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Date: 1 September 2014. Schooling for Vagabonds.
Guest author Joy in a Minivan.

This piece is for The Writer's Block. It's written by an online friend and speaks to attaining the life I had growing up aboard a 40'er (sedan cruiser) as we moved from place to place. This article is current versus my experiences in the 1960's and I hope you will find it inspirational. I did. Comments are encouraged.

[A group of us were discussing schooling for children while living a mobile lifestyle, and this letter struck such a chord in me that I suspect others may find it useful as well.]

Joy writes...
Traveling across America is exactly what I am currently planning to do with my 9-year-old son in the coming months.


Meanwhile, please know that I understand the trepidations and concerns all too well. As parents, we want only to do what is best for our children. We have a very short and fleeting time with them before they fly off on their own, and we want so badly to give them a good, strong foundation in which to plant their feet so they will go off on their own to live good, strong, healthy, happy and compassionate lives.

As I see it, there are many ways to do this. In fact, there are so many and varied ways to raise children to become good adults, that we are almost paralyzed by the possibilities and the fears that surround them. Most of us end up conforming to the current standard of living and educating, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. But there are other ways to love and educate children, and if you have the courage to pursue them, there is no one better than you with whom your son can spend his time.

As for me, I wondered since my son was born about alternative ways to educate and raise him, but I really never had the courage. A couple of years ago I became seriously ill and this changed everything. I realized that while I know my time with my son is limited to the first 18 years of his life and during those 18 years he will become increasingly more influenced by factors outside of our home life, what I didn't realize quite so starkly is that our time with our children is, in reality, limited to right now.

NOW is what I have with him, and if I am blessed to live for a long time into the future, I don't want to look back on these years and wish I had found a way to spend a year on the road with him showing him these great United States of America which my father, his grandfather, honored with his service in WWII.

The Fighting Gillises by Norman Rockwell.

We don't have much to travel with at this point. We have little money because my illness took just about all of what we had. But I am trying now to save enough money to set out with him to see America at least, sleeping in state parks and forests and wherever we can - with safety as my main concern.

All we have at this point is an older Honda minivan with 100,000+ miles on the clock. I would love a larger van but can't afford to buy a good one and am afraid of buying an old one which might need repairs that I can't pay for or that will burden us and hinder our travels. At least I know this minivan and where it has been and how it has been maintained.


I am starting slow...but working steadily...to put small things into place. For example, I've made some screens and I've purchased some fans and a small portable camping toilet, etc etc. I have started to buy things as I can, little by little, and I have spent HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS online studying everything from van dwelling to "road-schooling" to issues like power and wifi on the road. I'm obsessed with trying to figure out how to best make use of such a tiny tiny space...the two of us traveling, sleeping, eating, and especially staying safe.

I respectfully suggest that you start figuring how you want to lay out your van and what you need and desire on board, and take a trip with your son in your van for a few days or a week this summer and see how it goes. I plan to do this, and I suspect it will give us a fair idea of what we will need for the more extended trip back and forth across this great nation, or wherever we go.

I have my health issues to consider, and that is a caveat of course. But every day is a gift and every GOOD day is a miracle. I need to make the most of these days, and I want my son to have memories and strength and a strong sense of compassion to carry with him long after I am gone from this world.


I wish you and your son the very best as you plan your adventures together.

Joy in a Minivan.

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Category:  Characters, The Writer's Block

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