(From left to right) Michael, Harrison, Miranda, and Crissa Boyink in Mobile, Alabama
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to leave the traditional suburban lifestyle behind and live a completely nomadic life?
If you answered “yes” to this question, this article should give you some ideas — and maybe wings.
Michael Boyink is not just one of our favorite Paper.li publishers. He is also someone who has taken life to a whole new level. We want to shine the spotlight on him and share how he and his family (wife Crissa and children Harrison and Miranda) have “lived the dream” in full force for the last five years.
In 2010, when the Boyinks left Michael’s hometown of Holland, Michigan, they just wanted to roam the United States in their RV for 12 months. However, once back home, the travel bug chased them. So, they sold their house and gave away the things that did not fit in their vehicle…
On Being Modern Nomads
When I think of the Boyinks, the famous quote from Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder immediately comes to mind: “Home is where the heart is.”
Why? Because of what these location-independent tech nomads have been able to achieve. They got out of their comfort zone and learnt to make the most of their surroundings.
“Being location independent as a family means you can live, work, and school anywhere”, says Michael. “Being a tech-nomad means it’s technology that allows you roam where you want.”
“I’m a web developer, teacher and author. I can do that work anywhere. We’ve always homeschooled our two children. Add those two things together and we can live our lives just about anywhere.”
“We chose to travel the USA full-time in an RV. Other location-independent tech-nomads live on boats or out of suitcases, flying to new countries and renting furnished apartments.”
The Boyinks’ home in Silver Springs, Florida
The Ditching Suburbia Project
All modern travelers have one thing in common: They love sharing their experiences with the world.
The Boyinks are a perfect example of that. Their website, DitchingSuburbia.com, showcases four years of travel-related advice and stories. It also works as a promotional platform for their upcoming book.
Titled Ditching Suburbia, the book will explore the outside-of-the-norm life experience through a compendium of interviews with families in various modern nomadic stages. From road trips, to sailing, biking, and missionary stories, the goal is to help readers understand what is at stake and what they can expect from the experience.
“It takes courage to choose to be different,” says Michael. “It takes tenacity to confidently live your life in a different way and with different values than almost everyone else you know. That inspires us.”
Ditching Suburbia should be released later this year.
Using Paper.li to Connect with the Community
To complement and promote the website, Michael manages TopFamilyTravelBlogs.com, a daily Paper.li paper that features active blogs from fellow location-independent tech nomad families.
When he created the paper, he wanted to allow travelers to easily find and connect with one another. Two years later, TopFamilyTravelBlogs.com boasts 80 subscribers and is a respected publication:
“People have always loved it. We take on the work of finding the active blogs so they don’t have to. The bloggers we add to the site always appreciate the added visibility of their sites.”
“I’ve never required blogs to add a link to TopFamilyTravelBlogs but find that they usually do by their own choice.”
Michael mentions that when he adds a new source, he always contacts the blogger. This approach has led to many great meetings and friendships, including the one with the Keiters.
“Not only did we stay in contact with them but they have become our closest friends. Our kids all consider themselves ‘brothers and sisters’. We ended up caravanning with them for 9 weeks total in both Oregon and Washington DC.”
“This winter we came to Florida where the Keiters were from and had returned to after their one year on the road. They had been prepping for an exit from the corporate/suburban world and an entrance into the mission field. We celebrated the holidays with them, and helped them pack their lives into a truck and head across the US to their new home.”
Some Advice to Get Started on the Right Track
As appealing as the modern nomadic life may be, it also comes with a major drawback — inconvenience. Your willingness to accept uncomfortable and unforeseen situations along the way will determine the type of lifestyle you can have.
Do you always need a map or GPS to find your way? Could you sleep on a hard surface? Can you tolerate walking or biking for transportation or do you need a vehicle? Are daily showers a need? Can you prepare food without an oven, stove, or microwave? Can you deal with being “closer to the weather” in a less insulated environment?
Those are only a few questions Michael recommends you should ask yourself as a starter.
But, that’s not all. While the unknown is always part of the deal, research and planning will go a long way in making the experience more enjoyable. Michael calls it the “ready, fire, aim” approach:
“Figure out a general direction (ready), get things mostly decided and then just go (fire). Once you’ve made the transition you can adjust your course as necessary (aim). Your course-corrections once out will be easier and more accurate than decisions before launching. You’ll have actual situations and data to use rather than a bunch of guesswork.”
For more information on the Ditching Suburbia project, visit http://ditchingsuburbia.com/. Michael would also love to hear from you on Twitter. And of course, don’t forget to check out the TopFamilyTravelBlogs.com paper!
Pictures courtesy of Michael Boyink