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Yes, I know. We’ve been on goat and cattle farms for a couple of months. But I’m not talking about slaughtering a farm animal and offering it to a deity.

I’m talking about the other meaning of the word sacrifice:

“The destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else.” Mirriam Webster


Its a word we Americans don’t like to hear. We like to think that we can - and should - have it all. And the sooner the better.

Just put it on my credit card.

I don’t like the victim mentality. In this case, however, we are not completely at fault for having these expectations.

There is an entire industry filled with smart people who find ways to make us want what we don’t need. They create, test, and finesse their advertisements to optimize results.

When people get the idea to ditch the suburbs we often see them struggle with a clash of desires. They want to travel. They want to find adventure. They want a more interesting life than what they have in the suburbs.

But they don’t want to sacrifice.

They don’t want to:

  • do laundry at a laundromat
  • pull kids from team sports
  • grocery shop every week
  • give up a daily 30 minute shower
  • give up streaming movies every night
  • tell my kids to stop online gaming
  • give up having a second vehicle
  • get rid of canoes, sea-doos, scuba gear, or other toys
  • give up a private home office
  • make my kids share a room
  • do dishes by hand
  • stop going to Crossfit
  • leave family and friends
  • leave a church

You don’t have to sacrifice everything to ditch the suburbs.

You can find RVs with washer, dryers, and dishwashers. Some RV floorplans allow for a private office. Some families caravan with a second vehicle.

But for everything you decide you can’t live without, there is a cost.

To fit ‘all the things’ into an RV, it has to be big. Bigger RVs cost more to buy and move. They are harder to maneuver in traffic, gas stations, and campgrounds. Many RV parks charge fees for extra vehicles. Onboard laundries require a full hookup site.

Ultimately, you can’t ditch the suburbs and take the suburbs with you.

You’ll have to sacrifice.

But there is an ‘insider secret’ the advertising world will never tell you.

There is often beauty in sacrifice.

We’ve had awesome conversations at laundromats. We’ve found more authentic “church” on the road. Kids learn responsibility by doing the dishes. Kids can create their own games, recruit others, and umpire themselves without adult involvement.

We left on a 1-year RV trip around the USA. Somewhere during that first year, the landscape shifted. Our travels became less about what we sacrificed to begin, and more about what we’d have to sacrifice to stop.

So we haven’t. We are now over six years into that 1-year trip.

If you are preparing to ditch, what sacrifice is scaring you the most?

Leave a comment below and let me know.


2 Comments Sacrifice

  1. Picture of Kira Kira July 13, 2017

    Hi Mike,

    My husband and I have been circling the Ditching Suburbia lifestyle for a while. We keep coming back to the same obstacles/sacrifices:
    1. my projects. I love to sew, and make things, and have a lot of stuff in relation to this hobby. I make clothes, costumes, aprons, dishrags, napkins, etc. How can I do that on the road?
    2. his projects. He is amazing at all things mechanical and has a ton (literally) of tools, and pieces related to fixing everything. What do we do with that stuff, and how can we do that on the road?
    3. I love to grow our own food. How can I garden on the road?
    4. I have a baking business I’ve just launched. I have equipment and supplies for that. How can I do that on the road?
    5. This is the biggest one and not “stuff” related at all. My husband has 2 children from a previous marriage that we only have every other weekend, switched holidays, and 6 weeks out of the summer. How can we make that work? The ex is not super easy (but definitely not the worst) to deal with.

    Thanks for listening!

  2. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink July 13, 2017

    Hi Kira.

    The entire point of this post was to say that that sometimes the answer to “how do you do that on the road” is a simple (but hard) “you can’t”.

    Some of these things could be scaled (crafts, etc). But some (gardening, baking businesses) just don’t work on the road.

    Like I said above - you can’t ditch the suburbs and take the suburbs with you. You can’t have it all.

    You have to set something aside. Either you don’t ditch, or you set aside one of these desires. Or you find a half-way point and don’t completely ditch and don’t completely give it all up. Keep a small residence and take extended trips.

    I was a “Jeep guy”. I owned old jeeps for over 25 years. I moderated a Jeep forum. I had small credits in Jeep books. But sold all my Jeep stuff to get on the road. I got rid of all but a smattering of my tools. I survived. ;) And found that l loved traveling more than I loved old Jeeps.

    Eventually I found other ways to scratch my creative itch.

    The kids from previous marriage is your hardest obstacle. We haven’t dealt with that. We’ve seen other families have to get off the road due to ex’es getting judges involved. We’ve also seen other families where the kids join in for the summer then fly back home. You know the situation and possibilities there better than we would.

    But overall my thought is that you are approaching the process the wrong way. You can’t look at your entire current life and ask “how do we do all of this on the road?”

    Instead you have to look at life on the road and ask “what does living the road allow?”

    And if you can tolerate the answer, make the jump.

    If not, don’t.

    But you don’t have to feel like you failed in any way. You just figured out what’s most important to you and built your life around that.

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