The Ditched Life: Getting Real at the End of 2015

If you are considering ditching the suburbs you need a complete picture. It’s always easier to post the highlights, so I wanted to get real this week and talk about both the highs and lows.

The Highs

Let’s start with the good.


We are in Boerne, Texas, parked on the private property of an animal rescue ranch. It’s a workcamping situation - the girls are earning our keep while I work.

The ranch has pigs, llamas, alpacas, horses, goats, sheep, miniature donkeys, dogs, and cats.

Miranda is helping with the animals (her interest in an animal-related career is what brought us here).

Crissa is helping with an on-site AirBnB rental - cleaning and prepping it for when it gets rented.


The people we have met on the stop have been a blessing to us.

When we were thinking about ditching the suburbs these were exactly the type of people I hoped we’d meet. They deserve more than a brief mention and we’ll do a better job of introducing you to them in a future post.

The ranch owners - Liz and Richard - have been generous and accommodating. Liz always has an encouraging word for people and animals. Richard is the analytical problem solver ready to get his hands dirty effecting a solution.

The ranch managers - Debbie and Carter - are a hoot. Debbie is enthusiastic, positive and always ready with a story. Carter is the quieter, cowboy type patiently teaching Miranda various farm tasks.

Miranda is Thriving

Ditching Suburbia Manifesto Shirt

Ditching Suburbia Manifesto Shirt Suburbia-ditchers have different values than most people - tell the world what they are:

Simpler Living. Closer Family. Richer Education. Uncommon Adventures.

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It’s only been two weeks, but Miranda has learned so much. She’s held newborn lambs, learned to drive a tractor, and independently problem-solved getting escaped goats back in their pens. I don’t think we could have found a better spot for her.

Crissa is Finding Purpose

As a homeschooling stay-at-home mom, what happens when the kids become adults and move onto their own independent lives?

Crissa is still figuring that out - but while here she’s been able to pitch in with more hands-on work with immediate results and that’s been good for her.

We’re Saving Money

The girls are working to save us money:

  • We aren’t paying campground fees
  • We are using the ranch laundry facilities
  • We are using the ranch wifi - so were able to put a pause on our aircard
  • We are hardly driving so are buying less fuel

The Weather

We’ve had mostly sunny days here with highs in the 60’s and up. That helps our dispositions. Crissa especially tends to be affected by too much gray weather.

I’ve Had Time to Work

With the girls earning our keep and expenses low I’ve been able to spend time planning a major refocusing of our main income-generating business (I hope to launch it in the next week or so).

I’ve also had time to polish up my resume and apply to a few remote-friendly jobs.

Our home in the farmyard.

Our home in the farmyard.

MsBoyink watching Miranda work with the animals.

MsBoyink watching Miranda work with the animals.

Miranda on the farm tractor

Miranda on the farm tractor

It's amazing how much sanity a bunch of plastic pallets can bring to our world.

It's amazing how much sanity a bunch of plastic pallets can bring to our world.

This is the walk to just about anywhere from the RV.

This is the walk to just about anywhere from the RV.

Kids in TX, MI, and CO exchanged gifts by mail and opened them on Skype

Kids in TX, MI, and CO exchanged gifts by mail and opened them on Skype

Miranda driving the farm tractor.

The Lows

This season of life isn’t without challenges. I’m not whining - we made decisions that brought us to this place and take ownership of those. I just want to paint an accurate picture of a post-suburban life can look like.


You’ve probably seen news stories about the amount of rain Texas has had this year. The spot we are in has traditionally been dry. With the rains this year it’s muddy.

We got stuck getting into place. We’ve had to buy muck boots and wear them everywhere once we leave the trailer.

Going out for a run involves putting on boots and carrying shoes out to the road where I can sit on the truck tailgate to change into running shoes.


The sailing folks talk about their “cruising kittys” and what they do when the funds get low. 

Our “RVing kitty” isn’t happy - the demand for the web development that I’ve specialized in for years has dropped (hence the need to save money, refocus the business, and apply for jobs).

Health Insurance

Up until this point we had kept the health insurance we had before we hit the road. The costs were getting crazy (>$800/mo).

It was a stressful process (with a looming deadline) but Crissa finally enrolled us in Christian Healthcare Ministries at a savings of a few hundred dollars each month.


Holidays - Christmas especially - are hard even after 5 years on the road.

Our heads are into minimalism, valuing experiences over stuff, and authentic thoughts, feelings and worship over the contrived.

Our hearts are still tugged by traditions, family, and cultural expectations.

Also? It’s the first Christmas without our boy.


I’ve struggled with insomnia in the past and it’s returned. I haven’t had a solid night of sleep in at least two weeks, nor have I been able to fill in with naps.

Some of it is stress over refocusing the business. Some of it has been getting used to our situation here.

Our mattress is also an issue. The one we bought two years ago developed some flat uncomfortable spots.

We Are Optimistic

I can’t end on a low note. Even with the challenges we are experiencing I’m optimistic about our future.


I have a lead on new work. The field I’m moving into (Content Strategy) is growing and I’ve already made some great connections. I’ve had good feedback on the business model we’re rolling out.


We watched our kids and their ‘adopted siblings’ open gifts over a 3-state Skype session last night. The generosity and thoughtfulness they showed for each other was moving. I can’t help but believe this lifestyle brought them all closer.


There is talk of some heavy equipment coming in to improve drainage around our site.

I was also able to build us a nice deck using some plastic pallets the owners had laying around. Having a solid surface we can step out and a place to sit outside in a chair helps us not feel so trapped in the RV.


We purchased a new mattress topper yesterday. With it in place I had a great nap and I slept better last night.

Your Prayers Appreciated

Normally we try to ‘flip things around’ and write reader-centric posts. This one is all about us - but I hope by reading it you get an authentic view of what life can be like for a suburbia-ditcher.

We’d appreciate your prayers in both overcoming our challenges and appreciating the blessings God has put in our life.

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10 Comments The Ditched Life: Getting Real at the End of 2015

  1. Picture of beksbeksDecember 20, 2015

    I always appreciate all of your content but especially value your highs and lows transparency as we mentally prepare ourselves for full timing.  I am trying to see this lifestyle through realistic glasses! Thank you! 

  2. Picture of Nico VeenkampNico VeenkampDecember 20, 2015

    i Michael, thank you for sharing your highs and lows. Sometimes we, your readers, can learn from your experiences.

    In my personal situation I am also thinking about moving to other work areas. As a 58 yr old project manager I seem not be abe to get work. The surge in IT work is more in the technical stuff. So I am also thinking about moving there. Let’s see what 2016 will bring.

    Take care.


  3. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael BoyinkDecember 20, 2015

    Thanks Nico - I’m a decade behind you but already feeling the age pinch. The challenge with tech is that you are never done learning it. I’m aiming to go a bit above the tech with this next plan.

  4. Picture of Gretchen Richter de MedeirosGretchen Richter de MedeirosDecember 21, 2015

    It’s so important to share the “real” moments along with all the amazing, fun, and inspiring ones. Our family was on an 11-month trip around the world, and I always tell people that “it wasn’t all peaches and cream”. Regardless, super worth-it. Good luck to the family and Merry Christmas!

  5. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael BoyinkDecember 21, 2015

    Thanks Gretchen -

    Merry Christmas to you and yours as well!

  6. Picture of SheilaSheilaDecember 24, 2015

    Thank you for being transparent.  I have been subscribed to your blog for a few months now and this has been my favorite post of all with showing the highs AND lows and being so real.

    We pray for you and your family and wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :-)

  7. Picture of BoyinkBoyinkDecember 24, 2015

    Thanks Sheila!

  8. Picture of Heather GebbiaHeather GebbiaDecember 24, 2015

    I loved this post! Thank you for being so open and sharing struggles as well as good times. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  9. Picture of robin canfieldrobin canfieldDecember 28, 2015

    thanks so much for your transparent post, we are in the process of unloading and selling the S&B, Christmas found us quickly packing the bare necessities as we experienced a ” Griswald family Christmas” when the toilet backed up and would not drain, we were in the process of building a deck next to our new 5th wheel but didn’t have stairs or ramp yet so the 100lb GSD couldn’t get in, so our awesome son left home and family on Christmas day while I had to work and in the pouring rain built us a staircase !

  10. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael BoyinkDecember 28, 2015

    Thanks guys…Robin I hope you bought the boy a coffee…;)

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