Okie dokie my dear friends, today I want to introduce my newest RV friend Heather. Heather is the incredible Jesus-lover, mom, and adventurer over at Faith Takes Flight, a blog that chronicles her family’s full-time RV travels. She was kind enough to be interviewed for my Inside the RV segment. Now I have to be honest here, I am so excited to bring you her family’s RV story.
She gave the most honest and genuine answers and I hope it inspires you to have a little faith and go after what is important to you!
Alright Heather, tell us about your family a little bit. Who is Faith Takes Flight?
Hi Liz, I grew up in Northeast Washington on a fruit orchard and my husband grew up in Central Minnesota on a pig farm. We met in Iowa during our college years and have been married since 1999. After living in Southern California for several years after we graduated we moved in Northern Idaho where we have lived until we launched in our RV last summer. We have four kids, three boys and one girl ages 5, 7, 11 and 13.
And what brought all this up? How did you choose the RV life?
Because our family is spread out, we’ve been taking road trips since we got married. Over time we realized that we loved the trip as much as the destination. Then we started noticing that our kids loved it too! A few years ago we started dreaming about making a road trip an ongoing reality that we didn’t have to come home from. RV life was a great way to combine our love for travel with our desire to maintain a sense of home life and routine.
So you’ve got 4 kids. Please tell me their initial reactions and how they feel about it now?
We wanted to take our homeschooling to the next level and really take advantage of those precious years with our kids. Maximizing memories and opportunities we have while they are still under our roof was important to us. We talked about moving into an RV for several months leading up to the actionable changes that they would notice (such as listing the house for sale and selling off our possessions). Our kids were interested and excited, but I think it was hard for them to truly envision what this kind of lifestyle would look like.
Now that we’ve been on the road for just over 6 months they have a much better idea of what RV living entails. Our three boys (13, 7 and 5) have all adapted very well. They have made some friends on the road but they also get along well with each other and the times in-between seeing friends hasn’t seemed to bother them. Our 11 year old daughter has has the hardest time. The year before we launched she made a very close friend in Idaho. Her heart feels that distance on a regular basis and we’ve worked through many tears. Although she has made friends on the road and has enjoyed our travels, she misses “home” often.
Now, can you tell us about what kind of RV you have?
We purchased a 41’ Coachmen Brookstone 395rl 5th wheel. You can watch the full tour below (courtesy of the Faith Takes Flight YouTube channel)!
**Did you see their loft layout? I’m in love. Okay, let’s get back to the interview.*
One main topic for wannabe RVers is STUFF. What did you do with all your stuff originally? And how did you downsize?
We sold everything that would not be difficult to replace or would not be needed in the foreseeable future. What was left was loaned to friends to use or stored with family. Downsizing was a process that involved asking ourselves time and again, Do I want this? Do I need this? Will this fit in our RV?
To be honest, I enjoyed most of the downsizing process because we were so excited about the end result. The difficult part came at the end when all that remained were things we really wanted or needed. At that point we had to make decisions that were a lot harder and ask ourselves questions that we didn’t really know the answer to such as, Will I still want to be storing this if we decide to RV long term? Will my kids even fit into this/want to play with this the next time I pull it out of storage?
In the end we made the best decisions we could and although there are very, very few things I have missed, there are even less things that I have regretted getting rid of.
Just how long have you been on the road? Do you ever see a “finish line”?
We moved into our RV in May of 2016. We lived stationary for the first few months while we finished up a commitment managing a KOA campground. In September 2016 we began our travels as Faith Takes Flight. We committed to a year of travel with the possibility of extending that time frame. There are a few factors in play that we wanted to feel out before committing to this lifestyle indefinitely.
Finding a sense of purpose, maintaining a rhythm and routine for our family, and cultivating community on the road were some of the big unknowns. We hope to have a better feel for these areas by the time our year on the road comes to a close which will help us navigate the possibility of extending this lifestyle more indefinitely.
That said, what is the absolute best thing about full-time travel?
I can’t overemphasize how much I love exploring and learning about things first-hand. That simply cannot be duplicated in any other way. Yet, the unique bonding that our family has had is also something that is truly invaluable that we will always treasure.
And because I’ve gotta ask, what is the absolute hardest thing?
The “hardest” thing has varied over time. The first few months it was finding a routine and a lack of community. We were simply traveling too fast to allow for either. Now that we’ve had the opportunity to slow down long enough to meet other families and develop more of a rhythm for our days that is much less an issue.
Probably the hardest thing for me is to see our daughter miss home so much when the rest of us are enjoying our time on the road so intensely.
What have you learned on this journey and what are you still seeking?
I’ve certainly come to realize that there is beauty to be found everywhere. Our country holds history and uniqueness within every region. Likewise, the people we meet up with on the road have also been both unique and memorable. I’m still seeking confirmation on if this will be a good fit for the foreseeable future but I have absolutely no regrets. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness that we have been able to live out this dream.
Alright so, the big question on everyone’s mind, how do you make money?
Although we didn’t have the specific goal to RV until a few years ago, my husband and I have worked since the beginning of our marriage toward financial freedom.
We’ve been setting aside extra income and investing it with the goal to create forms of passive income. Over the years we have bought and sold things on Craigslist and eBay. We’ve started and sold online websites. We’ve owned real estate. Some of those efforts have yielded better results than others, but the goal was consistent: create passive income that would allow freedom and flexibility to our lives.
Moving into an RV actually accelerated the process because our expenses were lowered in the process.
Is there anything else we should know about Faith Takes Flight?
Our family loves to read. As we’ve traveled I realized I wanted a way to combine our love for reading with our destinations. I created a book list organized alphabetically by state. I now have compile over 300 titles (along with their descriptions). This list is aimed at helping our family find potential family read aloud books. Although many of them are historically based, this is not true for all of them. Some of the titles are purely fun fiction that take place in a particular state (like Charlotte’s Web or A Cricket in Times Square). If you enjoy reading or want to cultivate that in your family, I’d love for you to hop over to Faith Takes Flight and grab your own free copy of my book list. Full details on my free 50 state book list can be found here.
How can people follow your story?
I blog over at Faith Takes Flight and regularly post our photos on Instagram and provide updates on our Facebook page. My husband updates our YouTube channel . We’d love for you to follow us wherever it works best for you.