Happy Travelers Tuesday! If you’ve stumbled upon our Tuesday tradition for the first time, welcome! Travelers Tuesday is a special series where, each week, we introduce our readers to another family who travels full-time. This week, we bring you the story of Heather Ledeboer, currently of Kamiah, Idaho. She has deeply touched our hearts and I pray you will take a moment to visit her family’s website or look into her newly released book.
Meet the family: My husband and I have been married for 16 years. I won the lottery with him because not only is he a great friend but he is a wonderfully involved father. We have four children ages 12, 10, 7 and 5. We have been homeschooling for the last 4 years. Homeschooling has been an adventure for all of us and I tell people that, like parenting, it is both challenging and rewarding! I am currently refusing to let my kids do history as an independent subject because I am learning too much as we do it together to let them learn without me. This last year I had the joy of teaching my third child to read and it was amazing. I also love the trickle effect of information that happens in a houseful of multi-age kids.
What got you and your family interested in living this lifestyle? I’ve always been attracted to travel. I feel blessed to have had the chance to travel overseas pretty extensively in my teens. I never assumed that I would be able to continue to travel once I had a family. Each time our family took a road trip however, my husband and I would talk about how much we loved being on the road. Two years ago while on a long road trip we started discussing if there was a way we could keep doing what we loved. Not too long after that we discovered the Fulltime Families website and Facebook group and the Family Adventure Podcast. Seeing and hearing about other families making this lifestyle work really helped us to see it as a potential reality for our own family.
What is your favorite and/or least favorite thing about traveling as a family? I love creating joint memories that focus on our time together rather than things or possessions. I feel that the bond is strengthened between siblings and the understanding that God is living and active is reinforced the more we travel.
Was getting on the road easy or challenging? Any advice to those just starting out? I would describe it as a long series of incremental challenges. We had to identify the necessary steps to get us to our goal and figure out the order of importance. Since we were already homeschooling, the next step for us was to sell our house. That process took longer than we expected and it was a challenge to wait patiently. Then we had the downsizing steps which provide a lot of opportunities to examine your heart and attachments. Finally, we had to identify which kind of RV would work best for our family. That last step took several months and a few false starts but in the end we found one that we really love. I was recently interviewed on the Family Adventure Podcast and I had the opportunity to go into more detail about each of those steps. You are able to listen to the podcast here if you would like more in-depth answers to our financial preparations and experiences first getting into homeschooling.
What are your travel goals? Our overarching goal is to be led by Christ and used by Him wherever we go. Specifically, we want to experience the variety of landscapes, people and opportunities there are around the US. I hope to visit all 50 states at a pace that is enjoyable and not exhaustive.
How many states have you visited? Countries? I had the opportunity to travel pretty extensively in High School and college primarily through summer mission trips. By the time I turned 20 I had been to every continent except Australia and Antarctica. I never anticipated however that I would have the blessing of traveling with my husband and children. Discovering that we love to travel together has been a bonus surprise. Thus far (through car road trips) we have visited every state west of the Mississippi including Hawaii. Therefore, the beginning of our RV travels will most likely focus on the areas in the East that we have not yet seen together.
What has been your favorite and/or least favorite trip, site, experience so far? This last December we spent two weeks in Hawaii. That trip was fantastic. We thoroughly enjoyed the wide variety of outdoor adventures that could be enjoyed within a short drive. We were also pleasantly surprised to find that most of the activities that we wanted to do were free or very reasonably priced (snorkeling, seeing sea turtles, boogie boarding, hiking). Even our trip to Volcanoes National Park was free because our daughter was in 4th grade and had a free family pass (be sure to get your own pass if you have a 4th grader)! We also had a wonderful experience renting a house for our stay using Airbnb for the first time and I would highly recommend it should you need to travel sans your own RV. Another trip that stands out to me was a two-week round trip road trip from Idaho to Tennessee. Although the pace was feverish, we were drenched with beauty and our desires were thoroughly primed for the RV life.
What got you started in blogging? Writing has been flowing through my veins since childhood. I was an avid journal writer until the birth of the internet gave new options for writing. In 2004 I started my first blog which was focused on mom topics as I had a newborn at the time. A few years ago I sold that blog and I started a new blog (Faith Takes Flight) with a new focus.
What are your goals for your website? I love having a place where I can process my thoughts in writing. My goals with my blog, Faith Takes Flight is to chronicle the way God leads and uses our family and the lessons we learn while we travel. We may branch out in time to also highlight the travels of other families as we get to know them.
Do you have a favorite post, page, or category you have written on your website/blog? One of my favorite posts is called “Listening to Lies“. It was the second post I wrote on my Faith Takes Flight blog and I share honestly about how I struggle with the pull between doing something I love (writing) and not wanting to place too much personal value in the success or failure of it. Even though this lesson specifically focuses on my desire to write, I believe the lessons apply to all of us in our unique areas of gifting.
What is your favorite thing to write about? I like to write about what I am learning at the time. Sometimes this is a practical lesson such as how to keep our RV bathroom clean or lessons learned from our first RV excursion. But often it is more introspective in nature such as lessons I learned when we were in a forest fire evacuation or lessons on trusting God when our plans are not unfolding the way we had hoped.
What is your favorite book? I love to read. Although historical fiction might be one of my favorite genres, I love to learn from others. Therefore, I find myself most often drawn to more personal memoir type narratives. Four of my favorites that fall into this category are Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis, Anything by Jennie Allen, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker and The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. I go into more detail in this “Are You Iron Deficient?” blog post as to why each of these books spoke to me.
Getting a bit more personal: I recently completed an 8 year book writing project where I chronicle the lessons learned in the grieving process after our 3rd son was stillborn at 37 weeks. My recent blog post titled, “The Hardest Thing I Have Ever Written” gives more details. Although, I hope none of your readers ever experience the loss of a child, statistically speaking I know that is something that most of us have walked through. I’d be honored to share my story with them in the hopes that they will find some comfort and hope in my journey. My book, Finding Joy in the Mourning: A Mother’s Journey Through Grief to Hope & Healing” can be found on Amazon.