Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Trapped in the American Dream

Once upon a time I woke up and realized the American Dream…

Was a Nightmare! A Wild Goose Chase! A Trap!

A typical family striving towards the American Dream is like a bunny on a treadmill, with a carrot dangling just out of reach. With each step, you feel like you’re making progress but you’re really not getting anywhere.

Do you disagree? Let’s examine this epiphany in depth…

0-15 You are fully swathed in a cocoon of blissful self-centeredness. You believe the world revolves around you and you may be right but be forewarned… there’s a hurricane ‘a coming!

15 – 18 (Yes – it starts this early) You begin to realize that actions have consequences, namely, that the caliber of work you produce will directly impact what college will accept you. Yee Gads!

Time to put your nose to the grindstone – you’re 15 and you’ve put your first foot on the treadmill.

18 – 22 (ish) you vacillate through highs and lows, trying valiantly to master the perfect combination of business and pleasure. You’re in college right? You gave up some pretty major high school hijinx to get here. Are you willing to forgo all those college mixers? But you’re also aware that you’ll be paying these tuition bills (plus interest for the next 10 years). You want your education to be worth it, right?

Ok 24 – now it’s really time to buckle down – get on a career track – start paying off your college loans – oh and if you want to be able to retire in 40 years you’ve got to start saving now.

25 – 30 You’ve landed a job and now it’s time to start settling down (if you’re following along you’ve now been delaying enjoying your life for the last 15 years – but don’t worry you’re getting closer to realizing the dream so keep trudging along). You find a mate (spouse) and start raising a family.

30 – 45 Remember those few happy go lucky years from 0 – 15, well you’re the parent now so it’s time to raise a blissfully ignorant, self centered child... Ahh the circle of life.

Oh and to add insult to injury – you’ll need to carve out a portion of your income to save for the childrens' college (while still paying your’s off) lest you be considered a neglectful parent.

You’re fully trapped now – feet firmly planted on the treadmill.

Wake up, go to work, come home, have dinner, spend 5 minutes with the kids, go to sleep. Do it again.

Thankfully there’s that sweet 45 minute reprieve on Saturday in between soccer and ballet.

50 – 65 Retirement is now in sight – if you can just get through the next 15 years you’ll have it made.


a. You’re still alive

b. You’re healthy

c. You’ve saved enough money to fund your newly found freedom.

It’s only taken you 50 years to be able to enjoy your life, on your terms…

Really? This is “The American Dream”? Yikes!

I’m thankful my family decided to STOP DREAMING AND START LIVING!

We’ve been on a 30,000 mile short cut, not to retirement, but to life.

Our American Dream actually entails… seeing America… all of it… with our kids…living full time in our camper.

I know it’s not for everyone, but I do hope that all families at least consider that there are options and choices and that sometimes dreams (even the American Dream) need a bit of analysis.

Kimberly Travaglino is the author of "How to Hit the Road" a step-by-step guide for getting your family's life Off Hold and On The Road. She also serves as the Editor of Fulltime Families Magazine, a company that supports risk takers, pioneers, and enlightened families blazing their own path across the country.

Interested to see what others have to say about the American Dream?

Check out these posts

Nancy from Family on Bikes - What is the American Dream?

Lisa from New Life on the Road - Living the Australian Dream
Lisa from Around the World in Easy Ways - An American Dream Fairy Tale
Brandon from Fullness of Life - The Global American Dream
Talon from 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure - The American Dream
S King (aka Mom) from A King's Life - Redefining an American Dream
K King (aka Dad) from A King's Life - Livin' the not-so-American Dream
Lainie from Raising Miro - Erosion of the American Dream
Mary from Bohemian Mom-The Illusion of the American Dream
Family Travel Bucket List - Bye Bye Miss American Dream
Justin from The Great Family Escape -The Real American Dream
Melissa from Break Out of Bushwick -Good Morning, America, Let's Occupy Wall Street!

Amy from Livin On The Road -To dream a little dream of... travel

Saturday, September 17, 2011


To say we live in an age of information overload is an understatement of phenomenal proportion. I think it’s better to say that we live in an age of total information saturation.

We have all become skimmers and devourers of bolded text. That’s not the best way to get the big picture.

  • Writers seek to hit your target with their bullet-ed entries.

But is all the information found on the web the same? Can you derive the same value from free content as you can from paid content? Maybe.

Can you research a topic in depth, cull through thousands of sites and posts, and reach the same conclusions? Maybe, if you don’t get distracted by some other shiny bauble of info you find along the way.

How many times, have you found what you’re looking for, only to realize the post is three years old and the information is no longer useful?

How many blogs have you followed that have been abandoned by the author when “living life became paramount to journaling about it”.

For you, with the bursting inbox(es), with Facebook friends in the triple digits, groups, forums, and more RSS feeds than bandwidth every month, timely, pertinent, accurate information is worth its weight in gold (or most definitely $2.50 – but more on that later).

It’s information that transforms you from a reader, to a doer. You become one who can quickly find the resources you need and then USE THEM to make your life easier, painless, and more prosperous.

While we like free content (we have hundreds of free posts on our site), we strongly believe that real solutions to the problems and issues your facing RIGHT NOW can be found easily, quickly and affordably in paid content.

How can we be so sure of this? We feel strongly that paid content sites must adhere to these expectations:

· Expectation #1 Paid Content is Original – Original content stems from original ideas. Like they say, “there’s no substitute for The Original”.

· Expectation #2 Paid Content is Timely, Pertinent and Accurate - You want information you can use right now! Information that you know has been verified and that has been created with you in mind.

· Expectation #3 Paid Content is Solution Based – You can pick up any issue of our magazine and find at least one (but probably more like four) ideas you can act on immediately to make your life easier.

· Expectation #4 Paid Content is Dependable - It is delivered to you on a predetermined schedule and you can bet if we say we’re going to deliver it – it will be in your inbox.

· Expectation #5 Paid Content is Over Delivered – You should always feel like you are getting way more than you paid for.

As the editor of an e-mag for RV’ing families, I can tell you,

Our Writers Bring It!

Every month. Every issue. Every article.

Do you adhere to these exacting expectations for your readers?

If you’re looking for real solutions, real ideas, real information you can count on, I strongly advise you don't click away just because you see a shopping cart. You could be doing yourself a great disservice. These membership sites value their subscribers, feel truly beholden to them and seek to provide superior content at very affordable rates. (Aren’t those the cornerstones of every successful business model?)

If you believe your time is worth something, then stop wasting it hunting and pecking through the web and do the math. The average cost of a subscription-based site is $30 A YEAR! That’s $2.50 a month!

Isn’t your time worth $2.50 to get the information you need served to you on silver platter?

I encourage you to share your thoughts on this post. Do you think paid content sites are valuable, or do you think free is the only way to go? We want to know.

Kimberly Travaglino is the Editor of Fulltime Families Magazine, a company that supports risk takers, pioneers, and enlightened families blazing their own path across the country.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Snowball Fight in August

Alternate Title: Why You Shouldn't Wear a White Dress to a National Park

Zooming down the Pacific Coast Highway, watching the surf smash against giant rocks – keeping my eyes peeled for whales, I am struck by what a beautiful life we have crafted for our family over the last 15 months.
Last night, Dominick, my eight year old, told me he’d rather live in a house, than travel the country. When I delved deeper into his concerns he told me he “doesn’t like packing up”. I can commiserate – that’s not my favorite part either.
But then I reminded him, if we lived in a house:

He wouldn’t have known that people make play houses out of driftwood on the beaches in Oregon – and he would definitely never have been able to have a picnic in one.

He wouldn’t have known that sometimes lava cooled faster than trees disintegrated - leaving huge tunnels that he wriggled and giggled through one random Tuesday.

He wouldn’t have known...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Toys: The tools of childhood

From this...

To this... in 1 hour

If you've got kids... you've got toys! Even the most organized RV parents will find themselves howling in the night after walking through a lego mine field.

We have 4 kids in our camper so you can be sure that Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels abound! To keep it all organized - sometimes we have to throw everything out of the RV and start from scratch like we did today.

This is a brief overview of how we figure out what to keep, what gets tossed and what gets stored in the basement to be "rediscovered" at a later date.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Power of a Sticker

Are we going to fit? Are we going to fit? Well, the lady wouldn’t have sent us up here if we weren’t going to fit, right? It wouldn’t have been ethical of her to take our $5 if we weren’t going to fit. I need to relax, I need a drink, I hope we fit.

I’m forcing a smile through gritting teeth, trying to be excited about this experience – after all it was my idea- but I am really worried. How are we going to fit our F250 through this tree? If we get stuck – will we have to buy it? We already have low clearance issues – I really don’t think we could continue to tour the country with our truck wedged in a gigantic tree.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Frogs and other RV Park Neighbors

“Mom, can this frog live with us?”

The other day our RV park neighbor boy found three unlucky frogs. I didn’t see the kids for the majority of the day. When lunchtime came and went, I assumed they ate the frogs since it is unheard of for my kids to be anything but “ABSOLUTELY STARVING”.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I dare you, Guinness!

Admit it! You held your breath ‘til you turned blue in the face… You ran around your block 172 times, until your legs felt like jell-o and you could run no more. You dreamed of kissing that hunky guy for two weeks straight.