Living Outside of the Time and Space Continuum

Sometimes 24 hours can feel like a cold glass of water on a hot summers day.

IMG_9542For instance, before we arrived in Nashville, TN, Sylvia (our traveler from Green Bay, WI) mentioned that she knew a family in town and a few texts later we were invited over for a home cooked meal.  We made our way to the far east side of town to the Young family home. Steve, his wife Laura, daughter Audrey, and a few other young people all welcomed us. They shared their love for music and how they were in Mexico on mission for 15 years and how they transitioned 4 years ago to Nashville. Later Steve brought out the guitars and we all had a go round. Rhys (our traveler from Australia) especially shocked everyone with a fantastic song, offering us all a chance to chant along with him as he “Oh oh oh oh oh’d.”

Jeni's IcecreamThe next day, we wanted to offer our fellow travelers a taste of the local fare, so Jeni’s Ice cream was a top priority, then later we would head downtown for “Live on the Green,” a free concert featuring the band, Head and the Heart. We arrived at Jeni’s and made for the counter to try all of the exotic flavors, things like; Brown Butter Almond Brittle, Wild Berry Lavender and Goat Cheese with Red Cherries. You really can’t go wrong with any flavor but the best part of going to Jeni’s is the tasting before you commit. All six of us were dominating the counter and I glanced over and saw a couple waiting patiently. I invited them to get in on the tasting and soon after they were requesting Jeni’s unique flavors. At one point, I asked the lady how her “Black Coffee” sample tasted. She took a lick, smiled, said it was fantastic and handed it to me to taste. At first, I hesitated as she had licked the spoon just prior but then I shrugged my shoulders and took the spoon from her hand and I ate it. It tasted great but I was so curious about the interaction. It felt right, like family but she was a total stranger. She smiled and went back to tasting. I convinced her to get the Bangkok Peanut and she and her husband sat down.

We finished ordering and when it came time to find a seat Craig and I naturally sat down by our new friends, Phil and Dawn. Within moments we were sharing in community. Phil had on a shirt with the “Mercy Ships” logo. We recognized it and began to ask him about his time with them. They spoke the same language as we did about life, faith and love. Our conversation probably only lasted about 30 minutes but the words of encouragement and understanding will last us a life time.  We sent them off with CD’s and quoted my Papa letting them know we’d see them again, ‘Here, There or in the Air.’ Later that evening, Dawn wrote an e-mail with an affirmation of financial blessing which totally caught us off guard.  She also told us of a group called Provision International and Thunder School who were living intentionally, serving the poor and sharing music in Nashville. She mentioned that they were serving a meal and we should go down and meet the community.

We were curious and decided to visit on our way down to the concert. We arrived and the students welcomed us, inviting us to sit in and enjoy the meal, meet the locals and serve alongside them. In a city where so many are struggling to make a name for themselves, it was a delight to see kinfolk committed to caring for their neighbors, meeting both physical and spiritual needs.

Nashville, TNEventually, we ended up making our way down to the concert which was jam-packed with about 20,000 people in the court-yard area. The band was lovely but the highlight of the night was sitting and sharing a moment with one of our Nashville/muso friends, Lauryn Peacock. We met Lauryn at Cornerstone Music festival in 2011 and have found kinship with her ever since. She is a compassionate, creative, thoughtful and beautiful woman. She is the kind of person you could sit by a campfire for hours with, solving all of the problems of the world and every time we see her we are encouraged.

If we could we would live outside of the time and space continuum. We would see no beginning and no end. Meaning that every mile we have traveled would have significance not because of the distance but because it leads us back to you. By eliminating time as a factor in friendship we would view every human being as our closest friend and love them like a brother/sister. It’s probably a little esoteric and nearly impossible but we carry a glimpse of this ideal into our everyday life and by doing so experience the most beautiful and divine interactions. I suppose time and space have its place in this world under heaven. However, for us it really only emphasis all the ways that we are connected in the span of a 24 hour period, minds blown!

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Bus Upholstery Facelift

We have two seating areas on our bus. One long couch and a dinette with two benches. We can seat seven people comfortably but have had up to 10 in our living area. It’s pure bliss to have kinfolk join us on board and over the past two years and ten months we have had so many guests we’ve lost count. The only down side is it ends up being a lot of wear and tear on our little cushions and we were in desperate need of an upgrade. But how to find the supplies with our modest budget?

I’m a self-proclaimed treasure hunter and decided to start at the local thrift stores. I ended up finding exactly what I needed at St. Vincent DePaul thrift store in Green Bay WI. The choices were limited but the fabrics were sturdy. Next I asked around for a good place to find foam for our dinette. We decided to make due with the couch cushion and just recovered it with the staple gun method. For the dinette however, we wanted the cushions covered individually with zippers which would allow for washing access and for ease when converting the dinette into the spare bed for guests. I picked up a high quality grade cushion at Al’s upholstery on Main St and then found Wendy’s upholstery in Shawano, WI to do the handy work. She did a fantastic job and came in just at budget. All up our project cost just under $200.00

It may not be as flashy as our original blues and patterns but the fabrics and cushions are sturdy and hopefully will wear better, offering many more years of sharing life with kinfolk and hosting fellow travelers.

Original cushions, October 2011:

Celu'haven floor

Wear and tear as of April 2014:

Facelift, July 2014 :

 

 

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.