family summer downtime.
In 2014, we were six family members tripping over each other’s busy schedules and we needed a change. Connected relationship is a priority in our family therefore we needed to spend some quality time together. We decided to stop life as we knew it and take six months off from our regularly scheduled programming to travel our country by RV.
Is it time for you to plan an adventure for your family? Here’s why taking a break from the busy is something you will never regret.
1. Because you need a break from the busy
Believe me, I know it’s a crazy idea. You may think you’d rather wait and do something like this when your kids are grown and gone. It would be much easier to travel around as a couple, but why wait? Why not create adventure now and cultivate significant moments that will bond your family for a lifetime.
Life is short and no one is getting any younger. Our RV trip around the USA keeps our family in closer connection today even though we’ve been home for two years. This epic excursion is a part of our family story now. Six months on the road together created a lot of memories visiting national landmarks, museums, parks, famous restaurants and lots of family and friends.
2. Your family story needs more adventure
Parents need to create adventure in their family stories. You’re most likely listing all of the reasons right now that you could never do such an extended trip. Money. The kids schedules. Your work. Homes and pets to worry about. There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle when you decide to take a family sabbatical. Be courageous enough to work through the logistics if it’s important to you.
The main question I get asked is, did you homeschool the kids? Let’s just say I unschooled them. Getting the kids out from under the stress of schooling was one of the reasons we were taking the trip. I had a loose curriculum that consisted of History channel movies and novels based on where we were visiting. The kids did some workbooks and some online math. When they went back to middle school halfway through the year, they had a little catching up to do, but it was well worth it for all that we experienced. We must be courageous enough to make decisions and choices for our family that will leave us with no regrets when our children grow up and move out.
Why not take a break from it all and build in an itinerary of adventure instead? Believe me all of those daily things will all still be there when you return home.
3. You need an excuse to get out in Nature
We traveled through 44 states and witnessed some amazing landscape along the way. Visiting our National Parks alone is worth doing this trip. We hiked and we biked. The kids jumped off cliffs and we white water rafted. We spent the majority of our time outdoors enjoying nature and each other. When do we ever have time to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors anymore?
4. Nurture your relationships
Our individual family relationships needed deeper connection. We were busy people moving in six different directions on most days. Living in tight quarters for half a year was quite a change. All of us learned to laugh more, relax often and better communicate with one another.
Not only did the trip strengthen our immediate family relationships but our travels also deepened ties with many family and friends who live all over the country. We would’ve never been able to visit most of them if it weren’t for this trip.
5. It’s good for the marriage
We all know that a happy family begins with a happy marriage. I wondered if the stress of the travel would strain our marriage, but that was the furthest thing from the truth. I knew an epic journey like this would benefit our family, but I didn’t see it strengthening our marriage in the process. The change of pace was healthy for us. We needed this downtime to regroup and gain clarity with our family priorities.
We are back to being the typical American family who spends most of our waking hours shuttling our kid to school, sports, lessons, tournaments, games, competitions and friends’ houses. The difference is we do it all with much more clarity, connection and purpose than we used to. The memories we made from our journey together around the USA in that RV sustain us and make our family stronger today.
Interested in planning your own family sabbatical? Check out the Keep Your Daydream podcast!