This is just my opinion and homesteading philosophy on a few topics. The purpose is really to start a discussion. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
A topic that seems to come up with homesteaders is the topic of vacation. Usually the statements go something like this: “I can’t get away from the homestead because… (usually this is animal care or some other pressing need) and I don’t understand how people can go on vacation.”
Castillo de San Marcos – St. Augustine Florida. East Coast of Florida in February 2016.
I’VE BEEN IN THAT CAMP
First of all, I’m not here to convince you that my thoughts are right. They’ve evolved over the years to be honest. I’ve said much the same thing listed above. I’m here to share my philosophy. I’ll try to keep it short (and then bore you with my family vacation slideshow, like good neighbors and friends do) but there’s a lot to discuss. I’m open for a lot of discussion in the comments so share with me.
When my kids were younger and smaller, time seemed to move at a slower pace. As I’ve gotten older, my goal hasn’t changed, but my understanding of things has changed. I know I sound like an old man, but I’m not, although I’d like to believe that I have earned the gray hair that I have and some wisdom that comes with it. I homestead FOR my family. To teach, to help them understand hard work, to see the REAL world of birth, life, death and the cycle of things. I do it to show them the glory and magnitude of God. What a wonderful creation he has given us and how we are to be stewards of it. Ultimately, my primary goal with ANYTHING relating to my kids is to help the understand and value things appropriately. I want them to be able to prioritize their life around these values. Our primary value is one of the eternal scope, because so much of this world is just “Stuff” and possessions, and if you don’t have an eternal vision, your possessions will possess you. So that’s our starting point. That’s our North Star. We’re eternal souls who serve an eternal God. In the words of the Bible and Jesus… What does it profit you if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?
With that starting point, my homesteading philosophy has morphed over the years. Because of that slower pace, much of our time was spent at home. We also, frankly, had fewer resources. Those were good years. We didn’t take (and still don’t although you may disagree) vacations the way many people do. During those times much of our “vacation” because of animals and such was one or two days driving to go camping or seeing local sites. But we looked at that as part of our obligation to raise a balanced young human. But as I got older, and saw my kids growing so quickly, I have felt a need to spend MORE time with them that was deliberate time.
Fort Desoto Park – Pinellas Park, near St. Petersburg, Florida.
THE PURPOSE OF VACATION
The purpose of vacation, for us is never about the destination as much as it’s about being DELIBERATE. Sure, we want to go places that interest us but as you’ll see in some of our photos, most of the places we go are educational, history based, or outdoor centered. We can have all that at home on the homestead too… right? Absolutely, but we typically miss is the DELIBERATENESS about it. When we travel in our truck with our little popup camper behind us, there is that initial excitement, followed closely by the travel-dread of long periods of time in tight corners, but there is also an expectation of arrival. The journey is fruitful. We engage, we talk, we see… we be… together. It’s new for us. When things are new, we are more aware. We aren’t used to the surrounding. Family doesn’t (or shouldn’t I say) be about changing the PEOPLE we’re around, but vacation allows us to change the setting of those people… to help see them and value them in new light and life.
MY BACK YARD
I’ve often heard it said, and even said it myself, that I want to build a life and home that I don’t have to take a vacation from… but honestly, that’s missing the point of vacation and the need for it. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be to Buffalo (last February we went to Buffalo for 2 nights. We stayed in an Airbnb for less than a single night for hotels for the 6 of us, in an old historic house in a cool neighborhood and we did taste tests of Duff’s vs. Anchor Bar’s wings… if you’re not from NY/PA you won’t understand that but it’s all about who has the best Buffalo Wings. We had fun.
I still want my backyard and life to be a vacation compared to the world. I still want the homestead to be a respite from the angry arguments of a lost and dying world for my family, but I’ve realized that I have to foster and build my kids dreams too.
August 2017 – Blue Ridge Road – Near the Tahawus, NY Ghost town. Where the kids got to learn about Teddy Roosevelt’s visit. This is where Roosevelt was when McKinley died from his gunshot wound. (My daughter’s really not angry, I just caught an awkward picture, but I love it.) LOL!
You may look at pictures and see that in the past two years we’ve been to Florida and Maine and you may say… “They’re rich” in comparison to me, but here’s the truth about our vacations. We’re not rich and we’ve vacationed more in the past 3 years than the past 13 before that… again, because I see that my time is limited with these young beautiful humans. Another truth is that our vacations have some common themes. I’ll list them:
- We drive – no flying for the 6 of us. Will we ever? Maybe, but that’s cost prohibitive – not just the flight but it limits our lodging and transportation options. Plus there is so much to see along the way!
- Educational! – Every vacation has historical stops and educational significance. We love to explore and learn.
- Short Length – I’m a pastor of a church plant. We are JUST NOW getting to the point where this might be able to change… but all of our vacations start on Monday and end by Saturday (and usually are much shorter). Florida was a Tuesday – Saturday… and yes we drove over 1000 miles each way. Does it seem rushed? It wasn’t too bad. We’ve got multiple drivers now, but I still do almost all the driving. It was an awesome time.
- Not Expensive – This is an “eye of the beholder” thing. Everything you do with a family of 6 is expensive. If we stop at a fast-food place while traveling we try to hit a Wendy’s because of their 4 for $4. Most of the time we have sandwiches and lunch meat and things like that to travel with. But even going to state and federal parks and monuments take money. The reality is that we afford what we hold dear. Some people buy loads of animals, equipment, etc. because that’s what they value. I see the value in vacation and put money and savings toward it but we still have to be mindful and our vacations are typically much cheaper than many peoples. Gas and food are usually the largest expenses.
- Together – I might catch flack for this but that’s ok… I’ve got broad shoulders. We vacation TOGETHER, as a family. I’ve never understood the desire for husbands and wives to have different vacations. Now, I’m not talking about specific, mother/daughter, father/son time or hunting trips, but actual vacation. I WANT to be with my family, all of them because I know that this is a special and tender time that is not guaranteed to happen as the kids grow up.
- See the value in vacation.
- Make friends and family that have knowledge of how to feed/milk or whatever. Don’t use that as an excuse.
- Do it, no matter how small, cheap or of magnitude. Be deliberate about a vacation time.
- Be like Jesus – Jesus took time away from his ministry to go to a “Desert Place” the bible says, because he knew that as much as he loved the people and the work that he needed a break from it to focus on recharging with his family (the disciples).
August 2017 – Camping near Mt. Washington, New Hampshire. Camping makes it far more affordable for our family of 6 to go on vacation, although AirBnB.com has been a godsend too!
Fort Desoto Park – Pinellas Park Beach, near St. Petersburg, Flordia.
Sweet memories with the family.
August 2017 – The summit of Mt. Washington, New Hampshire.
August 2017 – Cadillac Mountain – Mt. Desert Isle – Maine.
Sea World – Orlando
GROW WHERE YOU ARE
So how about you? What’s your take on vacation? I’d love to hear from you.
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