The Beginning

Hello, travelers!

After 3 years of traveling, I’ve finally decided to start a blog! After so many miles, my experience has grown and, through my stories, I’m hoping to inspire and educate travelers!

The first thing everyone should know: You CAN travel. Whether you are young, old, poor, or disabled.

If you asked me where I am from, I could say a small town in Oklahoma, where I am originally from. But even that is a short answer. I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and then Reno, Nevada and then Albuquerque, New Mexico, and finally, our last spot was a small town in Oklahoma.  Although, now, I’d say that home is wherever I am, and wherever I have been.

When I was 10, my mom and I moved to Oklahoma. It was a nice, at first. I made friends at school instantly. I took dance lessons. I did tumbling. My grandparents had a lake house and my cousins would visit occasionally and we’d go out on the boat, jet-ski, and went fishing. My grandfather taught me how to drive a golf cart.

I became homeschooled in 5th grade due to the teachers. For that half a year, homeschooling was fun! My public school friends still hung out with me. But, for 6th grade, in fear of missing out, I decided to enroll into middle school. Joke was on me because 2 months into school and I was begging my mom to homeschool again. As the months went by, it became clear that friends didn’t want to try to have a friendship outside of public schools. It also didn’t help that my grandparents kept lecturing me and my mother how much they disapproved of homeschooling. Despite all of them, I knew what was best for me, so I ignored them.

The time before we discovered full-time traveling was tough for us. About 4 months before we discovered we could travel, I was fighting depression.  Luckily, I found a lady who was willing to let me ride her horses, and through that, I slowly got better. I had grown up around horses, so riding was a nice distraction, it was like therapy.

Then, a restaurant and bar moved into the building just 4 houses down from us. They were okay, at first. But eventually, the smell of grease flowed through the neighborhood, the night life at the bar grew louder and crazier, leading to drunks stumbling through the neighborhood. We could feel the beat of the music from the bar and up 4 houses to us, too.This all lead to neighborhood rivalries, fights, and soon, the area was a commonplace for cops. The neighborhood was going to the pits.

During that time, the only fun thing my mother and I did was couponing. She was an extreme coupon-er,  our garage was stocked with hygiene products, paper goods, pet food, and tons of pizza and Magnum ice cream bars in the deep freezer. So, shopping and saving money? Yes, please!

Coupon-ing, and our dogs. We had 4 dogs and and a cat named Kitty. Our pets were the life of the party. A Catahoula, a Beagle, Shit-zu, and a Chihuahua. Quite the gang, right? We had one spot by the lake where the dogs would run around and swim until they just about collapsed. That was our getaway spot. Wild blackberries grew right along the road. We used to pick them and Mom would make delicious tea out of them.

One day, we were going through The Unschooled Bus’s Facebook page. A family of 5 were traveling around the U.S in a converted school bus. They homeschooled their 3 kids as well. After going through their pictures and reading their story, my mom looked at me and said, “Why not? Let’s travel. Nothing is keeping us here anyway.”

A couple days later, we go to a dealer, switch out our Ford Fusion for a nice, sturdy truck. We purchased a tan Dodge Ram, and it even has a truck bed cover!

Then, we prepared for the garage sale and started sticking price tags to our things.  And just like that, we were on our way to traveling full-time. We told no one what we were doing, in fear of changing our mind and talking us down.

That next weekend, we sold about half of our things. During the week, we looked at trailer and RV listings.  We decided to check one out a couple hours away from us. It was perfect. A 23ft. travel trailer. It was a perfect size for us. It was cheap enough to pay it off in cash once we sold absolutely everything.  We put a down payment on it, and said we’d pick it up after our second garage sale.

We listed the rest of our furniture on Facebook and eBay as well, and just like that, all we had left was our valuables and our pets.

The night before we were going to pick up the trailer, mom got a feeling something was going to happen.  Earlier that day, we found a bullet hole in the mailbox. We had told a few strangers what our plan was, and since we had all of the money from the garage sale on us in the house, we didn’t want to risk getting broken into and someone stealing the money, so we drove to a neighboring town and spent the night in a hotel.

We picked up our trailer/new home and smoothly towed it back to the house… Until we had to learn how to back it into the driveway. An older man was driving by and decided to help us. It took around 45 minutes to back it in, but we did it! One of our neighbors, an elderly couple, came out and clapped and cheered.

That night, we threw everything in the trailer, preparing to hit the road the next morning. I was giddy with excitement and carelessness. When the people who lived next door to us (who had become our enemies) came home the husband stared at the trailer for a minute, like he was actually considering asking us what was going on.  I grinned like a fool when I threw another plastic tub into the trailer and looked back at him. It was a smart-ass smirk, one that said “Yup, bye, jerk!”. With that, he went inside his house.

I felt beyond elated. We were leaving. We were getting out of that town that only caused drama, we were going to prove nothing to anybody except ourselves. We were going to live life to the fullest, the way it should be lived.  There were no limits.

We had the truck running with our new house in tow the next morning, the pets and the last of our things packed in. We stood under the eve of the house after saying goodbye to the stick-n-brick, watching as hail the size of baseballs beat down on the truck and trailer, praying windows and the roof would be okay. Of course, this was Oklahoma, and their storms are wicked. We made a dash to the truck and took off slowly, but once we were out of town limits, the weather cleared and we were on our way!

By St. Louis, MO, Kitty was still meowing/crying, Manchu (the Shit-zu) had thrown up, family started calling to ask what the hell we were doing, and we had taken the wrong interstate exit in the middle of St. Louis in rush hour traffic.  The adventure had begun!

And that’s the story of how we started traveling!

Three years later, we are still traveling, I’m still homeschooled, Manchu the Shit-zu and Buster the Beagle are still with us. I’ve seen 58 states, excluding Iowa;  Alaska and Canada are this summer!  I’ve gone shrimping, canoed in the Okefenokee Swamp with a ranger’s wife and her homeschooled daughter, went repelling with a National Park Ranger in Death Valley, became an honorary Boy Scout, went on a birthday surprise glider ride with an Eagle Scout as the pilot, and hiked famous trails in National Parks. I’ve met the coolest, adventurous, nonjudgemental, and brightest people who love life! I’m learning life lessons, history, and geography without sitting in a desk in a classroom, but out in nature! A hands-on-experience of a lifetime!

So,  “Home” is where I am and have been. The world is my home. And since it’s my home, I must explore it.

If you have the chance to travel, DO IT. Take the leap.

Bring your kids, they’ll love the adventure! Bring your rambunctious pets! Tag along with friends, go on a road trip!

Go for a drive out of state. Take a hike in nature. Meet new and different types of people. Discover different cultures.

JUST GET OUT THERE.  You’ll be amazed, surprised, and speechless.

 

With love,

The 17 year old hippie/gypsy.

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