Solo Travel with @tincanadventure

Hi, I am Stacey and I am a solo female who travels full time in a 25’ Airstream! I am totally living my dream life right now. I have worked remotely for the majority of my career (social media strategist/photographer/designer) and dreamt of one day living and working from an Airstream. My parents have always pushed me to follow my dreams and truly made my dream come true when they surprised me with an Airstream for Christmas 2 years ago. I’m not much for planning, so within 4 months, I had sold everything that didn’t fit in the Airstream and hit the road. I didn’t have a plan, I just knew I wanted to surf all along the coast from San Diego to Tofino, BC.

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Did I say I wasn’t much for planning? Well the reality of this lifestyle is that it takes A LOT of planning. I think that’s something most of us either don’t see coming or ignore? Or maybe that was just me… I guess I just never thought about it. But the idea that living on the road is “pure freedom” is ironic because in my opinion it takes more planning than living in a stationary house. Not only do you have to plan out where you are staying next etc. but every time you roll into a new area you have to look up and plan out how you are getting to the grocery store, to the laundromat, the post office, etc. Basically google maps becomes your best friend and you spend way more time looking stuff up than you probably want. 

The up side to all of that is every day is truly an adventure and that’s something that awakens my soul. I love the unknown and I crave being challenged. It also pays off when you score a sweet spot and can look around and take it all in. One of my most favorite things about this lifestyle is being able to roll up to family and friends homes and be neighbors with them for a few nights. There is truly nothing better! Also, the full time nomad community is incredible. It’s comforting to know that there are others out there who crave the same sort of zest in life that you do. I love that instagram and similar platforms have allowed us to find each other and connect not only online but also in person. 

A few apps I love and recommend for “planning” are AllStays (for campground locating), Waze (for navigation because it also informs you of things in the road etc… very handy when you are pulling a trailer), and inRoute (to inform you of any weather along your route, very handy when you are traveling in the winter and want to avoid storms!).

Despite some of the challenges, this lifestyle is totally all worth it and I absolutely love every second of it. I originally thought I would just do it for a year, and here I am almost 2 years in :) If you even have the slightest itch to do something, I recommend you just go for it. Figure it out along the way… you don’t need a plan ;) Happy travels!

WEBSITEwww.tincanadv.com

INSTAGRAM: HERE

YOUTUBE: HERE

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Pursuing Adoption While Living Nomadically

How about a bit of an informal introduction for those who don’t know us. We are the McCloud’s, my husband Casey is our fearless leader, head bread winner and my favorite forever and always. Our daughters Taylan (9) and Chole (6) keep this unschooling mama on her toes. Colton and Mackie are our loyal road dawgs (see what I did there) and then there’s me. I am Raquel, the wordsmith behind https://www.instagram.com/mccloudlife/. I can’t say that I have a niche unless life is a niche. I love to write and share raw and authentic life and for us that includes a few big topics that fit within specific communities. One of those communities is nomadic tiny home dwellers, we sold our acre of land and 1,200 sq ft brick house to call our 38’ pull behind home. Unlike a majority of this community though we are attached to my husband’s job. As a union laborer (hopeful welder) we set up camp wherever they send us. Nearly 2 years in and we have called Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan home, as well as a campground in our hometown of Cookeville, TN. So, while tiny living is one aspect of our adventure it isn’t the only or our most important. I think my voice shouts loudest for choosing hope despite poor circumstances and adoption.

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I have a very unique perspective of adoption and before we talk about our current journey I want to share what got us here. For those unfamiliar with the adoption community we have a symbol called the adoption triad. It’s a triangle with each side representing a piece of that relationship- adoptee, adoptive family and birth family. A heart encompasses the triad representing the love woven throughout. Although adoption was not the chosen word it describes the relationship between my grandparents and I. My parents were a little self absorbed and struggled with addiction and as a result my pa and granny stepped in to raise me. After they gained custody at two years old my mother walked away, I’ve not seen her since. To make a long story shorter I will cut through the details to say my teenage years found me filling voids with alcohol, drugs and boys. My wild lifestyle came to an abrupt halt at 14 when a pregnancy test read positive. I share frequently about my adoption journey as a birthmother and how that decision was the hardest choice I’ve ever made. I share about our amazing relationship, her incredible parents and my own joys and struggles as I’ve navigated these somewhat uncharted waters. It’s the least talked about side of the triad, followed by the adoptees and then adoptive parents being the most celebrated. It’s a personal calling to both expose and celebrate this title, what led me here and be a voice of relatability for those who need it. So at this point that leaves one side of the triad and yes, I’ve experienced it as well. Adoptive mom. Our littlest blessing was adopted. Nothing about our life has been conventional and her adoption story is no different. We had physical responsibility of her by 4 weeks, legal custody by 4 months and finalized her adoption at 4 years old, just 3 months shy of her 5th birthday.

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This was all before selling our traditional home and packing our life, all of our belongings, 2 big humans, 2 tiny humans and 2 furry companions in a camper. This was before we ditched a stationary address, before we pulled away from the only town our kids have ever lived in and before we walked away from the “American dream” to pursue our own. I can say that adding to our family through adoption was not on our radar. Casey and I have struggled with infertility for nearly 9 years now and were making peace with our inability to grow our family. His career isn’t slowing down anytime soon and while many choose to travel for a set time this is our plan for the foreseeable future.

How? When? Where? Why? Casey and I lost religion and found God early in our relationship so our faith has been an important factor for most of our married life. It’s what guided us into taking in our youngest. Had we stopped to count the cost, both mentally and financially we would have likely declined. My faith is what gives me a bold voice to share my story as a survivor of sexual abuse, verbal abuse, addiction, promiscuity and redemption. Our faith is what led us here.

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Casey took a winter layoff and we headed to our hometown to visit with friends and family that we hadn’t seen in months. Shortly after arriving I caught wind of the news. A friend I had spoke to years prior about opening an adoption center in town had finally seen her prayer materialize. I immediately secured a meeting with her to offer my story and my time. I was willing to speak on adoption, talk to birth mothers, hopeful adoptive moms, whatever I could do to help advocate for all sides of the adoption triad. I left that meeting feeling a tug. When I got home Casey and I discussed it and nearly instantly felt the same thing placed on our hearts … we were being called to adopt again. 

Every state has different adoption laws so the first thing we did was contact the adoption agency to ask if our nomadic lifestyle would put up an immediate roadblock. After what seemed like an eternity we were given the green light. They had spent nearly 2 weeks pouring through law books and found NOTHING that said a traveling family couldn’t adopt. So honestly and truly, thats the BIG secret … ask! I think so often we seal our own fate before we ever take the first step because we are afraid the answer will be no. And perhaps in some cases it will be, but a “no” leaves you no worse off than wondering what the answer could have been for the rest of your life. If I’m being honest, we wholeheartedly expected the answer to be no. We were hopeful yet reserved and completely surprised by a strong and hearty ‘YES!”

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The next steps looked like they would have for any hopeful adoptive family with one exception. We had to stay stationary until our home study, finger prints and the other mountains of paperwork were complete. A ridiculous amount of paperwork, like an INSANE amount of paperwork ya’ll! I think we were most nervous about our home study though. We knew this would look different to our caseworker and was unsure how she would perceive this tiny space that we so lovingly call home. I think the most important part of this journey is transparency and honesty. We didn’t try to overcomplicate or paint an unrealistic picture of what our tiny home and lifestyle looks like. Our kids do share a small space. We don’t value an abundance of toys. We co sleep and cuddle, baby wear and cloth diaper. We do not believe we need a 2,000 sq foot house for a toddler to take his first steps in when we can give him a whole wide world of open expanses, soft grass and gritty sand. We don’t need space for a high chair, changing table, crib or swing. We live fully and love wholly within this space and that is all we need. Materialistically there is a checklist but it isn’t as strict as you might think. Our kids bunk room has 2 beds and a table that converts into a third bed. That third bed option was key. To pass a home study, at least in Tennessee every child needs to have their our bed, not bedroom thank God, just their own bed. We have that. We also have two kids that are happy and healthy and have flourished in this lifestyle for nearly two years now. At the end of the visit it was confirmed that we passed!

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Since sharing our current adoption journey I have had so many people ask HOW we could possibly pursue adoption while living nomadically and in a camper. There are so many families who have left suburbia to experience a more intentional life. Less things do not mean less dreams and for many, adoption is one of their dreams. I am no expert in the legalities and cannot possibly advise you on what is best for you and your family but if you feel called to adopt while living a non traditional life I urge you to contact an adoption agency within your home state and start the conversation. Whether the answer is yes or no it is far better than living the rest of your life wondering, “what if?”

P.s. If you would like to support our adoption we have a t-shirt fundraiser running through March and have set a crazy goal to sell 1000 shirts! The design was created by a sweet friend in response to our vision of what this new chapter of life means to us. We view life as a grand adventure and this is another chapter for our epic quest to live fully, intentionally, and embracing every simple moment. 

https://halotn.com/products/its-time-for-a-new-advenure-adopting-baby-mccloud-fundraiser

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Bus Life with @simplyusandabus

We have always been a bit spontaneous.  A bit may be an understatement.  To be honest, we’re a lot spontaneous and a little crazy, but wouldn’t have it any other way… let me backup a bit, introductions first.

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We are Aaron & Philan.  We have been married for just over 10 years and have three kids, Cashin, Brig, and Freya.  We were from Rockford, Illinois, but now we live full-time in our skoolie. Here’s how it all started.

About a year and a half ago, my wife Philan asked me to go on a little weekend road trip together.  We love to travel, see new places, explore new cities, but this trip was different. It wasn’t just to experience somewhere new, it was to find a new place to live, so we thought.  We had become consumed with stuff.  A bigger house, remodeling a kitchen, kids toys filling rooms, it was too much.  We realized none of that was making us happy, it was time for a change. After a few weekend trips to Asheville, North Carolina we were ready to sell our house and move there.  We sat down and thought about what would make us happy. The more we thought about it, the more we realized that we needed a bigger change than just a new location. We needed to completely downsize, to slow down, to experience life together more with our kids.

That’s when we decided to take a year off and travel.  After looking at RV’s for a few weeks, and not liking anything we were seeing, Philan said, “what about a school bus.”  We had heard of converted school busses, but at that point, had never seen one, or researched skoolies. So we jumped on social media and started looking.  What initially sold us on the skoolie idea was being able to build it ourselves, therefore, being able to make it our home, not just a purchased motorhome. After all, our plan was to live on the bus full-time, not just to travel for a few weeks a year.  

Two weeks later, we found our bus.  We had been looking at auction sites and on a whim, I looked on Facebook Marketplace.  A bus popped up about an hour from our house. A few days later, we drove down to “see” the bus and came home that afternoon as proud owners of a big yellow school bus.  Our kids flipped out when they saw what we had just bought. They thought it was the coolest thing and wanted to sleep in it that first night. We skipped that idea but we did take it on a road trip the next weekend to get an idea of how it would be like to travel in a bus.  Maybe it was the bean bag chairs we put around the bus for them to ride in, or maybe it being in a really big bus, but for the first time they all just chilled in the bus. We were all hooked.

From November 2017 through February 2018, we gutted the bus.  It’s quite cold in upstate Illinois during the winter so it was slow going to start.  We ran propane torpedo heaters and did demo work in the freezing cold. After getting our layout down on paper, we began our build.  We started our build in March 2018 and finished up at the beginning of July. For the last two weeks of the build, while our kids were away at camp, we were both working on the bus for 16 hours a day.  After spending that many hours working in 90 degree weather, Philan told me, “That’s it. Tomorrow we’re leaving.” And with that, we were finished. We needed to get on the road.

I’m not going to lie.  That first month was rough.  We had spent so much time working on the bus that we didn’t take the time to plan where we were going, what we were actually doing.  We broke down on day one. Only 7 miles from home, we were on the side of the highway, stopped on the shoulder of an exit ramp, on our bus that just died.  A million things went through my head as I unhooked our car from the back of the bus and sent Philan and the kids to a nearby restaurant. I wondered if all that work, all the blood, sweat, and tears were all for nothing.  We had rented out our house for a year, gave away a ton of stuff, packed up the rest of our stuff and put it into storage. What now? It’s a horrible feeling to think that your year long journey would be over on day one. Luckily, it wasn’t anything major.  We were low on antifreeze and the engine cutoff automatically to prevent it from overheating. Over the course of the first month, we blew out a wheel bearing on our trailer; realized the bus didn’t have enough power to travel safely over the Rocky Mountains while pulling our car; left our car in Fargo, North Dakota; realized we didn’t like spending as much time in big cities as much as we thought we did; Brig fractured his arm; our bikes, bike rack, and rear window all got damaged; and worst of all, we bickered about everything.  

We also saw some amazing places, met some incredible people and learned a lot.  A lot about being a family, a lot about working out our problems, both individually and together as a team.  We began to learn the ins and outs of living in a small space, traveling full time, and spending 24 hours a day with just the five of us.  

It brought us together.  It brought our kids together, it brought our family together. It is not always easy living together in a converted 20 year old school bus, but it is completely rewarding and totally worth it.  We don’t miss the stuff we left behind, but we value the stuff we have with us. We have been on the road for 8 months and while counting down the months to go until our one year goal, we are making plans of where to head to for the next year.  

Tiny living isn’t for everyone, but it is for us.  We love it and we’re looking forward to continuing for the next few years.  

We would love for you to follow our journey.  We are on social media @simplyusandabus. We post the same content to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, so follow us on whichever platform you prefer.

Thanks for letting us share a part of our lives with you.

Aaron & Philan

Simply Us and a Bus

Instagram: HERE

Facebook: HERE

Twitter: HERE

A few details about our bus:

  • 1999 International Amtran Genesis 30’ school bus.

  • Navistar dt466e diesel engine

  • Allison automatic transmission

  • Diesel heaters

  • Rooftop AC units

  • 990 watts of solar with off grid battery setup

  • 225 square feet of interior space

  • Triple bunk bed

  • Full bed

  • Kitchen

  • Living room/dining space

  • 70 square foot rooftop deck

  • We travel with 4 kayaks, 5 bikes, and 1 dog

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Living Tiny with @tincanramblers

So excited to share J & Brit today from @TinCanRamblers. I started following them when they lived in a cute renovated Airstream & now they live in an RV they totally remodeled. Wait until you see how beautiful it is!


Hey there! We wanted to share a little about our journey to living tiny in hopes for you to get to know us a bit more and to help anyone out there who may be considering the lifestyle. =)

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Way back when (or at least it feels like it)…

Three years ago you could find my husband (J) and I (Brit) living in a 3 bedroom house in the suburbs of Nashville, TN. We loved our house at the time and honestly when we bought it we thought we would live there for decades but that plan changed.  We started to feel stuck in the daily routine and wanted more adventure out of life.  Our journey into this lifestyle started when I was obsessing over tiny houses and sending my husband absolutely everything I could find on tiny living. I was 110% sold on the idea and the thought of selling everything we owned sounded so freeing. I found so much inspiration from others who had already taken the leap and shared their stories through social media/blogs/youtube channels.  I could just picture us rolling down the road with everything we owned in the home being pulled behind us! It took a while for me to convince my husband (he wasn’t sold on a tiny house) - but finally he came around and instead of building a tiny house he pitched the idea of an RV…..and the rest is history.

Our main intentions in living tiny were to pay off debt, have financial freedom, and to be able to travel.  We started downsizing immediately and sold/donated pretty much everything we owned - except a small amount of clothing. This process was so eye-opening, to go through the stuff we had been carrying around for years for no reason at all other than we thought we “needed” it. We put our house on the market, luckily it sold very quickly and we moved into an apartment while we renovated a 1980 Airstream Excella. We spent the winter completely gutting and rebuilding our new home on wheels, from flooring, to plumbing, to electrical, etc.. Luckily, we had family along the way to help us build our dream and we learned so much from the experience. We poured so much love into our little home and it was finally happening right before us. It definitely wasn’t easy though, we had challenges along the way and things would go wrong - at times it felt like we would never finish. Through this process we learned to not dwell on the problems - just fix them and move forward, it’s all part of the journey.

The following spring we finished the build and moved into our airstream. We were living stationary in Nashville at the time at an RV park. Adjusting to the smaller space took some time, but we quickly fell in love with living tiny.  We lived in our airstream for about a year until we decided we wanted a little more space. We decided to sell the airstream and buy a travel trailer with slides. We ended up purchasing a Forest River Wildwood 27REI which we live in currently. Even though this rv was much newer than our airstream and didn’t need a complete remodel, we knew we wanted to make our new camper feel like home. So the first project on our list was to paint. We painted pretty much everything, the walls, the cabinets, the doors… The paint made such a big difference in the space and it felt so much bigger inside! From there we continued to do projects here and there to update the space and it started feeling like home in no time! I love decor and am always coming up with a new project around the camper or changing something up. =)

What our life looks like currently...We’ve been mostly stationary in Nashville for the majority of the past 2 years, but we’ve been parked in southern Alabama for a couple months now and are looking forward to traveling more soon! If you are considering living stationary for any amount of time, a lot of rv parks offer a discount for monthly stays, and even seasonal rates if you plan to stay the entire season. J works remotely and my job is based out of Nashville. If you are looking for remote work, a great resource that we’ve found to be helpful is www.flexjobs.com. We also have two pups, Rocky is our 5 year old Yorkie/Pom mix and Charlie is our 2 year old Merle Long Haired Chihuahua. They have adjusted so well to RV life and we spend so much more time outdoors than we used to! 
We quickly fell in love with living tiny and don’t foresee stopping anytime soon! We stop and think about our purchases now and whether we actually need an item, because let’s be honest - we just don’t have room for non-essential items. One day when we are done with life on the road, we hope to build a small house in the mountains somewhere and maybe build a camper van for adventures. 
All this to say, if you are considering tiny living we encourage you to take the leap! It may seem scary at first, but the journey will be so rewarding!
If you would like to follow along with our journey we’d love to get to know you - come say hi on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tincanramblers/ . =)

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Airstream Life & Renovation with @thislittleairstream

Miranda Lawson is on the blog today talking about Their tiny living journey & Airstream Renovation. If you’re on the hunt for an amazing wedding photographer, check out her website!


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When I was a kid I played outside. I never wore shoes. I picked potato bugs off potato plants in the garden and spent hours studying them. I dug in the dirt.  I took baths in the creek and chased minnows around in the water with empty yogurt containers. It felt good to play outside. 


When I had my own girls in 2008 and 2010 I wanted them to experience nature in the same way. Then real-life happened. My husband and I worked regular 9-5 jobs. We came home from work exhausted. It was already dark and dinner needed to be made. Then dishes, and homework. and laundry. The same routine, every day. At the end of the day it felt like we were getting nowhere and my kids were growing up fast. This was not the childhood I imagined for them. 


In 2016 I had a wake up call.  A few days after my annual exam, my Dr sent me a Facebook message at 10:00pm (yep, I'm facebook friends with my gynecologist). She asked if she could call me and told me the news. I had cancer.  My life flashed before my eyes and I vowed to make the most of every moment with my family.  I thanked Jesus for my two beautiful girls and I had a hysterectomy. 


A year later, I had another life changing event called Irma. The strongest observed Atlantic hurricane ever plowed straight for my home in SWFL.  I will never forget the days leading up to the monster storm Irma and how I felt the day we left. For the first time in my life, I didn't care about the house. That house and all of the stuff we spent our whole lives working for- WHY did we have it? Its just STUFF. As I drove away from the house, I realized the only thing that mattered was in the car with me. 


In Feb 2018 we decided to change our lifestyle and travel full time in an RV. Our goal was to focus on making memories with our kids and adventuring outdoors.  We bought a 1998 25' Airstream and began preparations.  Over the course of the next 8 months we renovated the Airstream, donated most of our stuff, and sold our house.  We moved into the Airstream in October 2018.  

Some say we're crazy but we are loving our new lifestyle. My kids are adventuring outside and finally experiencing the life I had imagined for them. When I see them covered in dirt at the end of the day I know we made the right decision. 

Follow our adventures at instagram.com/thislittleairstream

Wedding Photography website: http://weddingphotographerfl.com






A Life Change with @aly.tracy

I’m so excited to share Aly on the blog today. What I love about this space is we get to share friends we meet from all over & share the journey we’re on.

Aly Tracy is a wife and a mama (to Avery - 1), and she and her family are full-time RVers. They are currently stationary near Houston, Texas and hope to begin full-time travel just as soon as they can get their debt paid off.  Aly has recently become a life coach and mentor after years of informally coaching friends, family, and colleagues. She’s most passionate about working with people who feel “stuck” in one or more areas of their lives.


Can I be honest from the get-go here?

Talking about myself is hard. 

When Colleen reached out and asked if I could share some about the recent journey the Lord has put me on with my new career path, I felt honored, but then I quickly felt panic. What in the actual heck am I going to say? 

After a bit of brainstorming and thinking it over (plus a little more panic) I realized I needed to talk about this exact thing... how I feel about myself... how we feel about ourselves. 

Why is it so hard to share about myself? Am I worried I’ll sound like I LIKE to talk about myself? Well, yeah. But also, who would want to read a story about ME? I’m nothing special. Also, I’m probably not too great of a writer... so even if they want to read, they’ll probably get a few paragraphs down and be over it. What if they think I think I’m an expert on all of this? Dang it. I should’ve said no to this whole thing. I should’ve waited until I had something really good to say. 

I know I’m not the only one with inner dialogue like this. I know I’m not the only one who creates her own roadblocks, worries about what other people think, and “shoulds” on herself way too much.

And I know I’m not the only one who forgets her worth comes from God alone.

We

all have this inner struggle... we like ourselves, but only sometimes, or we like some parts of ourselves but not others. And for most of us, this struggle comes from thinking we have to look, think, believe, talk, act, etc a certain way to be liked and loved. It’s our human nature to desire acceptance. We were created for relationship. But relationship shouldn’t come at the cost of tearing ourselves down.

I realized not too long ago that so much of the person I had “grown up” to be was built on expectations of others, societal pressures, false beliefs, shoulds, and pure comfort. No wonder it was hard to love that person! That person wasn’t really me.

So, I decided it was time to get to know Aly... no holding back. I was going to love me for me. And what I found is a much freer, more joyful and alive Aly. When I let go of the shoulds, when I stopped worrying so much  about what people might think, when I began to embrace that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that I am unique and the world needs me to show up as me (that’s why I’m here!!); when I began lifting up gratitude for being the exact person I am here and now, my whole life began to change.

I’m not kidding...

We literally sold our whole house worth of stuff and moved into an RV.

I left the company I had been with for 4 years.

I started writing a book. 

I began pursuing a brand new career.

I began really dreaming for the first time in my adult life. 

When we get in tune with who we really are, and ultimately, who God is calling us to be, crazy (and also totally amazing) things happen.

Now obviously, I still struggle with inner dialogue issues (aka the catalyst for writing this blog post). I probably always will. The thing about it is: I’m more aware now. I know to listen for the voice of truth over all the noise. I know my default mode is worry. But I’m working on it. I’m working on being a better version of me (the real me) every day. And that’s what I encourage each of you to do, too.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you work to get to know you better:

Who do I truly want to be?

What things matter most to me?

What is holding unnecessary space in my life because I don’t really care about it?

What kinds of things make me come alive?

How can I do more/enjoy more of those things?

What kinds of things do I believe make a person brave? Successful? Worthy?

Am I truly open to God’s work in my life? 

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Oh, one last thing!

Regardless of your answers to these questions, regardless of your past, your struggles, regardless of anything you’ve ever done “wrong” or things people didn’t approve of, know that you are so loved right here, right now. Yes, by me and the Cashios (aren’t they the sweetest?), but also by the God of the Universe. And He has declared you’re already enough just as you are. Don’t forget He has you here for a reason. The world needs you to show up and be YOU ️

Thanks so much to the Cashios for allowing me to share my heart and a chapter of my journey with all of you. I’m honored, humbled, and crazy-grateful. 

Blessings & Love,

Aly

Connect with her via Instagram: @aly.tracy 









RV and Travel with @homewiththehoopers

Happy Friday, i’m so excited to share Janelle from @homewiththehoopers. They’re enjoying full time travel and family time.


“Hey babe, what do you think if I traded in my motorcycle for a camper?” asked Andrew as he returned from a trip to Sturgis with his father.  I blankly stared at him holding our newborn son while my toddler used my legs as a jungle gym.  I simply replied, “Okay.” Within two weeks, we were the proud owners of a fifth wheel toy hauler.  We were so excited about the camping adventures and memories we would make with our kids.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would ever be living in our “adventure house” full-time.  Had anybody told me that is what was going to happen I most likely would have never been so carefree in my response to Andrew’s question that hot August afternoon 4 years ago.  

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Two years ago, on March 10 this wild and crazy adventure we are on began.  A phase is what we called it at that time; to last no longer than six months – one year.  We had a plan.  We were using our camper as a means to escape life in suburbia and transition to a life in the country.  We weren’t happy with the mortgage we had, the car payments, the never-ending pile of stuff.  It was all so suffocating.  We dreamed of a simpler life, one that only the country could provide (so we thought).  Financially we were stuck.  We could not buy a piece of land as long as we had our mortgage.      

We are the Hoopers’.  My name is Janelle.  Together with my husband, Andrew, and our 2 little boys Corbin (5) and Wyatt (3) we sold our “picture perfect” suburbia home and comfortable life.   We took everything we knew and felt comfortable with and left it behind.  Downsizing from 3000 square feet to a little over 300 square feet, we moved into our tiny home on wheels in the pursuit of land (happiness).  What we did not realize is how happiness would find us in those tiny walls.  The debt disappeared.  The stresses of life lifted.  We never had to “pack” for vacations.  We never looked for land.  I will be the first to admit tiny living is not easy at first – it is a transition.  Transitions can be painful.  For me, I was a bit paralyzed if you will.  Within six weeks we had sold our house, sold a ton of our stuff, I tore down my baby’s nursery I had just completed – I was emotionally paralyzed which on the outside looked like survival mode.  I was doing the bare minimum (ie: I am pretty sure we were eating cereal and PB&J for almost every meal).  It literally hit me about one month into tiny living when Andrew so kindly reminded me that this was our home and it actually had to be cleaned like a house.  I kid you not.  I was in such survival mode and still coming to terms with the fact that I was now the dishwasher instead of my actual dishwasher HAHA!   It literally never even occurred to me that our bathroom needed a cleaning or maybe I could dust.  It was an awakening moment for me.  I snapped out of whatever funk I was in and got down to tiny living business.  I started organizing and downsizing more.  I bought cleaning supplies and started talking about our new lifestyle with joy and hope.  

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I tell you this story because tiny living is not for everybody.  With all the tiny home shows on TV and Marie Kondo-ing going on these days it is very easy for one to feel as if their life is not good enough or they are selfish because they enjoy space and a large shoe closet.  I hear you!  I miss my bathtub and my walk-in pantry.  I want to inspire you that you need to do you.  YOU do what brings YOU joy.  Think outside of the box, leave your comfort zone.  Wanting to start your own bakery – do it.  Want to write a book – grab a pen.  Want to get a different degree - start applying to schools.  The only thing that is binding you to your current life is you.  You hold the power of change, don’t be scared to use it.  Do not be scared to pursue that “stupid” idea you have been keeping to yourself for years – it may just end up being the greatest chapter of your life.

Once we finally acknowledged that we were in fact tiny dwellers and this wasn’t as temporary as we thought we began to really embrace the lifestyle and all it has to offer.  We became park hosts at a local state park and for 1.5 years our children grew up in a magical forest hiking and exploring every day.  Their back yard was over 600 acres.  It was a beautiful blessing for our family.

Last year when Andrew was between jobs we took off and explored the west coast for 3 months.  That was the trip that really made us step back and realize the wonders this lifestyle had to offer.  We had been sitting on a gold mine of potential without even realizing it.  We began to plan how we could in fact turn traveling full-time into a reality.  A part of our souls came alive on that trip and we could not ignore it.  When we got home, Andrew began searching for jobs where he could work remotely.  He is in accounting and finance and was able to secure a job working from home and eventually the road!  I quit my job as an RN right before Thanksgiving and we hit the road for full-time travel January 1, 2019.  

We are starting our fifth week of travel and I have never once doubted if this is what we are supposed to be doing.  We have swam with manatees, kayaked, held baby alligators, and played in the ocean from sunrise until sunset.  My kids have made friends from all over and talk about those friends often as well as their friends back “home.”  They are thriving.  We have asked them to let go of every sense of normalcy they had and move every week.  We told them they wouldn’t be going to school anymore, but that mommy would be their teacher.  They are thriving.  We downsized their toys (again) and weeded thru clothes (again).  They are thriving.  Our oldest has come out of his shell and places his own order when we go out to eat, he goes up to new friends and starts the conversation, as much as he fights me on homeschool somedays (we are still learning a routine) he is learning SO much.  Corbin is thriving.  Our youngest little fellow walked into the ocean by himself and put his whole head under water, he is learning so much from big brother’s homeschool, his already bubbly and social personality has exploded.  Wyatt is thriving.  As for Andrew and I, we continue to grow together and learn more about each other daily.  We can pretty much read each other’s minds when the other just needs a minute to be alone.  We are perfectly imperfect.  We are learning as we go and because of that we too are thriving.

I am really leaning into the minimalist lifestyle.  Almost two years in and I am still downsizing!  Minimalism does not come easy for me, but its something I am striving for, not only for less clutter in our tiny space but for less clutter in my life.  I have come a long way and as things I love need replacing, I am replacing with high quality items.   If I have learned anything in this journey quality vs. quantity is key.  If you are considering downsizing, I would take all the stuff you plan on bringing with you and take 1/3 of it.  It is truly and simply amazing how little you NEED and the more you bring in initially the harder it is to let it go.

So many people have inquired on how the boys do traveling (or are shocked with the amount of stuff we do with them).  Our goal has always been to be inclusive with them.  We want them to see and experience as much as they safely can at their age.  Wyatt does not remember life without hiking and at the age of 3 he could easily hang with us on family hikes with fairly minimal holding.  Our big secret, we are not above bribery.  An ice cream treat is like the golden standard in our house and man is it a motivator.  With that said, we are in a spell as I am writing this and there has been no ice cream treats all week.  HAHA.  When we are in places where we are outside 99% of the time the nighttime meltdowns tend to drastically increase due to pure exhaustion.  On the same hand they have been outside playing in the dirt, fishing, climbing trees all day and just being kids so I am willing to deal with the tradeoff of meltdowns.  On car travel days they generally do pretty darn great.  The longest travel day we have ever done was 17 hours.  That was once.  Our typical long days are around 5 hours but most days average 2-3 hours.  We are currently moving 1-2 times per week.  On travel days I always pack lunches and snacks to have in the car with us.  We do not have DVD players or ipads for them to use and that is our own personal choice.  We have tried it and just do not like the vibe it brings into the car – again we are not above bribery and if we have a super long day ahead of us sometimes, we will download a movie for them.  At the end of the day they are 5 and 3.  Some travel days are better than others, but we power thru and roll with it.  Children are incredibly adaptive and the benefits they are receiving from traveling are far too numerous to count.  I do not think that children should be an excuse not to travel – they teach you so much in the process and to see the world from their eyes the first time they are experiencing new things is one of the greatest gifts. 

Our journey is just beginning!  We are currently in the Florida Keys and heading to Alaska for the summer!  We do not know how long we will travel.  Right now, we have no end in sight.  We do desire to plant roots somewhere, someday.  Maybe.  For now, our wheels are rolling, and we are exploring!  You can keep up with us here:

Website: www.homewiththehoopers.com

Instagram: @homewiththehoopers

YouTube Channel: HERE

Facebook page: HERE

Cheers,

Janelle

Tiny Living with @314sqft

I’m so excited to share with you Bibi from @314sqft. I love their story and all the yummy food she makes! She shares two of her favorite recipes at the end, enjoy!


I’m Bibi, Wife to my amazing husband, Mom to three loving kids aged 6 to 1 and Daughter of our King. We are debt-free Fulltime RVers in our 1999 Fleetwood Bounder.

I was born and raised in Germany. My husband and I met while I was in college and married a week after I graduated almost 12 years ago. Our RV life began when my husband and I were newlyweds and decided to move into the same RV that we are living in now while househunting for our first starter home.  We bought a home in a subdivision and pursued the American Dream- with careers, cars and a general feeling for the need to fill a hole with more. But more of what I wasn’t sure?! Fast forward 10 years and three children later, we sold our second home with the intention of moving into the camper only long enough to relocate to a different area. We sold most of our furniture and belongings, items we weren’t attached to, while keeping a handful of things in our 20 foot trailer intending to rent a new home once we find a new area to live in. However, a few months into this full-time RVing we realized how much we enjoy living tiny and how good it was for our family!

Since then we have been diligently donating, gifting, and selling the remainder of our items while continuing to live in our RV. My husband is currently jobhunting and we are praying to find an opportunity to work from home so we can begin to travel full-time. At this point however, we are stationary in North Carolina and our day to day RV life looks similar to what it did in a regular home, only better ha ha ... Once my husband leaves for his job in the mornings my oldest and I do some homeschooling. After that, the kids and I head outside to spend some time in fresh air that can either look like jumping into the pool or the lake during the summertime or some hiking now that it is colder. After we return inside we freshen up and run our errands in town or visit the local library, the zoo or find other activities. It is very important to find activities outside for the children so they can run off their energy. They have found so much joy in playing in nature and their imagination has grown immensely since we started full. 

Since living tiny it’s a must to go outside and some days that means I have to force myself to do so as I’m by nature more comfortable curled up with a book and a blanket. A big thing for us also is being debt-free and being able to give the kids more in experiences by going places for them to enjoy. 

Since my husband’s New Years Resolutions is to become healthier, we have taken up running rounds over the campground while the kids ride their bicycles with us. I have also been plant based vegan for almost two years (on and off prior to that) and since cutting out animal products as well as processed foods I have felt such an immense benefit health wise. No more brain fog, no more emotional ups and downs and so much more energy to run with my kids. So in a way we are not only living close to nature but eating as close to nature as possible as well!

There are challenges, if you will, to live in a tiny space, one of which is the sacrifice of our privacy. But we are willing to accept these opportunities to be closer as a family. When we had a house the kids were always in the same room as us anyways. They are still all around my feet (literally some days) now that we are in the camper, the only difference for me is that I have less to clean, ha!

The sacrifices are worth the gain, though. There is a sense of community that I have not found anywhere else before. Both online and IRL, you check in with each other and support as best as you can. This feeling of belonging and community is so special and I’m very grateful for that. 

To find Bibi on IG click HERE
I’m going to leave you now with two of our favorite recipes. Hope you enjoy and thank you so much for reading! 

Berry (N)ice cream
1 cup frozen berries 
1-2 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen mango (optional)
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
1-2 pitted dates for added sweetness
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. You may have to add a TBS or so of soymilk or water to get it to loosen up. Alternatively you can let the frozen fruits sit for a minute to loosen up. 
Scoop out into a bowl,l and top with your favorite toppings, such as sliced banana and more berries.

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Banana Split Oatmeal
1/2 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup coconut meal (optional)
1 TBS sweetener of choice (coconut sugar works well)
Pinch of salt
Combine everything in a pot on medium-high heat, bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes

Meanwhile, I’m a blender combine
1/2 cup of cashews (soaked)
1/3 - 1/2 cup water
1 TBS sweetener of choice (for example maple syrup)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla flavoring 
Pulse until smooth. Assemble the Banana split:
Half 1 banana, top with oatmeal and cashew Creme. Top with blueberries and shredded coconut, also good with strawberries and hemp hearts.

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Converted School Bus with a Salon from @adamjoanieadventures

Today I can’t wait to share with you Joanie and Adam from @adamjoanieadventures. They sold their house and business to hit the road on their self converted school bus, but that’s not all….There’s a SALON on board! Yes, a full working salon. As they travel around you are able to make an appointment to get your hair and makeup done! How cool is that?! Make sure to go to their instagram to see what state they’re in now!


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Have you ever thought that more nice things or a bigger house would make you happy or bring you that peace of mind you have been searching for?? For us it's been just the opposite- selling everything and downsizing to 40 feet has brought us more peace than the last 4 years have. To most people, home is comfortable and safe. But to me, leaving is comfortable and safe. Being I was a farm girl meant work started at age 12 and I have worked ever since. Travel? The states I have been to are counted on one hand really, and that's not good enough. Home is not calling us, the bus/rv life is, the mountains, the sunsets, the open road. Do you ever have that feeling there is something more, something different, something daring? We are less concerned with "feeling secure" as that sometimes means getting stuck. Have you ever wanted to hit the stop button, rewind or fast forward? New start, fresh start, wild adventures just waiting for you? But wait. ...what if? What about? Ya but? We have thought it too. You see we attach ourselves to things and people. We feel we can't survive without them or our things, big or small, it could be your dishes or it could be your home. We have learned something about selling everything that we can attach our identity to our belongings. Our identity is strong without the stuff. We are forced to re-evaluate beliefs, actions, and behaviors. It feels a little scary to be stripped bare of your environment, your business, your stuff and your home? Imagine it. ...we are currently about to live it. To give it all up for a 40 foot home and the hopes of adventure and a new life. The process can be a bit daunting, after all we find security in our stuff, don't we? There’s no one right way to leave everything you know behind and start over new. Have you ever had to start over fresh? Are you about to go through a big life change right now? What questions do you still have about the process? Freedom can be edgy, but hey, those pioneers got in a wagon and road until they settled. We have not found "settled yet" But we will. .............. But along the way we hope to share our marriage ministry and help restore others struggling, share food and fellowship and do some fabulous hair and makeup as we travel.   

            We bought a 1999 school bus and converted it into a tiny home on wheels!  Not only that......it also has a mini salon in the center of the bus!  We have the ability to work on the road through the salon and carry a fully stocked botanical/natural makeup line that we ship all over the country.  I (Joanie) have been a cosmetologist for 17 years and had to take the salon with me!  The whole project started in April when Adam flew from Minnesota to Montana to pick up the bus.  With a few breaks on the project to move and get rid of items, we were able to renovate the entire bus by December.  Leaving the Minnesota winter behind was a dream come true!  But don't be fooled, life on the road without a home base has its own set of challenges.  We expect those challenges and they are just part of this lifestyle.  Cheers to the open road and to this unfolding journey!

We have 3 children-Eden-8 Lincoln-6 Solomon-4

We have been married for 17 years!

WAYS TO GET IN TOUCH:

IG: https://www.instagram.com/adamjoanieadventures/

MAKEUP LINE: https://www.cherrypicksmakeup.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/adamjoanieadventures/

MINISTRY FB: https://www.facebook.com/Haven-House-Ministries-The-Wegmans-1636450519707502/

SALON WEBSITE: https://jamelias.com/

Leap of Faith with @thestreamlinedlife

I’m so excited to share Kate from @thestreamlinedlife on the blog today! I started following her family because of their travels, but quickly fell in love with her motherhood podcasts! My hope is sharing all these amazing families will give you a push to not let go of your dreams & trust the process!


It took us nearly 4 years to get the courage to hit the road full-time and after 8 months of living tiny, we only wish we had taken the leap sooner. 

In less than a year, we traveled ocean to ocean (driving more than 8,000 miles!), took major leaps of faith, faced our fears, and became closer to our three kids than we could’ve ever imagined. It took saying just one yes to a different path than the typical American lifestyle to flourish and grow in ways we could’ve never dreamed of a year ago. 

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Just one year ago we were drowning in old house repairs, busy and over scheduled days, and a lack of purpose. We knew we were capable as a family of creating a meaningful life together, but felt utterly stuck. My husband, Kirk, suggested we sell our house, pack up our belongings and hit the road; an idea I had had years ago, but decided would never happen. 

When we voice our dreams and give them the space to grow, big things happen. We followed through and hit the road in March 2018 with our then 6 year old daughter, our 4 year old daughter, and 10 month old son. 

We started in a 19 foot Scamp 5th wheel (just google it, they’re pretty tiny for a family of 5 and funny looking to boot) and later upgraded to a triple bunk 26’ Lance 2185 travel trailer. For once we had “just enough” and no visible clutter. The mental strain we had been under in our old life eased away, but it also made my anxieties more obvious. 

We had more time, open horizons to chase, and financial freedom. All of this potential was both absolutely freeing and totally overwhelming. You see, when we’re busy with the typical path, the home, the jobs, and all of the activities, it makes it easy to ignore what’s happening in our hearts. Full-time travel made it impossible to ignore the areas of our hearts that had gathered dust over time. 

My anxiety was always fear-related and spontaneous travel definitely triggered all of the “what if’s?” I learned to lean into the fear and accept it, such as the time we drove our truck and trailer on HWY 1 in California, with steep cliffs on my side and no guardrail or the countless times our GPS stopped working and we got lost. I let my children venture farther and farther from me in their outdoor play, trusting them as they also grew into their capable and wise selves. I trusted that God had led us to this path and that fear had caused me to play small my whole life. We wanted bigger for our family than the limitations we had always allowed to hold us in place.

It was a fresh start in every possible way. Kirk and I had nightly talks, envisioning our path together and as a family. We fixed the ways we communicated as a couple and learned to listen better to one another. We took the time to hear our children’s hearts, their fears, and their dreams. Bit by bit, we all began to grow into more resilient and happier individuals. 

As I overcame my fears and leaned into motherhood, I envisioned a community of mamas doing the same. Women choosing a streamlined home and life, whether that’s on the road or in their stationary homes, and finding their value as mothers. I created a podcast called Streamlined Motherhood to share what the road had taught me, and I began working one on one with other women to create their own meaningful lives. Kirk began writing music again and playing shows while we traveled, finding and breathing life into his own calling. The road life became an endless well of creative inspiration for both of us. 

Our gamble, this lifestyle that others see as so different and alternative, paid off. We began marking our days in the experiences we had. Our daughters learned to swim like fish in California, experienced their first waterpark slide in Nebraska, ate clam chowder in Rhode Island, and learned about pioneer life in Nevada. Our youngest learned to walk at an RV park in Northern California, and we celebrated his first birthday at the Pacific Ocean. Most importantly, we created a family culture around being brave, believing that your dreams matter, and that experiences are greater than things. Our children are not the same as that snowy day we left Indiana and neither are we. 

Road travel, for us, was always about more than living tiny and sightseeing in the United States or perfect Instagram shots. We love those parts of full-time travel life, but also craved the personal growth that we anticipated would come with this lifestyle. Road travel has been a way for us to grow into the family we saw ourselves as and become the type of people who are courageous, who take action, who love deeply, see education as a way of life, and who prioritize family and faith above all. It wasn’t easy to transition to this lifestyle, but we don’t ever see ourselves going back to the way we did life before. The road changed us for the better, and for that, we are so incredibly grateful. 

Find us:

The Streamlined Life website: thestreamlinedlife.com/socialmedia

Instagram: instagram.com/thestreamlinedlife

Cohesive Home, Kate's other podcast and community, for families choosing to live simply and by their values

cohesivehome.com

Streamlined Motherhood Podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-streamlined-motherhood-podcast/id1436254835?mt=2

Kirk Saffle music on Bandcamp: https://kirksaffle.bandcamp.com/

Kirk Saffle music on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5xkg3LShDnqQfWLINNpeM5

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