We’ve all thought about giving up the daily grind to go on an epic adventure. Some people actually take the plunge. I caught up with the Bickmeyer family to ask them 15 questions about their adventure. They are traveling and living in an RV while visiting the lower 48 states over a year.
Q: Tell us about your family: how many of you and how old are your children?
A: There are 4 of us. Our son is eight and our daughter is six.
Q: Where is home and where are you right now?
A: Home is Gainesville, Florida. We’re currently in San Diego, California.
Q: How did you come up with the idea of traveling for a year?
A: We’ve always enjoyed travelling and camping. Two years ago, we bought a travel trailer and have been camping as a family quite a bit. On one of those trips, we met up with some friends (another family of 4) from California who were passing through Florida. They were in the middle of a year-long trip and that weekend really put the idea in motion. They were a big inspiration.
Q: What did your friends and family think?
A: Most everyone was super excited for us. There were a few who honestly felt like what we were planning on doing was crazy, but the majority received it as a cool idea.
Q: What has life on the road been like?
A: It’s definitely different. Obviously, it’s a much closer quarters, so that wears on you. We definitely miss some of the luxuries of home but it’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to see everything we have so far.
Q: What is your favorite spot so far? And your kids?
A: That’s a tough one. It’s like trying to pick a favorite song. It really depends on what you’re looking for. There are so many great spots, but they’re all so different from one another, it’s too hard to pick just one. That being said, we really enjoyed Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and California, as the top 5 states so far. They each have so much to offer, including a ton of top tier parks.
Q: What is your best advice to make a long-term family journey a success?
A: Always manage your expectations. Also, be sure to mix up what you’re seeing and doing, so that everyone is getting a fair share of their version of fun.
Q: What is your best story so far?
A: We had a super close encounter with a Grizzly bear, while hiking in Glacier National Park. That’s probably been the craziest thing thus far.
Q: What is the coolest thing you have done?
A: Either hiking The Narrows in Zion, or Lower Antelope Canyon in Arizona. Experiencing these as a family for the first time, was really special.
Q: What unexpected things has traveling as a family brought you on the road?
A: We are home schooling the kids along the way and it’s enabled us to get a better understanding of their learning styles and them as individuals, which has been really cool.
Q: Do you have a dream destination you haven’t managed to go to yet?
A: We ran out of time and weren’t able to make it into Oregon & Washington state, before we had to start heading back south. I’m super bummed about that, because I was really looking forward to seeing a lot up there, particularly Olympic National Park. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to do it all. We’ve put the area on our bucket list and hope to experience that area when the weather is ideal. It gives us a new trip to look forward to!
Q: What are some common misconceptions families make when traveling with kids?
A: It seems like a lot of people expect too much from their kid’s capabilities and attention spans, as we did early on. Most of the best spots in National Parks require hiking moderately difficult trails, through drastic changes in elevation. This can be hard for them, particularly when their payoff is just a magnificent view.
Q: Any mistake you’ve made along the way?
A: We have found ourselves in some pretty horrendous traffic scenarios that could’ve been avoided. We recently drove through Los Angeles at 5:30 PM in the middle of rush hour and it was regrettable to say the least.
Q: Do you have any advice for other people thinking about traveling with kids?
A: If you don’t want their faces stuck in an iPad, get plenty of other options lined up and readily accessible, while you’re on the road. My parents got digital cameras for the kids before we left, that has been a lot of fun for them to capture their own footage and document the trip from their perspective. Some of the footage they’ll get will surprise you. It also helps if you are mixing in plenty of “kid fun” days. As much fun as hiking around national parks may be for you, sometimes the kids just want to play on a playground or go to a movie.
Q: Are you glad you did this? Do you want to travel in the future or has this experience made you want to settle down?
A: Definitely no regrets on the decision. It’s been hard being away from family and friends, but that’s part of the cost of doing this sort of thing. In terms of future travelling, my hope all along has been that this trip will ignite a love of travel in our kids that will last their lifetime.
Q: What would you say to other families wanting to get out and travel more?
A: There are lots of different ways to get out and see things. You don’t have to live in a van down by the river or take off for a year to get out and experience more. If you take advantage of the low hanging fruit around your area, it can get the kids excited about exploring and experiencing new things!
If you want to follow the Bickmeyer family on their journey around this amazing country check out their Instagram, @ramblin.fever for more!
Do you know someone that has taken, is in the middle of, or is planning an extended trip with the fam? Leave a comment and we may feature them in a future post!
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