Hippie Sweetheart, AKA Melissa, and her family are full time RVers travelling around the country.
Jayco Jayflight Bunkhouse, Cleveland Ohio, Montezuma Castle National Monument, Guadeloupe River
MRV: The Buzz, Your Outdoor Lifestyle Insider, Written By: Debbie Wolfe
RV Road Stories: Hippie Sweetheart
Melissa And Ed Are One Of Many Who Left Their Standing Homes Behind To Become Full-Time RVers, Except This Couple Has 5 Kids As Well
Parenting and running a household is hard enough, but doing that on the road makes it twice as hard. Melissa, wife and mom of five, makes it easy and fun from her 26’ RV trailer. Her family of seven plus a dog live on the road full time.
Melissa and her husband, Ed, are both originally from Cleveland, Ohio. They’ve been married for 12 years and have five children ages 10 and under. “We’ve been homeschooling them since my oldest was ready to start school,” says Melissa. Yes, she teaches her kids while traveling across the country.
Melissa and her family decided to give up their brick and mortar lifestyle and hit the road fulltime in the spring of 2016. “My husband, who already worked as a nurse, got a job as a traveling nurse. He takes a new nursing assignment every three months at the location of his choice,” explains Melissa. With a new destination to travel to every three months, it was the perfect reason to uproot and take their family on the road. And, they weren’t alone. Melissa and Ed met many other traveling families on the road. “We also learned about the growing number of people who were giving up their traditional homes to travel and full-time RV,” says Melissa.
Melissa runs her household from a 2017 26’ Jayco Jayflight Bunkhouse Model. Her husband remodeled it to make better use of the space. A few of the noteworthy modifications to the trailer are the custom bunk beds at one end of the trailer that fit all five of their children. The trailer also has a washer and dryer, extended counter top space and makes use of every nook and cranny for storage.
The smaller space and clutter is a constant obstacle for Melissa. She remains optimistic most of the time. She says that a good attitude helps set a good tone for the family. Most of the clutter that collects in the tiny home is from the kid’s school and artwork. “I had a good system to organize and save them in a portfolio when we lived in a bigger house, but haven’t been able to keep up with it very well in less space,” says Melissa.
Teaching her kids while on the road has its unique challenges and advantages. Melissa keeps on top of her kid’s education by staying open-minded and creative. “We used to have a very set homeschooling schedule, and would plan outings in advance,” explains Melissa, “now, we take more days to go out as a family and do a lot more hands on, real life learning.” For example, when traveling in Arizona, “we saw the cliff dwellings at Montezuma Castle National Monument, in Camp Verde and then later read about cliff dwellings in the curriculum. It made the learning so much more fun to actually see and experience what we were reading about,” says Melissa.
There are some ups and downs to road life. “Being a mom is endlessly rewarding,” muses Melissa “and endlessly challenging.” For Melissa, being on the road is just a different set of challenges. Every once in a while, Melissa misses her pre-road life, “Since we take 3 month assignments, it seems like by the time we get settled into a new place, where everything is at and a church we like, we’re already leaving,” says Melissa, “at the same time, it’s really nice to make new friends everywhere we go and be able to travel and see the country.” The open road lifestyle has allowed Melissa and her family to become close. “I love how connected our family is by taking some time to travel together,” says Melissa.
As an active family that loves the outdoors, being on the road has made life a constant adventure. “We’ve always loved being outdoors, but now that we’re on the road, we’re outdoors so much more. We really love being able to do so many outdoor activities and see so much beauty when we’re traveling,” says Melissa. So far, some of the favorite places Melissa and her family have visited were New Braunfels, TX, where they went tubing on the Guadeloupe River and seeing the sea lions on the beach in La Jolla, California.
Melissa encourages every family to give an open road lifestyle a shot. “This is a very doable lifestyle,” she says, “lots and lots of families live like this.” Melissa advises to plan and think through things like finances and mail before you hit the road. Melissa and her family plan to live on the road for four years and then settle down on a small homestead. Until then she is enjoying her life one day at a time. “My greatest joy is when my family has a really great day going on a new adventure and seeing something new,” says Melissa, “when the kids just can’t stop talking about it and everyone had a ton of fun.”
A graduate of Northland College with degrees in Creative Writing and Earth Sciences, Debbie has written for HGTV, DIYNetwork, Sheknows and more. She enjoys gardening, reading and fostering dogs.
Make Sure To Stay At:
Roundup Lake Campground, which has over 350 camping sites, plus an array of lodging facilities like cottages & log cabin rentals! Relax on the beach the campground's beautiful spring fed lake.