Hi! We are the VanMeters- Missy, Dale, & Aidan! =)
And these are our fur-babies.....
Meet Bear. He's an 8 year old Siberian Husky mix, born on 10/7/05. We adopted him from an animal shelter on 11/18/08. He looks a bit mean but he's really just a big cuddle-bear!
And now for our "Story"....
We all grow up thinking that we absolutely MUST strive for & achieve the "American Dream." Nice house, white picket fence, brand new vehicle(s), wonderful job with great benefits, all the new-fangled awesome gadgets that come out, the perfect little (or big) family, etc. But what happens if you get all or at least most of those things and it just doesn't "fit"?
We (Melissa & Dale) met in July of 2004, when we were 16 (Melissa) and 19 (Dale). We just "knew" that we were meant to be. We got married in March of 2005, when we were 17 (Melissa) and 20 (Dale) and bought our first house in October of 2005. Since then we've taken 1-2 vacations per year & have always owned 3-4 vehicles at a time. We have had 3 brand new vehicles; 2 brand new 4wheelers/ATVs; multiple "pre-owned" vehicles; a fancy 55" flat screen tv; expensive computers, guns, and misc gadgets; a perfect little munchkin son named Aidan (as well as 2 precious angel-babies in heaven); even a $2,200 dog named Baxter (yep, that crazy boxer you met earlier.) All of which we acquired and paid for 100% on our own. Yet...we were not truly happy.
Dale made good money at his job (and had good benefits), but typically worked 10-12 hours/day 6 days/week with an additional 2 hours/day in driving time, to and from. With those type of hours, who has time to "enjoy" life and the things you've worked so hard to acquire? I (Melissa) gave up working outside the home to be a work-at-home mom, so I wouldn't have to miss any of the precious moments and milestones with our baby boy. I'm not going to lie, Dale is and always has been a wonderful father...but with him being gone so much, I honestly felt like a single-mother a big percentage of the time.
We had played around with the idea of traveling multiple times over the years, always putting it aside due to a fear of the unknown. In May of 2013, however, we had had enough. We were burnt out on our normal boring every-day lives. Tired of the lack of "family-time" we had, doing the same old thing day after day, working so hard for things we didn't even have time to enjoy together, just plain old tired...
We sat down and made a "plan." We decided what we were willing to part with, and what we were not. We started selling all of the unnecessary belongings we had, saving as much money as we could, purchased a new travel trailer, and decided to finally GO FOR IT! We just put our house on the market and are praying that it will sell very soon! We hooked up power to a spot on my mom & step-dad's land (about 45 minutes away from our house) and have been staying here since June. We decided it would be much easier to work on, show, and sell the house if we & all of our belongings were already moved out. Not to mention that would give us time to get accustomed to living in such a tiny space. Dale is staying at his current job until we're ready to head out, which we are hoping will be at the beginning of March.
I must say, I LOVE not having all the "crap" we had before. When you're living in such a small space, you have no choice but to only keep the necessities- since you don't have room for anything else. Less stuff truly does equal less stress and more free-time. When you want/need something, you don't have to dig and dig through a ton of stuff in order to find what you're looking for. It takes a few minutes, not hours, to clean our entire home now from top to bottom. Simplicity is pretty sweet, if you ask me.
We are sooooo excited to begin this new chapter of our lives. We plan to stay in every state a minimum of 1 month, maximum of 3 (for the bigger states.) We want to see as much of every single state, as possible. Dale has always worked hard to support us, and once we are on the road I want to be able to repay him for that. I would love nothing more than to be the main bread-winner (at home, of course, so we can all be together for a change) so he can finally be able to stay home with us every day. I will home-school Aidan, like I've always planned to do...but now it will be done on the road. What better way to learn about history, nature, etc than to see it all with your own eyes!?! Who wouldn't want the world as their back yard?!? We want to teach him that you don't have to just "follow the crowd" and do what society expects of you. If you have a dream, you should chase after it, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Do what makes you happy!
If you'd like to follow us on our journey, please follow/subscribe/pin our blog and check back often. If you are already doing what we're in the process of doing, would like to do it, etc- drop us a line and tell us about it. We'd love to hear from you! Maybe we'll meet up with you on the road someday! =)