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!

Advertisements

Carolina Clam Bake

We’ve been¬†wandering up and down the Carolina coast for the past few weeks. Recently, we put a shout out on our Facebook page letting folks know we were in the Wilmington, NC area¬†and asked if there were any kinfolk who’d like to neighbor with us.

Our friend, Julie in Sturgeon Bay, WI responded with enthusiasm that her best friend, Grace and husband, Skip, lived just two hours north of our location and that we should go visit them. The fun thing was that I had known about Grace for years, as there were times that Julie and I would be hanging out and Grace would come up in conversation or she might even text/call while Julie and I were together. So, to actually meet up, was a pretty sweet idea.

IMG_1672We called Grace and she said to please come, that she and Skip were going to be hosting their annual “Clambake” and we were welcome to join in the fun. So we made plans to drive our mini-van to their¬†home in Morehead City for the weekend.

When we arrived they offer us a hearty greeting, giving us a lay of the land, escorting us to our bed rooms and inviting us down for dinner and drinks. About an hour later,¬†neighbors started arriving and merrily introduced themselves. It felt like we walked into an episode of Happy Days with a hint of the old 70’s classic, On Golden Pond. There was a natural connection between them all and it was encouraging to be welcomed in like old friends.

IMG_1683The next morning the preparations for the clam bake were under way. Grace peeled carrots, chopped onions and washed potatoes. And, Skip a retired professor in Aquaculture, wrangled Craig and Banjo to help him get the clams in order, pulling them up out of the water into a wheel barrow and washing them clean. He explained the process of farming the sea and all that goes into raising clams. Then it was time to start the kettles, boiling the water bath, preparing for the vegetables and then finally the clams.

The excitement began to brew as folks started to arrive. Many brought a drink to share and an appetizer but the crescendo came when Skip announced that the clams were finished and called everyone over to the picnic table covered in newspaper. We gathered, held hands, said a prayer and watched in awe as Skip emptied the contents onto the table. We all lined up, filled our plates and our bellies, finishing the evening with a regular ol’ Hollands sing along around the piano. The food was delicious, the company was gracious and kind and the experience was one to remember.

 

Beach Babies

Some folks find solace in the woods, some shopping on fifth avenue. Most of us Hollands! find refuge at the beach. So, spending a month winding up and down the coast of Florida was nothing short of pure bliss. We started in the Panhandle¬†at Pensacola Beach, making our way south to Naples, ducking down to the Keys all the way to the Southern Most tip of the United States, then back up the Atlantic side through South Beach, Melbourne and finally St. Augustine. IMG_0897Each Florida beach is as different as the grains of sand, each showcasing their own unique beauty. Our favorite beach¬†along the panhandle was¬†Pensacola Beach and if it had been warm enough we probably would have been there everyday. Unfortunately, it was in the 60’s and being north on the gulf meant the water was not much warmer. However, we couldn’t resist throwing on a sweatshirt and sitting seaside, enjoying the emerald-green water, and fine pearly white sand. And, the bonus of Pensacola Beach is that you have access to the shallow calm waters of the Bay and just an eighth of a mile on the other side of the island was the rolling waves of the Gulf. So depending on your mood you could go from one side to the other in a single day.

IMG_1220Our favorite beach in Naples was Clam Pass. It’s $8 to park but they had little gulf cart trolly’s that took us to and fro, starting in the parking lot and ending at the cafe/beach. They had lawn chairs/umbrella’s for rent but we preferred to just take our own supplies and walk down the beach setting up right at the mouth of the pass. The cool thing about this beach is that if its low tide you can hunt for hermit crabs and clams and during high tide the surf is perfect for body boarding. Plus the water is actually warm. On a side note, we’re sand snobs, and prefer the soft powder. Clam Pass with its slightly grainy¬†sand mixed with shells, just makes the cut. IMG_1138Having never been to the Keys and only seeing photos, we weren’t sure what to expect regarding the beaches but we did know that the water was a crystal clear mix of emeralds and blues, so that alone drew us down. However, once we arrived we realized that our ideal of a sandy beach wasn’t going to be met. Rather, we would find delight sitting by the water on a grassy patch to catch a sunset at our campground on Ohio Key or swimming directly off the dock. The waters were calm, and warm which offered the perfect scenario¬†to bring out the blow up raft and lounge in the water all day long. We still longed for a proper beach day and found that Bahia Honda State Park appeased our desire enough by offering a little strip of sand/shell mixture to plop our beach chairs and umbrella on. Most of our time there was spent floating in the knee-deep water. On the actual island of Key West, we parked down near the docks and walked the mile across the island to Higgs Beach to take a quick dip in the ocean and cool off. It’s a small city beach with a long jetty for people to walk out on. The sand was simi soft and the water pretty clear consider how many people were swimming. We were delight by the large demographic of beach goes and specially made note of the unique swimwear at the beaches in Key West.

IMG_1197South Beach, Miami rocked! The water was warm, waves were light and fluffy, and the sand was soft yet grainy with¬†yellow hues. ¬†It’s a city beach and has all of the fixings ¬†of a scene straight out of CSI Miami minus the murder. There were umbrellas,¬†cabana’s, restaurants, and bars all up and down the coast line. With the hustle and bustle of city life all around us, this beach was very reminiscent of Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. We only got to spend a short morning visiting to this beach and would definitely make it more of a priority next time around. IMG_1256If you’re looking for the surf, Melbourne is the place to be in Florida. Satellite Beach to be exact. Our son loves to surf and had he more time and known someone with a board, he would have loved for us to hang here a bit longer than we allowed. The sand was grainy and the water was cold but the waves were epic. It wouldn’t be where we would want to spend a whole day camped out watching little ones build sand castles but for the purpose of getting in and riding some waves, this beach fits the bill. The only draw back for us was that besides the beach itself, kinfolk in the area and a little burrito stand called¬†Da Kine Diego’s Insane¬†Burritos, Satellite Beach¬†seemed to be lacking in cultural draw. There was just one long double lane road that ran the length of the peninsula and had strip malls or condo’s on either side. We’d go back but probably only to hang with our kinfolk who happen to live there in the winter months. IMG_1362St. Augustine as a destination was probably our favorite. Everything about the area, the history, quant little town, and the beach was fantastic. Unfortunately, we only had one night in St. Augustine. We camped at North Beach Camp Resort, a privately owned RV Park. The sites were a bit above our price range but we were thankful for the opening specially since it was Easter Weekend. The resort was like something out of a Fantasy Island episode, with beautiful live oaks enclosing each site, a pool, shuffle board, restaurant beach side as well as a restaurant river side. The beach was similar to Melbourne in that it was cold and the sand was grainy, however the waves had a gentle crash to shore and was perfect for sea shell hunting. Ideally, we’d hit this one again. Maybe they’d be up for a barter. We’ll do a concert in the park for a week of camping. Wouldn’t that be something! If we could, we’d probably go back to most of them but if we had to pick only one we’d probably pick Pensacola Beach or really anywhere along the panhandle. We’d probably wait until late April or May to visit this area just to give the water a bit more time to warm up. Have you been to Florida? What were your favorites?

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

Kids Perspective  

Life On The Road, Three Years In.

During our five month rest in Austin, we took a little bit of time to reflect with our children about their last three years on the road, their dreams and desires as well as hardships.

gghGraciana, our 18 yr old, shared her desires to continue on with us, making music and¬†pursuing her fashion & travel blog. We talked about her goals outside of The Hollands!, looking at higher education, trade school and/or continuing on as a professional musician. Ultimately,¬†she has a deep desire to be in the music and fashion business but also recognized the gift of compassion and is open to exploring that more in the context of advocating for women’s issue, specifically in human rights and Sex Trafficking as well as healthcare.

There is no pressure however, and we know that it will all make sense when it’s suppose to. All of the time we’ve spent trying to figure out what her next step will be has been a struggle but no different from that of any other part of our journey. As we look back over the last three years of serendipity, provision and guidance, our faith has grown and¬†we trust that it will all¬†make sense for her as she continues to get ready to fly out on her own.

IMG_0324Banjo, our 13 yr old, has definitely morphed into a fantastic young man over the last 5 months in Austin. He’s grown physically about a foot and emotionally/spiritually his soul is being awakened. His time in Austin was a bit lonely due to the pace of everyone’s busy schedules but he did get to enjoy time¬†every¬†Sunday evening at Hope in the City’s youth group. The pinnacle of his time here involved attending his first youth retreat, which allowed him an opportunity to really get to know a few young fella’s as well as experience ¬†all the traditional fixings of a retreat including a shaving cream war, card games, Gaga Ball, and rope swinging into a river. He’s looking forward to getting back on the road and his wish is to save up for a Go-pro so he can start making videos of Skateparks across the country. He is also looking forward to playing summer festivals as those are his favorite venues.

IMG_0707As for homeschool, although Graciana has graduated she continues to seek wisdom and learns everyday. We have been pushing her beyond her comfort zone of being told how to do life into the practical application of doing life. For instance, she just got her temps and did all of the work on her own to acquire it. This has been something that she wanted for a long time and felt, per societal norms, that we should have done for her. We really believe however, that because she took ownership of the process, she is better for it.

IMG_1090Banjo is another story, his learning style is covert, meaning he’s less inclined to ask how to do life, but rather wants to discover things on his own. So, if we press him to learn something that we deem important he usually shuts down. However, if we pay attention to the things that drive him, like building, strategy, entertainment (he really would be a great actor, he can do every accent and is quite flamboyant), and animal science, offering him opportunities to explore and discover, he usually responds and ends up quite the expert on the subjects. Recently, he participated in an Austin Unschool Holiday Market, where he designed and handcrafted his Bottle Cap Shakers based off of the Australian Laugerphone. And, he’s currently he is taking a Pet Psychology class online. It is an adult class and at the end of the course he will acquire a certificate that says he’s completed the course. If he desires he can continue on in the field and eventually have credentials to work in the animal care world. But of course, we have to be subtle about our encouragement as to not turn him off it all together. Ha!

 

 

Dream Talk 2015

North America - 16x20 Close Up-800x800We are so excited for all that 2015 will and already is offering. This year, (October) we will celebrate four years of full-time family travel! And, even more exciting, this year will be our first trek to the East Coast & Eastern Canada.

As we look forward our vision is clear and we are ready to¬†go ahead with what we’ve been given. Over these three years on the road, we’ve received a hardy portion of amazing grace¬†and freedom. We’re¬†deeply rooted in the message of¬†reconciliation and¬†know our way around the faith. We’re ready to do what we‚Äôve been taught and continue to let our living intoxicate those we meet along the way. Musically, we have a strong sense that more will come, but hold loosely to whatever shape that might take. We are excited to see who ends up riding with us over the next season of travel. We can barely contain the joy when we think about all of the community¬†we will meet on this new route and know that serendipity will find us every single day!

As we embark on new territory we would love to invite you to join us on that journey. If you have kinfolk on the East Coast, that you think might be interested in a visit from us Hollands! please send us their way. Or, if you’d like to ride the bus for a stint, please contact us at thehollands@thehollands.org

We will be in Austin until February 8, shoring up loose ends with our bus. We have to get a new tire, finish off a few building projects and refuel, which we’ll be able to afford thanks to our kinfolk, who have generously given through our Helping Hands/Modern Day Fund. We also need to say one last goodbyes to all of our precious friends here in ATX!

Here is a very loose itinerary for 2015:

FEB: South Padre Island TX, Beaumont TX, Lafayette LA, New Orleans LA (Celebrating Jana’s Birthday, all are welcome to come and camp with us the last weekend of Feb)

MARCH: We will be in Florida for the whole month of March. We are not exactly sure of our routing in FL and totally open at this point. We do have our sights set on a stop in the Ocala National Forest where we hope to bring our merrymaking to the Rainbow community. We also feel a strong pull to go to Key West. Who wouldn‚Äôt, right?! ūüôā

APRIL/MAY: Hoping to connect with kinfolk in the southeast, including: (and anywhere in-between) Savanna GA, Charleston SC, Atlanta GA, Asheville NC, Wilmington NC, Richmond VA, Washington DC

JUNE: Philadelphia PA, Allentown PA, New York NY, Cape Cod MA, Boston MA

JULY:¬†Portland ME,¬†Old Town ME, Mid-July we’ll make our way up through North East Canada through¬†Quebec City,¬†Montreal,¬†Toronto

AUGUST: Lansing MI, Muskegon MI, Chicago IL, Door County WI, Delavan WI

SEPT-DEC: We are applying for festivals in Australia and hope to be overseas by the middle of September. Our desire is to continue on through Oceania and make our way up to SE Asia or Europe. We’re open however, to other options. So stay tuned.

WordleWe look forward to the road that lies ahead and anticipate an awesome year of learning and growing. Our dream talk wouldn‚Äôt be complete without our “naming ceremony.” It‚Äôs time where we each quiet our hearts and listen, hoping to hear that still small voice speak a word over us; a word that will take on new meaning as trials and joys come our way. This year, Craig’s word is “embrace.” Graciana’s word is “patience.‚ÄĚ Banjo‚Äôs word is ‚Äúcourage.‚Äô And, my word is “treasure.‚ÄĚ Each word by themselves is significant to each of us individually. However, we see the beauty in all four of our words impacting us as a whole. As we move through each day of 2015, our hope is for a spirit of abundant and bountiful thanksgivings. And, as we show our gratitude through our merrymaking, coming alongside, mentorship & craftsmanship that others will be moved by the extravagance of God in our lives.

We hope that you are encouraged by our dream talk and that you might sit down with your family allowing time and space to really hash out your thoughts, dreams and desires; looking for the interconnectivity of them and spurring one another on through out the year.  If so, please share, especially any other traditions that you might incorporate into your dream talks? And, if you do the naming ceremony, we’d love to know what word comes to mind when you quiet your heart?

Family Adventure Podcast

Erik from Family Adventure Podcast interviewed us recently. Have a listen, be inspired & please comment/share.

49 ‚Äď Family Travel + Music!

01

Music & Travel!

How about this? A family traveling for years, playing music as a band, and enjoying and savoring every experience that crosses their path? Sounds epic? The Hollands manage their life and business on the road and share their experiences with us!

From Homeschooling, building a bus, to their creative look on finances, these folks are the real deal, and have fun following their dream and passions!

Show Notes:

http://tillersandtravelers.org -Personal Blog with Family updates.

thehollands.org -Music Site. Listen to Music. Find out where they’re at, if at all possible, you need to see them LIVE!

Twitter is used for health, food science, homeschool and social justice issues.

Facebook is used for music updates!

Like Family Adventure?  Help with a Rating & Review!

Your help gets the show in front of a larger audience, which helps tremendously to produce more shows! Click on one of those babies floating on the side of this page or the bottom and share with other adventurous families!

Also please leave a rating or review on iTunes! It just takes a second and you can help the show increase its rankings on iTunes just by this simple and quick gesture. If you do, click here to let Erik know so he can personally thank you!

Thank you so much for the love!