Family Travel Stories

July 29, 2014
by Traci Bisson
Comments Off on What we did to prepare for full-time family travel

What we did to prepare for full-time family travel

When we were pregnant with our first child, my husband and I read everything we could about being pregnant, what to expect, living with a newborn, nursing,etc. However, what we learned is that the majority of your knowledge comes from doing. Babies do not follow a text book description on how to behave or act. We did as much as we could to prepare, but in the end it was our “street knowledge” that gave us the most experience.

We learned from this and when the next monumental moment in our life happened – becoming full-time travelers – we felt we were better prepared.

On June 25, 2014, we left our bricks and sticks for 500 square feet on wheels. We are only a few weeks into this new life style, but our advanced preparation has served us well thus far.

Here is a list of some things we did to prepare for this new lifestyle:

  • Rented our house
  • Purged our stuff – sold, donated or dumped most everything – stored some items in a storage unit.
  • Upgraded from a 26′ travel trailer to a 40′ 5th wheel. Upgraded tow vehicle to F250 6.7L Power Stroke diesel
  • Attended several outdoors skills classes – ice fishing, primitive fire building, winter wilderness survival, snowmobiling safety, etc. through the NH and ME Becoming an Outdoors Woman. These courses have been very informative and empowering.
  • Took 16 hours of Wilderness first aid training through Wilderness Medical Associates
  • Attended CPR certification training from McGregor Institute
  • Attended wilderness survival training from the NH Becoming an Outdoors Woman (NH BOW)
  • Took strength training classes from Integrated Fitness
  • Attended Basic Practical Handgun Skills 1 and 2 from SigSauer Academy
  • Attended Staying Found workshop for kids offered by the local AMC club and the Massabesic Audubon Center. This class teaches children and families how to be safe in the woods.
  • Took Back-country Navigation/Map & Compass course through the AMC club
  • Researched technology needed for us to work on the road
    • Purchased Millenicom traveling hub (20GB)
    • Purchased Verizon traveling hub
    • Purchased NETGEAR AC750 -802.11AC Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Range Extender (EX6100)
  • Purchased Splendide® 2100XC Washer-Dryer
  • Purchased an induction cook top
  • Installed additional shelving, extension tables to give us more space for food and preparation
  • Took couches out of 5th wheel – replaced couch in back bunks with plastic bureaus, toy bin and arts/crafts bin; replaced couch in living room area with 6 ft. table and chairs for setting up computers and printer. Chairs have cushions and footstools and double as chairs for watching movies on living area TV.

We still have 30 days until we leave our NH campground home and head west. We are taking this time to continue to tweak our set up before we leave. There are several more things we still need to do, including tidying up some loose ends – mail forwarding service, dentist and doctor appointments, register and inspect truck and camper, update wills, reserve next year’s summer seasonal site in NH, etc.

I will keep you updated on our progress and what we learn over the next month.

If you are a full-time traveler as well, what else did you do to prepare for this life changing adventure?

 

July 18, 2014
by Traci Bisson
Comments Off on A lesson in how to meet new people – yes we need to be reminded

A lesson in how to meet new people – yes we need to be reminded

People can be amazing if you let them.Nice-to-meet-you-l

Many times we walk by others with our heads down; avoiding eye contact.

Why?

We are in a hurry.

We are busy.

We don’t care.

That used to describe me.

It wasn’t until recently that I started holding my head up when walking by strangers. I look directly at them and smile. Most times they smile back and say hello. Sometimes a conversation ensues.

In the past, I avoided people. I was probably seen as snobby. I care greatly about people, but I have been hurt many times by family and friends so I tend to withdraw and ignore them. I share very little about myself with acquaintances. I have found most people just like to talk about themselves anyways.

Tonight, as I pulled into the grocery store parking lot, I met an older woman. She was sitting in the car next to my spot. Our windows were down and as I turned to roll mine up she said how much she liked my hair style. Normally I would give a curt reply and go about my business. I thanked her and we talked for a minute before walking to the store.

I saw her once while going up and down the aisles and smiled. She was already at her car when I reached mine. She walked with a hunched back and was wiping the sides of her car with a cloth. Her cart was empty and I asked if she would like me to return it for her. She thanked me and commented that there were so few friendly people these days. We both agreed and exchanged farewells as we parted ways.

I enjoyed this encounter as well as others I have made over the last several weeks since our family became full-time travelers. These strangers have been friendly, nonjudgmental, and seem genuinely interested in who we are.

One of my goals over the next year is to teach my children about the goodness in others. They need to be cautious, but be willing to make a new friend when the opportunity arises.

Life IS too short. Stop repeating this phrase and start living it! And when you find a genuine friend remember to tell them how much you care.

July 15, 2014
by Traci Bisson
6 Comments

Internet a big expense when traveling

wirelessSo far we have found that Internet service is our biggest expense on the road next to the cost of diesel fuel, food and campground reservations. We are currently using a Verizon MIFI hubspot with 8GB of service for secure browsing at $120/month and the campground WIFI, which is mostly reliable, for less secure needs.

Since we will be in place for 45 days, we have decided to invest in MetroCast seasonal service, which is cheaper than our Verizon service. This type of Internet set-up makes sense and is affordable if you will be in one location for several months.

Our research has also shown that the Millenicom Hotspot Plan is preferred by full-time travelers. This gives you 20GB for $90/month. We belong to a Facebook Group called RV Comm where people discuss their technology needs. There are many knowledgeable individuals in the group and we all share our ideas and findings with each other. A large percentage of members highly recommend the Millenicom. We will switch to this as our primary Internet service before we leave at the end of August.

Prior to leaving our traditional home, we were using upwards of 250GB monthly. This included Xbox online, streaming of videos, Roku, etc. We are learning a hard lesson in cutting back and cutting down on our Internet usage. My husband and I are working as we travel so the Internet is essential for us. Our older son will be studying at VLACS and will need the Internet for his classes. I am predicting that a combination of our Verizon hubspot, Millenicom (possibly two) and campground wireless Internet service will be how we roll. We will also utilize free wifi areas at bookstores, libraries, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. If we cannot control our Internet usage, it will become a very large expense for us while traveling.

My goal is for all of us to be less connected to the Internet and more connected to the world, people, nature, experiences and new places.

July 12, 2014
by Traci Bisson
Comments Off on Our new summer home

Our new summer home

camper at Barrington ShoresAfter spending a week at Danforth Bay Campground in Freedom, NH with friends and family, we set-up at Barrington Shores Campground in Barrington, NH. We will stay here until Labor Day and then head west across the U.S. making our way to California for the winter.

Our arrival was not as expected at Barrington Shores. We were displaced for about 1.5 hours while my husband worked with personnel to prepare the site. The site was not yet ready for us even though multiple calls to employees at the front office ahead of time assured us it would be.

We made the best of the situation, walking the dog around the campground, visiting the playground, checking out the lake beach and meeting new neighbors. We were anxious to get set-up and settle in for the next 45+ days.

This short stay will allow us to filter through items in the camper that we do not need in order to assure we stay underweight. When moving from a traditional home, you have a tendency to take more than you need. We will also work on establishing new routines and systems for our new home before we leave the state.

Still so much to do and prepare for. I look forward to the new changes and challenges as we prepare for our journey to see this great country.

July 11, 2014
by Traci Bisson
2 Comments

A new life on the road has started

We became a full-time traveling family on June 25, 2014. A date I will remember fondly.saying-goodbye

It was a hectic day, scrambling around our 1,800 sq. ft. home packing up the last few boxes to put into storage, purging items we no longer needed and storing them for summer yard sales, shoving food from two refrigerators into a camper unit half the size of the one in our kitchen and taking the rest of our worldly belongings and finding places to store them in our new home that is now just over 500 sq. ft.

We pulleour-new-homed into Mi-Te-Jo Campground in Milton Mills, NH in the pouring rain. The cats were yeowing in their carriers and the dog just wanted to get out of the truck and go for a walk. The kids ran for my parent’s camper since they had been there for the week and were already set-up. I helped Ray get our camper set-up. This has now become a relatively smooth process for us since we have been camping via travel trailer and 5th wheel for several years.

Our journey has now started. I know it will be filled with obstacles to overcome, new experiences, amazing places to see and interesting people to meet. We are ready.

April 21, 2014
by Traci Bisson
2 Comments

A life changing adventure for our family

IMG-20120802-00051Friends and family have asked how will life be for our boys while we are traveling. I simply say…enriched. Our two sons cannot imagine at this time in their lives the amazing experiences they will have as well as the wealth of people they will meet and new friendships they will form. There are so many cultures to learn about in the United States as well. Learning from a text-book does not do justice for all that this country has to offer.

This experience will teach our children to value life and all that it has to offer as opposed to the material items we spent over a decade collecting. They will learn the importance of helping others and the feeling you get inside when you have truly made a difference in someone’s life. As parents, we feel very fortunate to be able to offer our kids this opportunity as well as be there to witness it first hand with them. And to be able to answer their questions and offer teachable moments wherever we go.

Many people cannot imagine life outside the four walls of a classroom. Family and friends have expressed their concerns. “How will they make friends?” How will they keep in touch with their friends?” How will they participate in activities and sports on the road?” “How will you offer them stability?”

Instead, think of it this way…“They will meet new friends and keep in touch with old friends through a multitude of ways, including Facebook, Xbox, postcards, letters (yes, people do still communicate this way), email, text, Skype, etc.” “What a fantastic opportunity for them to try new activities and find something they are really passionate about.” Our oldest son wants to play professional baseball. He is interested in connecting with some teams in California and playing all year round if he decides. Nike offers baseball camps across the country. He will be able to connect with talented players and coaches and expand his skills. He is also anxious to visit all the baseball parks in CA and across the U.S. Our youngest son has a passion for gourmet food and loves to cook. There are several cooking schools across the country that cater to children.

In regards to the question about stability… I read a great article entitled Stability Comes From Staying in One Place (And Other Ridiculous Myths), which suggests that…

Change is the only constant, and teaching your children (and yourself) to learn to effectively cope with and adapt to change, is probably one of the most responsible, stable things you can do.

The article goes on to say that stability has nothing to do with location. Stability is a mental state. Want a stable family? Then become a stable parent. I FtF-Cropped1completely agree! I won’t rehash the article, the author does a great job of proving her point. I encourage you to read it if you are not convinced.

We are not the first parents to decide to take their family on a life changing adventure. We are connected with Fulltime Families on Facebook and are an annual member. We are connected with 2,300+ members who are already living the life or want to.

So onward we go…….

April 7, 2014
by Traci Bisson
2 Comments

What made us decide to embark on our greatest adventure

With any monumental decision that affects your family, you expect that years and years of planning will go into a decision that takes your life in a direction you 220px-Rv-movieposterwould never expect. My family has always enjoyed traveling and we have done so ever since Jacob was five years old and Lucas was nine months old. But it was the decision made by a friend, who is taking a similar journey by boat, as well as seeing the movie RV with Robin Williams, for the second time in April of 2013, that made me decide to take my kids out of public school and travel eight months across country with them. I would like to think that my family is not dysfunctional however, like the family in this movie.

My mother says I am going through a mid-life crisis, my in-laws are concerned about our decision, others say it is a bad idea and our friends have been incredibly supportive – you know who you are! Ray and I have both had a burning desire to travel, see the world, take pictures and write articles for nature magazines. We just weren’t willing to wait until we “retire” sometime in our late 60s or early 70s. We are healthy now and still have all of our faculties.

storage unit4Since our decision to move forward with this 10,000 mile adventure that will take us through 35+ states, we have made several additional life changing decisions. The first was to rent or sell our home. Our initial plan was to have someone occupy our home for the time we were away and be a caretaker for the house, land and our cats. We came to the conclusion that this was not the best choice.

Secondly, we needed to get rid of belongings we had collected for over 20 years. We rented a 10×15 foot storage unit and packed what we absolutely felt we would need if we decide to return permanently. We are selling most of our furniture, clothes, books, toys, games, household items, tools, and more at yard sales throughout the summer. As hard as this process has been, it has also been liberating. I no longer want to be defined by my “stuff”. I want to be defined by my experiences and the people I meet.

Lastly, my husband and I struggled with the question…have we made the right choice for our children’s future. Stay tuned for the next blog post. I will talk more about how we came to this decision.

September 24, 2013
by Traci Bisson
Comments Off on Changes Coming to this Blog

Changes Coming to this Blog

The Enjoying Life with Kids in NH blog has not been updated in several months due to some exciting changes happening behind the scenes with my family. Stay tuned. I expect to announce the news and make changes to the blog in early 2014. Thanks for your continued support!

November 13, 2012
by Traci Bisson
Comments Off on Holiday Arts Workshop for Kids & Tweens – Parents enjoy kid-free shopping!

Holiday Arts Workshop for Kids & Tweens – Parents enjoy kid-free shopping!

Get your holiday shopping done on Saturday December 1st while Meredith Theatre Campus entertains your children!

Join us for our Holiday Arts Workshop from 9am-2pm at Meredith Theatre Campus, 50 Reservoir Rd, Meredith, NH.

Children ages 4-10 will sing carols, make a handmade gift, dress-up in costumes, play drama games, and enjoy hot cocoa & cookies while watching a holiday movie.

Tweens ages 11-13 will bake & decorate cookies, make a handmade gift, and watch a holiday movie.

Parents will receive a Tanger Outlets Coupon Book and 5 hours of kid-free shopping time! Plus between 12 & 2pm we will offer gift wrapping services!

Participation Fee $30/child, $25 for the second child

Register HERE

Questions? Email Lesley@WinniPlayhouse.org or Kate@WinniPlayhouse.org

July 23, 2012
by Traci Bisson
Comments Off on See a Show & Transport Your Kids to Magical Places

See a Show & Transport Your Kids to Magical Places

Take your kids to 1930’s New York, a fabulous chocolate factory and a magical castle where the fair princess lets down her hair…  Take them to the theater!  There are a variety of family-friendly summer shows at venues throughout the state, and your whole family will enjoy the magic of these stories. 

Some options include:

Enjoy the musical Willy Wonka in a beautiful, outdoor setting in Portsmouth’s Prescott Park.  Adapted from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this is a classic tale about the world-famous candy man and his quest to find an heir. Runs each Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through August 26.

The Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, ME offers a wonderful opportunity for children to both watch and participate in live theater.  Their summer camp program allows children to learn about drama and then take the stage during Saturday and Sunday matinee shows.  This season, audiences can enjoy “Alice and Wonderland”, the “Berenstain Bears”, “Rapunzel” and more! 

The Rochester Opera House presents their Summer Picnic Series, which includes a number of shows for children, including musician Susie Burke, dynamic musical duo Julie and Brownie, and a modern take on the “Wizard of Oz”.  Additionally, talented local teens from ROH’s summer theater camp perform a high-spirited mix of popular tunes.  Pack a picnic, bring a blanket and enjoy the shows!

Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord presents “Golden Bird”, the story of three brothers competing on a quest to capture a golden bird, a golden horse, and a princess in a golden castle. Which brother will win in this classic French fairy tale?

The Fiddler on the Roof is a wonderful show for the whole family.  The Leddy Center in Epping brings the beloved Broadway musical to life, with well-known songs such as “If I Were A Rich Man”, “Sunrise, Sunset”, and many more.

Leapin’ Lizards!  Interlakes Summer Theater in Meredith presents “Annie”, the popular musical about the comic strip heroine of the same name.   Little orphan Annie charms everyone’s hearts, as she embarks on a variety of adventures.  Meet the evil Miss Hannigan, who runs the NY orphanage, Oliver Warbucks, the billionaire that Annie captivates, and her sidekick, a loveable mutt named Sandy.  You’ll know all the words to the popular songs, such as “The Sun will Come Out Tomorrow,” and “You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile.”

These shows will transport you (and your kids) to magical places – and will inspire you to tap your toes and sing along!

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