Thursday, November 6, 2008

How we ended up in an RV

Why did a middle class family of four living the American dream decide to sell their house, buy an RV, and drive away from the life they've always known and worked so hard to attain?

First, let me say that a year ago, this wasn't even on our radar – though I do remember reading a few blogs last fall about families traveling in RV’s and being intrigued. In reality we've never been campers unless you count one weekend a year with our college friends who brought all the stuff and we just showed up. We were perfectly happy with life. Not looking to make any major changes. So, leaving our life behind to hit the camping scene is not something we’ve been yearning to do.

The past year has been a season of waiting. “Everlasting God” by Lincoln Brewster became our theme song and we listened to it all the way to Seattle, Washington and back on our August 2007 road trip. It was the first time we’d ever taken the scenic route so to speak. Our typical vacations involve non-stop airplanes and rental cars. But somehow we ended up driving our minivan to Seattle last summer and we loved the open road and the slower pace. We had a blast. I can see now that it was a taste of things to come. Another way that God was preparing us for the lifestyle we are now living.

Last spring, after much prayer and with fear and trembling, we did not re-enroll at Hand In Hand (the homeschool academy our children attended). This was a big step of faith for us. We loved this place and we were so incredibly blessed to be there for six wonderful years. Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things we've ever done. Yet we knew it was what we needed to do - even though we did not yet know we'd be traveling the country in an RV come fall.

During this time, we were also noticing a few other things. It seemed liked our anchors were being untied. Leaving Hand In Hand was a big one, but there were others. I couldn’t commit to anything people invited us to do in the fall. Friends asked us to buy concert tickets, join a homeschool co-op, get together on a regular basis. But I had a knowing within me that we wouldn’t be around to do any of it. I also had a deep inner conviction to purge the nooks and crannies of our house. Now we know why.

We have felt for awhile that we will be moving from suburbia to a place with more land. We’ve even looked at a few properties over the last year, but the timing was not right. These were all pieces of a puzzle that would later fit together to form a clearer picture. We did not yet see the bigger picture – we were just noticing and responding to what we knew at the time - one step at a time.

As the summer continued, Rich and I both kept wondering…are we doing this RV thing…or not? At the end of July we celebrated our 20 year anniversary with a week together at the North Shore of Lake Superior. As we contemplated life for the upcoming year, we came away believing that we would probably do it.

Then one night as we casually looked for RV’s on-line, we came across one that we were instantly drawn to. There was just one problem…well, maybe two. First, the RV was marked as “sale pending”. And secondly, it was located in North Carolina – not exactly close to Minnesota. When we contacted the dealer, she informed us that someone else had money down on it, but if anything fell through, she would let us know. Two hours later, we found out the RV was now available. The buyer just learned he was being transferred to Hawaii with the military.

So, we used some frequent flyer tickets and headed to North Carolina to take a look. We loved it, but decided to sleep on it a few days. The next week we put in an offer and the rest is history. The four of us drove our minivan to North Carolina over Labor Day weekend. We spent a couple of days learning how to operate our new rolling house, had a tow bar installed on our van, and drove back to MN to pack up our house and get it on the market.

We left Minnesota on October 16th, 2008, embarking on a journey that we believe will unite us together as a family and prepare us for what lies ahead. Stay tuned as the adventure continues…


Brenda Schlickbernd said...

Thanks for beginning the 'storytelling.' I loved reading it, and it inspires me to wait on God everyday. It also reminds me to be faithful in the little promptings that I hear from the Holy Spirit along the way.

P.S. Aren't you glad that you purged your house? :) :)

Steven Fletcher said...

Welcome to the fulltime RV lifestyle. There seems to be many more families on the road these days than in the past... that's good. If you haven't yet made contact with any of them you should.

Don't feel like you have to 'see it all' you can't. Instead, see what you can well.

Spend some time in the places you visit. Take day trips to see local attractions and explore the surrounding area. And don't travel too miles between layovers. It's possible to see a complete change in climate, landscape and/or culture in as little as a hundred miles.

SamNSuzi said...

We too experienced the calling to downsize our family's things and upsize our family's face time. Too often we would buy things to make our children and ourselves feel better. More things purchased equals less time in front of them. We started homeschooling to give our boys the best we could for them. The more we spoke about road schooling, the more important it became for us and them. It is important to make sure they have a social life, cell phones, email, new friends, and journal their good experiences. A good exercise schedule, a 20 minute run in the morning, will help them grow and mature. Our hearts are smiling for the determination and endurance you have showed. May you continue to reap the benefits of your new found life.
We found your website on the RVBasics Yahoo message group.

michelle said...

Hey friend!!

It is so wonderful to see you recording your story in this space. Even though we walked through the last year together as the Lord moved you in this direction, it is great to hear the story as you process it and share it here.

Thanks for sharing your story and your journey...we love you and are with you in our thoughts and prayers!

love you,

ps. the kids got the postcard! (:

online said...

I started checking your blog after getting your e-mail to people on your HMHF distribution list. I love all your thoughts about your journey and my feelings about my kids are the same as yours. We ultimately decided on homeschool last school year because we wanted to put our kids' feet on the path of who God made them to be so he can be glorified in their lives. What an amazing experience and education you are giving your children. I pray for you when I check your blog updates. Thanks for sharing. --Tracey said...

God bless you on your move.
We too are selling everything to minister to people. We are on our third house we sold our house on 6 acres in north idaho and moved back to the outer city but God keeps calling us to ministry. So we are in the process of selling EVERYTHING.
We Live in Coeur D Alene Idaho
one of the MOST beautiful places in US. Our house is paid off thanks to how God has given us the ability to make sound judgements.
We want to serve HIM. I just thought I would let you know even when you have it all property privacy and beautiful house I don't think that will calm your sprit. I think God is calling you into action for him and so far you have taken the step that 98 percent of people of faith would never TAKE. So I Pray that you find where God is Leading you. If you are coming in to the Pacific North West anytime soon you are welcome here. Unless our house sells soon we will be seeing YOU on the road somewhere along the way. As we live by FAITH and take steps in faith God will bless it ALL.

Kayla Gail said...

Hi Bendickson Family,

I found your blog through the RoadTrip America Web site and I'm so amazed at your story. What an incredible legacy you are leaving for your children as you live out your faith! Blessings for your family as you continue on this journey!