Here’s the second set of “20 Questions for RV Families”. To have your family featured, please read the questions and e-mail me your answers (along with a family photo).
Wright on Time Books: Tell me a bit about your family.
BareNakedFamily: We are a family of five that traded one American Dream for another leaving the corporate world after a nine year career to find our own Family business. We gave away most of our belongings, cars, and a psycho cat and moved into a 37 foot RV with three kids, two dogs, and one cat. Pulling the kids out of school we had no idea about homeschooling, but knew we’d figure it out along the way. We launched our website for friends and Family to keep up with our travels and became known as the BareNakedFamily which represented shedding material stuff to find our American Dream. After traveling around North America for five years, we homebased in Austin, TX in a 545 sq. ft house. We worked and created many different successful Family businesses on the road, but are now fulltime employees of our three kids who are on the verge of launching their first businesses into the world. We are giving back to them what they’ve given to us all these years , the freedom and support to find our place in Family business.
Wright on Time Books: How long has your family (or did your family) live in an RV?
BareNakedFamily: We traveled for about five years before moving into backpacks and living in Mt. Shasta, CA for a winter with fellow RV’ers in their homebase.
Wright on Time Books: What states/countries has your family traveled to?
BareNakedFamily: Our Family traveled to 43 states, Canada, and little bit of Mexico. Canada becoming a favorite for us and our dream place.
Wright on Time Books: Are you homeschoolers? Do you call yourselves roadschoolers? What type of homeschoolers are you (or do you prefer to not give your family a label)?
BareNakedFamily: We prefer not to give our Family a label because we take something from all those categories and combine it for a well rounded approach to education. In the first few years of traveling, we were really into identifying ourselves however we could, making a statement about who we were and what we stood for only to realize that was still a very conditioned part of our old life and no one but us really cared. It’s like we matured and became comfortable with just being who we were, label or not. And that helps people understand you, your way of education, and your way of living a lot easier.
Wright on Time Books: How well does homeschooling work while living on the road?
BareNakedFamily: Ridiculously well. It made homeschooling so much easier to have the reality of America available at our fingertips. We saw Niagara Falls and rode to the bottom of the Falls, studied the witch trials in Salem, Mass, been to the battlefields of Gettysburg, witnessed the recovery efforts of 9-11 with our Dad who was working at Ground Zero, been in the world’s highest freestanding building, seen the chair Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in, watched the Space Shuttle Columbia lift off and never return, driven with the Navajo Indians on their lands, squeezed into cracks of the earth and witnessed the Slot Canyons from the inside, stood above the Grand Canyon, looked into the Meteor Crater, driven the stunning roads around the Pacific ocean, hung out with many stars in Hollywood, followed some of our favorite bands, and played tag at rest areas at 3:00 am. And we did all this with no schedule making it easy to achieve and really take advantage of.
Wright on Time Books: Do you have a “home base”? This is especially important for legal homeschooling, isn’t it? Did you sell all of your possessions, or keep things in storage?
Yes, we have a homebase. But choose to ignore the politics of homeschooling and couldn’t tell you whether it was important legally or not. We are too busy with life and homeschooling to worry about the nay sayers. We pulled our kids out of school and never looked back or cared about what the government thought about any of it.
Wright on Time Books: What resources did you use both before you began your adventure and/or while you were on the road? Any particular books or websites that you couldn’t have lived without?
BareNakedFamily: Our belief in the importance of our Family. No matter what, that was the driving force in all that we did. They way we were living in the typical American Dream was literally tearing us apart and we knew we couldn’t let that break us. With a desire to have a solid relationship with each other, raise our kids with principles and integrity, and create our own Family business that would afford us time and resource we simply relied on ourselves. It was trusting that we were doing the right thing for our Family and being solid in that. That’s what inspired us even on the days we were wondering what the [heck] we were doing. As we were getting ready to hit the road we found the Nodlands website and connected with how they did it. They were also a huge inspiration for us. We also used www.FamiliesOnTheRoad.com a lot teaching us about a few things before leaving.
Wright on Time Books: How hard is it to deal with the maintenance of the RV? What are the most difficult aspects? Who handles what?
BareNakedFamily: It can be very hard. We lost our brakes as we drove over the Hoover Dam and have broken down on highways all over the place and in the middle of nowhere. But, just like living in a house you have maintenance issues and make it work. We both had to handle any issues, because with a huge rig and three kids you need to be resourceful solving the problem quickly. It’s not a man thing or woman thing, it’s a we’re broken down in the middle of nowhere thing and we need to get outta here thing.
Wright on Time Books: How large is your RV? What is it like? We want to know where everything goes and where everyone sleeps. In an ideal world, would you have wanted a bigger RV, smaller RV, or something the same size but with a different configuration?
BareNakedFamily: Our RV was 37 ft. long and beautiful. It served us very well and was completely given a rock n roll makeover from its previous life of fake wood and boring decor. We couldn’t have asked for a better RV for our Family and it fit everything we needed just fine. Depending on whatever business we were doing at the time, it often stored all of our [things] just fine. Most of our stuff was able to be stored in the cabinets and closets of the RV and the little spaces everywhere.
We never wanted a bigger RV, but at times would have loved a slide. We lied about the length of our RV to fit into some parks along the way since a lot of places were built for smaller RVs but we were content with ours and knew we could always make it fit. Having bunk beds would have been a plus, but we managed just fine too. Austin slept on the dinette which folds into a bed and the girls slept on the couch which folded out into a double bed. Greg and I slept in the back room in the RV which had a queen size bed.
Wright on Time Books: How often do you move to a new location? Do gas prices and campground costs affect this? Where do you usually stay the night? Do you have a regular route that you repeat, or do you continually seek out new places to visit?
BareNakedFamily: For the first year we moved around a lot, eager to see new sights. When we found a place that we really liked we’d often stay for a month or two getting to learn what it was like to live there. Some of our favorite places we often went back to and stayed another few months again and again. We also followed the weather a lot. Gas prices and cost of campgrounds didn’t really affect the way we made our decisions, it was more about where we wanted to be. We paid a lot to stay in places like Malibu because we had a lot of fun and enjoyed it there quite a bit. Where else can you watch whales migrate while doing the laundry in an RV park perched above the Malibu coastline? We’ve stayed for months in one of the most expensive campgrounds, Campland on the Bay, in San Diego because our kids have a ball there and we have lots of RV friends there fulltime and stationary. Nothing like pulling back into a place where no one questions your lifestyle!
We managed to travel a route from West to East taking us through Texas quite a bit to see friends and Family. In those routes we’d often hit some of our regular places in the middle of nowhere and cute little towns that we loved visiting.
Wright on Time Books: Who does the driving? Do you ever have issues driving such a large vehicle? Do you avoid cities or curvy/narrow roads up mountains, or do you take them in stride?
BareNakedFamily: Greg and I both did the driving. It was intimidating at first to be driving such a large rig, but you quickly get the hang of it. I loved driving it and would settle in for hours of a long drive in the middle of the desert with a great CD. Greg loved driving at night and we’d often put the kids down to sleep giving us time to sit and talk into the night. One day we left San Antonio, TX and were loving driving and talking so much that nineteen hours later we had no idea where we had driven to. Looking around for road signs, we discovered that we had just pulled into Phoenix, AZ! Sure, I would have loved to avoid certain curvy roads like the Blue Ridge Parkway when we had to turn around blocking all lanes of traffic on a two lane road or realizing that in the Northeast, parkways are for passenger cars. We often tried to plan to take routes that would take us around some large cities and mountain passes.
Wright on Time Books: How long have you been on the road/plan to be on the road? Has this worked out to your liking?
BareNakedFamily: When we left, we originally planned on being gone for a year trying to find a place that we wanted to settle down in and start a Family business. After that year, we ended up back in our starting town of Issaquah, WA, rented a place, and signed a six month lease thinking we would try to start a Family business from there. Moving everything out of the RV and into the house, we were content for six weeks before realizing that we could no longer be in a house and craved the excitement of the life we had created on the road. After spending that time setting up and living in the box again, we knew that this is not us anymore. Becoming bored and antsy, we found someone to take over our lease, packed up the RV, and left after only ‘settling’ for six weeks. Getting in the RV, we headed to Yellowstone National Park for the next month, disappearing into the woods to find out what we wanted to do. It was there in Yellowstone on a drive across a remote meadow as we were looking to spot our first grizzly bear that we coined the name BareNakedFamily for our existing cheesy family website. I say cheesy because ’til that point it was designed to ensure everyone else that we weren’t screwing up our kids trying to justify that the smiles and locations that we were traveling to, and not for our Family. That quickly changed when we coined our new name, finding the desire to share the more intimate thoughts and struggles of living on the road. We realized with this newfound name how much we had still been living for others, trying to assure them we knew what we were doing even though we weren’t always clear and we were ok with that. From that point on we have always been BareNakedFamily which has afforded us a life on the road and a life in small spaces when we’re not. So, yeah I’d say it worked to our liking!
Wright on Time Books: How do you handle privacy issues while living in close quarters?
BareNakedFamily: I assume if you’re talking about privacy, you’re asking how do you have alone time as a couple? In that case, it’s not about handling it at all to us. There is only opportunity to talk about life, love, and reality of what intimacy looks like. The only thing to handle is the installing of a lock on the inside of our bedroom door. We’ve been very clear with our kids about these kinds of things and don’t view it as a challenge or a taboo subject requiring handling. We’ve done what we’ve always done and if someone has questions, we simply answer them. Trust is important in a Family and in a tight space, so it’s our intention to always be honest and real with our kids giving them a pure representation of love.
Wright on Time Books: How do you keep in touch with friends and family? Do you visit them? Do they visit you? Phone, e-mail, etc.? What about holidays and birthdays?
BareNakedFamily: We usually are able to see our friends and Family often by driving through and staying with them in driveways, campgrounds, and having them come stay with us. Keeping in touch with the Internet and cells phones make it easy to stay in touch with everyone as we have traveled. We’ve spent holidays with Family, but it depends on where we are at the time.
Wright on Time Books: Does anyone ever get homesick for your old life? How do you deal with that?
BareNakedFamily: Not really. There are aspects of our old life that we miss, but know that we could not go back because we are more awakened to what we love. Even in the hard times, we know that we are doing the right thing because we are doing it together, rather than doing it the way we used to which was all of us going in different directions. We usually discuss it if we’re having a hard time or missing some things, but always know that we are much happier than we were then.
Wright on Time Books: How do you pay for your living expenses? How do you make money while on the road? Do you work full-time/part-time? Do you work certain times of the year and travel other times? Have any of your children had paying jobs?
BareNakedFamily: For us, we pay for our living expenses by working. Our work has looked a lot of different ways since being on the road, but always had the same goal ~ to work together as a Family. We’ve accomplished this by working in construction, vending at festivals and events, hotel management, had our own production company, started a non-profit, worked in retail, contract labor, and have been writers and publicists. Many people still ask us how we do it and the only answer that we’ve been able to give is to just do something. These positions we have created and we have often sold ourselves and our ways to others for the opportunity to do what we like and work together. There is no right way to do any of this and we’ve had to take jobs along the way to stay afloat, but always choosing the ones that would allow our Family to work together. There are many ways to work together on the road, but not one simple answer to give. If you can’t find the work, create it.
Wright on Time Books: Do you have a towed vehicle? Bicycles? Mopeds? Etc.?
BareNakedFamily: We towed our 74 VW Thing behind our RV along with the kids bicycles which were more often a pain to have. We got rid of bikes and bought bikes off and on along the way making it a very ridiculous part of RVing! There would be months the kids didn’t even touch them and Greg and I were tempted to haul them off in the middle of the night!
Wright on Time Books: Do you have any pets that travel with your family? How do they like living on the road?
BareNakedFamily: Our two dogs and cat traveled with us for years on the road. Our cat loved being on the road and always came back to the RV wherever we were. She went missing in Arizona one day and we waited for her return for three weeks before having to move on. It was heartbreaking to think of leaving her there and not seeing her again, but we had to go. Three months later, some fellow RV’ers had found her body on hike right outside the RV park we had been staying at and retrieved her collar which had her name tag and vet info. They wrote a wonderful letter to our Family telling us how they found her and sent the collar back to our vet who then sent it to us.
Our two dogs traveled with us for years before moving on too. We had a ball having our pets travel with us and enjoyed watching them see new places with us. They were wonderful pets and are always missed by our Family.
Wright on Time Books: Where is the best place you’ve been according to each member of your family?
BareNakedFamily: We absolutely consider Canada one of the best places we have ever been to! We also love Salem, MA and have celebrated Halloween there making it a favorite for us. San Diego, Malibu, and Seattle are an all time go to place for us as well. These are the really special places to us.
Wright on Time Books: How can we find out more about you and your family? Website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter, etc.? Please tell us also what the next great adventure for your family is!
BareNakedFamily: You can read more about us at www.BareNakedFamily.com and also find us on Facebook, first name Bare last name NakedFamily. They won’t let us have Naked in our user name, so we are winging it that way!
We are shifting our working together principles and letting our kids lead the way for the next chapter of BareNakedFamily. For years, they have followed us around the country with all the BareNakedFamily projects that we have created, giving us constant support and exemplary work ethic no matter what we were doing. We want to honor them and all their hard work and continue teaching them how to work for themselves doing what they love. So, in true BareNakedFamily style, we accepted the position to become fulltime employees to our kids helping them launch their passion and their art into the world, giving back to them what they have given to us all these years. It’s our intention to help them get out in the world and produce what they believe in using all of our talents and skills we’ve learned along the way. Now, when people ask us what do we do for a living, we simply tell them we work for our kids…You can read more about working for the kids and keep up with us and what we’re doing on www.BareNakedFamily.com.