Year Three Reflection

May 2001 to May 2002. Here we are, looking back on three years of our fulltiming experiences. This year started, finished, and was filled with a flurry of activities; the calendar year was taken up with consulting, presenting, and speaking throughout the U.S. and Canada. Annette does the majority of the roadwork. Larry sometimes accompanies and collaborates. And we both work at the RV home in the design and development of Websites, presentations, and publications. Activities included the writing and editing of three books, making weekly updates to the website, and completing hundreds of presentations and workshops for teachers, professors, administrators, and students. Our eduScapes Website continues to expand and improve, and we ended this year averaging about 1 1/2 million hits each month. Sections of our Website were featured as the 'site of the week' by the New York Times, twice as Site of Week by Kathy Schrock, and featured by eSchool News and others. Even our summer months are booked with staff-development workshops, a few conferences, and work with school and university grant projects.

The few downtimes we have are used to relocate our motorhome, do some hiking and exploring in whatever area we happen to be residing in, and to photograph and record the natural environment. If you are reading between the lines, you probably gather that we are keeping busy.

We now look forward to the 'vacations' that occur when the kids and other family members come to visit, the holidays and longer work-breaks afforded by the startup and ending of the school year - - the few weeks in late May-early June and late Aug-early September when schools and universities rarely schedule our immediate support. Year three saw us max out our work-time and step back to reexamine and evaluate our lifestyle and work. This year also took us pass that 'abstract mark' that we originally posed for ourselves: "We'll try this full-timing thing for two or three years, and if it doesn't work out, then we we'll park the RV and find 'real jobs' again!" So now we have done that for more than three years - - so we paused to consider where we were, what we have accomplished, and how we felt about it.

Benjamin and Mt. Hood, Oregon

After some discussion, we boiled down our viewpoint to just a few simple facts:

1) Our publishing (Vision to Action) and consulting businesses (Lamb Learning Group) do support our lifestyle.
2) We travel throughout the continental U.S. and could take the motorhome into Canada, Mexico, and Alaska. We are spending time in great geographic locations and are identifying those areas where we would like to return.
3) We work for ourselves; therefore, we can choose or reject work offers and proposals.

Annette at Courthouse Wash, Arches National Park, Utah

1) Though we generate enough income to live comfortably, we are not financially independent - - we are not getting rich, and we have to continue working.
2) We're busy - - there's always a need to develop and update the Website, write and publish, design and create new materials, presentations, workshops, and web resources.

Reflection and Recommitment
We often work long hours (So what's new you may ask?) and sometimes for six and seven days a week. But our examination of the situation led us to reflect - QUIT OUR WHINING! We get to choose what we work at, the projects or jobs that we undertake, and we can't complain too much when we look out the window over the computer to view the snow-covered summit of nearby Long's Peak (CO), the vibrant colors of the desert bloom (AZ), evening rays bouncing brilliantly off of red-rock canyon lands (UT), or the misty sunsets of the blue ridge mountains (NC). We can take a break, and get outside to take a hike, a drive, or a bike-ride. We usually carry the digital cameras along -- looking for new and interesting things to photograph and investigate. We come back refreshed and rejuvenated and sometimes with a new perspective on the problem or task at hand. OK, so one or both of us frequently fly out of the nearest regional airport and spend time working at a school or conference. But we are impacting thousands of teachers and students. Our Website impacts even more with visitors from around the globe.

Goose Island Viewpoint, Glacier National Park, MT and Spider Rock Formation, Canyon De Chelly National Monument, AZ

We decide that we love the full timing RV lifestyle. If all goes well, we will continue to work and travel like this for ten or more years. Then we might trade the 'big rig' in for a smaller unit and travel full-time. We view our eduScapes Website as our volunteer contribution to education and lifelong learning. We will continue to develop, update, and expand the site for as long as we can. We believe that it is an important contribution.

Late Fall of 2001 found us totally emptying all of our storage spaces in the motorhome and then repacking. This included cabinets, closets, and understorage bays. We cleaned, sorted, and 'weeded out' items. We even found some storage ideas 'new to us' -- installing three sliding drawer units (wire-framed basket drawers) into separate storage bays. This improvement allowed us to better utilize the space and improved the organization and access to the items contained there. Some things were discarded with the realization that if we have not needed something in these first two to three years - - it's probably not necessary to continue hauling it around!

Year three also brought us a long-looked for technology breakthrough. Up to now, we had been carrying and setting up our Hughes Direct-Duo satellite dish (larger than the DDS model). For Internet access, this required that we seek out campgrounds that have phone connections at the campsite. We investigated the Direct-PC dishes that came to market in early 2001, but found that they could only be installed at fixed locations and were not approved for 'moveable use.'

Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
In August 2001, we learned of the development of a moveable 2-way satellite system being developed and tested by MotoSat. We completed an online application and were selected to Beta-test the equipment and software. In November, the system was installed and the satellite attached to the front roof-section of our motorhome. We drove to Salt Lake City to get this done. And it works . . . it's great! We now are freed from the phone line. We have a moveable 2-way Internet satellite system, our connection to the Internet at broadband-speeds.
Near Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

We can upload files to our Website, read and respond to our e-mail, participate in online conferences, and surf the net from almost anywhere we camp - - that is as long as the southern skies are not blocked by a canyon wall, an overhanging tree, or the like. Wow . . . our world has been simplified and it has expanded. There are many more possibilities of great campsites. We can stay for longer periods in state and national parks.

We are trying to visit as many of them as possible, National Parks that is (Explore our Trips at the Mobile Mavericks section of eduScapes) - - so far we have been to over 200 national parks and monuments, only have about 175-200 more to go. Let's go back to Moab, UT and on to Estes Park, CO. How close is the airport? Wow, this is the life . . . If the sat dish is up, we're working!

Personal Notes
Year three also brought some of the major events of our lifetimes. Events of September 11th brought back the realization that our lives and lifestyles are not guaranteed, that security and protections are fragile, and that possessions, territory, and ownership are only temporary at best. We were drawn closer to our families. At the same time, we were experiencing an even more personal threat and an eventual loss as Larry's mother became increasingly ill and then died. We spent most of the Fall months close to the Midwest and traveling to and from Illinois as she battled her disease
Lillian Irene (Reade) Johnson, 11/10/1919 - 11/20/2001


Developed by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 05/02