I’m so exited about this interview. I have heard people say “I wish I could take my kids out of school and go on the road for a year.” Well, here is and example of what that might look like. However the Hollands do so much more than just travel. Everywhere they stay they bless the people around them with their musical gifts and their gift of friendship.
1. Tell us a little about your family. Who lives with you?
We are The Hollands! A nomadic family of merrymakers. We are four, Jana- Mother, Craig-Father, Graciana-Sister, Banjo- Brother. We are folk musicians and observers of humanity, encouragers of community.
2.How did you come to live on a bus?
We came to a cross roads in life whereby our family relationships were fragmented, our gifts stifled and a longing crept up for a more holistic way of life. And so, we began to dialog and dream of a simpler way. The bus life came as a result. It was apparent that a drastic change in lifestyle was necessary and the idea of giving away all we owned and traveling seemed a reasonable option.
3.What are the challenges of living on a bus and traveling?
We bought the bus off of Craig’s List in 2010. It was the Casper WY Trooper Drum and Bugle Corp Bus. It’s a 1984 MCI model. We had to strip it clean and build it out from scratch. The most challenging aspects have been building the electrical and plumbing systems, then the fact that we aren’t dealing with straight lines have added to the construction difficulties. However, Craig is a learner and these challenges suit him. As for the rest of us, living in a half built bus for a some time has been a struggle at times. We are much more comfortable now than when we left in the bus. We have electricity and now that my kitchen is built I can offer some pretty delicious meals. We have a working toilet and cold running water but look forward to the day we have hot water and a shower.
Mobility would be the greatest perk. It’s very comfortable to travel and be in. It’s home. Another perk would be the opportunity to share in life with neighbors across the US. You are our 32nd neighbor in the last year and a half. It is a real joy to have the opportunity to observe, learn and work out life with so many kinfolk.
We currently use the K-12 for our 6th grade son and E-Achive for our 10th grade daughter, both are on-line schools out of our home state of Wisconsin. Each program is slightly different and offers separate perks and challenges. Our days fluctuate depending on the community we are engaging with. Some days are more focused on the curriculum and others we are fully engaged with community around us.
5. What are challenges of home-schooling on the road?
Because of the nature of our travels, the ebb and flow of virtual school can be a challenge and sometimes feels disjointed. Although the programs in and of themselves are quite good, we are beginning to explore other options for schooling that will bring the kids learning in line with our lifestyle and offer them more opportunity to really experience “live” learning. There is such pressure from the world system to “keep up with the jones” and when this concept seeps into our learning environments it stifles real growth. It takes us hostage and invokes a deep fear of failing and instead of learning we grow up regurgitating. We are tired of watching our children regurgitate. We long to see them really learn.
6.What would you like your kids to learn from this experience?
We would like to give them an opportunity to take “ownership” their learning, to find freedom and joy in observing and fully participating in the environments we travel in. Homeschooling is a real gift and we are excited to begin to think out side of the box and explore ways to facilitate this.
7.Tell us about a favorite stop. One that you go back to in your mind most often?
This is a difficult question because everyone of our visits has been unique and precious. Even places we’ve gone back to a second time around have offered a different experience. I don’t doubt we will have a favorite at some point. I wonder when we do, if that will be the place we stop indefinitely? For now, we aren’t looking for that, just taking it one day at a time and soaking up all that that day offers.
Thank you, Jana! I like how you aim for your children to find “freedom and joy in observing and fully participating in the environments you travel in”. That is so contrary to our culture where we often raise children to revolve around themselves. I have seen your children being flexible, adapting to the environment they are in, and being willing to serve where it is needed.
Friends, Jana described her family like this:” We are folk musicians and observers of humanity, encouragers of community.” I would like to give you some examples of what that has looked like since they have been with us. In the last week and a half Craig has been teaching my 11 year old math every day. Jana has taught my daughter art and cooked some awesome meals for us. They as a family have gone to a local ministry that serves immigrants and the poor. They have encouraged the leadership there and today they will be teaching Australian Folklore to the children. While here they are doing two booked shows. On top of that they are doing two house concerts and maybe worship at our church. But most importantly they are just friends, open about their struggles and willing to join us in what we are doing.
You can keep up with their travels here. If they happen to be near you, be sure to invite them over, you will not want to miss them.