Pursuing the Heart of True Adventure

Hello Friends,  Happiest holidays, Solstice, and New Year to each of you.  Sometimes, it’s hard to express and explain ourselves and our lifestyle on our own.  Recently, Jeff Powell of Fresh Paths approached us about featuring us on their blog.  He was able to eloquently and clearly share about our lifestyle.  We are so grateful and wanted to share the article with you all.

Without further ado,  here is a repost of the article.  Hugs to you all!

The Haverherd: Pursuing Adventure as a Family in Their Home on Wheels

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For me, the thought of packing up and heading out in an RV to experience adventure sounds captivating, but this is exactly what this family has done. Meet the Haverkos family, also known as the “Haverherd.” (Check them out on Instagram @thehaverherd.) This family with three little boys is living out an adventure that has brought them closer together as a couple and a family. Want to know what this adventure has been like? Just read Bex Haverkos’s words for yourself:
“We have felt the mist from dozens of waterfalls from coast to coast, dry camped at an island 60 miles west of Key West, witnessed a meteor shower from Cabot Trails, viewed sunsets that seem to stop time, ridden horses in western Texas, snowboarded in Steamboat, Colorado, surfed in Samara, Costa Rica, sandboarded at Great Sand Dunes National Park, slept out with the Sequoias in California and eaten ice cream of almost every imaginable flavor in North America. To have experienced so much on this earth, the word grateful is an understatement.”
How did this family begin such a journey? Bex explains, ” We began planning for our camper journey, as we like to call it, in 2015 when I was pregnant with our 3rd son, Tobias. At that time, I was at home with our other two boys and my husband was working 60+ hours a week running his financial services company.”
Soon after this, the company was sold, and life on the road began, but it wasn’t their first experience with adventure. It really began for Bex and her husband, Daniel, back in 2009 when they both participated in the World Race through Adventures in Missions. Through this experience, they lived out of a backpack on $14 a day as they travelled and ministered through 11 different countries spending a month in each. Their participation in the World Race gave their families and friends a hint that they were, in her words, “a little different.”
Even though The Haverkoses had a reputation for being willing to take chances, it was a surprise that they began planning their journey while they had two small boys and another on the way. That is, however, exactly what they did. But they didn’t undertake this move without a great deal of planning.
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Bex says, “As we planned for our camper journey, we spent a lot of time researching and then searching for an SUV/Truck that could tow an RV big enough to house three kids. Then we started looking for a camper. We had a very small budget for both of these items.”
Even though many people think that only the wealthy take off and do something like this, Bex says that is not true. “It’s kind of funny because, in generations past, this lifestyle would have been associated with people who were looking for work. We are not rich. We aren’t poor either.”
In fact, they have planned for this for quite a while. “We live a cost-conscious lifestyle and saved for years before embarking on this journey. We are in a good financial position, but we need to budget effectively and find creative ways to economically enjoy the things in life that we love the most.”
With the preparations in place, they got their show on the road over a year ago. “We moved into our Airstream in July 2017 after my husband sold his financial services company in Maryland. Since that time, we have journeyed all over the US, Canada, and Central America. As we travel, I run a small, online yoga business. The aim of my practice is to create a connected and accessible community where people can come to learn or enhance their yoga and meditation practices in a judgment-free zone.”
In addition to running her business and raising their boys, Bex and family have been to some amazing places and seen some beautiful things while they have been travelling. “We love visiting national parks and exploring rural areas. Maine, Costa Rica, Banff (Alberta, Canada), Vermont, Nova Scotia, and Colorado, have been our favorite locations so far. We also loved our time in Montana where our sons did two weeks of summer camp. It was also the first place complete strangers invited us over for dinner.”
For some people, the idea of travelling in an RV filled with five people might not seem like such a good idea, but the Haverkoses are not only surviving this experience, they are thriving. “Daniel and I are the weird kind of people who are better together than we are apart. We joke that we could be each others’ backpacks and never tire of one another,” explains Bex.
It isn’t only their relationship as a couple that has been positively affected, but also their relationship with their three boys. “Our relationship with our kids is very strong and seems to be growing by the minute as we continue life as we know it in our 200-square-foot ‘home on wheels,” as the boys like to call it.”
“One of the unique benefits of living this lifestyle is that there is no room for conflict avoidance,” she continues. “We are all forced to learn how to communicate more effectively and seek forgiveness when we make mistakes. As our oldest son’s former kindergarten teacher used to say ‘In this classroom, we make mistakes every day.’ All five members of our family have humbly taken on that mantra. On a humorous side note, I personally do not thrive with a lot of noise, so it’s an on-going joke with friends and family about how much time I spend wearing noise-cancelling headphones.”
The benefits of this journey have reached beyond just the here and now for their children, and the Haverkoses believe that their children will experience long-term positive impacts from this lifestyle.
“We hope and believe that this experience is providing each of our kids with a much greater perspective on the world. We have seen so many places, but more importantly, met so many people, that provides an opportunity to view different ways of life.”
The Haverkos have also taken the opportunity to enrich the lives of others. “We’ve also done a lot of work serving the homeless around the country, and the boys seem to be recognizing that there are a lot of people who are down on their luck.”
Overall, this lifestyle is building a stronger family with more empathetic children. “We feel that the camper journey experience is growing the bonds of our family tighter and strengthening our relationships. We think that the boys have become more patient human beings that value experiences over stuff. And lastly, we hope that more family time outdoors, as opposed to individual time in front of a screen, will give them a healthy foundation that will last a lifetime. “
With all the new and exciting things to do and see, there isn’t really a “typical day” for the family because they like to be able to respond to whatever opportunities arise. “We have had a lot of fun homeschooling the boys, Matthew in grade 2 and Josiah in Pre-K. They each have accumulated more than 50 Jr. Ranger badges from various national parks and get to see, touch and experience things that most kids read a line about in a textbook.”
Though the family loves what they are doing, there are some challenges.
“The biggest challenge is having space to be adults. While having two ‘stay-at-home parents’ should provide plenty of back up in the daily shenanigans that the boys get themselves into, it can limit our time together to just be husband and wife.”
There has also been a bit of learning curve to help them thrive as they learn how to deal with mechanical operations and issues. Another challenge has been learning how to thrive in relationships outside of the immediate family, “We are just starting to realize in year two on the road, that, while relationships within our family have been strengthened, it’s been hard to not have our normal friends and extended family around as much as we did in a non-mobile lifestyle. While video calls and technology make things a lot easier to connect with people, we find that it’s not the same as sitting down with someone face to face.”
In spite of a few things that they are learning from, the Haverkoses were surprised that they were actually able to live this type of lifestyle though they realize they are very much living counter-culturally. “While the world seems to continue the steady push for bigger, faster, more, we’ve found that smaller, slower and simpler has some incredible perks. We’ve also been very pleasantly surprised at how willingly friends and family all over the country have modified their schedules to spend good old fashion quality time with us. That has truly warmed our hearts.”
In year two of their trip, the family is not ready to wind down this adventure. “We have another year or so planned out in our Airstream, and we would absolutely do it all again in an instant. Daniel and I thrive in this type of environment, but we feel strongly that we need to settle down as the kids get older. We just aren’t sure exactly where that is supposed to be yet. We really want to find a place where people don’t take themselves too seriously, can make time for the important things, and try to put the good of others ahead of their own. Daniel and I talk all the time about when the boys are off to college we will pick back up with this lifestyle and maybe even expand it over to Europe or other parts of the world.”
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Bex believes that others should pursue their passions and recognize the role that fear often has in how we live our lives. “In the US, we are often driven by fear,” she says. “We are told that the world is scary and will hurt us. I hate to think that people are making their life choices based on these unfounded fears. However, I absolutely understand the impact fear can have on us. Just 15 months before we left for our trip, I had such debilitating anxiety that sometimes it was hard to leave the house for a play date or even to go to the library. All that to say, I advise people to build a life intentionally that they are passionate about.”
Want to know more about what they are doing and how they are doing it? Reach out to them. They’d love to hear from you!
“We love to authentically connect with people. Please reach out to us to talk or hang out! We have met new people all over the country and have found some of the most incredible connections.”
Don’t forget to check them out on Instagram @thehaverherd!!!
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Want to know why living in a tiny house is magic?

Do you want to know why living in a tiny house camper is complete magic?

…Us too.  If you find out, please let us know.

Seriously though, we would not continue this lifestyle in our tiny shiny camper if we did not absolutely love it. Like I posted a few weeks back, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns as social media might have you believe, but we are so grateful for this amazing opportunity.

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Some of the most wonderful aspects of living in our Airstream Camper have been:

Flexibility: While living in an Airstream has not yet made me the most flexible person on the planet (cue the hysterical laughter), it has given our family the flexibility to live in many different places.

Lack of Clutter: Yes, we still have clutter and too much stuff. We have three boys, enough said. However, there is nowhere to hide it. So we are in a constant state of clearing out and simplifying. And that can be so refreshing.  Here is a glimpse of our camper this morning as soon as I cleaned.

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Convenience:  Wherever we go, our house is with us. So, we can’t forget anything unless we leave Birdie behind. One day we went to a petting zoo with friends and one of our children forgot their shoes. Barefoot with goats and sheep is not my favorite. But every other time, we’ve had everything we need :).

Cost of Living:   This part has been incredible. One of the major reasons why we wanted to downsize our life was to find a way to live for less. While we often sleep in Walmart parking lots, we buy a lot of our clothing from thrift stores and practice a minimalist lifestyle. Primarily, we spend money on experiences instead of things. Daniel has recently trimmed our monthly “lodging” budget from $900 down to $250. And while that may sound ridiculous, we’re finding ways to make it work.

Togetherness:  I don’t have my own room and neither does anyone else. We’re all in this together (thanks Zach Effron). While I do have a high need for quiet and my own time, I love being in a space where I have endless opportunities to connect with Daniel and the kids.

Toby and Bex

I am sure you know that tiny house living is truly a booming trend. I mean who hasn’t heard of the HGTV shows, Tiny House Hunters and Tiny House, Big Living

We have met several really cool families on the road and it has been a lot of fun getting to know them. One of those families, that have 2 kids, is even downsizing to a Sprinter Van which totals roughly 120 square feet of living space.

Is tiny house-living something that you aspire to? Maybe not, but in case you are interested in the alternate lifestyle, check out this tiny house you can buy for just under $5,000 on Amazon.

Either way, I encourage you to do what works for you. Just live intentionally. Everyone is different and that is the beauty of humanity. Keep following your heart and live at your own pace. There is always a way to find your joy.

Love.

Who Knew? Erasing Big Apple Stereotypes

Just after Labor Day, our family spent a week in the greatest city in the world, New York where it was a sweltering 97 degrees every day.

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I don’t know who the woman is in the picture above.  But, she looked as scorched as I felt.

sweltering.

sticky.

full swamp body at all times.

did I mention, hot.

We camped our Airstream at a national recreation site in Brooklyn, which just so happened to be the first airport built in New York, Floyd Bennett Field. It was pretty unique to park Birdie right on the runway overlooking New York Harbor. It made things moderately affordable to actually stay in New York, but it did take us about an hour to get into Manhattan each day.

Despite the distance and sweltering heat, we had an amazing time! I know a lot of us, myself included, have strong stereotypes about New Yorkers. I found that each one of those stereotypes I previously held has been completely demolished.  Seriously, people, New Yorkers are the best. The. Best. I did a little Google search on NYC and friendliness.  I was excited to read that we weren’t the only ones being surprised by the inhabitants of this incredible city.

Here are some moments that clinched NYC for one of the kindest cities we have visited thus far:

Tobias ran his head into a countertop at a newsstand. Within 30 seconds, we had an ice pack from the owner. He was so legitimately concerned about our 2-year-old son it felt as if we were family.

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Matthew left his backpack with a Gameboy in a visible pocket for about an hour on a park bench.  When we went back there was a woman sitting there guarding it. She saw Matthew leave it behind and wanted to keep it safe for him. How thoughtful was that?

One afternoon, we were walking near Time’s Square. We made it about 3 city blocks before we had to stop to cool down. I went to buy the boys some ice cream, but it was super expensive (bc New York). So I chose to buy one for the kids the share. Well, Tobias had a full tantrum over this. But just then, another New Yorker random act of kindness. The man who worked at the stand brought over another ice cream for Toby. He actually gave Tobias the ice cream that was his for that shift. On such a hot day, I was touched by this thoughtful gesture.

Ok, so we have raved about New Yorkers. But there are a few, who we love to hang with NYC or not. These folks were amazing hosts and let us stay with them in their Manhattan apartment for several nights.  It was an awesome sleepover party for us (sorry about our kids, loudness, and messes Col, Brandon, and Bo!)  They showed us so much about their life in New York and we loved every minute of it.

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Food, Shelter, Safety, and Yoga

Hello Haverherd Friends,
Here is a recent post from my yoga blog.  I thought it had some relevant crossover points with our typical community type posts.  
Be Well, 
Bex

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The reasons why people find themselves homeless are as varied as the trees you find in the forest. Given that people experiencing homelessness are often reduced to focusing on meeting their basic needs: food, shelter and safety, it is a wonder to me that anyone would find their way to a yoga class.

However, one beautiful woman that I met at SOME (So Others Might Eat), a community-based organization that assists the poor and homeless in Washington, DC, exemplified the importance of a yoga practice that is accessible and specifically designed to take place in the jail system.  She shared with me about the impact of a program she took part in offered by Yoga District while she was in a local jail.  While practicing yoga, she learned and clearly now understood how to connect with the present moment, the impact of exercising to reduce stress, and the joy found in simply finding activities and people that we enjoy.  As she shared her experience with me, she was so present and connected with a sparkle in her eye. I was in the moment with her.

While there was nothing particularly special about my conversation with this woman at SOME to set it apart from any other conversation. But for that brief moment I’d like to believe we connected as humans are supposed to, seeing and honoring each other’s light.  Namaste.

Calls to Action:

  1. Do you know anyone at Yoga District in DC who could connect me with an instructor for the jail program? Right now, the woman I met is not connected to a yoga studio and I have been trying to reconnect her with her instructor from Yoga District.
  2. Would you like to support yoga for the underserved? Check out my upcoming class in Gainesville, Georgia at Flip Your Dog Yoga Studio on October 29.  Let me know and I’ll set you up.

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Josiah and Toby’s First Vlog

Josiah and Toby have asked me to post their very first blog. While Siah would like to take you on tour through our camper, Tobias has shared some of his top secret insight into picking the perfect March Madness bracket. I have a hunch you’ll enjoy this minute and 58 seconds…

Also, here are a few pics from our time in Colorado. img_3313Since we spent most of Jan & Feb in 90 degree weather I guess it’s only fair that we woke up this morning to Birdie coated in 4 inches of snow. img_3337But it has been a bit of a rude awakening to fall asleep these past few weeks knowing that a thin layer of aluminum is our only separation from temps that have dipped down into the lower teens. While we have absolutely loved our time here in the Rockies we are very excited for the journey to continue out to the West coast next month. We’ll try our best to keep you updated as we adventure on.

From Josiah, Toby and the rest of our family, we wish you a happy spring.img_3318