As you heard in the last episode we are 9m into our family gap year. This recording comes days after meeting up with a previous Ordinary Sherpa guest from episode 109| Living your Childhood Dreams. and continually grateful for the stories and connections that have helped us in taking steps and moving forward on this journey. We love meeting up with friends and strangers and the best platform to do that is through Boondockers Welcome, a part of the Harvest Host family. We’ve had over 20+ stays through this platform this year and are always intrigued by the connections and unique stories and generous people we meet. If you are interested in RVing I highly encourage considering a membership or becoming a host. If you use my link in the show notes: http://Ordinarysherpa.com/HarvestHosts to do so you’ll not only receive a discount but support Ordinary Sherpa in the process.
You’ve heard me talk about Boondockers Welcome, but there are also tiers that give access to businesses such as wineries, museums, and golf courses; CampersCard which gives discount to private campgrounds; and CampScanner which works with Reserve America for finding spots at our favorite sold-out brown signs. Choose a tier for you using the link in the show notes or join us in becoming hosts this coming season and host fascinating people from all over the country on their adventures.
Our guest and I met in a natural hot spring in Stanley Idaho. We were experimenting with the idea of a gap year traveling in an RV with 3 kids on a 34 day sabbatical to test our current gap year potential. Carissa (and her husband Chuck) were already traveling full-time in their 25′ RV with their two kids and dog. They spent the past few years becoming debt free, minimizing their belongings, working hard, playing harder, and homeschooling their kids. In 2020 they sold their house and hit the road to travel around America so they could focus on spending more time together, living a healthy lifestyle.
Meeting people ahead of you on the journey offers adventure sparks sometimes igniting new ideas or experiences. From that interaction we began following each other on social media. Our kids bonded over Harry Potter stories and through their daughter’s suggestion my daughter has since begun the Percy Jackson series and her interest in Greek Mythology. It was even one of their taco recipes that sparked us trying tajun seasoning which is now a must have for so many of our meals. (If you aren’t familiar, Tajun is a chili lime seasoning that is not spicy). Through their examples of prioritizing self-care, clean eating, and fitness to maximize this time in their lives, they inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle and embark on their own adventures. Carissa from Feed Us Adventures, Welcome to Ordinary Sherpa.
We’ll have a conversation and share a bit of your backstory, what intrigued you to the RV lifestyle, what’s important to you. How do you do this life with kids. I’d like to talk about your focus on health and well-being and stead the conversation towards any action you’d like the audience to take.
- “We are making all this money and then taking vacation to go sleep in the woods. What if we take the money we have been saving and go spend time with our favorite people, doing our favorite things, for as long as we can.” Amidst tragedy they were able to ask themselves questions that may seem morbid but yet reflective about their intentions about money. Such as what if we die early (her dad was 59 when he passed away). Working through these conversation led them to sell their house and buy a 25’ RV.
- Carissa’s goal as an unschooling mom is to set her kids up to be problem solvers, people who know how to access information when they want to learn something and good humans who are fulfilled in life.
- Living in an 25’ RV there is not a lot of space to hang out, so they try to follow the good weather the best they can so they have ample opportunities to get outside.
- North Carolina requires a state test at the end of each year and the girls did really well. Carissa was surprised because they didn’t ever sit down and teach math, science, or social studies. They do have study workbooks and sometimes when the girls get bored they pull out a workbook and do it for fun. We had a similar experience a few weeks ago when our two younger kids were “playing school” and the 11 year old was teaching the 8 YO about persuasive essays and assigned one for homework. It’s surprising what kids are interested in and how they choose to learn when they have autonomy and curiosity driving the learning process.
- Some of the challenges are that all of the things required in life are still happening, but the people we know and love, it looks and seems like we are always on vacation added to being a content creator, health coach and disc golf coach – it doesn’t look like we are working when we are working. Not working a 9-5 job they have to protect their time and do work in small pockets during the day.
- Setting up the structure of the continues to be a work in progress and they have to make adjustments often. It took her husband longer coming from a traditional job to not a traditional job, he had to break himself from some of those work habits and mental constructs. As parents they have found value in following the list and recognizing key anchors that help all of them beyond just the aspects of being mobile.
- When they slowed down and only traveled to new places every 1-2 weeks they were able to settle into what life could really look like. For example her husband got really into disc golf and the kids stopped asking when they were going to move into a house. It takes a while to figure out the cadence and realize you don’t have to do all the things in a limited timeline. Slowing down also allowed them to explore locations more deeply and travel based on their interests such as via disc golf courses.
- Being healthy doesn’t have to suck. Just moving your body in a way that feels good for you. The more you move the easier it is to keep moving. While Carissa wants to be healthy, it’s not about looking good in a bikini, for her it’s about having a strong old lady body with strong bones and being able to take her grandkids for walks.
- I heard a saying from Peter Attia that muscle mass is like a retirement account. We lose muscle mass much faster the older we get so strength training is a critical investment in your future health. Carissa’s first hand experience with her parent’s health is a big motivator for her to use health as a counter-balance to some of the potetnial genetic indicators of earlier end of life.
- Heidi shared her mental shift with health from one of “feeling lighter” to that of “feeling stronger.” For Carissa it’s being able to do her favorite things with her favorite people for as long as she can.
To Connect with or Follow Carissa and her family
YouTube: Feed Us Adventures