Simpler Living. Closer Family. Richer Education. Uncommon Adventures.
These are the 4 pillars that make up our Ditching Suburbia focus. We touched on our view of these in our Manifesto.
I thought it would be interesting to hear how other Ditchers define them. I reached out to members of our tribe and asked for input.
We’ve already talked about the first three pillars, Simpler Living, Closer Family, and Richer Education. This time we’re looking at the final pillar.
With sailing in their blood, this family of 5 ditched the busy life and began sailing the world over 8 years ago. They are closing in on a journey that literally took them around the world.
“Our life is a series of uncommon adventures. Sailing through Papua New Guinea, we arrived in an island group known as the Hermits. There is no scheduled transportation to/from these islands; there are no shops, no basic utilities like power or water or sewage. Phones? Of course not! Footpaths wind up the volcanic hillside to gardens where residents grow the food that sustains them, together with fish from the reef. Our second morning there, a village elder who was our guide came with news: a pod of whales was in the lagoon. Would we like to see them? YES, of course!
In truth the islanders were concerned. Why had a couple dozen whales (cetaceans later identified as False Killer whales) come into a small circular reef, maybe a half mile across, which is then inside the larger lagoon of the Hermit islands’ barrier reef – and how would they get out again? This was unprecedented in their memory.
Our boat offered the possibility of communication to remote experts through our single sideband. In a series of visits to the reef followed by messages sent through high frequency radio, we were able to help them connect with expert opinions, hundreds of miles and a mindboggling parallel developed world away.
Ferrying village representatives to the reef, we took turns getting into the water to watch these magnificent creatures. It’s hard to explain what it’s like to look at a whale, and have that whale look straight back at you. It is both exhilarating and a wee bit terrifying. To feel keenly observed, and to feel very, very small in their presence. These aren’t the giants of the cetacean world, but averaged about three times my height—it’s impossible not to feel a little intimidated when they hurtle by and check *you* out from just a few feet away.
About a week after they arrived, one of the whales died, and a day later all but three of the pod had departed. Experts shared these very social whales may have come into the lagoon to allow a sick member of the pod to heal; the death left them free to depart.”
Check out more of Sailing Totem’s Uncommon Adventures:
A family of 4 ditched their 3000 sq ft house and most of their belongings in 2015 to travel the US.
“We were caravanning with our good friends from Michigan who met up with us for a summer trip through New England. This photo was snapped in Acadia National Park, ME, where the kids had run ahead on the trail and climbed to this overlook.
In the parking lot at the top of the mountain, there were loads of people admiring the main overlook, taking photos, and heading back to their cars. Most didn’t seem to want to make the effort to actually explore the area and do more than a drive-by, so the trail was nearly empty of other travelers.
Yet again we realized that by going just slightly further then most people, and letting our kids lead the way, we had an uncommon experience that really “made” the whole Acadia trip for us.”
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A family of 5, the Longnecker family ditched the suburbs to travel the US in their 5th wheel. After some time in the 5th wheel, they decided to downsize into an Airstream.
“We recently had the opportunity to go up to Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rockies. What an incredible experience to be at one of the largest non-polar ice fields in the entire world! We sipped crisp Glacier water, walked (or rather slipped) around the ice, and just stared in awe at this incredible creation. Truly an uncommon adventure for us!”
Follow the BareNeckers and their uncommon experiences:
Faith Takes Flight
This family of 6 ditched their 5 bedroom home in 2016 to “dream big, question boldly, love lavishly and seek after God’s heart while traveling the US together.”
“Coming from Idaho, our family is well acquainted with mountains, rivers, lakes and wildlife. However, this past winter we had the opportunity to step well outside our Pacific Northwest comfort zone by visiting the Florida Everglade National Park. Here crocodiles and alligators can be found lurking together within the same shallow waters and mighty pythons lay hidden within the shadows. Our Ranger-led canoe trip through the mangrove swamps truly brought us face-to-face with a habitat that we had never encountered before. It whispered its uniqueness between each stroke of our paddle in a way that I’ll never forget.”
Check out Faith Takes Flight’s other Uncommon Adventures:
The Gebbia Family
Chris and Heather decided to ditch the suburbs and travel the US with their 2 boys. Why? Because they didn’t want to “blink” and find that their children were grown.
“This was probably one of the best things we did since we started traveling—a trail ride into Bryce Canyon. One of the best days ever!”
What other adventures have the Gebbias experienced? Take a look:
The Travel Bags
The Bagasaos, a family of 10 plus a cat, are traveling the USA for their Christian music mission.
“Traveling in a 30-foot trailer full-time with a family of ten is an uncommon adventure on many levels. As a music missionary family, we’re in a different town every few days, sometimes every day. Every location, every town, every drive has the potential for an adventure. Even activities as mundane as going to bed, brushing teeth, or making breakfast look pretty much like a Cirque du Soleil rehearsal, but with more clothing, as we twist, twirl, spin, and flip around each other and the cat in our tiny space on wheels.
We often see other travelers post pictures of their adventures, perhaps not as cheesie as this selfie-stick masterpiece of the ten of us at Mount Rainier. The picture is common, but the adventure—the entire family together, the little discoveries, the memories, the belting out of “Show Me the Way to Go Home” in two-part harmony—is unique to us.
Perhaps most uncommon of all is the people we meet along the way. Everyone has a different story, and every encounter between two people, however brief or seemingly insignificant, is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience that leaves both parties permanently changed—it’s like a complex algebra equation, but without the headache.
While every family experiences uncommon adventures, ours occur in different locations with different people—never the same adventure twice. Sometimes we’re feeding fawns in Wisconsin, some days we’re climbing silos in Minnesota, sometimes we’re escaping from Portuguese man o’ war in Florida, once in a while we’re eating Vermonsters in (you guessed it) Vermont or whoopie pies in Maine, frequently we’re getting braces adjusted in Mexico, occasionally we’re hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, frequently we’re building cairns in Utah, almost daily we’re chatting with a person we’ve never seen before and will never see again.
Whatever it is, it’s an adventure…an uncommon adventure unique to us. What a blessing! What a life! What a ride!”
Get to know the Bagasao family better:
My Traveling Tribe
After a near death experience, this family of 7 decided that life was too short to not live it at its fullest.
“The preparation for this adventure was intense but it was a passion and a goal for our oldest two to take the whole family backpacking after they completed a summer camp where they learned backpacking essentials and then spent 3 days backcountry camping. Since it was their idea, they were responsible for planning gear and meals, figuring out how to distribute the weight of it all between us, selecting a trail and helping to reserve our backcountry sites. We even did a few trial hikes with all of us carrying our gear.”
Follow My Traveling Tribe’s adventures:
The Reyes Family
Twins Asher & Journey convinced their Mom & Dad to abandon the life that is expected, and focus on living life together on the road.
Whether it’s bird banding in Yukon, helping on a farm in British Columbia, watching an avalanche in Alaska, or an onsen experience in Japan, we strive to have uncommon adventures because it’s not just the children who are learning.
While working as campground hosts for a summer in Alaska, we discovered one of our all-time favorite places to hike, Hatcher Pass.
Keep an eye on the Reyes family’s journey:
The Boyink family of 4 left our boring, little suburban ranch house for a one year adventure. Seven months in we realized that a year just wasn’t enough. So we sold our house and most everything we owned, and continued traveling the US, looking for more Uncommon Adventures.
We had the opportunity to swim with manatees in Florida a few years back. Miranda was the only one in the group to make eye contact with a manatee. This baby was curious and swam to Miranda. Our guide snapped photos of the encounter, culminating with the contact.
When you spend several weeks near San Diego, the idea of surfing lessons enters family conversation. We decided to act on it. I captured photos of all three of them surfing, but Harrison seemed to be the natural.
Mike is a car guy. When he found a NASCAR racing course in Arizona, he jumped at the chance to drive a racecar on the track.
I’ve had the privilege to be present for the birth of a niece and a friend’s daughter. I didn’t realize that witnessing the birth of an animal could be magical as well. While WWOOFing at a goat farm, I got into the stall with Raisin while she labored and deliverd 4 kids. I also had the honor of naming the firstborn - Ramona the Brave.
You can check out more of our adventures:
Have you ditched the suburbs? What adventures have you found once out of the cul-de-sac? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear about them!