Man Hits Road with Family, Doesn’t Look Back
Each week we are profiling real people who are editing their lives for more freedom and happiness. This week we hear from Mike, whose self-described pipe dream of living on the road with his family became a way of life. (If you have a story you’d like to share about your own life edit, email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Michael Boyink. I am 45 years old. I am a web developer, teacher, and writer. I’ve been married to my wife for 21 years and have a 15 year old son and 14 year old daughter.
What makes your life an ‘edited’ one?
We had a pretty typical conservative homeschooler life going on. I have been self-employed for over ten years, and we had the house in the suburbs, the toy cars, and the routine.
At some point it occurred to us that between homeschooling and internet-based work our life was portable and we just weren’t taking advantage of it. We developed a “pipe dream” of a long RV-based road trip and talked it about it for a few years. Then my oldest turned 13 and we realized that if we didn’t do it soon we never would.
After roughly nine months of planning and prepping we set up a friend in our house and left in a truck and fifth wheel trailer with the intent to travel the US for a year.
About halfway through the year we realized we couldn’t see it all, and were having so much fun that we didn’t want to stop. So we finished out the year, returned home, and spent six months getting caught up on business and purging our belongings. We then sold our house, gave away what remained of our stuff, and hit the road again in May of 2012.
How long have you been living this way, and do see yourself continuing to live this way?
We’ve been on the road for roughly 18 months of the last two years. We will continue to live this way so long as it makes sense, but have no set plans or date to quit.
What are the biggest advantages of living this way?
By selling the house we became totally debt-free, so can now use our income to purchase experiences rather than paying off stuff. We’ve ridden horses in the Smokey Mountains, rented a houseboat for week on the Mississippi, and herded Alpacas in Texas. So much more fun than paying a mortgage…
What are the biggest challenges?
Decision fatigue. With the world almost literally at our fingertips deciding where to go and what to do is really hard sometimes. No matter what we choose it seems like there was probably a better choice or better adventure to be had.
Community can also be tough. It’s hard to develop deep friendships when you are constantly moving.
How has this lifestyle affected the other members of your family?
Our immediate family has grown closer. It’s almost impossible not to when you are all in a 30′ box that wiggles when someone rolls over in bed. We also dealt with puberty while in this mode–and it was easier since there is no room for elephants.
What is the number one suggestion you’d give to someone looking edit their lives?
Quit living the formulas others have created for you, figure out what life on your terms can be, and just do it. It’s a cliche but life really is too short.
What item(s) have made your lifestyle easier?
Definitely technology – iPhones, travel apps, Macbook Airs, GPS units. Also development of a personal uniform, which simplifies laundry and day to day dressing decisions.
Do you have any design or architectural suggestions derived from your lifestyle?
I’m surprised I couldn’t find anyone selling a wardrobe as a system, only pieces and parts that the end user must make sense of. I’d love to see someone develop a retail store that would sell a complete soup-to-nuts wardrobe that was based on lifestyle and job requirements, and all work together, layer, and coordinate.