Hey gang! We’re the Nascimento family – Alexis, Steven, Levi, Harvey, and our dog Ruby – otherwise known on Instagram as @NeverSaySomeday. We’re a family of full-time travelers and adventure lovers who are chasing our dreams and aiming to inspire others to do the same!
If you would have asked us a few years ago if we could sell our home, 99% of everything in it, and hit the road to live in a van together, we probably would’ve laughed hysterically. Us? Traveling in our van as nomads? Never in my wildest dreams did we expect to be here, chillin’ in our cozy home on wheels, catching the most beautiful desert sunset in Joshua Tree. But over the years, we got comfortable. Too comfortable. We checked off all of the goals according to societal norms: find a great job, buy a big house, get married and have kids. (BTW, those are all great things — not knocking it!) Insert school, home maintenance and other obligations, and we found ourselves on a hamster wheel. We questioned ourselves and each other — “Is this it?”
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We started with weekend travel:
At first, we decided that we were going to be weekend warriors. Work all week, and then go camp and explore on the weekends. We were able to pack a lot of quick trips throughout the year, especially after we bought our Sprinter van. It came with 13 seats, most of which could be removed fairly easily. At one point, Steven did some research and realized that we could build a quick and simple platform bed in the back. This led to lots of fun overnight trips in 2018!
Even though we were getting pretty good at weekend getaways, we were also fairly limited in where we could go. Our driving range was about 3-4 hours, given that our boys were young and the weekends always seemed so short. Fortunately, we were living in California’s Central Valley – so we had a lot of cool places to choose from: Yosemite, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, etc. We also splurged for a one-week vacation every year (you know, to maintain our sanity!).
Becoming a full-time traveling family:
Eventually, we got the bug to shake things up. We were both working a lot, and with the kids in pre-school it felt like we still didn’t have enough time for one another. So we brainstormed. We threw all of our ideas on paper. And we kept coming back to full-time travel. This idea of letting everything go to chase new experiences in new places. This little spark of an idea grew and grew, and naturally we set fire to where we are today: living in our converted Sprinter van, traveling all over the United States.
It wasn’t easy. The entire year prior to our departure, we saved as much as possible. This entire year of savings has become our travel fund for 2019/2020. We stopped by things that weren’t necessities, and started selling and donating items. We put our house on the market, and thankfully it sold, along with all of our belongings. Our sentimental items went in a box to our parents’ house, and everything else had to fit in the van in order to come along for the ride.
Turning our Sprinter camper van into a family home:
As I worked on downsizing everything on the home front, Steven was working diligently to get our van into a truly livable space. We got rid of the removable seats, and using our existing platform bed, added a tiny kitchen space, cabinets, drawers and a new bench seat that doubles as our couch. Once everything was completed, the van was starting to feel like our true home (even if it is on wheels!).
In addition to all of those changes, I quit my full-time job as a digital marketing manager. To this day, that was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. But we knew that one of us would need to be 100% present for our kids, especially knowing that we’d need to roadschool our first grader. Steven kept his job, which is remote and flexible. For the first six months of our travels, we’ve leveraged his network of the Central Coast to explore some of the most beautiful parts of this great state: Morro Bay, Santa Cruz, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara to name a few.
How we’ve grown:
We’re in our seventh month of adventures, and we’ve learned so much about ourselves, both collectively as a family and as individuals. We know now that we can face our fears, and come out on top. That we can take a huge leap of faith, and discover a life rich in memories and experiences vs. material goods. We’ve learned that we each have a greater capacity for love, patience, kindness and creativity. And most of all, we’ve learned that all we really need in life Is each other.
I found the quote below in Rolf Potts’ book, Vagabonding. It really spoke to us as we planned what we now call Our Great Big Adventure:
Don’t think about it too much. Don’t make pros and cons lists. Pro and con lists are nothing but trouble. If you think about it too much, you’ll end up staying home and then someday you’ll be telling your grandchildren, “I always wanted to do that” instead of showing them photos of the trips you took and giving them advice on where to go. Over the years, family and friends have said to me, “I’m living vicariously through you.” Don’t ever live vicariously. This is your life. Live. —Lavinia Spaulding, Writer & Teacher