America, Photojournalism, The Family Circle

Turning off the T.V.

What is it like to give up everything for a life on the road? I’m giving up things like cable television, the small apartment we live in, our beds, our desktop computer and high-speed internet. Looking at it, it really isn’t so hard to give all that up. We purposely weened ourselves from creature comforts and are barely holding on to the last ones we have before we leave. We don’t have any delusions of grandeur, we know we are going to run into issues that we haven’t thought of and won’t be prepared for. We know we are giving up life’s little luxuries that we often take for granted. Air conditioning and heat and comfortable mattresses. The things that make us comfortable and lazy.

In seven days, we have to decide whether or not we are leaving this April. A 60-day notice is required to vacate this apartment, and the end of January is our cutoff. We are basically looking at boondocking in the Denver area for several weeks while Maizy finishes her last days at work. If we don’t do it we are stuck here until October.

So what does it feel like? Between nervous and excited, I ‘m somewhere in the middle. It’s a daunting task. We have to maintain our well-being, keep a van running and make sure our daughter is getting a proper kindergarten level road-school education. Penny will be 5 in April. What can we teach her on the road? What lessons can be gleaned from an extended field trip across the USA?

We’ll teach her how to read a map, a real one, just incase Google Maps is unavailable. We’ll talk about geology and how mountains are formed and she’ll see first-hand what we humans are doing to the environment. She’ll see drought-stricken California and flood lands in the south. She’ll see the Pacific and the Atlantic and the great lakes. We’ll show her the redwood forests in the northwest and the Catskill mountains to the east.

We’ll try to see everything we can, and it will take a while because we don’t plan on driving much faster than 65 miles per hour. We’ll take our sweet time traveling the back roads of America. this trip will be a transition into a new chapter for our family. Maizy wants to be a mom to the only child she will ever have. She doesn’t feel like she gets to enjoy motherhood because she is always at work. She feels distant. Penny needs her! I’m a great dad, but Maizy is a force of nature as a person. Smart and kind, determined and persistent. She wants to be more involved in raising her daughter and I want the same. Nothing can replace a mother’s love.

Maizy has a master plan in the form of an excel spreadsheet that covers every angle of this journey and then some. A strict budget, a detailed itinerary, safety precautions, emergency funds, health insurance, home school curriculums, you name it she has planned for it. The only thing left now is to just do it. Get in the van and go. We will work odd jobs and volunteer, we will meet new people and see things we’ve never seen before. In the end we will find our home and settle in for the rest of whatever time we have left. We’ll live life instead of watching other people live life on our screens. We are turning off the television and getting off the couch and going to explore.

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27 thoughts on “Turning off the T.V.

    • ABSOLUTELY! I’m craving these new experiences so I can write about them. I like writing, it makes me feel good. You can’t have courage without fear right? I think its good to be a little scared. Keeps us on our toes. 🙂 I’m talking about it more now, because it is all we spend on our time on around here. Preparing. Planning. Brainstorming. Wondering how it’s all going to go.

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  1. I am so excited for you all! I know the anxious/excitement you are feeling and it is awesome. I say just “go”! You will not regret doing it sooner rather than later. Your daughter will have the best life…learning from reality. Priceless.

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  2. goethalsart says:

    I turned off TV and started reading your post.This is great.A lot of people sit in their couch,dreaming and dreaming…..at the end of their life,they didn’t realize their dreams.

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  3. Wow man, this felt so great reading this. We are all too much anchored to what we think we need, certainties and daily routine so we tend to forget to really live and take (calculated) risks and see and enjoy and discover and learn. I read Kerouac and think of Robert Frank when I read this post. Just one question, where I live, Belgium kids have to legally attend school from 6 till 18. How does that work in the States?

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    • We have the same law here. We will be required to register her when she is 6 years old either in school or we can register her to be home-schooled as well. The state of Colorado requires 170 hours of school instruction per year with at least 4 hours of instruction per day. If we are still on the road when she turns six we will have to register her as being home-schooled.

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  4. Several years ago, I read One Year Off by David Elliot Cohen, which is about the one year when he took off with his wife and three young kids to travel around the world. I applaud your courage (in advance 🙂 ) and wish you all the best. Bon courage!
    P.S. No amount of TV can be compared to this ‘extended field trip’

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  5. I think you will see even more than you would otherwise just because you will be seeing things for Penny and also from her youthful perspective. You will be working harder to learn about the things you see, just because of your devotion to make the journey valuable to her. It will be awesome. Can’t wait to see the roadside images.

    If you’re ever in the Boise, Idaho area, be sure to get in touch. Free showers, laundry, and the luxury of a bed! 😉

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    • Thanks for your hospitality. I’m sure we will eventually make it out to Boise! It’s nice to know there are some people out there pulling for us!

      I agree. Seeing it from Penny’s perspective will be just as educational for us as it is for her. So close!

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  6. This is wonderful! You will have a glorious and grand adventure. If you pass through Seattle, be in touch for a home-cooked meal and a listening ear…. I love to talk travel and life adventures. (and, thank you, for stopping by my blog so that I know about yours!). As I read your post, it came to my mind that this could be a double blessing in that it could end up being a money-making adventure for you, in time. Since you said you love to write. . . then write, every day, if possible, while preparing and throughout your trip, and you will end up with a journal that will sell very well as a book. Seriously.

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