our first few weeks on the road!

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i can’t believe it’s been three weeks already that the road has been our home.  in some ways it seems like it’s been a year and in other ways it feels like we have just been camping and that we will be back “home” and everything will be “normal” any day now.  except that we don’t have a house to come home to.  it’s surreal.  let me preface this, before i get to the difficult stuff, with the fact that in no way do we regret our decision.  we know that there is so much growth happening in all of us and that the beauty awaits and is already so present in the details.  but, it has been a rough start.  i’ve received so many comments about how perfect and simple and carefree our lives appear to be.  that gives us a good chuckle.  we surely thought that once we were free of all our extra stuff and our mortgage that things would be very simple.  and in some ways, they are.  but in most ways, daily tasks are much more complicated.  one of my favorite movie quotes, which my mama also quoted in her toast to us at our wedding, is from hope floats and it says, “beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that counts. so when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. and it will.”  and here we are, at the scary beginning, clinging to God’s promises and knowing that all the good stuff in the middle is just around the corner.

so here’s a bit of a summary of life on the road so far.  as for the challenges… with the kids, the logistics are interesting.  we no longer have separate rooms for each child to be able to nap or have quiet time we have to be incredibly intentional about every minute we are in the trailer.  we have only about 150 square feet of living space, so there’s not much room to get out energy when it rains all day, very little room for when we need to cook a meal and even more complicated to keep four busy bodies occupied for when i need to get any work done (thank you to my incredibly thoughtful clients for being patient with me in the process)!  the kids have been handling the transition each in their own ways.  they are more sensitive as a whole and their sleep patterns, being able to feed them healthy food choices and daily schedules have been thrown completely out of whack, making for cranky kids and a very exhausted mommy and daddy.  the long travel days are the hardest for the two littlest ones, because, no matter how much we try to entertain them and comfort them, they just don’t understand why they have to be strapped in for hours on end.  as for the traveling itself, we have learned that when the GPS says our destination is five hours away, that actually means 10 hours in prouty time, thanks to countless potty stops, diaper changes, feedings, gassing up, running out kid energy, getting lost and trying to turn around in impossible locations with a trailer (this list could go on and on).  we have realized we must be more intentional about staying in locations for longer periods of time and not having too many long travel days close together… that is a recipe for a serious amount of stress!  our things are also difficult to keep organized; fitting the basic items for six people into a closet space smaller than just one of our closets we did have back in our house has been challenging to say the least.  our trailer sure has fabulous character, but it is also 60 years old and the cabinets and such are all hanging on by a thread too, making for lots of fun side of the road and middle of the night fixing along the way. we went into this lifestyle a bit naive, with a great big dream and not much in the way of emotional or practical preparation for the adventure.  in the midst of the chaos, though, we all cry, and then laugh, and endlessly try the find the good and continually remind each other why we made this choice.  we know that the stress of getting used to this new normal is only temporary and that anything great is worth going through the trenches for.  donny and i have grown much closer and feel so bonded together as a team.  we absolutely know that we have to be each other’s biggest encourager and helpmate, as the joy of our family is completely dependent upon our attitudes and perspective.  we are being watched by our children at every moment.  we do not have babysitters or anywhere to go to when things feel overwhelming, so we must make the choice to be positive and make every difficult obstacle into a beautiful opportunity of teaching.  every day we fail, but every day i know that God’s grace covers a multitude of sins.  we must choose to be grateful instead of resentful and bitter.  we do see the kids growing closer.  they bicker less and have become so fiercely attached to one another as they spend less time in front of the tv and more time exploring and using their imaginations.  we are spending as much time as possible out in nature and that is when life is the most sweet.

i must say that the good Lord sure works in mysterious ways.  and He is teaching me, over and over, that there is no way i can possibly do this on my own and to just BE STILL and know, that in the midst of me wanting to control so much of this journey, He is the ultimate guide.  i have had countless breakdowns and have felt like i may suffocate at times.  and He is always there, waiting for me, waiting for me to give him the weight off my shoulders and to simply just trust.  at the end of our first week on the road, after several days of constant driving and hours of crying and bad attitudes, i had hit the wall.  it was 8am on a tuesday and i had already been up since 5:00am, in the dark, in an RV park, trying to keep the babies calm and not wake the whole camp.  i was exhausted and mad and just steaming inside.  i had to get out and breathe so i grabbed clementine and we went for a drive, ending up in the most lovely meadow surrounded by redwood trees and a deep fog just beginning to burn off.  we got out and i held her there with her blankie, in the silence and still of the morning just feeling like i could scream.  i buried my head into her neck and just praying to God asking, “why, God?!  did we make the right decision?  calm my heart!  i am flailing, i can’t hear you, i need You!”  and then all of a sudden clem said, “mama!” and i looked up to see a deer and her babies standing only about 20 feet from us, just looking right at us.  the fog was rolling back and it was though they had appeared out of nowhere. we all just stood and stared for a few minutes and in that moment, i can honestly say i had never felt the presence of God so strongly.  i began to cry a loud, breathless, anguished cry, just feeling the weight of the world pour out of me.  i held my girl so tight with my tears rolling down her arms and we both watched the deer turn and disappear into the trees.  He was reminding me that He was there, quietly, just waiting for me.  it’s been a beautiful season of growth and i know that He is surely pruning me for some lovely fruit to come.  thank you endlessly for your prayers and beautiful notes of encouragement along the way.

now for the photographs.  this is a small collection of our favorite highlights so far.  we have been staying in so many off grid type locations and doing so much traveling that i have rarely had wifi, let alone the brainpower or energy to blog until now, but my goal is to really try and blog a summary of our adventures every week.  hoping!  starting off the photos here with our lovely campsite at east lake in central oregon.  we were pretty much the only ones there and it felt so isolated.  we were able to finally breathe deep.

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we’ve brought along all of our favorite records as well as plenty of classic children’s stories on 45s to keep our downtime happy and full. 15

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27he caught his first fish!!!  these are the times that we hoped for while planning this journey!

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33the drive through oregon was truly one of the most breathtaking sights.  we just gasped at the beauty.

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and here we are at the redwoods in henry cowell state park.  our favorite spot in northern california.36

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living in very, very close quarters means bed sharing and priceless moments like these…4142

and here we are in bend, oregon.  i taught a workshop there and then stayed a few extra days to explore.  i’m pretty sure that birch forest stole half my heart when we left.44

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this image of brandon just kills me.  he loves his sisters fiercely and tenderly.47

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one of my favorite images perhaps ever.  this one will be printed big whenever and wherever we land at the end of all of this.54

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this deer met us on the morning of Father’s Day.  such an incredibly special treat to watch him outside our window for hours eating wildflowers and gazing in our direction.  i will forever get goosebumps when i see a deer after this trip.  little visits from God just when we need them.56

such a HUGE highlight was having the honor of THE one and only, ridiculously amazing katie daisy (my favorite illustrator) paint our trailer!!!  dream come true!  not only did it turn out more beautiful than we could have dreamed, but it also made us feel so proud and happy to have this little trailer as our home.  in those times we are resenting the small place and forgetting the goal, we have the flowers reminding us to turn our faces to the sunshine and bloom!  katie shared with me that she feels part of her purpose in her art is to inspire happiness in the world through her paintings and we love that as we drive through towns that so many people turn and wave and smile at us pulling her happy masterpiece! 59

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katie so very sweetly included gracie in the painting.  my little tiny artist was completely blissed out that she was painting alongside such an inspiration!61

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and here’s me, looking totally goofy and about to burst from happiness alongside katie!63

heading farther north towards washington…64

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the nature journaling has been our favorite part so far!  the open road is truly the most spectacular school room!67

a lot of folks asked what we have been doing about trying to eat healthy while traveling.  we have very little room in the trailer and hardly any pantry storage so we have been hitting as many farmers’ markets as possible and picking up lots of fruits and veggies for snacks as well as for green smoothies every morning.  we bought a vitamix before we left specifically for this purpose and it has been so easy to use and clean, as well as the fact that it takes up very little counter space.68

i always have a helper… which makes them much more open to eating what we have made!69

70we snack on various fruits and then have larabars (super healthy and gluten free) on hand at all times when we are hiking or are going to be in the car for long periods of time.

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we have a tabletop cookstove that we pull out of the cabinet when we need to cook.  easy clean up and barely takes up any space.72

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we’ve had lots of rain which means a lot of snuggling and trying to keep the kiddos entertained in a tiny space all day (this can be interesting)!  we have been rewarding the kids for good behavior by treating them to a few dollars allowance when we hit thrift stores along the way.  but the rule is for anything new we bring into the trailer they must donate the same amount of items from their current stash.  this not only helps keep the trailer semi-clutter free but also teaches them to give.76

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silverton, oregon during daisy blooming season…79.5

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85until next week, friends.  :)

This entry was posted in our family adventures, our journey to simplification, our life on the road. Bookmark the permalink.

85 Responses to our first few weeks on the road!

  1. Alicia @ La Famille says:

    oh girl. I feel your heart here. I can’t imagine how hard/exhausting/beautiful/joyous this is for you. Thinking of you…hang in there, mama

  2. Charity says:

    Your children will have the must beautiful memories to look back on. This is wonderful.

  3. Resi says:

    This looks amazing – with all the ups and downs. Wishing you all the best to get to the middle and all the good that’s around the corner! Your scary beginning already looked beautiful… amazing photos. I’m yearning to get out there and just stroll through the woods, the grass…. oh so lovely! Enjoy your special trip.

  4. Launa says:

    Beautiful pictures! We travel almost all summer long with my husband (who is a rep for 21 states) and last year we were on the road for just over three months. Even though our travels were a bit different then yours because we knew we were eventually coming home I do have to tell you that it’s always hard. It does get easier but with kids it’s hard. There will be a lot more obstacles and a lot more fun, more insanity and more laughter, more unpredictable road blocks (literally and figuratively) and a lot more family time. Just remember that some of your absolute best memories will be made on the road and you will grow closer to the Lord (it’s really the only way, right?) Everything that has great rewards in life is difficult. Prayers to you all on this great adventure of life!

  5. danielle says:

    the words and pictures in this post are so refreshing. makes me want to pack up my little family and hit the road. what a beautiful {& challenging} adventure to be able to share and look back on!

  6. Becky h. says:

    Beautiful photos and such a beautiful beautiful post!
    Thank you for sharing the details!
    I must admit, I was one of those who naively saw your life as pretty much a carefree wonderland. I mean, the photos you take are just SO gorgeous and, judging by the photos, your life as a mom and wife seems so glorious. It’s great that you’re willing to set us straight and give us a peek into your struggles, too. =) I appreciate that!

    I love that God re-revealed His presence to you through that deer and her babies. SO SO SO awesome!

    I am enjoying your little journey via instagram and I pray blessings over you and your beautiful family as you continue the course!

    (((hugs)))

  7. Kris says:

    Thank you for being real and sharing your stories, life, family and pictures with us. As hard as it may be, this will not be something you’ll never regret! Your children will always have these memories. Thanks for giving us a look into your adventures! I look forward to reading more! May God continue to shower your family with his splendor and power.

  8. Rachel says:

    Joy, you are truly an inspiration! I find your honesty so refreshing. Yes, this journey is tough, but He is so ever present with new mercies. What an amazing lesson for us all! Continued prayers for your entire family as you make amazing memories on the open road!

  9. Jeran Nycum says:

    It has been so neat to keep up with your journey on Instagram and this blog. You are inspiring people daily to have less and love more. It is evident that even though things can be so very hard at times that you love your family with every part of your heart. I love your photographs because you can so easily see the love you have for your children in the images alone. God is using you to teach others as well as teaching you so much. You will cherish this trip and memories forever. The impact it’s having on your family are bonds that won’t be easily broken. When times are hard keep your chin up and know that tomorrow will be a new day.

  10. Emily Chaffin says:

    Just beautiful, Joy!!! Thanks for taking the time to share, so inspirational! Can’t wait to see more!!! :)

  11. MelissaMarie says:

    I wish I could give you and your family a great big hug. Your beautiful honesty just touches my heart. From outside I see messy breathtaking beauty and God knitting a family tight tight together in a very special life changing way. I am thankful that you are allowing us to join you on this journey and learn things through your experiences and see such amazing places that we may never get to see otherwise. Blessings upon blessings in your journey!!!

    • liz says:

      Thank you for your honest along this beautiful journey. It would be easy to post pictures and let everyone be jealous of what appears to be a “carefree” life. Yet you didn’t. Your real, raw, word have been a blessing to me. The Lord’s blessings on you as you travel, bond, and submit your hear to him. hugs.

  12. shayna says:

    absolutely inspiring, breathtaking and completely courageous! thank you for sharing your beautiful words and beautiful photographs. sending our thoughts and prayers all the way from west texas.
    ~s.

  13. veronica says:

    i cried at this post, and felt your heart in these words for sure. the images are worth every ounce of hardships, i promise. thinking of you and your littles. xo

  14. Heather Ferrill says:

    Sweet Joy,
    Your photos are breath taking and you can just see your love for your family in them. Thanks for your honesty it is refreshing. Your trip is so inspiring! You make me want to get out and do. do what? well I don’t know something simple and sweet and with my loves. Prayers to you and Donny

  15. Victoria says:

    Joy, thanks for taking the time to share your journey.

  16. Sarah Cavazos says:

    One word (okay two), jealous & amazing!

  17. Lori says:

    Joy, I’m so moved by this. It brought me to tears. You will look back as an old woman and declare these the best days of your life. Even with the hardships, the sweet parts look oh, so sweet. Can’t wait to hear more next week!

  18. Mailinh says:

    Joy,

    I know that it will be all worth it in the end. The experience your children get out of this will be irreplaceable. Just know you and your family are always in my thoughts & prayers. I’m always sending happy vibes your way. XOXO – M

  19. Pati says:

    the journey you are on is an incredible one. I can just imagine how hard it is at times and how rewarding it is at others. if you travel through st louis, mo. and want to teach a workshop it would be awesome! Travel safe during this beautiful journey and thanks for sharing it with us.

  20. Sharen says:

    I almost cried when I looked at those images of Clementine and Mable snuggled up in bed together. And Brandon with his girls. You are doing something so, so right with those beautiful babies of yours. Gosh I would love to spend a day (or month) with you and your family and just watch you guys parent. I feel like I could learn so much from you.
    Thank you for sharing your story, the beautiful and the challenging.

  21. Ginger says:

    Joy,
    I follow your blog and instagram faithfully as you are such an inspiration to me. Your life is documented beautifully with your pictures and your words. Your family will always treasure these memories. What you are doing is something I know I could not do, but I admire you for following your heart. With all of the good that comes through this journey, I know their are challenges that go right along with it. I also know that your family wil be even stronger and closer for it. And I, as a reader and admirer, am privileged to share in your journey. May God bless all of your family and keep you in his care.

  22. Kreta Knox says:

    This is the most amazing journey! I am honored to be able to follow you and your family and be inspired not just by the journey itself and your amazing photography but your depth of connection and trust in the Lord.

  23. Amanda Miller says:

    Bless your heart, Joy! You are such a strong wonderful mama to take your family on this adventure and I just know amazing things await you along the way. Breathe it all in! These are things beautiful memories that last a lifetime are made of! (And those photos of Clem and Mabel…gah, you’ve got me wanting a 2nd little one already!!!)

  24. Em from Ribollita Reboiled says:

    So inspiring. All of it even the struggles. I feel like we are trained to avoid struggle but that’s growing, stories, adventure, learning, LOVING!

  25. Monica Calderin says:

    Truly inspiring Joy. I don’t know how you do it. You are a very strong woman. God Bless you and your family on this spectacular journey that one day you will all look back on and say remember when…

  26. Rachael MacPhee says:

    Joy, I am breathless at your honesty and adventurous spirit. These photos are breathtaking (and I especially love the thrift store allowance and giving rule…so great!) I already can’t wait to hear all the newest adventures next week! Until then, you all are in our thoughts and prayers. :)

    ps – I told my hubby he should start following you on Instagram and now he comes home saying things like, ‘did you see that cool forest Joy and her family were at today?’ I think he finally understands why I rave about how great you are. :)

  27. lydia see says:

    Thank you, Joy.
    I found you through The Glasbys, who I had the pleasure of meeting at a wedding last summer and have been following ever since on instagram. I have fallen in love with them, and now, I have fallen in love with you as well!
    You write with such brutal honesty and intimacy, and I truly admire your vulnerability.
    Thank you for your transparency.
    Thank you for your love.
    Thank you for being such an inspiration.

  28. shawna [of styleberryBLOG] says:

    OH, Joy. I know this adventure is much more challenging than the dream it looks like above. I am SO enjoying living vicariously through you. Can’t wait until you arrive here!!!!

  29. Asmaa Murad says:

    I am a very new reader of your blog and journey , but i am doing a very similar thing and going through a similar time . We have just sold out everything and moved to a new country for us making a new house from scratch , living in a house very very much smaller as thats all we can afford. Working from the same room where we sleep eat and do everything else . I can connect to you and feel the difficult time you are passing through .
    There are some bit of advice i can give you , which i try to implement myself at down times.
    Do not let your children see or hear your anxiety , you are their role model for the moments in life .
    they are learning how to reach to difficult times stay strong .
    And believe me when this has passed you will remember this time as “Good times”.
    Yes it is very difficult but everyday when you wake up take a little time out for yourself away from everything. Just take a cup of coffee sitting alone. this really helps , remind yourself this is YOUR time , in that time plan out what kids will be doing during the day , what you need to cook or anything you can plan out.

    When you are so very tired that you want to get a good sleep , stop over and Drain kids energy , play with them run after them just drain them… they will be tired and then you can all sleep at the same time….

    I am not sure what are you food habits but try to cook two meals in one go.
    I am not sure how you are managing to keep the kids tied up …. thats the most difficult part when traveling , get some printable activities.
    OR
    Give them paints to play with and dont worry about the mess for a while.
    :)
    i hope that this journey be more of what you hoped it to be , for me and for you too.

  30. Allison Tucker says:

    Hello dear friend. I was moved to tears by your post. Thank you for taking the time to share your heart with us all. I am so very proud of you and Donny for this amazing journey you’ve embarked on. Know that I am praying for you all. I miss you and I know you will perservere! Hang in there!

  31. Katie Fearn says:

    Hello :) this post has brought me so much happiness and internal sunshine! You have emotionally and heart warmingly inspired me and im sure all that read and follow you. Your magical family are just beautiful in every essence. Breaking from the ‘norm’ and living life freely and honestly to ones heart is always the more difficult path. But wow you are such profound inspiration. I speak to God and his Angels often and when they manifest themselves in earthly moments and through mother earth to answer our calling and let us know we are on the right path. Life really does bring such calming joy, beauty and strength in those celestial moments! I am from the UK and your work has always inspired my days but this journey truly resonates in my heart and that of my fiancé. We are wanderers born to the wild and the forests this is why im a location photographer and my chap a trainee bushcraft instructor.this is where our souls are at peace. My fiancé’s family live in Oregon and though he has bn many times before our relationship he longs to take me to her majestic lands. Seeing your pictures from Oregon make me squeel with delight :) I send you all prayers of love&light and thankyou so very much for following your hearts and inspiring the world xxx

  32. Lea Ciceraro says:

    Oh dear Joy… My heart simultaneously aches for you and is excited for you. I remember what it was like when we were on the road and came to the realization a couple of times a week (or maybe each day!?) that we didn’t have a home to go back to anymore either. It was heartbreaking at some points to know there wasn’t someplace permanent to go feel sane again, and was especially hard on those ever-so-difficult days/drives. What made things worse for us was being on the road over the holidays, a time when you normally have such a grounded presence in the home. And I remember some people saying things to us like, “Must be nice to get such a long vacation!” Or something along those lines… It was ANYTHING but a vacation! We were essentially “homeless” for 6+ months, while we drove the country looking for a new home, while my husband applied to any and every job in every location as our bank account slowly faded into a distant memory. It’s nice that you are still “employed” while traveling, something we wish we had! We were certain that Austin would become our home again, but no jobs panned out… and then North Carolina landed in our laps in February. I think it was just meant to be even though it was NEVER on our radar of places to live, or somewhere we EVER thought we’d end up!! And while it’s been such a blessing, it’s still been hard to re-establish our roots, especially with no support network or community to lean back on (even harder since I’m pregnant!). So I feel your pains, but I also share your joys when they do come about, even if they are far and few between. In the end, despite some of the hardest days of our marriage and feeling so many times like we were doing a disservice to our kiddo being in “limbo” like that, we now feel closer than ever and have a tighter bond than we ever thought possible. Hang in there. I do hope it gets easier for you. Sending you lots of love and strength. XOXO

  33. The Stork & The Beanstalk says:

    I had a conversation the other day with my mom about camping. I was telling her how I couldn’t wait until Van was just a little bit older (he’s still crawling and putting everything in his mouth) so that we could actually enjoy it. She proceeded to go on and on about how hard it was to take my sister and I camping… how doing dishes under the shitty spickets sucked and how sleeping in a tent as a family was hard and yadda yadda yadda… the obvious stuff. But, you said it yourself, it’s in the details. Camping/traveling n’ the whole bit is work. Anyone who thinks selling their house and possessions to live a life on the road with one, let alone FOUR, small children is crazy. I can’t even bring myself to take the kids on a weekend camping trip cuz I know it will be hard and I know that we will not be able to settle into a routine in just two short days.

    But, you’re absolutely right… it’s in the details. I can remember a camping trip we did with my cousins where the four of us went bike riding up some steep mountain. My bike broke and I was left walking back to the campground with my bike by myself. I cried the whole way. But it’s not a negative experience in my memory bank, it’s a memory of time spent with my cousins. There’s pictures of me eating pancakes with my dad off the very dishes my mom later had to wash under that shitty spicket. And I can look at that photo and a flood of wonderment takes over me… I try to remember who I was and I look at the way my dad is looking at me in the photo and, well, washing those dishes under that shitty spicket seems like a small price to pay.

    What you’re doing you are not doing for yourself, you are doing for your family. It’s the selflessness that’s hard, I suppose. But you’re giving your family something they will learn from for a lifetime… that life doesn’t have to be just like their neighbors… that you shouldn’t fear adventure… that you should invite uncertainty… that it’s okay to take risks… and so on and so forth. You know all this, I know.

    I don’t look at your life and think it’s easy… actually, I imagine how difficult it has to be. You’re mad, absolutely mad. And it’s the madness, for me, that makes it beautiful. In the words of Jack Kerouac, “the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars”. Keep on keepin’ on Joy. You’re beautiful.

    And, of course, LOVELY photos. Your favorite is my favorite as well. Stunning though, all of them.

  34. Madelyn S says:

    Joy and Family,
    This is such an inspiring picture of trusting God and is such a dynamic message to embrace THE GREAT UNKNOWN! I’m a college grad as of May and I definitely feel apprehensive thinking about the abyss that is the future. But your words are so comforting. Thank you so much for sharing your family’s journey! Do you think y’all will ever end up on the East Coast?

  35. Sharon Troute says:

    Amazing blog; amazing family; amazing pictures; amazing journey! Hugs and blessings, Sharon

  36. ~teresa says:

    Joy,
    You are so inspiring and I thoroughly enjoy following you and your families journey. Thank you for sharing it with us. Your photos and writings tell a beautiful story. You, your husband and children are building beautiful memories; ones that will last a lifetimes over! God Bless you and again, I thank you for sharing yoru journey.

    ~teresa

  37. Nicole M says:

    Joy,
    I stumbled upon your instagram feed by way of other bloggers I enjoy. Your images are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing your journey so beautifully!

  38. Tammy says:

    Hi, you don’t know me and probably never will. I’ve been following you on instagram (I think Layla over at The Lettered Cottage pointed me in your direction one day). I just read this blog entry about the first 3 weeks of your adventure and I’m shaking with tears of awe and praise. How wonderful is our God to show you Himself in such a simple, incredible way. Also, this: “we absolutely know that we have to be each other’s biggest encourager and helpmate, as the joy of our family is completely dependent upon our attitudes and perspective. we are being watched by our children at every moment. we do not have babysitters or anywhere to go to when things feel overwhelming, so we must make the choice to be positive and make every difficult obstacle into a beautiful opportunity of teaching. every day we fail, but every day i know that God’s grace covers a multitude of sins. we must choose to be grateful instead of resentful and bitter.” – that is some of the most profound stuff I’ve ever read. It’s so true. So incredibly true. Anywho. I will pray for your travels, I will pray for your little family because you have an amazing ability to reach the unreachable.

  39. Becca says:

    Your journey is really inspiring. I’m sure it’s such a tough adjustment. I lived on the road with my husband for awhile. I loved it, also had many challenges. I do want to do it again, I’m sure much more of an adjustment now, with 2 kids. Your pictures are beautiful. You are in my prayers.

  40. Courtney says:

    Joy,
    Your photos alone, the memories you are making, inspire me to want to do the same thing. I wish I had your guts, your drive, your patience, your faith. The kids are very blessed to have you as their mother, to be experiencing this with you, and to be taught beautiful lessons. Keep up the great work, momma!

  41. Michelle says:

    discovering your photography and picture-perfect family just a couple weeks ago has been enchanting to me. It’s so inspiring and I hope that I can incorporate some of this kind of freedom into the rest of my life. Thank you for sharing so openly. I’m forever in awe of the visuals.

  42. Maggie says:

    Love this so much! so neat to see your journey.

    Where is that beautiful hammock from?

  43. alina says:

    I cried when i read this. i dont why. i just did. what an inspiration. YOur children are sooooooooo Blessed and lucky for their parents to make such a sacrifice and show them God’s Creation.

  44. Marian says:

    Dear Joy,
    your words filled my eyes with tears.
    Have been following your journey, praying for your family and been incredibly inspired by all 6 of you.
    May God keep you all in the palm of His hand!

  45. amber fischer says:

    I love following your IG feed of pics from your travels, and it was even more great to read this blog post. I love that you keep it real and I love reading how God’s grace is upholding you through the rough patches. So inspiring! Happy travels!

  46. Laurel says:

    I have been following your adventures and always LOVE seeing little Clem dancing away and find myself sending a little prayer for YOU when you post you are having a difficult day. God is so faithful, his grace is overwhelming and amazing! Praise Jesus you are living a full life–full of frustrations and then mercy from God. Joy you are an inspiration! To listen to God’s plan for your life and then faithfully take it is not easy, but is amazing. Love the pics!

  47. Krista Brenner says:

    Pure beauty and joy and hardships… I love how your family lives life so pure and full. Nothing better. Thank you so much!

  48. tamrabbit says:

    Ooh goose bumps. I had a similar spiritual experience with a deer in the Sequoias a week after Jared died. I was walking alone through the fog and out of nowhere a deer came sooo close to me and wouldn’t move. I crouched down and we sat eye to eye for what seemed like 20 minutes. For me, I felt distinctly it was a message to ‘hold on. things will get better’. The good things in life rarely start easy. much love. xoxoxoxox

  49. Pamela Susan says:

    Omigoodness, your blog, photography, words, experiences, children, camper, everything is filling my heart with such joy!! And your name IS Joy! So lovely! I was vacationing near Bend last week–if only I could’ve attended your workshop!!! Ahhh! And I live only 40 min from Silverton… are you doing any more workshops in Oregon? If so, do you have any spots left? I want to to come! So badly! I have the money all saved up for an amazing opportunity like what you’re offering. I’m so bummed I just found you but am excited to follow your blog and your adventures!

    Blessings to you and your family~

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  51. Hollie says:

    Oh, this post just made me so happy. I love following your adventures through Instagram. Your pictures always make me smile, and give me such wanderlust. Your children will look back at these pictures one day and feel so lucky that they got to have this experience. Happy and safe travels to you!

  52. Véronique says:

    YOur trip is just amazing, your pictures is just so beautiful! Have a nice Year, and tank you to sharing this, sory my English it’s a litle bid bad

  53. megan martin says:

    Joy,
    I just need you to know how inspiring you are to me. Every post you share, and every image on instagram makes me smile, and sometimes tear. I have been going through a really rough couple months, and in the midst of that, by seeing the love of your children with each other makes my heart smile, and pray that some day my little Lili will have a sibling too. I pray for your family often. Know that you are living out so many peoples dreams. It is so hard in this world to stay positive, try and keep things simple, and just be… and you and your family are doing just that. Blessings on your trip!! Oh… and I think I have my husband talked into going to that island you posted pics from… the one where you take the Friday something fairy to? … Breathtaking!!!!!

  54. Kassie says:

    What an awesome opportunity and adventure for your family! You are brave!! I love the photos….in the last few photos on the post, I can hear the Little House on the Prairie theme song playing as your children run through the flowers and down the hill! Ahh, for a simpler life! And that camper rocks! I hope to have you take pics of my family one of these days…. God bless you!

  55. Rachel says:

    A friend shared your blog with me. So thankful she did. We are a bit over a week into our full-time dream (or is it our worst nightmare?) to take our kids and travel and see God’s amazing handiwork! It’s already been such a challenge and learning experience (that’s the nice way of saying it, right? oh my!). But, just as you said so well, I’m not regretting our decision one single bit. Nap time and bedtime for our babies and big kids have definitely been an adjustment having moved out of our 4 bedroom sticks and bricks house. I look forward to following your journeys as you discover God’s greatest blessings!!

  56. poppinga says:

    I think what you and your family are doing is so inspiring. And I super appreciate you writing about it with such honesty and tenderness. and then there are all of those dreamy photos and your sweet littles… :)

  57. sonya says:

    beautiful, inspiring and thanks for sharing your highs and lows. I wish we had the courage to do this as a family. I hope someday we can travel as a family around the country as well — just need to make it happen!

  58. Kristianna says:

    I read your blog a lot, love your photos and the stories you share. I wanted to share that the bravery your family is showing in pursuing a dream has inspired my family to make a big change. We’re not all camping cross country, as we need to get settled and ready for kids to start school, but we’re finally going home after 17 years away.
    http://muffeeeeeeee.blogspot.com/2013/07/our-next-chapter.html

  59. Michelle Guzman says:

    I can’t imagine how different and challenging it must be to live this new adventure. God bless you and your family. You are such a sweet, wise, creative, humble, and amazing woman of God. Thanks for sharing your amazing journey, photos, and wisdom with us. Your words here were very encouraging to me. :)

  60. sophie from germany says:

    i’m just grateful for your testimony! it’s so great to follow your adventure a bit!

  61. Jamie says:

    Love all your photos! I live in a fifth wheel year round because of my fiance’s job. (His job causes us to move every couple of months) I just wish I was embracing it more. Your post has inspired me. Going to try and embrace it more. Thinking it would be easier if I had gotten a chance to have a house first haha. :)

  62. molly bedgood says:

    Parenting. You’re doing it right.

    Very well done. Beautiful photos. Beautiful family.

    Carry on! Best of luck in all your travels, light and peace to you all.

  63. Lex says:

    Found you on Instagram last night and clicked through and read this whole thing on my phone while my husband and baby slept next to me. So inspiring. I can’t imagine how hard all of that is, but you guys are so awesome for taking the plunge and following your dream.

  64. Jennifer says:

    I am from Silverton, OR and I’m so glad you could come and enjoy our beauty. I’m envious of your journey and I can not wait to read more about it.

  65. Melissa Gibbs says:

    Wow, I just found your blog and I am hooked! What an amazing experience you are sharing as a family! I have to admit, I envy it! Great memories for you and the kids for a lifetime and what a bonding experience. Wishing you all the best in the rest of your travels!

  66. Hannah says:

    thank you for being so transparent and breathtakingly honest in your writing. this is truly beautiful– best of luck and God bless!!

    Hannah

  67. Tracy says:

    I am SO inspired by the amazingness of you and your family. I could only dream of taking the leap the way you have – and I find it incredibly motivating & refreshing. I cannot tell you how often I daydream about quitting our jobs and being able to focus on our kids so much more…US raising them instead of daycare, the way it should be if money wasn’t an issue. :(
    I am a new follower and look forward to more beautiful pictures of such an incredible adventure. Safe travels!!

  68. Jessica says:

    i just spent the last hour scrolling through your instagram and then i came here to read about your Grand Adventure. i am in love with your family. you and your husband and children are so beautiful and inspiring. your photos are magical. it is so refreshing to see a family leaving behind the tangles of what people think a normal life is and not being afraid to go and explore with 4 young children in tow. if i were to suggest living and traveling for a year in a trailer with 4 kids to any adult i know they would look at me like i’ve grown 6 heads. i can only hope to one day have a husband and family like yours. y’all truly truly inspire me to be creative and never give up my dream of living a simple and meaningful life. taking the time to soak in afternoon sun, read a good book, or make dandelion wishes. thank you!

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  71. Josephine says:

    This is my first time on your website and blog, and I’m literally crying my eyes out over all the gorgeous families you’ve captured and the story you’ve told. There is a recurring theme in every image that is as obvious as the sun in the sky–love. There is so much love between the people in the photos you’ve taken, not just of your family. It’s truly awe-inspiring to see the emotion of LOVE captured.

    I wish you and your family the most wonderful adventure!

  72. Kristen says:

    I just can’t but think how close your kids will be when all is said and done. I know the life you are living is probably difficult, but the lessons you are teaching and what you are learning yourself has got to be pretty amazing, despite the hardships!

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  74. Danielle says:

    I would love to do this!!! We have a pop up tent trailer and it always makes me smile to spend time in it. I love the small intimate space and having only things you really need around! Such an awesome adventure for your kids!

  75. Brit Brit says:

    I know when I connect with something on a deep and real level because my heart pounds inside my chest and it burns in a beautiful and mysterious way. You and your family are a beautiful depiction of God’s faithfulness and provision. Thank you so much for sharing, from the bottom of my burning heart. I was getting sad as I scrolled down realizing that this blog entry was coming to a close… Can’t wait for more, and you all will be in my prayers… From Maryland, with love… Brittany H.

  76. Destiny Marchitto says:

    Hi Joy and family! This is the first time I have posted anything on your blog but have been keeping up with you on your travels. I love how you and your husband view life and realize that family and memories are what is truly important. I know you were nervous about the yahoo video and I just saw it and it was great!! Your photos are amazing and inspiring. Thank you for letting us take part in your travels through your posts and photos.

  77. Jennifer says:

    I just saw your story on yahoo. I love it! I had a fleeting idea to do the same with my son about 12 years ago. He’ll be 20 this year. Wish I’d had the guts to do it.

    One thing, we’re all adults here, right? I realize you have 6 kids, but surely you want “alone” time with hubby, yes? You two are young!

  78. Sara says:

    I absolutely love this! I grew up camping with my family and those are the memories that hold true to this day. Your kids will never ever forget this amazing journey. I talked to you years back when i was going to use you as a photographer for my last child. Time got away from me and we never set up an appointment. I would still check back on here to see what new pictures you were taking and I would be inspired to take pictures of my kids. Thank you for being the inspiration for me! If you guys travel out our way, we would love to meet you! Minnesota is beautiful and I bet if you come in the fall, the pictures you could take would be magical! Good luck on your journey!

  79. Mareen [eeny] says:

    i just found you via ashley’s blog.
    you are such an inspiration. i admire your adventurous spirit. living a simple life sounds just wonderful – it is the little things that make life worth living after all. i will definitely follow you and can’t wait to read and especially see where your journey will bring you.

  80. Katy C. says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I first saw you on instagram and then later on Yahoo. When I saw the photo at the top of the blog post I almost shouted “That’s Oregon”. I grew up in Oregon and the landscape is so recognizable. I miss it very much (living in California now). This journey your family has set out on is so inspiring.

    P.S. I love your photos and your style. So REAL.

  81. Leona Solar says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog. This is a wonderful journey for your entire family; a chance to grow close with each other as families were once. You have the opportunity to meet many people and make new friends. With God along as your guide, you journey can be nothing but a wonderful experience. Keep the weekly blogs coming. Looking forward to being able to travel with you.

  82. Cori says:

    Your pictures capture how magical your journey is. This is an experience of a lifetime and you’re children are extremely lucky to have the two of you. This is better than any education they could get in a classroom. I promise that.

  83. Stephanie says:

    Hey there! I just stumbled across your blog and wanted to send along a bit of encouragement.

    My husband & I sold most everything and traveled the USA by RV in 2011: http://giveeveryday.com. It was much harder (and much less romantic) than we had originally envisioned…but it was worth it. It will always be a very special and very important year in our lives.

    Questions for you:
    (1) Are you coming through Arizona? ;)
    (2) Have you heard about Thousand Trails yet?
    (3) Are you part of the “Fulltime Families” and “Families on the Road” groups on FB? If not, let me know and I’ll send some info you way.

  84. Kamille@Redeemingthetable says:

    Joy I’ve been perusing your blog and BEAUTIFUL pictures even more. I am smitten over the pics of Clementine & Mabel all snug in bed. oh my how sweet they are. I just got a Vitamix for Christmas and it has been so great:)

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hello, i’m joy!  sunshine chaser, child of God, mama to four & wife to one good man.  we traveled all over looking for a place to call home and we found it.  we live a simple life out in the country with bare toes and happy hearts.

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