The families out there living life differently and the way they see fit, continue to amaze me. I love that there are so many families willing to live differently than the way the majority of society believes they should.
This week we got to interview a family that doesn’t necessarily travel full-time but chose to live a more minimalistic lifestyle by downsizing.
Meet Suddenly Minimalist
If there is a question we haven’t asked that you’re wondering, please send us a message, and we’ll try to include it in future interviews
My name is Deziree and my husband, Michael, who is in the US Navy, and I have 3 young children. We are originally from Southern California and fortunately spent the first 8 years of my husband’s Naval career close to home in San Diego, but have recently lived in Mississippi (where we started our full-time RVing experience) and are currently in Northern Florida.
What Made You Decide To Travel Full-Time?
While we are living in our RV full-time, we are actually, semi-stationary. We decided to make the change to living our RV from a standard house, while looking for a way that we could live a more adventurous, happy, more minimalist lifestyle, and have more financial freedom.
What Do You Use For Accommodation?
We have a Keystone Montana High Country fifth wheel with a mid-bunk floor plan for the kids.
Our costs are a little different than those who travel full-time because we don’t account for gas and car maintenance in our overall cost of living for this particular lifestyle. I also think location plays a big role in your overall cost. When we lived in Mississippi, our site fee was significantly lower than it is here in Florida (like $400 per month lower). Our monthly costs including site fee, trailer payment, and insurance is about $1200 per month, right now. But we do get free wifi, cable, and laundry at our current park where we have been for about 6 months.
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If you’re looking to save money on the road, look into memberships or rewards programs for savings on gas or chains of RV Parks such as KOA, Harvest Host, or Thousand Trails. Also, boondocking when and where you can will save you a lot of money as well. When it comes to our clothes, we personally utilize second hand as much as we can. We receive hand me downs from family for the kids and have even purchased our outdoor equipment such as bikes, camping chairs, and a kayak second hand to save a lot of money.
What Is One Item You Couldn't Travel Without?
As silly as it may sound, I’m going to say my leaf blower. We stayed at a lot of parks, before getting the leaf blower, where I spent way too much of my time sweeping off our site to keep it clear of dirt from the kids or branches and leaves from surrounding trees. I thought it wasn’t that big of a deal, but since getting the leaf blower, I can’t imagine doing all that unnecessary work again! It has honestly changed my life. I can keep our space looking nice and clean in a matter of seconds. I love it.
What Do You Do For Health Insurance?
We are very fortunate to be blessed with a pretty great insurance plan through the military. The health insurance was honestly one of the biggest factors in my husband and I decided that him doing the Navy as a career was best for our family.
Do you homeschool? What is your style of teaching/curriculum?
Since we have to stay close to where ever my husband is stationed, that allows for our kids to actually attend a regular public school. Infact, three other families in our current park have their kids in the same school as my children and the girl next door to us is even in my son’s class!
What's Your Favorite Place You've Visited So Far?
We were very lucky to be on the Mississippi Gulf Coast during Mardi Gras season last year. Being from California we honestly didn’t know a thing about Mardi Gras so we had no idea what a wonderful and exciting experience it would be. It was like experiencing an entirely different culture right here in America. It was by far my favorite place to be and can’t wait to return sometime in the future.
Is there a place you’ve been to that you consider overrated?
I don’t really believe anywhere is overrated. Any adventure can be worthwhile when you look at it in terms of an investment for your family. Seeing the world together is the goal and had you not taken the time to see that site, you would never have known if it would be “worth it” or not. Take delight in the journey, not just the destination and cherish every adventure with your family, even if you enjoy some places more than others.
Is There A Place You've Been To That You Consider Underrated?
The Gulf Coast isn’t somewhere I never hear people raving about or even putting on their short list of places to see, but I think everyone should. The food, the culture, and the coast itself are all so much fun and so fantastic. We fell in love with the area and have even talked about settling down there when my husband retires.
Spend as much time as you can outdoors. We have met so many people and even made friends, by just being outside. Kids are naturally social and willing to make friends. At every single park or campground we have been to, we have had other kids come over and play with our kids while they are out playing. We have made friends with other families at the beach, on walks, at parks, at museums, and just about anywhere we go as a family. And since people of all ages and walks of life are coming and going in these parks, my kids have had the opportunity to play with and get to know a more diverse group of people than they would if we were living in a standard neighborhood where their outdoor time would mostly be spent within the confines of our backyard.
Do You Have Any Tips For Traveling With Kids?
Keep them busy! Bored kids are fussy kids. There are so many fun road trip ideas online that we have utilized when driving long distances. Also, plan extra time for stops. Letting them run or explore, even if for a few minutes at a time will keep them happy and allow for them to burn off extra energy and save your sanity, making for a much happier journey overall. When you get to your destination, include your kids in making decisions on where you are going to visit or any activities you plan to do. This will help keep them excited and give them a sense of control of their adventures.
Where Can We Follow Your Travels?
“Travel is never a matter of money, but of courage.“
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