Our family was recently asked to share our story of adventures, homeschooling on the road, and how we’ve transitioned into our new home in Bellevue, Iowa at the Friends of Bellevue Public Library Annual Dinner. We were SO NERVOUS! LOL! We love to share our story, but that is typically done around a campfire, blog-style, or with just a few people, not in front of 60 or so people, but everyone seems to have enjoyed it, so I guess we must have done ok. 🙂 I know there were several people who were not able to attend, and I know my family and friends back home love keeping up with us, so I thought it would be fun to push our “presentation” out in blog form.
As I was preparing this presentation, it was literally overwhelming going through thousands and thousands of photos from our travels. I think when you’re in the middle of it, you’re also living life and handling the day-to-day stuff, so you kind of take for granted the amazing things you are getting to experience on a regular basis. It kind of becomes “normal” to experience amazing places. But, in retrospect, I am in awe of how God has led us over the years and dropped us in just the right spots, with the right people, at just the right time. I hope and pray my kids will always look back on their childhood as an amazing adventure. Trust me, there were plenty of stressful things along the way, too, but the positive experiences far outweighed any of the negative.
So, here goes…
Our Presentation from the Friends of Bellevue Library’s 2022 Annual Dinner…
Candy – Hello, we are the Sinar Family, also known as the “Our Moving House” people. I am Candy. This is Paul, Emily, and Tyler. We “officially” moved to Bellevue, IA on December 14, 2021 after 6.5 years of fulltime RV living. We are thrilled to be here sharing our story with all of you. Thank you for having us!
Paul – A little bit of background about us…I am originally from England. Candy is originally from Texas. We met online way before that was trendy, and we just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in February. We were in fulltime ministry for 12 years prior to selling everything and hitting the road in July of 2015. I worked incredibly long hours as the Media Director/Pastor of a large Texas-size church. I was burned out and I rarely saw my family. Another factor was that the city we lived in was not a safe place to raise a family. We were just ready for a very intentional change of lifestyle. Candy and I were both researching the RV lifestyle separately without realizing the other was doing so.
After much prayer and conversation, we decided to take a leap of faith, sell our 4 bdrm/3 bath house, give away the majority of its contents, and purchase a truck and 5th wheel to live and travel in. We have visited 36 states in our 6.5 years of fulltime travel. Our rule is we have to spend the night and do something fun to count a state.
Candy – For 6.5 years, we have done so much! We have spent quality time with extended family back in Texas, explored this Country, and participated in Fulltime Families events. Fulltime Families is a national organization for nomadic families. You will hear us mention it a lot because these people have been our closest friends along our travels. We have helped with service projects, traveled with friends, made many, many new friends, served at a youth camp, visited numerous state and National Parks, Forests, Grasslands, Cemeteries, museums, Historic sites…the list goes on and on…and somewhere in the process, we discovered Bellevue, IA!
We decided early on that we wanted to give our children an epic education. I never dreamed I would homeschool my children, but I also never dreamed our family would have the opportunity to travel the U.S.A. and experience life fulltime in an RV. It has been so cool for them to learn about things along our travels and experience them firsthand.
Tyler – For example, one year, we learned all about Abraham Lincoln, visited his birthplace, his boyhood home, and toured his home in Springfield, IL where he lived when he became the 16th President of the United States. We got to walk where he walked and see life as he would have experienced it. Then, as we worked our way around the U.S.A., we visited the Gettysburg National Military Park and Museum in Pennsylvania. We toured the battlefields as we listened to the story of the Battle of Gettysburg on a CD. We experienced history. We saw the place where Lincoln stood to give the Gettysburg address.
Candy – We have also enjoyed experiencing different cultures and the diversity across the country. We have immersed ourselves in the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma as we visited the Chickasaw Cultural Center, learned about the Trail of Tears, and discovered incredible new foods like Indian tacos and grape dumplings. We attended a Pow Wow at Sun Watch Indian Village in Dayton, Ohio, a National Historic Site and Archeological site where an ancient village, including many artifacts, was discovered in the 1960s. We participated in a service project with our full-time Families friends at Broken Arrow Bible Ranch near Gallop, NM. It is a youth camp that caters to low-income Navajo families in the area. We helped repaint and repair structures around the camp during the week we were there, but we also learned about the Navajo culture and how to make Indian Tacos! When we visited South Dakota, we learned about the Lakota culture and way of life, visiting several museums, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and watching a hoop dancing demonstration.
Paul – Our Civil Rights study was fascinating too. We started our journey in Cincinnati, Ohio at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Wow! What a powerful, heavy, eye-opening experience! Cincinnati played a significant role in the Underground Railroad as thousands of slaves escaped to freedom by crossing the Ohio River. As we continued our journey, we made stops at several Martin Luther King, Jr. sites. We saw his National Monument in D.C., toured the National Historic Park in his honor in Atlanta, GA, and visited his birth home and Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he was co-pastor with his father. While there, we got to listen to a man deliver the “I Have a Dream” speech. It sounded exactly like the original. We experienced where Dr. King was born, lived, worked, worshipped, and is buried.
Emily – We have also experienced nature at its finest and learned more about this planet. We’ve camped on the edge of the Badlands National Park of South Dakota. We’ve stood and watched “Old Faithful” geyser erupt at Yellowstone National Park, we’ve watched the Solar Eclipse from the line of totality at the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Nebraska. We’ve walked the rim of the Grand Canyon and stood in wonder and awe of its vastness. We’ve walked where dinosaurs “danced” in Utah on the Klondike Bluff. We’ve walked under natural arches at Arches National Park and marveled at the process of how they developed. We’ve discovered ancient shelters and pantries carved into the sides of hills in Canyonlands National Park.
Tyler – We visited the National Frontier Trails Museum and rode a horse-drawn carriage down the first part of the Oregon Trail out of Independence, MO where tens of thousands of American pioneers took their first steps west. We’ve roamed through National Cemeteries as we learn about the history of this country. We’ve stood on the site of the Flight 93 Memorial and mourned the passengers who lost their lives on 9/11.
We’ve toured numerous caves and caverns. We’ve learned about the wildlife in each place we’ve visited. We’ve slid down the massive sand dunes at White Sands National Park and visited Missile Sites and museums. We’ve learned about sea life by exploring the beaches. We’ve watched Space X rockets launch into the skies off the coast of both Texas and Florida.
Paul – The immersion education style allows us to place ourselves in real situations and in other people’s shoes. It’s listening to the stories of real people. It’s trying to understand where they are coming from. It’s creating a love for culture and an appreciation for people who aren’t exactly like us. It’s learning, feeling, and experiencing nature firsthand. It’s standing where historical figures have stood, seeing where they came from, learning about their lives. It’s observing science and nature firsthand, learning how and why things work the way they do, and exploring possibilities.
Emily – One thing that this type of learning style created, was a desire for even more information. We began to crave stories of real people. We love historical fiction books, where we get to ride along with a fictional character to learn about a specific time and place. That’s where books and libraries come into our story. In an RV, we couldn’t keep tons of books on board because they are heavy! Believe me…I tried! We have always utilized our home library back in Texas but traveling obviously makes checking out books and returning them…. interesting. On the road, we mostly sought out Free Little Libraries. Many campgrounds have them now, which is wonderful! We also often have “swap tables” at Fulltime Families events. That’s a great way to get ahold of books too…and offload a few. We’ve also used apps such as Kindle Unlimited and the Libby app to read digital books.
We were so excited when we found out we could get library cards here at the Bellevue Library the first summer we had a seasonal site at Offshore RV Resort. We read A LOT of books that summer! Also, I was looking for something to do with my time in Bellevue, so I began volunteering a day or two a week at the library. This included helping to clean up the children’s area and helping with the introduction of the Maker’s space. I also assisted a little with the summer reading program events that year.
Candy – We have been coming to Bellevue in the summertime since we “stumbled” upon it back in 2018. There is something about this place that just kept calling us back. We love the small-town life, the kind people, the community pride, the local support, and just the overall sweetness of this place. We have been to a lot of places, but there is something extra special about Bellevue.
Last year, we arrived in Bellevue on April 15, opening day at Off Shore Resort. We work and school really hard during the week, but I’m always on the lookout for things to do on the weekends. I typically utilize Facebook events for the area to find fun things to do on the weekends. Coincidentally, that’s how I discovered several community events that led to our further involvement in this community. We ended up “adopting” a section at the Bellevue State Park Butterfly Garden last summer and developing a friendship with others involved in the Friends of Bellevue State Park, where Paul now serves on the board, and I am helping with a quarterly newsletter and website updates. We also found last Spring that First Presbyterian Church was doing a food share program, the Bellevue Community Cupboard Project. Our family loves to serve, so I reached out to them to see if we could help. Little did I know, we began helping only a few weeks into the program. We began serving there every week and continue to do so now. While we were here over the summer, we were also able to create a promotional video for them to use for social media, grant applications, etc. In addition to that, we have filled in with Meals on Wheels on a couple of occasions as well.
Paul – I hope you all realize what a treasure of a place Bellevue is. I know that many of you have lived here forever, and your families have been here for generations. Take it from someone who is looking in from the outside. This place is special. We have been made to feel extremely welcome. You don’t treat us like “outsiders”, but we’ve also made an effort to be a part of what’s going on here. We love this community and look forward to getting to know many more of you.
Candy – I know many of you are really curious about our kids and what they truly think about all of this, so I’m going to give them the floor now. Emily, what were some of your favorite things about growing up on the road? And I also want you to tell us how life has changed for you and a little bit about your future plans.
Emily– Hello! Growing up on the road was a unique way to learn about the world and the potential places I could stand within it. The experiences I had helped me find my passions and helped me to discover my love for people and art. Everything we did set me up for the future ahead of me. Some of my favorite parts of traveling happened at what the RV community calls “rallies.” Rallies are massive meetups where families like us get together to either enjoy an event or create an event of our own. The friendships I’ve found at each rally expanded from the incredible events around me. I met some of my friends at a rally for the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM, as we set up the balloons, watched them fly high, and chased them down. Then, I met another group of friends at a more casual rally in Florida, where we shared our hobbies, walked together, ate together, told our stories, and formed a bond that can only be described as natural. This was also where I had my first high school dance. What may have looked like a bunch of kids being silly with background music, borrowed formal wear, and rushed makeup, was the best prom experience I could ever have. Then, there were the random months we’d spend either traveling with people like us, or enjoying one place with them for a more extended time. In 2020, we had just left the Florida rally as Covid began. We were all trying to figure out what the heck was next. That’s the thing. We didn’t have to figure it out alone. My family ended up moving forward with another, creating a group of what we called “framily,” friends who are family. There is no better way to get through difficult times than with other people going through the same thing. We were able to plan together, love each other, support each other, create together, and move forward with happy memories of a not-so-happy time. We also spent a decent amount of time at South Padre Island, Texas. I cannot begin to tell you how much fun we had. The kids, younger and older, had game nights almost every night with sound effects, 3D printed coins and all. We learned to surf (and fall) (mostly fall), we watched as Space X rocket prototypes launched only a few miles away, and my friend Ezri and I even put together an art club for RV kids who wanted to get creative and learn a little. These experiences only touch the surface of all that we’ve done and seen and I know how blessed I am to have such an eye-opening, beautiful, inspirational beginning to a life full of possibilities. As for what I’m working on presently, a lot of you may recognize me from Benders. I’m working as hard as I can to make the money I need to attend college in hopes to pursue a bachelor’s in Digital art and Design. I begin my college adventure this fall, and I cannot wait to see where it takes me. This community here in Bellevue has supported me and helped me as I take on this new stage of life and I could not be more grateful. All I can say is thank you to my parents for providing such a pure perspective on people and on the world and thank you for assisting me in my plans and overall in this crazy thing that is life. Also, a big thank you to all of you Bellevue people for being such a beautiful, loving, and supportive community both to my family, and to each other. It is truly inspiring.
Candy – Tyler, how about you? What were some of your favorite things about growing up on the road? How have things changed for you since moving into the house?
Tyler -I spent half of my life growing up on the road. It was a great experience. We got to visit many sites where I was able to complete the Junior Ranger Program and receive a badge. I have quite a collection. One of my favorite things was making new friends along the way. These friends became like family. When we go to a campground with lots of Fulltime Families it’s like I have instant cousins. When we spent the summer at Camp Chautauqua in Ohio, I was able to help the maintenance crew with a few jobs around camp. I learned many new skills and made two best friends who are like big brothers to me. One of my favorite places we have visited is the Badlands of South Dakota. It was incredible and breathtaking. We watched an awesome meteor shower under the pitch-black skies. I will never forget it. Another favorite place is South Padre Island, TX. There are so many families down there in the wintertime. My friends and I love to surf together, play on the beach, play games, do crafts, go on field trips, watch rocket launches, have parties, and just hang out together. I really loved the RV life, but I am also enjoying living in Bellevue. It’s really fun to have my own room, although sometimes Emily and I have sleepovers for old time’s sake. I joined Boy Scout Troop 86 this spring and got to go on a camping trip a couple of weeks ago. I am really excited for many more fun things to come. I have made several new friends here and look forward to making more.
Candy – As you can see, this has been a great adventure! And, this is just the tip of the iceberg. We have continued to blog and post to our social media accounts about our transition to what we are calling “Our Home Base”. You can read or subscribe to our blog at www.ourmovinghouse.com or you can follow us on Facebook or Instagram. We love sharing our journey with you! Anything we didn’t cover that you’re curious about? Just ask!