I reached out to Whitney about interviewing her. I met her through a mutual friend and fell in love with her story. They are a family of seven that traded in the house and all the stuff to travel around the country in a 250sq ft camper. Here is my interview with Whitney.
Alex: Tell us a little bit about your family and your story.
Whitney: My husband Marshall and I have five kids and it is so much fun. I always knew I wanted a big family, I don’t think he really knew that he wanted that many kids haha. We had decided that I would stay home once we started having kids and I had not intended to homeschool, but we do. Life got a little crazy after baby #5. I was having some health issues and just struggling to keep it all together. We didn’t have a large house or a lot of stuff. I consider myself more of a minimalist. I don’t like stuff. I know what it is like to have a lot of stuff and having a tough time getting rid of it. I had a hard time getting rid of sentimental items. After the fifth baby, we took an inventory of what we had and felt like we were working so much. He would work during the week and I would work weekends and nights. We were like passing ships in the night. When we were with our kids we just felt so tired and it wasn’t lining up with our values and what we thought life would be like at that stage.
I have some crazy ideas sometimes and wanted to sell the house and everything. We sold our house in four days. And after looking at houses I felt like we weren’t going to change anything. And I said, what if we just buy a camper and travel for a while and wait and see how we feel after that. He actually got really sick. I think I stressed him out to the point he was sick. During the move, I moved everything because he was sick. We had 30 days and I started purging. And I thought we don’t need any of this. Also, we only have a camper and I didn’t want a storage unit to think about. I didn’t want to have in the back of my mind what is in the storage unit. We got rid of it all. It was hard because 250 sqft is not a lot. After all that, we started traveling and life opened up for us.
We got our time back. We were managing our stuff and we were not working at the time. It gave us a fresh new start in our relationships. We enjoyed our time with our kids and each other. It felt like we were home. Also putting ourselves in uncomfortable positions, like the desert, I don’t like snakes. It helped up bond.
Alex: After you paired down to what you needed. Were you surprised that you were so happy with having a lot less?
Whitney: Yeah! I was surprised. I think I just at a point where I really didn’t care anymore about the stuff like I was already over it, It’s shocking how much you can actually get done in a day when you don’t have the stuff and you don’t miss it. Like in the kitchen, I cook a lot, but I thought I would miss all this stuff. I have one pan and an Insta-Pot. I don’t know hat I am going to do. You learn to adapt so well that you don’t even miss it.
Alex: I am just thinking about how much of my day I spend going behind my kids and picking up toys because they have room to spread it around the house.
Whitney: It takes us like 10 minutes to clean this thing up. The kids know what their chores are; make their bed, pick up their room, brush their teeth, fix your hair, put your clothes on and we are done for the day.
Alex: What has been the biggest challenge?
Whitney: On occasion, one of us will start comparing our lives to the way other people live. Just because we live such and unconventional lifestyles. If we were not grounded in our values and unsure of what they were, it would easy for us to go back and say we are ruining our kid’s lives. That was always big for me. Being a mom is my biggest thing. I have to remind myself that others live with so much less in other countries. I have to remind myself that what we lack in stuff we make up in experiences. I don’t feel like the kids miss out at all, but sometimes that little voice creeps in and says what are you doing. The only thing I do miss is a full-size washer and dryer. And also a dishwasher. We have been eating on a lot of paper plates lately. Those little luxuries are nice but they don’t make me want to switch back over.
Alex: What would your kids say about this?
Whitney: They love it. They have so many stories to tell. When people ask them questions, I just love that they have so many stories to tell and I love that that they have seen so many different things. They’ve experienced lots of different things and people and cultures, like being out west is different than being here in the South. They love it, I mean I think at times they start comparing, but that is human nature. For the most part, they are super happy or seems like it. And of course, they are my first priority and if they weren’t we wouldn’t do this.
Alex: I had seen on a post that you all have learned to love the outdoors more.
Whitney: We go on walks and hikes. We don’t go stores like we used to fill up the house with stuff, like redecorating. I love designing and redecorating. It is one of my favorite things to do. However, my values to spend time with my family and make memories is more important, so I don’t care anymore. I mean, I care we are remodeling our camper right now. I like to look at what is around me, but we like to utilize what is around us. The kids play outside and their imagination is fabulous.
Alex: After COVID-19 will plan to travel again?
Whitney: That’s the plan. That is definitely our life long thing we will do as a family. After we sold our stuff we went through and listed what we like to do as a family. I know some families like doing sporting activities together, but for us is to travel and exploring to see new things. But I don’t know times are weird.