BoyinkFamily

Michael Boyink – Fulltime Traveler

Step Out on Faith

We were your typical home-schooling suburban family living in a 1,000 square foot ranch in Western Michigan. As Christians, we have personal values, so our children were always homeschooled. We weren’t caught up in the school system and its teaching and scheduling.

I grew up taking long vacations. My Dad worked for a city and had 4-5 weeks of vacation per year that he could take all at once. Twice we took big RV trips out west through the mountains. By the time I was 16, I had visited 38 states.

What made you decide to finally realize your lifelong dream?

It started out as a joke. We didn’t take it seriously until our oldest (son) turned 13 and my daughter was 10. The transition to the teen years brought home the temporary nature of our family unit. If we wanted to do something cool, adventurous, fun and special, we had to do it now.

We realized there was nothing holding us to our house. Our website development work was portable and so was school. We cooked up an idea to travel the USA by RV for a year. Since we were homeschoolers teaching our children about things and places, traveling by RV meant we could just go there rather than read about it.

Starting our research, we didn’t look to see if we should do it, we looked for reasons to NOT do it.

Our primary concern was the house and if we could keep it or have to sell it. Some families choose to rent their houses for additional income. In order for us to do that, we would have had to remortgage it. Looking closely at the numbers, we thought it best to let a friend stay in our house for a year. We found a woman in her 50s, who had never lived alone. She stayed there for free and took care of the place while we were gone.

What were the specific obstacles that you faced?

Choosing and buying an RV. They came in different shapes, configurations and price points. Figuring out what to live in for a year was a puzzle. After looking at all the options, we decided a fifth wheel and truck was the best approach for us.

Also, my mother-in-law was not happy with what we were doing. She said, ‘You’re taking my grandchildren away and I’ll never see them again.’ We promised to make a couple of visits home that first year to help ease her concerns.

What helped you get through them?

Choosing the constraint to keep the house and only travel for one year. Worst case if we didn’t like it we could bail early and come back home. Choosing the right constraints to help you shop and make the decisions makes it easier, even if the constraints change a little later on.

Were there people who tried to discourage you?

Someone commented that our kids were being cloistered. They were thinking of us all being cramped together in one RV but we knew we were going out to see the whole country.

We are from Western Michigan and it is a bit of a cultural bubble. It’s primarily a white, middle class Dutch community. We wanted the kids to see other places. One concern of homeschooling is what happens when they go off to college. Many kids implode due to suddenly being exposed to a number of new and different cultures and situations. We wanted to expose them to those cultures and situations in a coached fashion where the kids could ask questions and we could talk about it as a family.

What advice would you give to others who are contemplating finally living their dream?

Just do it. If you’re at a point in life where you think, ‘I’ve done all the things successful people do. Is that it? Is it all downhill from here?’ Take a risk and try something. If after three or four months you don’t like it, you can always say, ‘Let’s go home.’ You tried it, didn’t like it, and now do something different.

Do something cool, unusual and special. I wanted a good story to tell. We only have one shot at this parenting thing. Let’s try to do something amazing.

If it’s a dream you want to do, get after it. It’s not a bad thing to not have the dream and keep doing what you’re doing. But make the decision. Step out on faith. Then the resources will rise up to greet you.

To learn more about the Boyink’s full time travel adventures, visit here.

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