Caballo Lake

We were going to watch a movie last night but instead watched the sun beams set over the Caballo Mountain range. We woke up to a grand finally that was breathtaking.

They call this the Land of Enchantment.

The Land of Enchantment
The Land of Enchantment
Caballo Lake State Park
Heaven on earth
And then this happened, Those pretty pink wisps wrapped themselves around the half moon.
And then this happened, Those pretty pink wisps wrapped themselves around the half-moon.

 

He wraps up the waters in his thick clouds, but the clouds do not break under the weight. ~Job
He wraps up the waters in his thick clouds, but the clouds do not break under the weight. ~Job

 

One night at Caballo Lake State Park is $14 for water and 30 amp. It was a quiet and a fantastically beautiful park. Just 20 minutes north of Hatch, the Chili capital of the US.

Advertisements

Interview with Florida Outdoor RV

The Hollands! – Merrymaking Nomads

December 3, 2013 By  

Jana from The Hollands kindly offered to do an interview with me! They travel the world singing and bringing joy to people everywhere. Enjoy it and let us know what you think!

The Hollands! Bus

What inspired to you to hit the road and do full time RVing…or I guess “Busing” in your case!

At the end of 2010 we, The Hollands! (Americana Folk Band and family) recognized a huge disconnect in our marriage, family, spirituality, global footprint and finances. Typical to most middle American families, we were working full time, pursuing our musical passion, school committee’s, organizing neighborhood gatherings and with what energy we had left, dreaming about a slower more deliberate pace. A pace that included deeper connectivity, reconciliation and purpose. Thus began the process to align all of those areas in our lives.

We started by casting a dream/vision for a life that was simpler, less fragmented and community driven. We released our possessions, bought a bus and began a journey converting it into a home on wheels, learning to home school, connecting with communities across the US and Australia and making music.

How has this decision affected your life? Your Family? Your lifestyle? Your values?

A paradigm shift has taken place in our ideology about most things in our life, especially “wants” verses “needs.” The effect has been more than noticeable.  Downsizing from 2000 sq ft home to 300 sq ft bus has been quite the process. I would say especially for our children, ages 17 and 12. (girl and a boy) They share a 7 x 71/2 bunk room and each have 4 drawers and shared closet. We left in a bus that was unfinished and have been building it on the road. The first year we had no plumbing, but somehow found plenty of toilets to use. I will say, however, that when the plumbing was finally installed we celebrated.

IMG_1061
Our living quarters 2011
IMG_8049
Our finished living quarters 2013

Through this process our family has grown tremendously closer. We live in a small space and the four of us are together 24/7 so it’s obvious when the harmony is off. We respect each others space and process but the commitment to finding that harmony again moves much quicker than when we used to live in a large home, all going our different directions.

We’ve also found a deeper connection with our music, performing over 90 shows a year, writing new material, and having other musicians travel/tour with us. It’s proving to be a very good education for us all.

I’m not sure our pace is much slower than our former lifestyle, but it is much more purposeful. Over the past two years we have traveled to 32 states and all but a handful of nights were spent parked with “host” families.  We’ve connected with most, if not all of the ‘host” families through our social media networks or from referrals from friends. Those times when we did not find a host family or needed time to ourselves we stayed at State Parks or RV Parks.

Our greatest joy on this journey has been being invited into the lives of so many families, to share in community and see all sorts of different ways to do life, from carnivores to vegans, Republicans, Democrats, Anarchists and everything in-between, a plethora of religious ideals to those who claim no faith.  We’ve had the opportunity to try all sorts of foods, music, sports, outdoors activities, etc… We’ve been invited to share sacred space, learn new customs and rituals, and have heard stories of trials, pain, betrayal, hope, joy and faith.

IMG_4612   IMG_0149 IMG_8248

What does a normal day look like for you?

It looks different every single day. There is no normal.

What advice would you give to the beginner full time traveler or RVer?

If you are a family, the most important thing we could advise is to move forward with purpose. Discuss as a family what your hope is in traveling, are you looking for the crux to be educational, service, rest, exploration, tourist, or a combination of those. Revisit that conversation regularly. Dialog about your strengths and weakness as individuals and as a family whole, decide to use those strengths for the greater good, lift each other up in your weakness and be open to the entering the unknown. Be open to moving upstream.

Please visit FLORIDA OUTDOOR RV for more fantastic stories of FULL TIMERS.

Two Years Baby!

Today marks our two-year anniversary of nomadic life. Thinking about all of the individuals and families that helped to make all of this happen. Those at the very beginning and those we continue to meet along the way.

When we pulled out of Green Bay, Wisconsin we had our couch, dinette and bed built, the rest of our belongings were in boxes on the floor of the bus. We had $1800 in our pockets and our first week on the road we trekked over 2000 miles to Sisters, OR. We arrived with only two hundred dollars left in our pocket and wondered what in the world we were going to do.

Little did we know that there was a community and purpose waiting for us!  We spent three months in that community finding our legs and experiencing a massive shift in our thinking about life, purpose, humanity and God.

Every single thing that has been built on the bus has a story that involves donated or refurbished materials and/or kinfolk offering a helping hand. Story upon story, layer upon layer of community, beauty and worth.

Today we don’t celebrate our efforts but we celebrate all of those who have persevered and come along side of us through this journey.

We celebrate those who have hosted us in their driveways, allowed us to use showers, laundry and space.

We thank those who have allowed us to invade their lives, shared story, community and meals.

We thank those who have graciously offered us the cash in their pockets to help us with gas, repairs, and groceries.

We celebrate those who have invited us into the fold, those who have trusted us to lead them in sacred space.

We thank friends who continue to hold us accountable, challenge and encourage us in our marriage, family and faith.

We thank the youth we have met along the way, that open their hearts to our children, that inviting them into their lives, sharing the experiences of football games, dances, going to movies, parties, and staying in touch with them when we leave.

We celebrate those who have educated us along our way, homeschool parents, teachers, and those with special gifts and resources, offering us opportunities to learn to surf, horseback ride, ski, mountain bike, hiking, fly fishing, work with fine art, graffiti art, CSA farming, and building/flying RC Planes.

We thank those who are doing amazing things to advocate for the marginalized and their willingness to allow us to come along side and encourage, serve and learn.

We celebrate you! Every single one of you! Thank you for loving us and cheering us on.

20131013-214349.jpg

Bus Rider, Yippie yi yaaaaay

Hospitality is in our makeup and we are always looking for ways to engage that gift. Recently we began dreaming about hosting kinfolk on our bus, inviting friends and muso’s to travel with us. When we would put out the offer, most people would smile, saying that it would be amazing, but not take it any further.

20130816-135130.jpgAnd then we met Chaz Jones. A twenty year old student from Lafayette, LA. We met him in 2012 at Cornerstone Music Festival in Bushnell, IL. He stayed in touch with us, sending us little notes of encouragement and even financial support to help keep us on our way. Then in March of this year he invited us to his community in Louisiana and we accepted his offer. We shared in song, story and meals. We met his mentors and other students, we mentioned our longing for others to travel with us and he said he was interested. He continued to declare his desire and we began conversations on the road to making our vision and his commitment a reality.

Some of the questions we explored were, “What would bus life look like? Expectations from our end and expectations from his end. Specifically regarding finances, roles and boundaries.”

We let him know that there was no expectations for compensation to or from travelers. If a fellow traveler felt so inclined to give a monetary gift, we would graciously accept but it was not expected. Likewise, we don’t have a budget to pay folks to join us but hope that the experience, as well as, covering the costs of room/board/fuel would suffice. The only concession would be if a person had really strict dietary issues that require expensive foods, they would have to bring funds to cover those needs. But, if we have the ingredients on board, it would be available to all. We did however, suggest having spending money, for shops, thrifting, movies or special attractions, etc…

And as for roles and boundaries. Our hope would be that travelers would participate, on what ever level they can, within the daily life on board, offering a helping hand, finding ways to be involved either in the music, bus logistics, or sharing of other gifts and talents.

We let him know that its real life out here, we are in a small space (300 sq feet), we are working out family dynamics, we don’t have hot running water or air conditioning, we all have our own personal junk but we are committed to finding harmony. The only other relational request would be for patience and openness to communicate desires, observations, and to see this experience as an opportunity to see God’s faithfulness in the daily restoration “the body.”

In late July, Chaz took a greyhound bus from Lafayette, LA to Lansing, Michigan and met us at a performance we shared  with our good friends, The Illalogical Spoon. He’ll be riding with us until mid-September. Chaz plays Banjo and has been a welcome addition to The Hollands! as well as to our family. Glad to have you on board Chaz!

Top left; Chaz Jones, Graciana, Jana, Craig. Bottom left, Banjo. Bottom Right, Joziah (our nephew)
Top left; Chaz Jones, Graciana, Jana, Craig.
Bottom left, Banjo. Bottom Right, Joziah (our nephew)

Homeschool on the Road

Sofija BurtonIn March, we sat down with Homeschool mom and “Teach Where You Live” blogger, Sofija Burton and she asked us a few questions about Homeschooling on the road.

SB:  Tell us a little about your family. Who lives with you?

JH: We are The Hollands! A nomadic family of merrymakers. We are four, Jana- Mother, Craig-Father, Graciana-Sister, Banjo- Brother. We are folk musicians and observers of humanity, encouragers of community.

SB: How did you come to live on a bus?

JH: We came to a cross roads in life where our family life was fragmented, our gifts stifled and a longing crept up for a more holistic way of life.  And so, we began to dialog and dream of a simpler way. The nomadic life came as a result. It was apparent that a drastic change in lifestyle was necessary and the idea of giving away all we owned and traveling seemed a reasonable option.

The Hollands! BusSB: What are the challenges of living on a bus and traveling?

JH: We bought the bus off of Craig’s List in 2010. It was the Casper WY Trooper Drum and Bugle Corp Bus. It’s a 1984 MCI model. We had to strip it clean and build it out from scratch. The most challenging aspects have been building the electrical and plumbing systems, then the fact that we aren’t dealing with straight lines have added to the construction difficulties. However, Craig is a learner and these challenges suite him. As for the rest of us, living in a half built bus has been a struggle at times. However, we are much more comfortable now than when we left in the bus. We have electricity and now that my kitchen is built I can offer some pretty delicious meals. We have a working toilet and cold running water but look forward to the day we have hot water, a shower and air conditioning.

SB: What are the perks?

JH: Mobility would be the greatest perk. It’s very comfortable to travel. It’s home. Another perk would be the opportunity to share in life with neighbors across the US. You are our 32nd neighbor in the last year and a half. It is a real joy to have the opportunity to observe, learn and work out life with so many kinfolk.

SB: How do you home-school while traveling? Describe a typical day.

JH: We currently use the K-12 for our 6th grade son and E-Achive for our 10th grade daughter, both are on-line schools out of our home state of Wisconsin. Each program is slightly different and offers separate perks and challenges. Our days fluctuate depending on the community we are engaging with. Some days are more focused on the curriculum and others we are fully engaged with community around us. Homeschool

SB: What are challenges of home-schooling on the road?

JH: Because of the nature of our travels, the ebb and flow of virtual school can be a challenge and sometimes feels disjointed. Although the programs in and of themselves are quite good, we are beginning to explore other options for schooling that will bring the kids learning in line with our lifestyle and offer them more opportunity to really experience “live” learning. There is such pressure from the world system to “keep up with the jones” and when this concept seeps into our learning environments it stifles real growth. It takes us hostage and invokes a deep fear of failing. Instead of learning we grow up regurgitating. We are tired of watching our children regurgitate. We long to see them really learn.

SB: What would you like your kids to learn from this experience?

JH: We would like to give them an opportunity to take “ownership” their learning, to find freedom and joy in observing and fully participating in the environments we travel in. Homeschooling is a real gift and we are excited to begin to think out side of the box and explore ways to facilitate this.

4th of July Family Caravan

The Blumreich family, our first community caravaner’s, joined us over the 4th of July weekend.

blumreichbus.jpgWe picked up Eric, Jodie, Emma and Clara on a Thursday in front of their house and began our trek south towards the beautiful town of Galena, IL. Our first stop Beloit, WI for the Blumreich annual family gathering. We enjoyed a potluck style meal, played yard games, sang songs and enjoyed fireworks.

The next morning we packed up and drove about three hours before pulling into the Palace Campground, which sits just outside of Galena. We discovered this little gem last summer and knew the Blumreich’s would appreciate the vintage aspect of the facility, including an old school pool with diving board and mini-golf course. Everything about the campground reminds us of camping back in the 1970’s and in a world that is constantly upgrading there is something nostalgic about that. It would be the ideal setting for most of the Chevy Chase ‘Vacation’ movies.

PalaceCampground.jpgWhen we arrived at the campground and set up three tents, one for Jodie, Eric and Clara, one for Graciana and Emma and one for John and Les (Eric’s parents). Then we all settled in for a fantastic weekend.

We enjoyed swimming, mini-golf, a trip to the city center to see all of the historical artifacts and shops. We shared meals, bon fire’s and song. We observed each other families, with the most encouraging conversations revolving around the joys and woes of parenting teen’s and pre-teens.

It’s no easy task to be a parent to any age group and it’s affirming to share our journey with other parents in order that we might know that our struggles are perfectly normal, that we aren’t the only ones going through it, and that we are not alone. Likewise, it was good for our children, specially our 16 year old’s, who sometimes believes that the grass is greener on the other side. They were both able to work through drama, share dreams and desires, and hopefully gain perspective by being in such close quarters.

thehollandsgalena.jpgOur ultimate purpose for going to Galena was to perform for the Galena Performing Arts Festival, which rounded out the weekend nicely. The concert was held in the historic Grace Episcopal church and was a fantastic setting. Seating about 80, we packed the house to over 150.

We were a little leery about how our children would transition from enjoying the lazy weekend with friends to performing, but they did a fantastic job. Funny enough, that day, I had spent quite a bit of time myself in the pool and personally couldn’t hear much during our performance with all of the water in my ears. However, everyone else picked up the slack and this one will go down as one of our favorite settings and behind the scenes moments. Including, Eric’s helpful hand in set up/tear down, Emma’s thoughtful prayer for us before our show, a tender moment when Craig introduced Graciana as our “beautiful” daughter, Banjo’s fun antics on stage, and the Malik family driving in from Mt. Vernon, IA to see us and say hello.

On our drive home, I asked Eric for constructive feedback on what it was like to travel with our family. He responded, “your future guests will have to be pretty laid back.” Ha! I know we beat to a different drum and we are thankful that the Blumreich family took the plunge to be our first caravan guests. We are thankful for their willingness to swim upstream with us merrymaking nomads. We love you Eric, Jodie, Emma and Clara.

Community Caravan

There is a chair waiting for you. 

One of our “dream talk” desires is to have friends and muso’s  join us on the bus and/or community caravan. As we gear up for our summer of touring we though it might be fun for you to see how it breaks down in two-week increments. Although, we’re happy for folks to join us even for a weekend. We’ve got room for three on the bus and we have guest rooms (tents) when needed. We’ve already had our first family sign up for the weekend in Galena over the 4th of July and another traveler for the month of August.

If you are interested in exploring what it means to live intentionally in community, to travel and to tour, contact us at thehollands@thehollands.org. Come on and join us for the ride. We’re looking forward to a fantastic summer.

Great Lake Plains 1
May 31- June 14 Starting off in Chicago, traveling through IA and back to IL (Waukegan). We have 4 official performances during this time period.

Great Lake Plains 2
Jun 14-28 Staring off in Waukegan IL, We travel to St. Louis and back up through Madison, ending in Green Bay, WI. We have 6 official performances

Great Lake Plains 3
June 28-July 14 Staring off in Green Bay, WI. traveling between to Door County, Milwaukee and Galena IL. Ending back in Door County. We have 5 official performances.

Northwoods
July 15-29 Starting off at Camp Tek in Shawano, WI, traveling between Appleton, Fon du Lac, up into Minnesota (Minneapolis and the surrounding areas) Ending back in Shawano, WI. We have 7 official performances.

Great Lake Plains 4 – Michigan
July 29-Aug 12 Starting off in Shawano, WI, ending in Chicago, IL Currently we only have 2 official performances and are hoping this will be a time of beach, community and rest.

Westward Ho!
Aug 12-Sept 1 Starting off in Chicago, IL, traveling through KS, CO, WY ending in Salt Lake City, UT. We have 11 official performances.

FALL OPTIONS:

Sept 2-16 Starting off in Salt Lake City, traveling through Boise, ID to Bend, OR

Sept 17-24 Starting off in Bend, OR, traveling up to Bellingham, WA back through Seattle, Portland and ending in Bend, OR

Sept 25-Oct 10 Starting in Bend, OR, traveling through Roseburg, OR, Eureka, CA, Redding, CA, Modesto, CA and ending in Irving, CA

Oct 11-24 Starting in Irving, CA, traveling through San Diego to Phoenix, AZ