I’m so excited to have the Rosene’s on the blog today! When I stumbled across their IG I knew we had so much in common! Their van is a-m-a-z-i-n-g & we can’t wait to cross paths one day on the road! Be sure to check out their amazing videos on youtube!
Hi there, We are the Rosene Family- Travis, Lexi, Finley (4.5), and Zealand (1.5). We are a young, not so average family, who are choosing to do life a little different than most people our age.
In the last 12 months we have radically changed our lifestyle and have documented the process in hopes that we never forget this transformative time in our life. We also hope to inspire parents to keep traveling, adventuring and exploring after they have children, if anything it's a greater reason to! In the past year we have left our home in Northern California, sold (almost) everything we own, self converted a Sprinter Van into our home on wheels, with plans to live and travel in it full time by Spring 2019. WHEW. Talk about change! I'm excited to share with you a little about our family, get a peek into our life, why we chose Van Life, the hard things and perks of van life, and how our kiddos do living this lifestyle. I'm no expert at this, as we're just getting started in this journey. We're pretty much just making it up as we go and we've never been happier!
A little about us:
Travis, my incredible husband of 6.5 years, boyfriend since I was 15 (actual babies in braces together) takes most of the photos you see, has many outdoor hobbies he's really good at- surfing, climbing, free diving, and spear fishing. He can play a few instruments, and is the nicest most honest person you'd ever meet. His work is in Marketing and Photography/videography. He is a really good cook, the best hands-on dad to our babies, and leads our family so well. In the beginning of our dating relationship when we were kids, he endured a very tragic time with my family and actually dropped out of high school with me and went to independent studies to help care for my little sister full time who suffered from a massive brain aneurysm. I knew i would marry him one day, even though i was 17. When my sister was starting to get well, we moved to the beach and became beach bums living in a tiny apartment, when most of our friends were just graduating high school. We got jobs, started businesses, traveled to a few countries, learned a lot about life, married at 21 on his parents property, and had our first baby girl a few years later!
I (Lexi) love my little family hard. They're my pride and joy! I enjoy cooking, being creative with my hands, hiking, seeing new places and making new mama friends. I drink too much coffee and not enough water, I live for Hygge, I homeschool Finley. I help where I can for our Marketing business after the kids go to sleep! And I spend too much time on Pinterest designing our future tiny home and putting outfits together that i'll probably never wear. I let my kids watch Netflix, i feed them mac n cheese two nights in a row, and give them lollipops for 10 minutes of peace and quiet. Told you you'd get a peek into our life! One thing we told ourselves while documenting our Van travels is we will not glamorize Van Life, or traveling with kids. It is hard, it is messy and a lot of times frustrating. But is it worth it? Absolutely, yes!
Meet Finley: She goes by Fin, Skippy, FJ, Louie- She is a ballerina and aspiring gymnast, she is really brave and kind, and is probably one of the silliest coolest 4 year old little chicks you'll ever meet. Her favorite color is pink, she enjoys riding her scooter fast, skateboarding, surfing on her dad's back, crafting and helping in the kitchen. Last but definitely not least Zealand, or... Z, brother, Z boy, tunny. He is the sweetest, yummiest, most cuddly 18 month old you will ever meet. He's always happy, always hungry, and is starting to talk a lot. Our family is obsessed with him and his little quirks. He likes to skateboard and ride his sisters scooter. He is a daredevil but can also sit and color for an hour by himself. He is pretty amazing and growing too fast!
Why we chose Van life. I recently wrote a blog post on this exact topic, you can read it here (https://rosenesontheroad.com/2018/07/21/vanlife-the-reason-why/). To sum it up, While living in Northern California we ran a very successful business. Travis worked 10-13 hour days, 6 sometimes 7 days a week. We had a beautiful home on property in El Dorado Hills, grew our family, life was good but it felt… stale. We were realizing that although Travis is so talented in what he did, it was not adding value to him or our family. Real heart value, not the dollar amount. The time we were apart, the holidays and birthdays missed, leaving when it’s dark and getting home past bedtime, it took a toll on all of us. After many life and business circumstances, that chapter came to an end. We could feel a huge shift coming in our life, but we never expected it to be this.
We always knew we wanted to live tiny (our first home was a studio on 5 acres), even before it was a movement. Never did i think prior to owning a van that we would be planning to live in one full time. A few weeks after our son, Zealand was born, Travis brought home our 2017 Mercedes Sprinter 3500 for business use, it ended up being the only thing we kept from our business. After discussions of self converting it for fun and long weekend trips, we quickly realized that there’s this awesome community in van life and it’s actually a thing. We wanted that lifestyle and all that it included. After we made the decision, things moved quickly. We moved out of our home in NorCal, started selling our stuff. We packed what was left of our things into a small storage unit in Southern California to temporarily live with family while we built our van. It took us 8 months to complete! We're still staying with family and for now take long weekend trips since Travis works an office job 2-3 days a week. We are hustling to be able to work from the road. One thing we've realized about our family is we get uncomfortable and crabby when we’re stationary for too long, so the anticipation to GO is rising!
The real meaning behind all of this is, We want to be Intentional with our lives and babies and the short time they are with us. We want to show them the world and see things through their eyes. We want to simplify our life and live minimally. We want to focus on what’s important to us and that is God, our marriage, our children, family + friends. Time is fleeting and this season of life of our children being this small will go by fast, so we want to spend it together, to set the tone for the rest of their life. We want to instill a love for nature, adventuring and family into them. We want to explore and see new places. We want to be in charge of our children’s education and educate them through experiences. We want to live life by our own terms. We want to see more sunrises and sunsets together. We want to experience the challenges we know we will face living in a van and tackle them together. We want to get out of our comfort zone and be stretched in new ways for our faith to be increased. We want to pay off debt, and grow our savings. We want to see our homeland as well as travel internationally. We want to grow our community. We want to encourage parents to continue adventuring through life, that it’s possible to do with children in tow.
The last 8 months, during the build of our van, we would take 3 day, 5 day, even 10 day trips in our unfinished van. Now that it is (finally) complete -sort of, we're always changing things- i'd say the BIGGEST PERK of Van Life, among many, is no matter where we go we always have the comfort of home with us. We always have snacks and a dry bathing suit or extra blankets, a bathroom, our bed. It's convenient in the fact that we have everything we need to do whatever we want. We save money because instead of going out to eat, we have a full functional kitchen with a stocked pantry. We can visit new beautiful places without having to pay for a hotel. It's freeing!
When doing something different, there's always drawbacks, which is why this lifestyle is not for everyone. Some of the things that i would see people not enjoying in Van Life is the extra effort it takes to do little tasks. For example, my husband and i really wanted our layout to have a walk way all the way through our van to the back doors. Since we went with this layout, in order for us to put our bed up at night, we have to be done with the kitchen and everything washed and put away, otherwise we'd pretty much be sleeping with our dirty dishes. We're somewhat clean freaks so we keep our van orderly, if we didn't things get messy QUICK, because it is such a small space. But, the perk of that is it cleans up quickly too! The same goes for our kids bed. Their bed triples as our dining table, work/homeschool table, and couch! We have a good system or flow that works for us but it definitely takes a tonnn of patience, especially when you have two overtired kids who are late to bed. We have our kids on a schedule and they're pretty much like clockwork so we eat early, have beds up early and they go to bed around 7/7:30. Another thing about living in 86 sq ft that most people wouldn't be used to is the obvious limited amount of space that makes you have to really communicate with everyone. There is not much personal space so it's important for us to communicate if we're feeling like we need a minute to ourselves, talking about our feelings, etc. We don't spend a ton of time just sitting in our van, we spend 90% of our time outside. Keep in mind home base for us is in Southern California where there's hardly 2 seasons. Next year i'm sure we'll learn a lot when we make our way to colder climates.
People are curious how Finley and Zealand have adapted as kids to this nomadic lifestyle. They would be the first to tell you that this new family adventure is so fun! They have mom and dad together everyday, happy and in love, they make new friends everywhere they go, they're seeing new beautiful places, they're trying and learning so many new things, they're collecting stickers in every National Park they visit. Really though, they're kids and they adapt so easily as long as they feel loved, safe and secure. I promise our kids are thriving, if we felt different we wouldn't continue this journey. That is what's so great about this is we can do whatever we feel is best for our family and change course whenever we want!
One of the reasons we love social media is finding and connecting with other like-minded people. The #vanlife #rvlife and #tinyhome community is made up of some amazing people. We have made quite a few new friends on a silly app and can't wait to connect with new friends on the road! When we were in the very beginning stages of building our van we got so much inspiration from different people on social media. We asked a lot of them for advice and honest curious questions. We get so excited when someone messages us now asking questions because, we were just on their side! We love connecting with new friends! With all that said, Come say hi to us, let's be friends!