From There // To Here

It’s the final countdown!! We launch for our 2017 US/CANADA TOUR on JUNE 9! Dates below…

Craig has been working like mad to get our bus in good working order for our six-month trek around the US and Canada! He’s been dealing with all the mechanical issues, installing under cabinet lighting, a new Air/Con system (which we’ve waited nearly six years for), and giving the bathroom a facelift. Plus rehearsing and writing music, helping my parents with odds and ends and working a part-time job building stuff for other people, the man is an absolute machine!

Anyway, we have a pretty amazing route set before us, which will take us approximately 8000 miles. We’ve got loads of stops and we can not wait to see so many of you kinfolk!!

If you see yourself on our route and would like to connect with us, we’d be delighted! Just send us a message at thehollands @ thehollands.org

Our routing will be as follows:

June 9-11 Los Cerrillos, NM
June 12-13 Taos, NM
June 14 Colorado Springs, CO
June 15 Wellfleet, NE
June 16 Omaha, NE
June 17 Des Moines, IA
June 18-21 Mt. Vernon, IA
June 22-25 Green Bay, WI
June 26-29 Sturgeon Bay, WI
June 29-July 2 Urbana, IL
July 3-14 Muskegon, MI
July 15-16 Chicago, IL
July 17-26 Sturgeon Bay, WI
July 27 Milwaukee, WI
July 28 Elkhart, IN
July 29-31 St. Louis, MO
Aug 1-2 Kansas City, MO
Aug 3 Hays, KS
Aug 4-6 Denver, CO
Aug 7-10 Timberline, Frasier, CO
Aug 11 Heber City, UT
Aug 12-20 Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 21-25 Yellowstone, MT
Aug 26-31 Bozeman, MT
Sept 1 Somewhere between Bozeman and Calgary?
Sept 2- 5 Calgary
Sept 6-7 Banff
Sept 9-10 Kelowna
Sept 10-13 Vancouver and surrounding areas
Sept 14-20 Mossyrock, WA
Sept 21-22 Portland, OR
Sept 23-28 Bend, Or
Sept 29 Somewhere between Bend, OR and Redding, CA
Sept 30-Oct 1 Redding, CA
Oct 2-8 Oakland, CA
Oct 9-15 Carmel/Monterey, CA
Oct 16-17 Los Angelos area
Oct 18-25 Phoenix, AZ

Of course, we’ll be merrymaking all along the way and our tour dates are up at www.thehollands.org

Look forward to seeing y’all out on the open road!!
Love,
The Hollands!
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Ditch The Bus

Yep, you read right, we’re ditching the bus. Well, at least for a little while, or maybe longer,  who knows.

It all started when we decided to book another music tour to Australia. While in the planning stages we had lots of conversations as a family about all we’ve learned in the past four years about ourselves and our creator through full-time travel. We recognized that our family is built to come alongside and encourage. We also realized that we are “learners” and we thrive when our theology and understanding of the world is rocked to the core and deconstructed. And, boy have we been rocked!

And so, over the past few months of conversations we’ve started feeling a stirring in our souls. That same longing that first invoked us to dream and take the leap of faith, giving our possessions away and hitting the road began to roar and we began to ask, was there something more?

Over the past two years we have been meeting and nurturing relationships with people  from all over the world but mostly in Southeast Asia and those interactions inspired conversation about potential visits. And, so as we were planning our very practical musical tour, we found that the question of how long we would stay over and when we would return was open for debate. And so, we did what we alway do when we don’t have the full picture, we moved forward.

We bought a one way ticket!

I mean, why not, we already live gas tank to gas tank, what’s the difference if it’s a bus tank or an airplane, train or van tank that need filling.

As soon as we bought that one way ticket, we knew we were entering a new chapter in our journey of faith, community and creativity.

Photo by Kara Counard; Bloom Photography
Photo by Kara Counard; Bloom Photography

We don’t know how long or exactly where the road, sky or water will take us but we do have a light outline.

We will be flying out of Albuquerque Sept 15 and landing in Melbourne Australia the morning of Sept 17. We will stay for a week in Melbourne before flying up to Cairns for the Wallaby Creek Music Festival. From there we will fly down to Brisbane where we will try to source a vehicle (preferably a small bus or van) that we will travel/tour up and down the east coast in until November. (tour dates at http://www.thehollands.org)

November 18, we will fly to Manilla, Philippines where we will come alongside our friends the Hommels and learn/serve at JAZ Home, a residential home for young girls, offering solace and security in a hostile world. From there we will visit with filmmaker and musician, Tinh Mahoney in Vietnam to see life through his eyes, learning about a school he founded in his hometown and playing music. And, by early December we’ll be in Cambodia where we will connect with our friend Craig Greenfield at Alongsiders International and participate in a roundtable discussion on The Heart of God for Justice and our response through  Worship. We are also in early conversations with folks about possible visit to Indonesia and Thailand.

Jan 5, we know we’ll be flying back to Australia for another two month music tour, and from there we are open to possibilities continuing on in Australia or heading north again to Southeast Asia or going even further up into China or west towards India. We also have aspirations to connect with kinfolk in Europe. So, we’ll be waiting to see it all unfold as you are.

So, stay tuned! And if you feel inclined you can partner with us at MODERN DAY.

Stuck In The Mud

One drizzly day, on a rolling paddock in Western Maryland, The Hollands! bus got stuck in the mud. It took one tractor, seven farmers, five musicians, and two solid hours to pull that sucker out.

Filmed & Scored by Jana Holland, at Savage River Farm.  Music by Thomas Dutronc

 

Bus Meet Up in Montreat

Sometimes we find other bus owners along our way, meet up and share homemade ice cream, bus stories and songs.

IMG_2257busconversion.com has a bus forum for those wild ones out there who have made a decision to try the tiny house on wheels idea, converting a bus into a home. It’s a great place to share stories, wisdom and practical information about converting a bus. Craig actively uses the forum, mostly when we are in need of advice for a blow tire, brake job, etc… But sometimes when someone reaches out he gets social and sets up a meet up with fellow bus owners. And, that is how, on a sunny afternoon in Montreat, NC we met Jim and Beverly for little bus rally. And, yes they brought homemade ice cream! Lemon flavored to boot.

IMG_2253We learned about their transition into the bus, how they currently function in the bus and dreams for things to come. We also learned that Jim hand crafts banjos, which he brought along, because they brought their whole house, and he played for us. We shared a song or two as well, and finished off our afternoon with a farewell song from Jim, while Beverly looked on with a gentle smile and warm spirit.

Big love for our bus kinfolk! Here’s to more Meet ups!

On a Wing and a Prayer

It means, “In poor condition, but just managing to get the job done.”

Apparently, this phrase originated during WWII. The earliest reference that I can find to it is in the 1942 film The Flying Tigers. The screenplay, which was written by Kenneth Gamet and Barry Trivers, staring John Wayne:

Gordon (John Wayne): Any word on that flight yet?
Rangoon hotel clerk: Yes sir, it was attacked and fired on by Japanese aircraft. She’s coming in on one wing and a prayer.

The phrase was taken up by songwriters Harold Adamson and Jimmie McHugh and their WWII patriotic song Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer, 1943 tells of a damaged warplane, barely able to limp back to base.

Boy, can we relate to limping back to base and we can attest that without the prayer part the whole phrase wouldn’t have legs to stand on.

IMG_1262Recently, we pulled into a large parking lot in front of a strip mall adjacent to Indian Harbor Beach, FL. We were going to be partnering with Glen Clark & The Family for a weekend festival called Spring Beach Fest. We were excited and arrived the night before the event, settled in, got to know the crew, played some music and talked logistics for the next day.

The morning of the festival we pulled our bus behind the Main Stage as a backdrop and wind break. IMG_1289As we pulled into place, our bus stopped moving, it wouldn’t respond to our commands but kept idling. We knew something was wrong and started to panic but the festival crew was in high gear and there was no time to try to figure out what was wrong with the bus.

I sent an SOS out to all of our kinfolk around the globe asking for prayer and were encouraged by all of the immediate responses. Craig got on his bus forum at busconversion.com and started asking questions. The guys responded right away and gave him some great ideas of areas to explore on the bus. He did what he could with the information but eventually had to release his efforts for lack of knowledge. We started to investigate towing options but as we took a step back we realized it was Sat and most bus mechanical shops wouldn’t be open until Monday. We also knew that getting a tow during the festival wasn’t a practical or safe option. So, we tried to set aside our issue and focus on our purpose at the festival.

IMG_1275As we prayed and others prayed for us, our faith was strengthened and we were able to stay present, serving alongside the Clark family. The fellas helped with set up and us girls started to focus on creating a space of hospitality on our bus, making a big pot of homemade chai and a Mediterranean lunch for everyone. And, although there was a cloud hanging over us, we all could sense the presence of those praying for us.

Things started to settle down a bit, we played a set of music, then rested for a moment, taking in all of the joy around us; the beach, those serving food on the main grounds, the children laughing and playing in the jumpy castles, those engaged in hardy conversation and the many bands that played that day.

IMG_1286Early evening, I came back into the bus to start working on dinner and noticed that our stove was acting weird. I lifted the grill and found that the gas line was on fire and was nearly scorched through. I turned off the stove immediately, and sat down to catch my breath. I realized that we were just spared an even more dramatic crisis of a bus fire! I was thankful, however I was so discouraged because I no longer had a way to care for others using my kitchen. The weight of the whole day started to burden me and I sighed. I managed to whisper a short prayer and then sent out another SOS to all of our kinfolk;

“Update on Bus breakdown. Craig has started to narrow down issue but has only solved a bit of the puzzle, something to do with the air compression and the breaks. Our bus is sitting as the backdrop at a little grassroots festival, Indian Harbor, FL. Fine for the night but tomorrow turns back into a strip mall parking lot.  On top of that, feeling thwarted as we found the gas main on our stove was scorched. Thank The Lord we found it, or our bus would have blown up. Means I can’t cook for the crew here which is frustrating! We’re all starting to feel the stress. Plus there are a few external/relational situations that we are present at the festival. So, our focus has been on caring for others. I know God is faithful no matter what. Still need to cry though. Please pray for us. We could use a big fat wet kiss from God right now.”

The responses poured in:

  • Vanessa at 7:10pm; Prayers are going up!! Lord, set them back on path to do Your work! Any assignments or schemes set against them must be released in Jesus’ name!!
    Love you guys and are praying for it all to be restored asap! And with little cost to you! 
  • Ginny at 7:18pm Praying for a fix. Praising God you discovered the stove issue.
  • Bente. at 7:19pm so very sorry..I pray for peace and provision.
  • Joseph at 7:20pm I’ll just join you in crying, tough day in the Apple Donky as well….God is Good all the time
  • Sofija at 7:42pm So sorry! Praying for you guys… So glad you all are safe.
  • Grace at 8:04pm Praying for you sweet friends…
  • Melanie at 8:06pm Father in Heaven, hear our cries.
  • Kelli at 8:16pm Ugh. Continued prayers (from earlier post today). So sorry. Good WILL come of it….but yuck.
  • Niqee at 8:43pm Oh dear sister cry! That is highly acceptable! It is in those times that we truly give it over to God. He never leaves us. Embrace the journey. Never easy but always beautiful! 
  • Brett at 10:06pm Lifting your family up! 
  • Janae at 10:34pm Praying for you all! So thankful that it isn’t worse. Praying for that big sloppy wet kiss! 
  • Debbie at 5:16am Praying from across the big pond 
  • Jerry at 9:16am You are a picture of walking with the Lord. Do what you can while you wait on him to do what you can’t. Go Craig! That cooking part I know bugs you Jana. You love serving. Lord, from a far thank you for way you are involved with us all. Near. Faithful. Showing up not only to do but to be, so we can enjoy you beyond wonder. Thank you for watching over the Hollands. 
  • Jane at 9:24am Praying for you guys! 
  • Cara at 10:18am Praying for a mighty miracle of mysterious bus fixes and your friends hearts.

Our spirits were lifted by the prayers of those who heard our cry for support. That’s when I realized that the whole episode with the bus wasn’t about the bus. The most debilitating thing wasn’t the bus being broken down or even the worry of how to pay for the repairs. The most debilitating thing was dealing with a sense of being isolated and alone. Prayer became our focus and through it all, we understood that prayer was our life line.

As the festival came to a close our attention turned to solving the problem of electricity for the night. You see we have been building this bus as resources become available and one of our last things that we hope to build is the inverter/generator system, which will allow us to dry camp, but that will come when it’s meant to come. In the meantime, we prayed and found favor with the local bar, called Bishops, which allowed us to run our electrical cord across the parking lot to them. We slept hard, knowing that the next morning we were going to have a busy day dealing with our broken bus. We woke up the next morning to a surprising and encouraging text from our friends Karen and Doug.

IMG_1305We met Karen and Doug at Lifest a few summers ago and have kept in touch with them ever since. They are some of our kinfolk who were praying for us and just happened to be an hour north of us in Sanford, FL.

Doug, a retired diesel mechanic, stated that they were on their way and hoped to try to problem solve with us. Sure enough, they showed up shortly after and Doug and Craig got to work. They spent all day sussing out the problem finally narrowing it down to a break chamber issue. Over the course of 8 hours they fixed my stove and temporarily got the bus running enough to take it up to the MCI shop in Orlando, saving us the $400 tow. We were taken aback by their love and support and willingness to care for us unconditionally and noted it as an answer to the many prayers, giving thanks!

IMG_1356Doug and Karen were volunteering at New Tribes Missions Homes and had arranged for us to park our bus for the night in their RV park and the next morning Craig and Doug brought the bus to the MCI shop. While our bus was in the shop they organized for us to stay in a duplex in the community for the two nights it took to fix our bus. Their generosity allowed us time to take a deep breath, get some laundry done, share a few meals, learn about NTMH and share in community without the burden of our bus issues pulling us down.

In the end, the bus was fixed, our repair costs were eventually covered by those who felt compelled to care for us financially and we were able to continue on our way. But, even if all hadn’t fallen into place, we know that through it all, God is faithful, hears our prayers and because of this we experienced a deep sense of connectivity through a difficult time.
We also believe that because of the faithfulness of the saints in our lives we made it through on a wing and prayer.

Hashtag Community

instagramWhat the heck is a hash tag, and why should I use them? We get this question all the time and usually answer it by saying the # is a way of “filing” your photo into a world-wide folder with photos that also have that same hashtag. The purpose is to link up people who have similar interests. So for instance, say you were into tea, you could start an instagram and use it as a way to document different tea shops you’d visit, teas and big hats via photo and then when you post those photos, you’d hashtag something like #teaaddiction. When you had a moment, you’d click on #teaaddiction and find all sorts of kinfolk who love tea. You could look through their photos and maybe even click on their profile, eventually making friends, finding solace in your tea fanaticism.

For us, social media outlets that use hashtags, specially Instagram have allowed us the privilege of meeting so many wonderful traveling kinfolk along our way. Just hashtag #busconversion,  #familyontheroad, #ditchingsuburbia, or #homeiswhereyouparkit and boom, they are all there; nomadic kinfolk, wanderlust rangers and road-school families. These tools provide opportunities to make an initial contact, where we can develop a slow adoration for those we follow, bonding over shared experiences and eventually leading to a #meetup. That’s when the real fun starts for us! Those moments of serendipity when we find ourselves in the same neck of the woods as fellow travelers, reaching out, setting a meeting time and place and making that first face to face connection, is sheer excitement and delight.

IMG_2192We’ve met up in MI with fellow bus owners, Herd of Turtles (The Shanks Family riding in an Eagle) and Scott and Heather Bennet (MCI owners), sharing a meal, stories of our bus conversions, and music by the campfire. Also, fellow bus owners Technomadia, who we met up with in California. When we pulled into the state park, they heard our 2stroke engine and came a running. We spent that evening sharing bus stories and tricks of the trade.

Our nomadic community isn’t just limited to bus owners, as we’ve met up with “The Van With No Plan” brothers, Josh and Matt in Phoenix AZ, where we learned about their adventures in multiple vehicles and drive to bring joy wherever they go. We met up with “meredithmarieyo” in Austin TX and learned the Texas Two Step. Also, in Austin we met up with world troubadour, Andrew Jones, from Jonesberries, one of our greatest inspirations and in our opinion, the original traveling family. And, then there was that quick but fruitful breakfast at Cracker Barrel in Lafayette, LA with One Year Road Trip (The Webb Family). We can’t forget The Wayfaring Family in Lexington, KY hosting us for a few nights, sharing stories of their one year of world travel, and adjusting back to home life. Then there was our recent link up with 5th wheelers, Wandering Jess (The Marshall Family) in Pensacola FL and The Boyink family (aka Ditching Suburbia) at Silverspring State Park, Florida. Both of which shared stories of faith, motivation for full-time travel and raising teenagers on the road.

They all have their own beautiful stories of how they transitioned from life on the ground to life on the road. They all make their way doing different sorts of jobs, some work remote corporate jobs, some IT jobs, some bloggers, some pick up odd jobs, some do photography and some are film makers. Some have children and those who do have all sorts of ways they home school, from online resources to unschool. Some have pets, some have spouse and some have both.  They all travel in an array of vehicles from 5th wheels, classic airstreams, campers, buses, vans, to cars & bicycles. Some have converted their vehicles and some have bought them off of the lot. Some folks, downsize all the way, some still have homes, etc… Some have an abundance of resources and some live day to day. One thing they all have in common however, is their commitment to swimming upstream, seeking freedom, asking tough questions about societal norms and pushing against the status quo.

IMG_0155Everyday a new traveler, family or couple ends up in our different hashtag folders and when they do we reach out welcoming them to this community of drifters and wanderers. We’re always keeping an eye on the whereabouts of our fellow travelers, hoping that the wind might blow us together sooner than later. These moments of connectivity with our nomadic community are inspiring and reassure us that we’re not odd or alone, we are part of a bigger picture, in it together. #neverstopexploring #community

You can find us on Instagram at The Hollands and on Twitter at The_Hollands

Back The Bus Up

Parking a 40x8ft bus is no easy feat. However, over the course of the past three years of practicing it, our driver extraordinaire Craig Holland has become quite the expert. He has parked in all sorts of driveways across the US and this quick video of Craig pulling out of a 10 foot Oakland, CA driveway showcases his mad skills. (By the way, with only a few inches to spare on either side, he pulled into this drive way, just a week before)

We’ve done our share of camping in State Parks and RV Parks but our favorite place to park is in someones driveway. There is such a richness to life when we get to neighbor alongside our kinfolk,  sharing meals & hearing their story, hopes and dreams.

We’ve parked in all sorts of driveways from suburban cul-du-sacs in Albuquerque, NM and Carlsbad, CA, city driveways in Nashville, TN, Milwaukee, WI and Oakland, CA, to country life in Mt. Vernon, IA, and Lafayette, LA, street side in Bend, OR and Lexington, KY, Lakeside in Austin, TX to Mountain side in Golden, CO and Poolside in Phoenix, AZ. Plus so many more!

If you’d like to have us for a visit but you’re just not sure if we can fit in your drive way. Have a look at these brave neighbors.

 

So, if a friend of friend tells you, “Hey I know this family that travels around full-time in their bus, singing and neighboring with people. They are coming your way, and you should have them come park in your driveway.” Have no fear, all we need is a safe, relatively flat driveway, at least 10 feet wide and 40 feet long and we’re golden. And, if you’ll have us, we’ll be there with bells on, and probably our instruments too.

IMG_1950