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

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Farm to Table

IMG_0749Farm to Table. It’s the new hot hashtag, all the rage. Restaurants popping up all over the country who partner with local farms so that they can claim the freshest food in town. Traveling chef’s like Jim Denevan from Outstanding in the Field have gotten in on the action by linking up with farms to put on exquisite farm to table dinners, using ingredients picked or slaughters that day, selling tickets to the first 50-200 people willing to pay anywhere from $150-$1000 a meal.

As we travel we find ourselves seeking out the freshest, organic foods we can find. Firstly because of our health, and also because we want to support local as we make our way. We thought we had a pretty good grip on where to find fresh food and how to cook with local ingredients but nothing tops what we learned during our week in Lafayette, LA on the Gotreaux Family farm.

It’s been a week since we last sat at the Gotreaux family table sharing our last meal and saying goodbye. As I sit at my desk eating my egg salad sandwich made with the fresh eggs from their farm, hatched the day we left, I am reminiscing about our rich time with them.

This was our third visit with this awesome family of 12 and unlike previous visit where we just observed farm life, this time around we were invited to actually work alongside of them on the farm and in the kitchen. Craig helped build a brooder house (nursery for baby chicks) and Banjo learned how to care for and catch the organic Tilapia. We all had our hands in the dirt on harvest day and on market day Graciana and I got to make our first meal for the whole group, 18 of us in total. We had the help of the twins and through out the week they would stay by our sides, helping us navigate in the kitchen, find or pick ingredients, and prep cook. Occasionally, some of the boys would drift in the kitchen, observing and if they weren’t busy I’d put them to work. We also had the help of our friend, Victoria Jones, one of the Gotreaux’s interns.

IMG_0755Our first meal out of the gate was Moroccan Vegetable Ragout, fresh-baked naan, Greek Salad and Blueberry Pie. All but a few ingredients came from the Gotreaux garden. The dinner was a hit, and as the week progressed we were invited to cook a few more meals. Because of the cold rainy weather and ingredients available we ended up choosing hardy winter recipes. Our menu included:

Dinner: Sweet Potato, Red Bell Pepper soup, Cheesy Cauliflower Bread, a Garden Salad and Aussie Lemon Bars.

Lunch: Turkey Burrito’s, side of Guacamole and chips/salsa.

Dinner: Rosemary Potato Soup, Fresh Baked Baguette, Arugula Pear and Fresh Parmesan Salad, Choc No-bake cookies.

Formal Dinner: Fresh Tilapia Ceviche appetizer, Savory Chicken Crepes, Spinach Apple Blue Salad, Aussie Lemon Bars.

IMG_0832There is nothing like cooking with fresh ingredient but I have never had the privilege of cooking with eggs, vegetables, dairy, or tilapia that was fresh picked or caught that day and not just that day, but moments before I used them. I could ask for anything and if it was in season and available it would be brought to me, ready to use. I might ask, do you have celery and one of the girls would answer yes, walk out the door, over to the garden and minutes later walk in with celery. And, did you know that most nutritious, delicious part of the celery are the leaves? I learned that celery is really not meant to go to stalk and the pale green celery we buy in the store looks and tastes nothing like the lush dark green savory celery I used in my Rosemary Potato Soup. I still love ants on a log, but I’m not sure I can go back to the vacant celery stalks in the grocery store without feeling like I’m being duped.

IMG_0848There is also nothing like cooking for 10 (plus our two) growing young people, all excited see what I can do with their harvest, ready to try something new. Each meal, I could feel the anticipation and when they sat down to give my recipes a try, they were open and honest about how my flavors impacted their tastes buds. Thankfully, they liked most of what I made.

I know the rest of my family had an epic time on the Gotreaux farm and that they each have individual stories that are just as profound. But for me, as far as travel experiences go, the opportunity to learn and create with the freshest ingredients, cooking alongside some of the most precious souls, and watching so many beautiful smiles as they raised their forks to mouth will go down in my top ten moments of community and growth. Farm to table has taken on a new meaning to me. It’s not just the new hot thing to do, it’s not just a marketing term, it’s an inspiring way of life and we are so blessed to have had the opportunity to live it!

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By the way if you are interested in any of the recipes that we made during our visit with the Gotreauxs please visit  Behind The Apron Strings; Recipes from the Road.

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!

 

 

Family Adventure Podcast

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

49 – Family Travel + Music!

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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!