It has been too long. Can I say that again? It has been too long. I haven’t put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard) in too long. Too much has happened. Too much has changed. Too much is still in flux. I don’t even know where to begin.
9 months ago to the day, I left this space pumping out blog after blog after blog about our van conversion. In that time, our journey has taken us away from our main path, onto many a side street. It turns out that every single side street we’ve ventured has been exactly what we needed. And, while the distance we need to travel to get to that van life nomadic path has been lengthened, the journey there, however long is just as wonderful. I've had to remind ourselves of an important truth from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
So, without any further ado, this is what we’ve been up to these past 9 months (please comment below which part of the journey you’d want to learn more about, I’d love to share strategies, processes, etc. that have carried us on this path):
1) Purchasing a home in Idyllwild, CA to be our semi-permanent/semi-temporary home, eventually rental property
2) Prepping our Los Angeles home as a rental property
3) Launching our home/un/wild/world schooling journey
4) Continuing to downsize all of our belongings, including some of what my parents left in our charge
5) Pausing the actual van conversion while we do all this, including the move to Idyllwild, while still purchasing items we need once the rentals kick-off and we can refocus on the conversion
6) Living semi-nomadically between Los Angeles and Idyllwild – literally every week back and forth! The “why” to be explained another time
Quite a bit of a detour, huh? Well, you see, it was a bit necessary for a few reasons.
First, we began to see that my mom’s health has been deteriorating at a pace that will make permanent nomadic living a no-go and will likely require us to keep to shorter trips. Still, we wanted to give her that experience of living in nature, something that we saw brought a lot of peace and serenity to her when we took that RV trip that started this whole journey, as well as our week in the snow this past winter.
Second, for us to create the lifestyle we envision for our family, we need to secure our financial independence. The primary ways to do that are to decrease spending, increase income and invest optimally. We’re constantly reviewing our expenses to make sure they align with our values and try to decrease them whenever possible. But there’s only so much you can cut. What we realized is that to give ourselves the breathing space we need and to save/invest at a rate that will continue to support us into our later years, we really needed to find a way to increase our income.
Third, having already been accepted into a homeschooling charter and prepared our children for leaving traditional schools, we wanted to reproduce that nature-based learning environment we would eventually immerse our learning in despite the fact that we could not yet start our nomadic lifestyle.
So, while the supply chain was severely delaying our ability to continue with the van conversion, we took that time to explore the option of purchasing a home in a location that could provide an excellent source of income once we hit the road but that would meet our needs as a family while we lived in it and prepared it for its eventual purpose.
By August of 2021, we had closed on a home in the Idyllwild area and are now well on our way to meeting our financial independence goals. Just last week, we finally received a shipment of supplies that will allow us to build out the entire internal frame of the van, which will then allow us to finally install our major electrical components and get us on the way to at least making 2-3 day trips in the van. We will start back to the van conversion at the start of the new year, as we have a couple of trips/plans that will make building nearly impossible!
In the meantime, we’re exploring how to home/un/world/wildschool, enjoying getting to know our new neighborhood, taking my mom out into nature whenever possible, letting the kids explore their passion for dance and parkour, and everything else mentioned above.
So, there’s been a lot going on, to say the least. I hope to catch you all up on the journey and not to stray from this space again. Please leave a comment to share what parts of the journey are of most interest to you!