110 | Thinking Differently About What Life Could Be with the Jurek Family

Thinking Differently About what life could be
Looking at your current situation can be an asset allowing you to explore a completely different life. By thinking a little bit differently, the Jurek Family is able to live differently and explore narrow and winding roads in life.

Matt and Leah along with their two kids began full-time RV life in 2019. After years of both working full-time as physical therapists, they saw their life zooming past and felt they were missing out on precious years with their kids. They decided it was time to make a drastic life change and exit culture’s highway in pursuit of the narrow road that leads to abundant life. What started as a year-long experiment has continued for almost 4 years and they don’t have plans to settle down any time soon. They feel like they’re finally in the driver’s seat of their life and aren’t in a hurry to give back the keys.

Name: Matt and Leah Jurek.
Website: www.narrowroadjourneys.com
Email: hello@narrowroadjourneys.com
Facebook & Instagram: @narrowroadjourneys

Resources mentioned in this episode:
Flip Fit: https://narrowroadjourneys.com/product/flip-fit/
Family Travel Hackers Membership: Ordinarysherpa.com/Join
Follow Our Family Gap Year by subscribing to our email List: Ordinarysherpa.com/subscribe

Key Takeaways

  1. The pressure, distractions and feeling like they weren’t able to do the things they wanted to do led them to make a change and explore a different lifestyle.  Leah felt so locked into her life that if an opportunity came up she didn’t have the space to explore the option.  

  2. Very few grew up wanting to live in an RV.  It took warming up to the idea and seeing that life could be different. 

  3. In the case of Leah and Matt, creating the space allowed new options to emerge.  Options they didn’t previously see such as the wilderness guide experience, Telehealth, on-call Physical Therapy, and now Consulting between PT and Tech.  This is a reminder that whatever career sector you are in, there are different options to consider.  You don’t have to quiet your job to make a different lifestyle work for you. 

  4. If you are considering traveling and remote work such as the Jurek’s and have certifications specific to each state, it’s important to know that each state has different requirements and criteria to attain and maintain your license in those states.  Matt and Leah became very proficient in finding notaries, places for fingerprinting and other required resources.  

  5. Using traditional methods to workout while traveling just didn’t seem to fit or feel right.  Leah encouraged Matt to create a game working out using the kids as weights.  The kids participation was based in play, while the parent uses the child’s weight for resistance, stretching and cardio workouts.  

  6. Taking what you currently have and thinking a little differently about how you can use it to your advantage might produce a different outcome.  For the Jurek family, the outcome was FlipFit.  

  7. To plan their travel routes Leah uses a number of different tools such as Roadtrippers App, creating Guides on Apple Maps and many typical RV trip planning tools.  The key lesson is not to force an experience.  It’s not worth fighting the crowds or traffic to check the box.  How else you might create a unique experience instead of sharing it with millions of others?

  8. People are often driven by goals and the end outcome.  By allowing yourself to be open to the process and day-to-day journey you aren’t as locked into a structure of your life.  Not knowing how things will turn out has been a blessing for Leah and helps her keep space for new opportunities to emerge.

Show Notes Transcription

 In a time where parents have the weight of a thousand decisions on their shoulders and every step is like walking in quicksand adventure’s, probably not in your focus. However, research shows families who adventure are more resilient and have significantly healthier minds and bodies. The purpose of this podcast is to help families connect through simple and authentic adventure experiences.

Welcome to Ordinary Sherpa, your online community designed to help you connect, reach your summit, and create meaningful adventure experiences with your family.

Hello and welcome to Ordinary Sherpa. I’m your host, Heidi Dusek. I am recording today in Montrose, Colorado after nearly two months on the road, and I’m really enjoying a lot of things and I’m learning a lot of things. And I’m just gonna apologize cuz it is insanely windy here. There’s no way to get like a quiet.

Full out studio space. So if you hear the Gus of Wind behind me, I’m doing my best . But what I wanted to say is I’ve been sharing a lot of what I’ve been learning on my gap year through my email list. I wanted it to be more personable. I didn’t necessarily wanna put it all out on social media. So you certainly can always follow on the Instagram.

I’m, I’m sharing some things there and on our Facebook page, but for the most part, I do a weekly email through my email list and you have to be subscribed to the Family Gap Year Adventure in order to get those weekly updates. But one of the themes that has come up. It actually came up in our Family Travel Hackers membership, which by the way, if you wanna be engaged in that, it’s ordinary sherpa.com/join.

It’s leveraging the resources you already have. And yes, that can be true in travel rewards, but I think it’s also true in like personal and family development. I think it’s a mindset and we get better by practicing it. So by leveraging skills, resources, and even our networks, we’re able to have high value experiences without needing to buy new things.

And it’s been a key lesson that I’ve noticed kind of come to light the last couple weeks. And here’s a couple of examples. So just a fun travel hack as we try to leverage our existing memberships and connections to create rewarding and unique experiences. So for. In Wyoming, we stayed on a farm through a harvest host.

And you may know my son also has a travel goal to taste the best ice cream in all 50 states. Well, it happened to be one of the best ice creams in the state of Wyoming. It was a farm-based creamery. They’re just building out their store. So we tasted the best ice cream while watching the sunset over the cows and the lambs running around.

It was absolutely adorable. Awesome experience. And again, that would be really hard to. Without leveraging our existing relationships and networks. You know, if I was just looking for a hotel in Wyoming and ice cream, I probably wouldn’t have had that same experience. Another example is that a friend in Idaho and Boise offered to accept a package for us, and in return she shared her love of watercolor painting.

And that in turn has led to a U new unique experience for home. , our art lessons have now been around watercolor painting, and she gave us some of her favorite brushes. She gave us a couple of stickers, and it was just a really intriguing way for us to think about what does art look like on the road? You know, our, my kids all love art, but drawing was getting old, you know?

So we’ve really tuned things up a little bit in the art atmosphere for home. And the third example I think is really fun too. When we were in Salt Lake City, we have an A S T C membership, and if you don’t know what that is, it is a reciprocity membership program. So we belong to a science museum back home.

That membership gives us reciprocity and free tickets, essentially to a lot of different places. Well, in Salt Lake City, it gave us free tickets to a skydome at a planetarium, and on Friday night they have a light and laser show. So we were able to go down. Actually it even. Free parking and watched some great entertainment in Salt Lake City got us downtown.

So I think it’s just a couple of examples when you start to look at what you already have, you know, sometimes adventure can feel like I need more, I need the right things. But I encourage you to think about what do we already have? And part of the adventure is figuring out like, how do I use this to create a unique experience?

You don’t need to buy something new. You don’t need to spend money. And I’ll dive a lot deeper into this, you know, in terms of how we’ve utilized this mindset. To optimize our budget. But in the in the gap year life planning, I can say that this mindset has been really beneficial and it’s also a lot of fun.

So it’s part of the adventure and part of that is also to connect you to other examples. And so I’m really excited today. To share the story of Matt and Leah Jerich. So I’ll introduce them in a second. But I think in the back of our mind, it’s not always what our guests are doing that you need to replicate.

But how are they thinking about it? How are they approaching this lifestyle? How are they doing something just a little bit different that makes it more adventurous, more meaningful, more of a connection? That is the part of the story that I think resonates. Whatever adventure you are interested in. Our guest today, along with their two kids, began full-time RV life in 2019.

After years of both working full-time as physical therapists, they saw their life zooming past and felt like they were missing out on precious years with their kids. They decided it was time to make a drastic change and exit cultures highway in pursuit of the narrow road that leads to an abundant.

What started as a yearlong experiment has continued for almost four years, and they don’t have plans to settle down anytime soon. They feel like they’re finally in the driver’s seat of their life and aren’t in a hurry To give back the keys, Matt and Leah of the Jurich family, welcome to Ordinary Sherpa.

Thank you, Heidi. We’re so excited to be here.

Hey Heidi. Thanks for having us.

Yeah, absolutely appreciate it. Hey, I wanna start Leah with you, if you don’t mind. Can you talk about like four years ago when you’re in the moment, right? In the moment of like, we’re leaving on this experience, we’re gonna live in our rv.

Can you take me back to what that day, that week, or just like some of the things you were feeling as you were embarking

on this new life. Yeah, sure. We had a great life. We were living in Oregon at the time, in a beautiful area in the mountains, and just really enjoyed the life we had built. However, we had two kids and.

Felt like we were just not getting to spend quality time with them. You know, even a modest home these days, both parents usually need to work to be able to keep up. Mm-hmm. , um, with, I mean, we had a modest lifestyle. We weren’t extravagant by any means, but you know, even out there it was just to pay the mortgage and pay the bills and daycare and all these things.

We both were working full-time as physical therapists, so it was a lot of, you know, Hurry up. Get up, get ’em in the car, drop ’em off. Work and then I felt very distracted at work because I’m just, you know, waiting for the inevitable. One of the kids is sick or you know, you gotta go get ’em or school’s off for the day.

And so it was just a lot of pressure trying to pick them up on time and then just do the rat race all over again. And so I had a friend that was actually traveling full-time with her family as a physical therapist and Matt and I, you know, had kind of thought that ship had sail. When we had kids, we were like, well, you know, we didn’t get to travel, but you know, maybe when we retire.

And so it was actually my idea to begin with. We both had an inkling, like at the same time, that something has to change. We cannot. Keep this up. And the wildfires at West were getting really bad every year. It was worse and worse, and we weren’t getting to do the camping and things that we just kind of yearn for all year long during those rainy winters.

Mm. And so we both were just getting really burned out. And so I actually brought up the idea of traveling in an RV and just selling everything. And to me it was just an idea of a way that we. have freedom, not even, um, like physical freedom, but to me, I felt so locked into my life. Like if an opportunity came up or God stirred my heart to pursue a different calling, I just didn’t even have an option to pursue that.

It was like, you know, there’s just no choice. So it was just the idea of, let’s see who we’re really meant to be and be with our kids more. Matt was definitely not as gung-ho about it at first as I was.

Matt,can you tell me about that ? Like what were your hesitations when she brings you this idea?

Dude, I wouldn’t have my garage to do man stuff. My space, I was trying to picture it and. My background growing up, we didn’t camp in, in trailers or I didn’t have that experience or that exposure. It was, it was a tent if we went camping. And so coming from a background of, okay, a, a travel trailer comes with a certain type of clientele basically.

And I was like, that’s, that’s not us. That’s stigma’s not us, and then Leah’s like, no, look, they make ’em nice now. Like, check this out. Oh, well. Okay. That’s nice. So I started warming up to it slowly but surely. And then continuing to to talk about the idea of freedom in our life was the most appealing thing for me.

And then maybe I could swallow the close quarters kind of thing. And just pursuing that idea of being mobile within God’s purpose for my life. I was like, this is gonna give us that opportunity. So that pushed me to that place of. Going outside of my comfort zone of lack of space, and when we started looking into the whereabouts and how abouts to get this done, it actually became reasonable and feasible for us to do so.

Then that quickly just turned into excitement and said, I’m only gonna be here for a short amount of time and this is, this is our shot that’s being presented, so let’s go for it. No, let’s quit. Um, playing it safe. And so that’s where I ended up saying the Yes, I’m

laughing cuz we’re literally packing, right?

So , woohoo. You know, part of me is asking these questions cuz I’m like, What should I be thinking? What should I be feeling? What should I not forget? You know, like all those things are really raw and ripe right now. Mm-hmm. . So, um, yeah. Yeah. It’s kind of funny that you’re saying these things and I’m literally like, yeah.

Yes, I’m I’m there. My husband was also the guy with

the shop. Man. It was such a process. Oh yeah. Yep. Yeah. Gosh. Sorting period. And what am I gonna need? . Basically, if it’s ex less than $20 and you’re not sure if you’re gonna need it, just buy it if you need it. . That’s kind of where I’m at. Like, yeah, when, uh, we go home in the summer to where our family is in Indiana and sometimes we’ll unload like some holiday stuff or you know, baby books, things like that we have with family.

But, you know, we’re always constantly reassessing. I mean, I’m talking weekly. We’re getting rid of. So it’s just, it doesn’t stop once you get in the rv, you’re just gonna keep bringing stuff in. So you have to keep getting rid of stuff. I

know. And I think the things that are stressing me out are the things that don’t really matter anymore.

Right? Like they’re not, yeah. What are we gonna send? So my, I’m giving like boxes of things for my parents to send to us. You know, like every month so that they get something. So it’s kind of like freshens things up and that’s what I’m stressed about right now. And I was like, really? At the end of the day, like, is it gonna matter what’s in the box?

Not really. It’s not gonna matter. But

no, that’s a really good idea. I’ve never heard of anybody doing that. That’s fun. Yeah.

I don’t know where they’re sending them yet. I mean, that’s kind of funny, right? .

That’s true. . General delivery at the post office. . Yeah, it’s like hikers do.

Yeah, let’s talk about that.

Cause I mean, the questions I get, that’s one of ’em, right? Yeah. Like what are you gonna do

with your mail? Yeah. What did you guys end up doing? So our permanent address is Matt’s parents’ house in Indiana, and that’s worked out really well. I mean, nowadays. 90% of our mail is electronic, but they do trickle in some mail and they, you know, take pictures of it for us, scan it if we need it, and then if there are things that we need physical copies of, which really hardly ever happens, they’ll just collect it for, you know, a month or two.

Um, if it’s not urgent, and then just send it all. So as much as you can just get everything paperless and then even just do like a change of address to a family member’s house or have them go to your house and check your mail if you’re have that availability. Obviously we don’t, cause we don’t have a house anymore, but you’d be surprised.

There’s really hardly anything you actually need a physical copy of anymore. I mean, having somebody take a picture. and then you file it away in your cloud. Drive somewhere. That’s what we do. And then of course, like everybody else, we use Amazon a lot, um, and so mm-hmm. , you know, when we’re parked somewhere, longer times the RV park we’re at will accept packages.

Mm-hmm. . Um, but when we’re moving a little quicker, you can do Amazon lockers. I know you can even ship things to like Walgreens. Yeah. General delivery if it’s a family member. Yeah, usually we, we have not had a problem thus far. No. Unless it’s like something breaks on the RV and we need a part, but we’re moving every three days.

That is super challenging. You just have to look ahead at where you’re gonna be, and then I’ll call the RV park and say, Hey, we’re gonna be there in a week. Can I have a package delivered? It’s probably gonna arrive before we get there. And they, I mean, I’ve never had a problem. You do need to ask though, because there are some RV parks that do not like getting package.

So definitely check. We always check .

I was at an RV summit in September and it was kind of funny cuz they were saying like, yes, we can receive packages and and the packages they received was like, fill a room. Right? So there’s a reason why . Yeah.

You wanna Sure that It’s a lot of work. Very

cool. Matt, were you gonna say something?

Oh, I was just gonna mention. When, when you brought that up, yeah. There’s the male thing, but there’s also other things that come up in life, especially for us when we were traveling, getting a contract in a different state. As you go for physical therapy, you pretty much have to get a license state by state as you go.

So we have to know a little bit ahead of time where we’re going locking that job. And then as we’re traveling to get there, fulfilling all the state’s requirements. Can vary amongst other things. And I don’t know how many times I was surprised with Leah being able to pull up different spots. Like, oh, you can go and get this.

Id checked here. You can go get a fingerprint there. You can go get this there. And so it’s like a lot more accessible than what you might think, you know. being in a hometown for a decade, you know where everything is and who to talk to to go get stuff done. But when you’re out on the road, it’s kind of like, woo, okay.

But everything’s accessible now. I mean, you can mm-hmm. , you can wire this here, photocopy that there, and scan and fax this over here and mm-hmm. , um, you know, having that address to, for somebody to send it to is, is less and less meaningful for that physical male part, you know? Mm-hmm.

Yeah, let’s talk about work because that’s interesting to me that you, I was surprised that you guys were physical therapists.

I was like, oh, I’m, that’s cur, I was curious about that. I didn’t know that physical therapists or specialties, I guess, had telehealth options. So both of you are still practicing.

Yeah, so it’s evolved a little bit since we started. We were both doing travel assignments when we started this journey in 2019.

So basically it’s kind of like a travel nurse or a doctor where a recruiter has a nationwide database of jobs, hundreds of jobs out there, and you kind of tell ’em the region that you wanna be in. So we would say, Hey, we wanna spend the winter in Arizona. . And so our recruiter would find us a job in Arizona and that worked really well.

You know, one of us would homeschool and then one of us would work for three months. And because we were living simply debt free, we had enough income in that three months, um, that we were able to take about a month off to travel to the next spot, and then we would switch. And it was great because nobody got burnout that way.

and Covid kind of threw a wrench in that a little bit because there really weren’t any travel PT jobs during Covid, so we had to kind of regroup that summer and stay with family, pursue some other endeavors. Matt had a really cool opportunity out in Colorado. He might share about doing hiking guide certification.

and that was neat, but it also opened up telehealth opportunities, so, Hmm. Right now I’m doing a little bit of, it’s called prn, so like on-call PT work for a company that has facilities all across the country. And so I’m able to pick up hours wherever we are. I, we try to go to towns where that job is available.

And then, um, I’m also doing telehealth for some facilities in Indiana, even though right now we’re in South Carolina. That never would’ve been possible before, but that is now a thing since Covid, that law has permitted us to do some telehealth. And then Matt has really evolved his career in doing more consulting for some software companies.

So this is actually our first time. Um, we’ve been here a month where one of us isn’t working full-time. We’re both like working part-time. So it’s really different. I mean, that has been an adjustment because normally somebody leaves and the kids and the other parent are just. Free range at home, whatever we need to do.

And now it’s like, okay, we have these three hours, we need to be really quiet cuz dad’s on video meetings. And that is very challenging in an rv. Mm-hmm. . And then trying to stagger it with, okay, hand off, I gotta go to the facility and see a couple patients. And so it’s been interesting. I’m like, okay, what apps do we need?

We need to get our Google calendar synced and figure all this out. So there are ways, there’s definitely ways.

Yeah. It sounds like it. That’s kind of cool. Matt, do you wanna talk about your transition and, and how your work has evolved and the things you’ve worked on?

You bet. Yeah, and I think I’ll go back to a statement that Leah made before when she kind of felt trapped.

Part of her feeling trapped was the inability. To explore and say yes to other opportunities. Right? And so when you’re working full-time, yeah, that’s the case. And you don’t, it’s hard to see an end point to that. So it’s either no to the grindstone and bulldoze through the next 20 years or figure out something else that’s gonna happen, right?

And, and that’s risky for anybody in any career to just swerve off and try something different. But how Leah set our setup was where one parent is working, the other one’s at home. that person at home if trapped on an island, which can happen in the RV life sometimes if you’re not moving. Mm-hmm. , we run with only one vehicle, so that parent at home needs to be creative and with a six and a three up to now a nine and a six year old, creativity every part of the day is, is key in our lifestyle and our chosen profession too.

Engage in physical activity frequently. We know the importance of it for just our body and then put on the spirit and the mind in that too. So within the realm of saying, okay, why don’t we try something new? Leah had a great idea. I picked up on it. I’ve got a love for art, and I kind of self-taught myself some graphic design work on the computer and putting those two together.

We built a fitness game for families. Uh, it’s just a little card game, but all the graphics I was able to do at night, I was able to say yes. I was able to put some time and love into that project and that was a fun experience. It’s great, you know, we’re still kind of selling ’em, it hasn’t never took off like wildfire, but whatever.

I learned a ton and. Leah alluded to another opportunity where in, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Rev Wild or Rev Wellness, this lady, she’s a personal trainer, but man, I’ve heard her speak and she’s on par with PTs and physicians in terms of her knowledge of the body and, and the combination of the spirit and the mind.

So she started with personal training, doing video, personal training, but involving the gospel along with. And explored other opportunities within physical combinations, exertions, where you can find yourself within God when you push yourself kind of thing. And so that led her into the outdoors and she started what’s called Rev Wild, and that is, being certified as a wilderness guide and instructor in the Christian world.

So you gained the certification after going out for a week out in Colorado is where I was able to do the training deep into the Outback and, and just learn yourself, learn life and learn God at that point. And then how to. assist others in just finding that too safely, right? Because you kind of are putting yourself into, um, some very big unknowns when you go that deep.

So I was able to say yes to that experience and that for me personally allowed my mind to, I wouldn’t say slow down, but maybe open up and appreci. More. And so that just benefited us in our lifestyle. And then we go to where we are now, and I just have said yes to a lot of different things. And, and where that’s led now is becoming even more successful.

Where I’m engaged in consulting, trying to bridge the gap between software and physical therapy worlds. As the covid push, as our culture is leading into more and more online kind of hybrid type cares across the medical system. The PT world needs that too. And there’s, uh, a huge gap between on the boots, physical therapy and software companies that are making these good products.

So being a, a consultant in the in between is, is proving fruitful. And so that’s actually giving us another step of freedom. Cause all I need is an internet connection to make that business

happen. It’s so fascinating I think. Yeah, it’s interesting cuz it’s easy to feel stuck or trapped like you had said in your old life.

And you know, I both my husband and I have stepped away from traditional work and seeing the opportunities come like, I don’t know that I could have predicted. What would land in our laps. Obviously we had a network and you know, the, there, there’s that value, but I, I think sometimes we are our own worst enemies and it’s proving to me that there’s so many opportunities out there.

But I had to take the first step, like I couldn’t just wait for the opportunities to exist before I took the first step. I had to actually put. My first step out there and take the risk, which was scary and it’s okay. Like I’m, I’m figuring it out. So I think it’s interesting that both of you shared those stories and what has developed.

Yeah. You know, probably not expecting

the perfect time doesn’t exist, right? No, the perfect time doesn’t exist for anything. You know, we would, when we were thinking about having kids. You ready to have a kid yet? No. Yeah. You ready to have a kid yet? No. What does ready mean? ? You ready to have a kid? No. Yeah.

Well, we’re, we’re, we’re pregnant. Oh, okay. . I guess

we’re ready. I guess we’re ready. .

Oh yeah, exactly. Very cool. I was looking at your website the other day and I was thinking about fitness actually. So can you talk a little bit more about like some of the activities that you did in the Flip Fit program and what you were helping people do?

Because I think it’s funny that we’re trying to, in many ways, like you think about homeschooling, people think we’re just gonna like, Real school for homeschool. Right. And I don’t know how to say it. Like I’m not schooling the same way. I’m gonna be schooling differently. So I have to think about all that in my other realms of life too.

And fitness is one of those things where I’m like, gosh, I gotta think differently. I’m not gonna be going, I’m personally not gonna be going to a gym. So how did you think through, you know, the creativity, but also then like what kind of things were you practicing in the fitness? .

For me, it was just a frustration with, I would get really motivated and I would say, okay, I’m gonna do these, you know, I’m gonna get on YouTube or whatever platform and I’m gonna get some video workouts and I’m gonna do ’em four days a week or whatever.

And I would get on. And you know, number one, the kids, especially in an rv, they just don’t leave you. , you know, they think what you’re doing is interesting. When did that young mm-hmm. when they’re that young. Yeah. So I would, you know, they would wanna do it with me. Okay, well do it with me. Well, then they just end up on your back or hugging your leg or under you, and you’re trying to do burpees and you’re gonna squash ’em.

And, and so that was one problem. And then it was, okay, well I, I don’t want you in my way, so I’m gonna go get your Kindle and you’re gonna, Mindlessly veg out while I do. Well, that doesn’t make sense. That’s not aligned with like what we want. Trust me, there’s a time and a place to put them on a tablet, but you know, not on a regular basis like that.

And so that was like not making me feel good. And then, . Third thing was like, I felt like everything I was watching always had like women in their sports bras and stuff, and I’m like, well, I don’t really want my daughter thinking like, you have to look like that to be healthy. Because to me, like I’m kind of over the idea of having like a body like I had when I was in college, it’s kind of more important.

To teach my kids how to be healthy. And so that’s not something I wanted her to see a lot of. And I really didn’t wanna be in front of a screen either. And so I had talked to Matt about, you know, like, you’re so good about playing with the kids, wrestling with the kids. He’s so hands on and they love when he’s hands-on with them.

I’m not as good about that. I don’t like wrestling. I don’t like that kind of stuff. But I can see how, you know, we don’t carry weights with us. , it was one of those, well, you know, they’re always on my back anyway, like how can we come up with some exercises that helped me use them as the weight or play and I get a great workout.

So he just started pulling out note cards and scratching some drawings on. I’d be at work all day and I’d come home and they’d have five new cards that they made up. And you can kind of talk about how that. Yeah, and we were in the middle of nowhere at the time too. He didn’t have a truck and we were in the woods by this lake.

There was nowhere for him to

go. It was gorgeous. It was a great property to run and play on, but that’s what kids do. I mean, that’s what exercise is for kids. There’s, you can’t train a kid even up into teenage when all this specialization with sport and stuff. I did a lot of research on that in, in my PT world and playing to kids.

is the exercise that they get. Mm-hmm. and they didn’t have a group of kids to go play with, so I took it upon myself to do some of that too. And then it becomes fun for me too, cuz we’re laughing. I mean, there’s some ridiculous thing that I, things that I have people do in those exercises, cards. But it makes you breathe, it makes you sweat.

And it was interesting just to see how excitable they were when. Would pull out these different cards. We’d give it a name, then we’d take a picture for it, and I’d make a graphic out of it. And before you knew it, yeah, we had a, we had a full deck of cards, and so I did the whole Kickstarter thing and it was successful.

The step I wasn’t able to take was delve into paying for promotion, basically. So that world became a little bit sticky for me. And then the new ventures with the, with um, telehealth. , the consulting came up. So it’s, it’s still around and we’re proud of it. We’re proud of our work and what we

learned out of it.

And I love meeting people and, you know, sharing it with them. And, I mean, I don’t think I’ve met anybody with young kids that I’ve shown it to that hasn’t been like, I want to buy that. You know? So it’s just fun in person, more, just wherever we’re at. If I see, um, if I get to know a family, I’ll share it with them.

The social media marketing world can be a really big black hole that we just felt like we can’t sustain. Yeah, it sucks

the life out of, so I always say like, is it an energy suck or an energy gain? Right. and if it’s sucking the energy energy out of you, right. Like why Yeah. It’s not worth it. Yeah. I love it.

It and it’s kind of fun if you go, I’ll, we’ll put links in the show notes too so people can see some of the different things that you show online. Cause I think it’s kinda funny. I was like, okay, my 12 year old, this is really hard, right? I can’t do these with my 12 year old, but I can with my seven


Well, yeah, I would definitely say like under 10, you know, at least two. I

think I even wrote on the box something like older than three, but younger than nine or something

like that. Yeah, yeah. That’s like the perfect range. But yeah, I mean Matt made sure the exercise is covered, cardio and strength and flexibility and core and, but he made ’em fun.

I mean, there’s all kinds of superhero themed ones and . We had a great time with

it. Very fun. So you kind of alluded to this, but I’d love to go deeper too on you talk like when you accept assignments, that was, you were deciding kind of where you were going first. Yeah. What kind of steps do you take in planning your route?

Like how far advanced do you plan? You know, what kind of things do you

think about when you’re. Yeah, that’s a great question. So we have like a sticker map on our rv. It was never like a goal we set out with, let’s go see all 50 states, but it’s kind of turned into like, More of just a yearning to see the country.

I mean, yeah, we’re, where haven’t we been? Yeah, where haven’t we been? Um, we’ve been, some places we’re warm enough to stay there in the rv. , the weather definitely pushes, you know, you guys are brave. I know you’re about to set out on a northern trip in your rv, so , you’re gonna be fine, brave, or stupid, do it.



you can do it. This is our first time we stuck around Indiana through Thanksgiving and everyone was like, you’ll be fine. You know, it doesn’t get really cold till December. Well, they had like this unseasonable cold snap, so we were in like, you know, the tens teens for, oh, probably over a week. And so you just have to be prepared, you know, fill up your water tank, unhook your lines.

There’s different tricks for how to make it work. Yeah. But normally we do kind of follow the weather, so we look at. Where do we want not wanna be when it’s really hot, really cold, that kind of thing. But also, we really like shoulder season for some of the more popular places because we do a lot of national parks.

We love the junior Ranger program, and they’re national parks for a reason. Right. They’re beautiful. . But you know, like Zion, we were lucky enough to hit in 2019 in February, or 2020 in February, right before Covid. And so their season doesn’t really start till mid-February. And we were there in the beginning.

So the crowds were not bad. It was beautiful. And now I know in the summer, I mean, it’s almost impossible to get through there. and it’s just gotten busier and busier with Covid. So I would highly recommend you find the shoulder season for the different parks and kind of plan your route if you can. I mean, it’s not gonna be, you know, we couldn’t go swimming in the Virgin River or anything, but we had an amazing time, so you might not get all of the, the perfect experiences.

Um, we went to Yosemite, this. , um, in January, and it was magical. I mean, it was absolutely magical. We couldn’t drive on all the roads, but we did most of them, and it was beautiful. So thinking about where we haven’t been, and then I listen to some RV podcasts and follow some RVers on YouTube and I kind of pay attention.

Another good tip is there’s the apple maps. There’s something called guides on there because I know for a lot of us, we’ll hear a tip or come across something and you’re like, oh, I wanna go there someday, but you kind of forget about it. So I started creating guides in the Apple Maps right on my phone, so you can just make one for North Carolina.

and then anytime you hear something, you kind of pin it. I would prefer to use Google Maps because you can label things and it’s, it’s more advanced, however you have to do it from a desktop, and I’m hardly ever on a desktop, so I found the guides to be really useful. I used an app for a while called Road Tripper, and they.

different filters you can put on and just see, you know, the brown signs like you like to call it, and off the beaten path kind of things. We also look at like, as a family, what do we enjoy? And so this spring, you know, one of the things we really enjoy is whitewater rafting. Mm-hmm. . And we did a lot of that in Oregon.

So this spring we’re gonna really focus on West Virginia and try. Do a lot of whitewater rafting. So figuring out what you like to do, what the best season is for it, and try and push it to the very edge of that season if you possibly can, I think is the best.

Yeah. It’s so much more enjoyable when you aren’t fighting crowds, right?

It’s like, oh my gosh. So much easier. And there’s so many places that don’t have crowds that you wouldn’t even probably, mm-hmm. think about, you just have to dig, mean you really.

Yeah, when we were in Cal or Colorado. Yeah, that’s a good example. We were pretty close to Rocky Mountain National Park and we’re like, man, I don’t just, and you know, you’d pull up the, the Google maps on, on getting there and you’d see all this red traffic and stuff and I’m just, no.

Nope. And there’s just so many, I mean, we stayed in on B l M land for


for free, like half of our time in Colorado up by Leadville. Yeah. Amazing, gorgeous places. So people up, up there. That one didn’t leave a hole in my heart, that’s for sure.

Yeah, you just gotta sometimes let go of like, I have to check that box that I’ve been to Rocky Mountain and say, just wasn’t meant to be this time.

We’ll see it another time and just take advantage of other off the beaten path places that are just as beautiful. Yeah, I

agree. I think so many of the tourist places, I was talking with someone else about this today, like, you know, we, we only know what we know cuz we’ve heard so much about it. If you get curious and you start to explore the places you haven’t heard about.

Yes. Like there’s a million other things out there. So

yes, it’s kind of fascinating. , and that’s why like I know you’ve been posting a lot about Harvest Hosts. Mm-hmm. and Boondockers welcome. We use that a ton. We love that. And that is how you get the local tips. I mean, you pull up to someone’s house or to their winery or their farm and they will tell you, you know, they love telling you actually, a lot of them have little books already made up with to give you.

So, um, those, you just can’t beat the local tips for sure. And you won’t get that pulling into a hotel or a big rv. Right.

Very cool. So four years, you guys aren’t stopping anytime soon, right? I mean, that’s what, what I’m hearing, and your voice isn’t a little bit in your intro, right? Yeah,

that’s right. Yeah.

I mean, man, that, that first, that first when we set sail, it was a steep learning curve, driving something this big and figuring out where we fit, where we don’t fit. Getting the field for things . Yeah. The shakedown period. I mean, there was, we, we went from the basement to the ceiling on, um, whoopsies that we had.

To fix and patch up and cover up. So if that didn’t scare us, I mean, basically it, it’s just gonna be a sign. Like it was a sign for us, a feeling that we both had to begin the trip. And so I, I think we will meet that point at some point. I think somewhere our kids will tell us in their comfort level of stuff.

I just have that sense that we’ll know, we’ll know that it’s time to get plugged in somewhere for, for their sake. Honestly. Yeah,

I think it’s so important. Like with anything. , especially this time of year, everybody is like really goal oriented. Let’s set goals. And I think goals are great and they have their place, but a lot of times I feel like we always look at what I want the outcome to look like.

What do I want the end to be? How can I measure progress in my life? And we kind of lose track of what if instead of making end goals, what if. Created like our family values and focused more on the journey along the way, and really making that our focus. Because every moment and every day is something to conquer, really.

And if you’re just focused on the end and you’re just grinding it out to get there, I mean, we could say, yeah, we’re gonna do this one more year and then we’ll be done. , you know, you’re not really gonna like listen to your calling along the way. So that’s something that I’ve learned is sometimes letting go of the structure, you don’t want to create such a secure, structured life that you’re locked into it yourself.

Mm-hmm. . Yeah. I’m excited that we both feel the same way, like just being open, communicating, how are we all doing? And I think we’ll, when we want to change, and I don’t know what that change will look like, honestly. I mean, , I got an idea.

a garage. Heidi, I got a garage right where I can have pieces of wood. Yeah. And saws. . That’s funny.

Yeah. You and my husband both. Right? That’s I think, I think he’s excited about this and he’s like, but I haven’t given up on my shop yet. Right. That’s gonna come someday.

Yep. . That’s awesome.

Well, thank you. This has been really fascinating.

Um, is there anything before we kind of like end the episode that you wanna share or highlight that we maybe didn’t talk about?

Well, I mean, you can find, you can find gear, little must-haves on your rv. I’m sure you’ve already found those getting ready for your trip and, and you’ll find more along the way.

So there’s lists out there. Just be patient. I, I don’t know how many times Leah’s told me that when something goes wrong, it would go wrong at home too. If, if we had a house, I’d spend my weekends fixing this or mm-hmm. correcting that and trimming this and, um, patching up that. And the same thing happens here too.

It’s just all in tighter spaces. So just get comfortable in tighter spaces, whether you’re doing life or fixing things, it’s all part of it, but, , being open-minded, being a little bit handy definitely is necessary. And it sounds like your husband can handle a lot of that stuff,

but um, you can fix anything almost.

You can fix anything with YouTube. Mm-hmm. and Amazon. Yeah. YouTube University. I was thinking about you as far as like little gear things. You were talking about how you’re gonna dry out all your stuff. So I had a couple thoughts for you. Oh, too. . So with your rv, a lot of people put like suction cup hooks on the outside.

The ones that you like buy at Walmart do not last, but I will tell you, I found the golden set of suction cup hooks. Okay, from, there you go. . Oh, yours, from ikea. They’re from ikea. and they stay and they’re wonderful and you just stick ’em on the outside of your rv. So whether like you’re somewhere hot and you need to hang up your swimsuits, beach towels, whatever.

But for you guys, you could hang up some snowsuits and stuff. Mm-hmm. if it’s not raining, obviously, but so I would highly recommend the suction cup hooks. They’re so handy. And then, There is an issue with RVs. When you’re somewhere cold and you’re heating the inside of your rv, you’re going to get a lot of condensation and that can cause mold super quick.

So I don’t know if you guys will have room for a dehumidifier, but it’s like almost a necessity. if you’re gonna be cold for a long time. But there’s something else called Den Dry, and there’s different variations of it, but it’s basically an underlay you put under your mattress because RV mattresses go like right on plywood.

Yeah. We actually have that because we bought from a full-time family. Okay, good. Yeah. And I was like, what is this thing? And so they had some of that in there already.

Yes. Okay, good. You are set because I’m telling you, the moisture from your body, heat through that foam mattress onto the plywood. Within a week, you’re gonna have mold if you don’t have something under there.

So nice. Just try and stay on top of the moisture. I’m like, , the moisture Nazi around here. Yeah. I’m like, every morning when it’s cold, I’m like, no, no moisture in the

party. . We do have a dehumidifier, but I know it’s, it’s like there’s certain things. Oh, awesome. Yeah. We’ll have to take a picture at some point of like how insane our living plan I know are gonna be for the first month.

And we figured like we might as well start hard, right? Because if we figure all this stuff out and it’s hard, the rest of it’ll be easy. and the kids seem game and they’re. .

Right, right. You can always add as you go, like. . I always too, I’ll join like mom groups for a region. We’re gonna go Facebook groups and even like homeschool groups and I’ll just be out front.

Like when we were in New Orleans area, I just joined the local moms group and I said, Hey, we’re only gonna be in town for a week, but. , you know, I’m overwhelmed at all these different restaurants and, and different places to go. Like, I need some family friendly top ideas off the beaten path, preferably. And the moms will tell you what to do.

I mean, they have your back all across the country. . Very cool. That’s a great idea too. . Yeah.

Awesome. Well, I really appreciate it. Maybe I have no idea what our route is, but maybe we could meet up on the road. That would be fantastic. I always love meeting listeners and Yeah,

neither do we, uh, we don’t plan that far ahead.

Usually about three months. I mean, I know there’s people who plan out further and, um, just the way we travel, we don’t really feel like we need to. We’re. Solely focused on some of the bigger, you know, areas where you have to plan a year out or anything. I just don’t like that feeling of being locked into something a year away.

So yeah, we’ve been, there’s give and take, but, um, I think you guys are gonna have an amazing time. I cannot wait to follow along your journey and yeah, we’d love to meet up sometime if it works. So very

cool. Very cool. Well, thank you so much for joining me and coming on and sharing your tips and how you guys made this work.

I think it’s really inspiring and fascinating. The more stories we can share, the more, um, we can inspire people to change their narratives. So

I really appreciate it. Absolutely. Heidi. You guys have been an inspiration as well, and we just really appreciate you putting forth the effort to start this community.

It’s been really fun. I followed you from the beginning, so I’m excited for you.

Thank you Matt and Leah. I have seven key takeaways from this episode. Number one, the pressure, distractions, and feeling like they weren’t able to do the things they wanted to, led them to make a change and explore a different lifestyle.

Leah felt so locked into her life that even if an opportunity came up, she didn’t have the space to explore the option. number two. Very few grew up wanting to live in an rv. It took Matt a little while to warm up to the idea, but then seeing that life could be different was ultimately what allowed them to take the step number three, in the case of Leah and Matt, creating the space allowed for new options to emerge.

Options they didn’t previously see, such as a wilderness guide, experience, telehealth, or on-call physical therapy, and now even consulting between physical therapy and. This is a reminder that whatever career sector you are in, there are different options to consider. You don’t have to quit your job to make a lifestyle work for you.

Number four. If you are considering traveling and remote work such as the dus, you ha might wanna consider the certifications required in each state. And it’s important to know that each state has different requirements and criteria to attain and maintain your license. Matt and Leah have become very proficient at finding notaries places for fingerprinting and other required resources.

Number five, using traditional methods to work out while traveling just didn’t seem to fit or feel. Leah encouraged Matt to create a game working out using the kids as weights. The kids’ participation was based in play, while the parent uses the child’s weight for resistance stretching and cardio workouts.

Taking what you currently have and thinking a little bit differently about how you can use it to your advantage might produce a different outcome. For the Jerich family, the outcome was flip. Number six, to plan their travel routes. Leah uses a number of different tools such as road trippers, even creating guides on Apple Maps, and many typical RV trip planning tools.

The key lesson is not to force an experience. It’s not worth fighting crowds or traffic to check the box. How else might you create a unique experience instead of sharing it with millions of others? And number seven, people are often driven by goals and the end outcome. By allowing yourself to be open to the process and the day-to-day journey, you aren’t as locked into a structure of your life.

Not knowing how things will turn out has been a blessing for Leah, and it helps her keep the space for new opportunities to emerge. I hope you are having a great week, and I really hope that this message finds you thinking a little bit differently about how can you leverage what you already have? How might you create more space in your life, or how might you look at something that you currently have a skill, a network, a resource, just a little bit differently for a different type of experience.

Until next week, keep on adventuring, be brave, and keep going. If you found value from today’s show, here are three easy ways you can. Subscribe to Ordinary Sherpa podcast on the platform you’re listening to. It lets the providers know that you’re getting value from the show and want to be around when we release additional content.

If you feel compelled, leave us a review. Two, find your friends, family, and others you think would enjoy this show and share this episode three. And most importantly, join the community of families interested in creating authentic experiences through simple adventures by going to ordinary sherpa.com/. We wanna hear from you and create content that would benefit your family.

Thanks for joining us on this journey as we help families connect through adventure.

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