Lessons Learned from a Girl Who Didn’t Want to Travel

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I have been really thinking about getting a RV and living full time for a while. The hardest thing for me is my kids - some want to do it and some don’t.Facebook User

This is a tough spot.

We were there too.

When we proposed the idea of a 1-year RV adventure to our then 12 and 13 year old we had mixed results. The oldest (our son) was excited about the idea. Our 12-year-old daughter didn’t like the idea.

At all.

Reluctant Child

We talked. I showed her photos of different places. I showed her different types of RVs.

I talked about the types of people we might meet - and that there were other families traveling that we could meet.

I even talked about the dogs she might meet (my trump card).

No sale.

Lesson Learned:

It doesn’t hurt to try and paint a picture of what life will be like for your child once out of the suburbs. Just don’t expect that picture to change their minds.

Not Logical

The problem with trying to “reason her into going” is that she wasn’t making her decision based on logic.

Her response was emotional and fear-based. She might miss her room. She might miss her toys. She might miss her friends.

Lesson Learned:

It’s easy to choose comfort (the known) over discomfort (the unknown).

Incomplete Toolset

We realized our daughter didn’t have the tools to make this decision in an informed, reasonable way.

This was a decision for the adults to make.

Lesson Learned

It’s unfair to your child to expect them to make this decision for themselves.

The Greater Good

Ultimately we had to make the call. Would we ditch our plans and keep her happy? Or would we ditch the suburbs knowing she wouldn’t be happy, but hope it would work out?

We decided the advantages traveling could offer were worth the risk of her short-term unhappiness. There was too much to do, to see, and to learn by traveling.

Lesson Learned

There are times when, as parents, we have to willingly subject our kids to short-term pain or discomfort in hopes of a future greater good.

Black Hole of Anger

For the first 6-8 weeks of our travels our daughter was a black hole of anger in the back seat of the truck.

She was sullen. She was cranky. She would say nothing the entire day except for singing along to one line of one song from a CD we’d listen to:

Let me go home
Why don’t they let me go home
This is the worst trip I’ve ever been on.Sloop John B, Beach Boys

Lesson Learned

Sometimes you just have to let the anger play out. We didn’t always handle the situation gracefully. I like to think we were tolerant so long as she didn’t slide into disobedience.

The Turnaround

We had a truck accident. We recovered from that and drove straight into a decimating ice storm which kept us in a hotel for 11 days.

She said “I just want to go home.” and I asked her what she meant by “home”.

“Back to Michigan. Or the trailer. I don’t care. I just want to be home.”

Lesson Learned

Don’t discount the value of adversity. While we never wish for it directly, looking back we see the most growth from tough times.

The Payoff

Our gamble paid off.

From that point on she was engaged in the trip.

I could go on.

Lesson Learned

You have to take a risk to earn the reward.

The Role-Reversal

Our daughter still loves our lifestyle. Moreso when it involves animals. But still.

Our son though - remember him? All excited as a 13 year old to head off on adventure. That lasted about 4 years. Then he was done.

We’ll talk through that in another post.

Are Your Kids Onboard?

Current or potential ditchers - how are your kids handling it? Do you have one who is a passenger but not a traveler?

4 Comments Lessons Learned from a Girl Who Didn’t Want to Travel

  1. Picture of kay ~ the barefoot minimalist kay ~ the barefoot minimalist December 01, 2015

    Isn’t life funny?  To my parents’ generation, this would be a joke.  The very idea of asking their children what they wanted to do?  No.  It was, “This is what we’re going to do, now get your stuff and get in the truck.”  And we didn’t dare question it.  What happened to us?  How did we become such wimps with our own children?  We definitely didn’t understand that the tail should NOT be wagging the dog!  Glad it all worked out for you guys.  I know that if my family had moved when I was 12, I would have been miserable too.  I was so happy when my dad retired from the military so I could finally have friends for more that a year or so at a time.  But now?  Whatever!  RV life awaits!  :)

  2. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink December 01, 2015

    Hi Kay -

    Yea - I hear you. That would have been our family growing up too.

    Some of it was selfish - we knew if she was immediately onboard it’d be better for all of us. But ultimately she wasn’t going to keep us from going. Nor did we let the boy’s desire to stop keep the rest of us from continuing - but that’s in the next post…;)

  3. Picture of Vanamos Vanamos December 02, 2015

    We’ve been on the road for 4 months with a moody 12-year old girl and enthusiastic 10-year old boy. We were fortunate to have been planning this since they were little so they always knew we were doing it. I’m certain that the girl would have reacted the same as yours given the choice. That said, it’s been - um - challenging traveling with a soon-to-be teenager. Her main activity is texting her friends back home. Occasionally she participates in what we’re doing. What helps is meeting retired people who traveled with their kids or adults who traveled as kids who have since grown up and realized the awesomeness of what they experienced. I know this is the right thing to do but man is it hard some times.

  4. Picture of Boyink Boyink December 02, 2015

    Hang in there momma!

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