Monday, June 29, 2015

The Kiddos Speak!

Father's Day 2015

It’s time for the 3 Coast kids to have a chance to share their thoughts about all of the exciting new changes in our family! We’re going to do this interview style.  I’ll ask them some questions and then give each kid a chance to answer. Here goes!

Me: First of all, what do you think of your Dad’s job?

Dillon- "I think his job is cool because we get to travel around and do fun stuff at camps. I don’t know a whole lot of people who do his type of thing. We have a unique dad, and I think that’s cool."

Jaden- "It’s fun. I get to go to a lot of cool places. I like that I get to see him [Daddy]."

Jack- "Sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it gets boring. Sponge balls get boring. I like helping Dad on stage. I think he’s creative. I like his job."

Me: What did you think when we first started talking about living on the road full time? How do you feel now?

Dillon- "I thought it was kind of crazy and weird at first. Because we have a lot of stuff, and we were going to have to get rid of it and I thought that would take forever. But I liked the idea because we could go anywhere we wanted to if we were mobile. Now, I feel good about it. We got rid of a lot of stuff. I’m excited about being able to go everywhere."

Jaden- "I didn’t really want to do it at first. I didn’t want to leave my friends, and I like where we live. Now, I feel excited. I get to see a lot of cool places. I want to go to WonderWorks in Panama City Beach, FL!"

Jack- "I was excited because I’ve never been in an RV before. I am still excited about it!"

Me: What has it been like to get rid of so much stuff? How do you feel about owning less things?

Dillon- "It feels good to get rid of it because we don’t have to worry about our stuff. When I went through and got rid of stuff I realized I didn’t need a lot of it."

Jaden- "It feels good. It was hard. There was stuff that I wanted to keep, but couldn’t. But then I realized that I didn’t need it. Now it’s much easier. I don’t have to worry about picking up stuff all the time and it’s easier to clean my room."

Jack- "It makes it a lot easier to clean my room. It’s easier to have not as much toys. I miss one of my toys, but not the others."

Each kiddo has reduced their toys to one of these boxes, along with one twice that size in storage. That's it!

Me: How do you feel about our family living in an RV together?

Dillon- "I think it’s going to be crowded. I’m also excited because it’s going to be something new to experience."

Jaden- "Claustrophobic. Just kidding. I’m ok with it. I want my own bed and personal space."

Jack- "Happy and excited. I get to see the big meteor crater in New Mexico!"

Me: What is it like to spend so much time with your family?

Dillon- "I like it because we get to hang out together. I like to play with Jaden and Jack, but sometimes I want to do my own thing."

Jaden- "It’s fun. I like it."

Jack-  "I think it’s fun. Sometimes I want to be by myself."

Me: What are you most excited about doing/seeing once we are on the road full time?

Dillon- "Going to historical places. I want to go to Washington D.C., the Johnson Space Center, Universal Studios, Yellowstone National Park, and Mt. Rushmore. I also want to go to New York City again."

Jaden- "I want to go to Hawaii, I want to see New York City again, Great Wolf Lodge, WonderWorks in FL, and go to Disneyland as a family. I like Disneyland better than Disneyworld."

Jack- "The big crater in New Mexico, the Hollywood sign, the Statue of Liberty, the St. Louis Arch, and the Eiffel Tower."

Our visit to Disneyworld in Feb. 2015

Me: What do you want people to know about our family adventure?

Dillon- "They should do it with their families too!"

Jaden- "You should do it! It may be hard at first, but it’s very cool when you’re done with it!"

Jack- "That it’s fun and you should do it!"

So there you have it! In the kids’ own words. Have anything else you want to ask our kids about traveling, minimalizing, homeschooling, etc.? Ask in the comments or leave a post over on our Coast 5 Adventure Facebook page!

Meeting "Sue" at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, FL.

~ Melissa

Monday, June 8, 2015

One Year Later- Progress!

It's been a little over a year since we announced that we were going to do something crazy: completely down-size everything we own, sell our house, and live on the road as a full-time traveling family.

I meant to keep better tabs on our progress. I wanted to do a monthly update. But, you know, we got busy "being about" our plan rather than just talking about our plan and I didn't take the time to write it all down like I thought I would.

But, here I am! Got a new blog dedicated to the family updates and everything! Let me share with you in simple bullet list form what we've been up to these last 9+ months since we've posted:

  • Whittled our clothes down to a bag a piece (with a box of winter clothes stored away to switch out with this season's clothes later).
That red bag you're looking at is my new closet, guys!

  • Rented 2 10x10 storage units for our keepsakes, special furniture, school books, and all of Keith's business/ministry supplies. We have plans to whittle that down even further to 1 storage unit this winter.
  • Downsized the kids' stuff completely. They are down to a bag of clothes each, 1 medium sized box each of toys (in storage), and 1 small box a piece to go with us. They also have a shared box of Legos in storage.
  • Re-homed all our pets/animals except for our Jolie (a border collie mix who's coming with us as soon as our RV is ready) and our farm cat Snarf. (He's my baby. We're keeping him around until I feel good about where he will end up.)
Snarf. The curmudgeon with a heart of gold. <3

  • Downsized the kitchen stuff to what will fit in our RV (we think!). That means about 10 or so plates, cups, basically enough dinnerware for 2 meals, plus basic cooking utensils.
  • TONS of loads to Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Super Thrift (local thrift store)
  • Tons of stuff sold on eBay, Craigslist, Facebook, and consignment shops
Where a lot of our stuff sold until the place closed down. :(

  • Given LOTS of stuff to friends and family!
  • Met with our realtor and made a list of things to do to the house to get it ready for show.
  • Worked on said list, only a few things to mark off and it will be complete!
  • Put the house on the market!!! Woo! We've officially listed it with our realtor! If you're interested, contact Lynda Poe at Lawton Realty Group.

For Sale for real!
That's a full pond right there folks!!! The Coast Ranch is looking good!

  • Made progress on our Avion remodel-  we've found a great guy in our church who has taken over the renovation of our '71 Avion (our temporary home until the house is sold). It's getting new pipes, new floor, new curtains, new toilet, you know, basically an overhaul to make it livable! It should be ready by the end of summer, which is perfect because we will be at camps all summer long anyways, and won't really need it until then!
It's not pretty just yet, but it's gonna look cool soon!

That pretty much brings us to where we are now! Back home, the house is getting some paint, the 10 acres is getting a mow, and soon a super-detailed cleaning. Not much left to downsize, but we're still finding things everyday that we can do without. Amazing how that works! As I type this we are near Denton, Texas getting ready to start camp #3 of the summer! That's right, we've already completed 2 camps at glorious Lake Forest Ranch in Macon, MS. It is beautiful there, one of our favorite places to visit! Over the next 2 months, we'll be going from summer camp to summer camp, right up until the middle of August. 
Shadow Lake at LFR. This was our view when we stepped out our door everyday!

Now then, you can consider yourself caught up on our progress! We've accomplished a lot in a year's time! I'll wrap up this update for now. But don't worry, there's lots more we want to share with you about all the life lessons we've learned, and the spiritual and emotional growth we've experienced this past year. We've uncovered a lot of unexpected treasures in this whole simplifying/decluttering/de-owning process. They aren't material possessions, but they are absolutely priceless, and they've changed our family in many amazing ways. It's very exciting stuff to share, and we will in future posts!

If you'd like to stay connected to our travels in a real-time way, and keep up on where our adventure is taking us, check out the Welcome! tab on this page. There you'll find links to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc!

Until next time!

The Coast 5 at Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Visitor's Center

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Why?? Why are you doing this?!?

Note from Melissa: This post was originally written on 8/24/2014.

Hello everyone! 
I realize it's been longer than I had planned to give another update on our adventure, however, during the summer time we didn't really have time to do much, so there wasn't much to update you on. The summer was an adventure in and of itself. Keith was traveling and camp pastoring at 11 preteen/children's summer camp sessions. When we could, we all traveled together as a family. When we weren't on the road together, we were going our separate ways to participate in Boy Scout camp and Cub Scout camps. The most refreshing part of my summer was having the privilege to go on a solo trip to La Montana Azul in beautiful Costa Rica for a week-long Qigong retreat! (It was AMAZING, and eventually I'll write a blog post about it.) So, with all of the traveling, you see, there really wasn't much time to work on our RV or get rid of more stuff. Now that we're pretty much done with traveling for the summer, we've gotten back to work. I plan on having more to share in September on our progress. 

However, I realize that although my hubby and I have both posted on our blogs and shared in person our plan of adventure, we're still getting asked this question all the time: WHY? Friends, family, acquaintances, strangers.... anyone we tell our plan of selling our home, things, and traveling together in an RV want to know. Why are you choosing this for your family? Well, let me share with you why this new adventure means so much to us.

1. Simplicity/Minimalism- A peaceful home is something Keith and I both want for our family. We know from experience that the fewer "things" you own, the happier you are. There was a time a few years back that we went through our whole house (with the help of a friend) and simplified everything. We got rid of and sold tons of stuff, and rearranged and organized in such a way that it would be easier to keep our house simplified. It was a difficult process. But the results were immediate: our house felt more peaceful, and we were markedly happier.

 So, this process, of moving from a 2400 sq. ft. home to a 31 ft. pull-behind RV is just a bigger version of what we've already done before. 
We know that with fewer things to take care of, there will be a simplicity in our lives that we've been lacking lately. I've read many blogs of others' journeys of simplicity in their own lives, and I have yet to find a single person who regretted parting with their things. It is never easy to part with things you've accumulated, and I know this will be a dramatic change. But we are excited about the end result, and the good things that will come from this endeavor!

Simplicity and Minimalism are not just limited to material possessions. This process can be applied to time as well. We want our time to be spent in a simplistic and meaningful way. We foresee our new lifestyle helping us also simplify the way we spend our time, and helping us to be very intentional in our activities and what we say "yes" to.

2. Family Unity in Ministry- Our livelihood is Coast 2 Coast Family Ministries. As much as most of that responsibility falls on Keith, our kids are now at an age where we can work together more in ministry. This is a chance for our family to learn by doing, and to work towards a common goal together. We have experienced some of this "teamwork" traveling together in the summers, and during the rest of the year we all take turns traveling with Keith. It has been a great experience, that has brought us all closer together.We truly want our life's work to be a "Family" ministry!

3. The Experience of a Lifetime- We love traveling. Its our family's favorite hobby. Keith and I had decided long ago that once our kids were out of the house we were going to travel anywhere and everywhere we could. But guess what? LIFE IS SHORT. And we are in a position where if we didn't have the burden of a house and mortgage, we wouldn't have to wait to travel at all, we could see the world WITH our kids instead of without them. We have realized that our time is short with our kiddos as well. I have a deep desire to raise our kids with a wide open view of the world. I don't want them to read about places and things in books, and that be the extent of their knowledge. Keith and I are in a unique position to really and truly SHOW our kids the world. To give them the experience and education of a lifetime. To kick our homeschooling experience up a notch. We don't want to wait until they are "out of our hair" to experience the world. We want to experience it together, as a family!

And, the biggest reason of all:

4. A Living Example- Of all the parenting responsibilities I feel the strongest about, being a living example of everything I want for them to see, know, feel, believe, is at the very top of the list.
 It is one thing to tell your kids: you don't need possessions to be happy, you don't have to take the path everyone else does- you can make your own, you can dream big and make things happen, you can work hard to achieve something important to you, your life is infinitely enriched when you serve others, God takes care of us- you can trust  Him, step out and be brave- try something new! 
We can talk about those things all day long. But how on earth are our kids really going to know how do those things if they aren't modeled and demonstrated for them, in real life? When it comes to life lessons like these, Keith and I don't want to talk about it. We want to be about it.

Ultimately, reason #4 is what I think about as I go through my closet to get rid of things. It's on my mind as we plan, begin to process, and figure out how to make this happen. It's what has been going through my head when we've had to part with our pets, that we love dearly. 

These next few months of moving possessions out of our home, parting with items that bring back wonderful memories, preparing our house and land for someone else to make a home out of are going to be hard work; physically and emotionally. But I truly believe what we are going to get in return from this grand adventure that we are embracing and preparing for is going to bring forth all kinds of awesome things for our family, and will be worth every single drop of blood, sweat, and tears that come along with it.

I'm going to be perfectly honest. I. Can't. Wait!

~ Melissa

The NEW Coast Family Adventure

Note from Keith- This post was originally posted here at my blog on 5/20/2014.

Where do I start? So much to put down, and at the same time that’s kinda the point. I’ve lived a pretty incredible life in only 35 years.  There really isn’t much I regret through it all. Learning from so-called ‘mistakes’ has always made me the man I am today. At the moment, I have a wonderful wife, 3 bright kids, and my health. I am truly blessed beyond measure.

On top of what’s most precious to me, my family, is all the other stuff. First, let me define ‘stuff’. Stuff is all those other things that you tend to acquire over the years that, in themselves are harmless, but we become attached to them. We spend so much time and money and even emotional energy on these things. We put our stuff in nice cases, build shelves for it, hang it in walk-in closets, and then when we’re tired of it, box it up and put it in the garage or attic. Once the attic is full, you rent out a storage unit and pay a monthly fee to store the stuff, or you build a shed in the backyard or buy a shipping container to continue on the process. Stuff is a lot of work, especially when you account for moths, mice, and high humidity.

Every time we move we go through stuff. We sell some, give away some, and throw away some. In time, we start to fill back up. Personally, I start to get in a funk when things are cluttered. I can’t concentrate. I’m not motivated. I’m not happy.

All of this to say, we’re down-sizing. We are getting rid of stuff. How much stuff? My estimate is about 94%. That’s a lot of stuff, and if you need some of it, let us know. We won’t need most of this stuff, because we are also selling our house. That’s right, the farm is going on the market as well. So if you or someone you know needs a 10 acre homestead, we might have the right setup.

“What’s the deal?!” Well, a lot actually. For the last year or so my wife and I have been talking, and dreaming. (Dangerous combo) We love our house, we love where we live, and it’s home. I also have a great job. I travel internationally sharing laughs and and a message of God’s love to families. I’ve been doing this for over 12 years now, and I have no desire to stop anytime soon. However it keeps me on the road over 200 days a year. We do spend much time together as a family though. We homeschool, and we travel together as we can, but we deal with it.

The hardest part for me is to keep up with my house on my ‘off’ days. It’s either I have the time or money to do a project, but never both at the same time! If you own a home, you know what I’m talking about. It just never seems to stop. So, I’m only home maybe half the year and working on it, either repairs or improvements, and I don’t feel like I enjoy it as much. “So what’s the plan?”, you ask…


Sell our stuff, sell our house, and go mobile!  Sounds so simple, doesn't it? Well before you think this all sounds too radical, it seems to make nothing but sense to us. Here’s why:
My Job is global.  I can base out of pretty much anywhere and fly whenever it’s more convenient than driving.
My family loves to travel.  This is all they have ever known, and they want to see more and more.  The kids are 6, 9, and 12 so whatever we see now they’re going to remember.
We already home-school.  We have been for the last 5 years, and love it.
No Mortgage.  Living mobile isn’t free by any means, but I’m tired of the mortgage and the upkeep. There’s only 25 more years till payoff…”only.” As much as we love this house, we all agree we don’t have to have it.
We can always come back.  That’s right. We can always come back home, buy another house and more stuff. That’s not hard at all.

Most American-Dreams follow the ‘work and pay off your house THEN travel without kids.’  We are choosing the ‘travel NOW with the kids while we have a great opportunity and pay cash for a house later if we really want one.’ At least that’s the idea ;)

As of now, the plan is to buy an RV fit for the full-timing lifestyle of a family and base out of one place for 6 months out of the year. I can fly in and out like I do now and save money by staying put. The other 6 months we travel, wherever we want. We can work gigs in and out as we need to, but no pressure.

We have a lot of friends and family, and it’s hard to go let everyone know what’s going on. So here it is, in a blog.

Right now we are heading into Summer, and it’s nothing but camps until mid-August. So for now, we are slowly down-sizing. We will be advertising stuff to sell on Facebook, so stay tuned! This Fall we will be getting the house ready to sell. Once the house sells, we’ll see what happens, but the NEW Coast-Family Adventure begins! And that’s all that matters. YOLO, baby!

~ Keith :-)=

This is Getting Real, Son!

Note from Melissa: This blog post was originally written on 7/6/2014. 
This is happening. It's really happening! Let me update you on what has been going on in the last few months...

First of all, let me tell you about our very flexible, loosely put together plan. There are 3 main areas of "making the dream happen" that we are focusing on as of right now:
One: Decluttering and Minimalizing our home.
Two: Getting house ready to show/sell.
Three: Preparing our next temporary home (pictured above) for us to move into.

Decluttering and Minimalizing has been a slow process as of right now, because we are right smack dab in the middle of summer, and have not really been home to work on this particular part too much. So far, we have found a home for our chickens and one of our cats. We're working on finding a home for our rabbit currently. Parting with animals so far hasn't been too traumatic. I suppose once we get to the part where we need to part with one of our dogs.... that will be tough. But as of right now, everyone, kids included, is handling this part of it pretty well.

Parting with our stuff has been sometimes wonderful, sometimes emotional. I actually decided at the beginning of this year that I wanted to work on simplifying our lives a little bit and getting rid of extra clutter. We've already been doing a 2014 challenge, where you give away/sell/throw away 2,014 items throughout the year. So far, we've got over 800 items marked off the list!
Lately, it's been very good, even therapeutic, to go through things and get rid of excess. It's one of the ways that I dealt with my recent bout of severe anxiety. But for the kids, it's been a little more difficult. At first there were tears, I'm not gonna lie. But once they got started and realized that getting rid of extra toys, clothes, etc actually made their lives easier, they have actually enjoyed giving their things away. We are all making a pile of things that instead of giving away we are going to sell, and the kids are excited about the idea of making some money off of some of their things. I've been encouraging the kids to find someone special to give toys or belongings to that are a little more special to the kids, but not something they are going to need once we are in our RV. This has also made it a little easier to part with certain items.

As for getting the house ready to sell/show... we really were not planning on doing a whole lot in this regard over the summer, realizing that we'd probably have to make some good progress with the above step before we could really work on the house. Keith has been using his time off to clean up the outside. We've had the 10 acres mowed, Keith has gotten rid of a lot of the scrap materials we've had laying around, and we've smoothed out our driveway. Baby Steps! But here's the funny thing... without really trying, only sharing by word of mouth that our house is for sale, we've actually showed the house to someone! And, crazy happenstance, it was to the people that we bought our Avion from!

As you see pictured at the top of my post, we have found our temporary home! We decided on buying a good, solid, older something that we could pay cash for, then remodel and fix it up to be what we needed it to be. This way we can actually get some experience on the road, and then really know what we want in a more permanent living arrangement. We got a great deal on our Avion, and are very excited about fixing it up and making it our own! It will be smaller than what we'd like to end up in, but that's ok, I think it will make us all appreciate it even more when we do buy something bigger!

The most remarkable thing to me in this adventure so far, is how wonderfully things are coming together. And although I know that this is going to be a big and difficult adjustment, sacrifice, and transition for us, Keith and I feel at peace about it. Things will come together in God's time, and we're depending on Him to help us see the open doors when they present themselves. We've always asked God to help us in big decisions by making it obvious to us what our next step is, along with working out the details for us. And once again, He has done just that!

We're taking it a day at a time, working on our patience, but there is no doubt..... this is getting REAL, son!

~ Melissa

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Welcome to our Blog!

Welcome to the Coast Family's new blog! This is where we will be sharing any and everything about our Family Adventures. I'll be posting the previous posts about what we're up to, and soon I'll be adding new blog posts updating you on where the Coast family's travels are taking us! 

My hope is that our kiddos will get involved in the whole blog writing adventure, and share their own views of what's going on in their lives as well.

So, expect fun travel updates, homeschool/roadschool/unschool updates, and also we'll be sharing all of the things that have inspired us, along with what we have learned along the way.

So, bookmark this site: and come back often to see what we're up to.

Love you guys!!