Naturalist and preservationist John Muir once said, “One day’s exposure to mountains is better than a cartload of books.”
Shyanne Hathaway and her husband, Scott, have taken that sentiment to heart, taking their three kids—and their school—outside of the classroom and finding real-life lessons on the road.
For the Hathaways, this is their life. Coupled with an Open Range Roamer 367 BHS, this family has taken to the road full-time.
Rewind a bit to where their story starts, in May 2017, when the couple realized they weren’t staying in one place for very long. They were constantly moving from place to place as their young family tried to find a spot to call home. Then it dawned on them: If they were constantly on the move, why not make the road their home?
“I got really tired of moving,” Hathaway says. “So I told my husband, ‘Let’s hit the road.’”
As owners of their own essential oil business, the Hathaways had the ability and added benefit of working remotely. And although the couple didn’t have a job that tied them to one location, there was the issue of schooling their three kids, ages 8, 6 and 2 years old. So, they decided to try homeschooling.
With no office job to tie them down, no mortgage to throw money at, and schooling for their kids all figured out, the couple found a detachable six-wheel RV and buckled up for the road ahead.
“We picked this particular model because we wanted to be able to park it and take the truck into town or go for drives if we needed to,” Hathaway says of the RV. “We also wanted to have our own area, separate from the kids.”
The RV has a bedroom in front and a bunkhouse in the back where the kids stay, in addition to kitchen and bathroom amenities.
“It’s been so nice to be able to move,” Hathaway says. “We move every couple of weeks, so we’re able to see a lot of the country, and the kids love it. We do school year-round and learn as we go. When we’re on the Oregon Trail, we learn about the trail. We go on hikes, to different museums, and just learn about the area—integrating other subjects like math and language arts. It’s been a wonderful way to teach our kids.”
Learning on the go is a great way to live and be together as a family. That being said, when it comes to finding spots to camp, the Hathaways have had to get creative.
“We find campgrounds, and often boon-dock on BLM or forest service land,” Hathaway says. “Right now, we live on an orchard in Idaho owned by a local family.”
“We were looking for campgrounds in Boise so we could stay during the hot months of the summer. So I put it out to friends and families in the area asking if we could just plug into their house. We ended up finding a family friend who owned a property with orchards and they said we could. To help pay it forward, we volunteer at the orchard picking cherries, pears, and apples.”
The family’s favorite place they’ve stopped so far is upstate New York.
“We ended up staying on a friend’s property in upstate,” Hathaway explains. “They had a farm with chickens and the kids just loved to play with and chase the chickens.”
In their first year living on the road full time, the family has been to a laundry list of destinations: from Jackson, Ohio to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and from the cliffs of Zion National Park to those in Yosemite National Park and Mount Rushmore National Monument.
And while the destinations have been well worth the journey, the family has found it’s the people they’ve met that have made their travel experience worthwhile.
“There are so many good people,” Hathaway says. “When you’re out on the road, you tend to meet people who are just kind.”
When asked what she would advise people thinking about doing the same thing, Hathaway says they should stop thinking and start doing.
“There’s never going to be the perfect time to do this, and there’s really no better time than the present,” Hathaway says. “Life is always busy. This was important to us, and because it was, we made it happen.”
“At times it is really hard,” she adds. “It forces you to work through personal and family issues, but at the end of the day we are learning so much about ourselves, each other and this beautiful country. It’s totally worth it.”
While the couple is well aware that the kids will get older, and they will someday need to settle down in a more permanent place, and a more permanent home, right now, they taking life—and all the twists and turns along the way—day by day.
Follow along on the family’s travels @eoelevate.