Up until 2017 I identified first and foremost as “photographer”.
A role I had prided myself on for last 15+ years of my life…It was what defined me. I let the role be my TOP defining attribute – over mother, wife, friend, daughter. It was what made me, ME.
That same year my older daughter was entering kindergarten. I had never been completely sold on traditional education for our family. But, I was busy working. Shooting photo sessions, creating and teaching a workshop, added video sessions to my business, and keeping up with a 365 personal photo project. I felt I had no choice – I could not dedicate myself to my business AND homeschool.
Yey, every time I would prepare to leave for a job my girl would tell me her “heart hurt” . Not a sadness hurt – but, what I later learned to understand was anxiety. It was my first clue that what we were doing was NOT working for us. Something had to give and that something was me. In the form of a small mental breakdown. “Photographer” was who I WAS but the way it felt when I had to pick up my camera and leave my saddened little girls made me loath it. The day my 365 project ended I took a much.needed.break. and I never looked back. I still take on clients but at my leisure. And you know what, my family has been better off for it.
I felt content in my decision to step back and focus on my family. However, I was NOT content in my day to day life. The monotony, the cold weather of the winters, the vibe of suburban life, pick up and drop off of school, homework, fighting my kid to read each night, running, running, running.
A fellow photographer I know through social media posted online that she and her family were selling all this stuff and hitting the road full time. It immediately sent butterflies through my stomach. THAT was it this is what we needed to do! It took me back to these dreams I had, long before I met my husband and we had our girls. Visions of riding a train through Europe with two little 2 girls by my side, or watching them sitting on a jeep in Africa seeing the wild animals on a safari. I knew I needed to get the heck out of suburbia! My husband. not so much. He was happy with our sticks and bricks home, he loved his office and his space. So we settled on a weekend warrior travel trailer and hoped it would suffice… (if you’d like to read the complete story of our journey from trailer to campervan – click HERE)
My little one started kindergarten and my big girl was in 2nd grade and I just KNEW something was not right. I started to pick up on behaviors and learning “issues” that were being unacknowledged by my kids teachers. My little one’s teacher constantly found that her energy was a “problem” almost every day. She often came home saying she was afraid of her teacher (did not want to feel shamed by her) or sad that she never ONCE won a prize for anything. She did not connect with the girls in her class and the boys were often very physically rough with her. On the flipside – my big girl was struggling silently with learning issues that were going unnoticed in the classroom, she did not even recognize them because she masked them by being a social butterfly and when I brought them up, I was brushed off. She had lovely friends but she is also SO sweet other kids were starting to realize she was an easy target for bullying. I spoke with my husband at great length and we both agreed at the end of that school year we would pull them out to homeschool!
Well, we all know how that year went 🤣. But really. It was the hardest, scariest, and also the biggest blessing of our lives. By April 2020 my girls were officially homeschoolers.
Life was beginning to return and so was my wanderlust. Over the past 3+ years I was able to get my girls on a good handful of trips. Getting them used to roadtrip traveling, learning to be flexible, expect the unexpected, and roll with the punches. I realized after a terrible car accident and year of PT, coupled with the untimely death of my best friend that life was too short to sit at home and wait. I NEEDED to share this world with my kids before they didn’t want to do it with me. I NEEDED to get out and sleep in a van, hike the hikes, ride the scooters, jump in the waves, steer the kayak, need less and do more. I want to do all the shit I can possibly do before I’m too old or injured to do it. So, I became the “weird, quirky, rebel” mom and decided to just go for it. Leave my husband at home with the dog and get out there while I still can. So here I am, sharing our adventures, the things we learn along the way, how we live our lives and how Im enriching my children’s life through these experiences.