I am so excited to share this interview with you! Sara Janssen has been a HUGE inspiration to me and our family’s dream to live and travel in an RV. I have been reading her blog for years and now she has a new, equally inspiring travel blog.
So, with pleasure, I want to introduce you to Sara:
Why don’t you start by telling us a little about your family.
We are the “Happy Janssens“…Matt, Sara, Bella (5), and Lucy (9 mo). We started traveling in September 2007, when we embarked on the “Live Lightly Tour“. For 18 months, we traveled the country (powered by straight vegetable oil), met new friends, educated others about living sustainably and fell in love with our beautiful country. We stopped traveling and “settled down” for a bit when Lucy was born, but now we’re back on the road again…with no plans to stop anytime soon.
What would you say your big dream is?
We would love to travel worldwide with our family. Right now, we have no plans to go international, but as the kids get older, that is something we would love to do!
You travel full time in an RV with your family. Please tell us more about that.
We LOVE living in and traveling in the RV full time. There is nothing better! It’s so much fun to have your home with you at all times…whether we are on the beach or at grandpa and grandma’s house, we always feel comfortable. Here is our full story: www.happyjanssens.com/about-us/
Is this something you always wanted to do?
No…it’s a dream that built and built…and it sort of evolved along the way into what it is today! And now, we can’t really imagine it differently. I talk about that here too: www.happyjanssens.com/about-us/
What did your family and friends say when you told them your plans to live in an RV?
They were very supportive…and I know that is not common! They had lots of questions, but were excited for us. At the point where we were deciding to travel, we had already downsized radically, so they were used to us doing “crazy stuff”!
How did you deal with the nay-sayers, the people who didn’t support what you?
We really didn’t have anyone close to us who told us it couldn’t be done. We would get an occasional email from someone online who was “worried” about our children’s well being, etc. So many people are held back from realizing a dream because of fear of what other people might say. When something is out of someone’s comfort zone and they’ve never experienced it first hand, they will almost always react with objections and fear. But we refuse to let other people’s fears dictate our lives.
Do you ever question your choices and if so, how do you bring yourself back to that space of trust?
We have never really questioned our life on the road…we love it so much and we knew that it was our preferred lifestyle from the moment we set out. There might be days that are harder than others, but we get confirmation every day that what we are doing is right where we need to be.
What were your dreams in life before becoming a mom?
To be the best wife I could be! Honestly, I’ve never aspired to be a big “career woman”…I’ve always wanted a job that I could do from home with kids. But even when I was married, I had jobs that allowed me to stay home. I enjoyed being able to “keep house” during those first 4 years of our marriage and bless my husband in that way.
What did you want to be “when you grew up?”
I always dreamed of working for a magazine in New York City.
How does that compare with your real life now?
I guess you could consider a blog kind of like a magazine…and I blogged about New York City!
I love how you purposefully live a slow and intentional life. Has is always been like that for you?
No, we used to have a hectic, 80 hour work week life. Slowing down was an intentional choice that we made…and we had to change jobs and move to a different state to accomplish that. But it’s certainly possible to do by just making little changes in one’s lifestyle. Getting rid of the TV can help with that, and choosing to take a break from the Internet for a time is good to slow down your mind a bit.
I do think you can live a fast-paced life that is still mindful and fulfilling. I wouldn’t call our life now “slow” by any means. We tend to be on the go a lot, always meeting new people and having new experiences. I think that by homeschooling, that keeps our life at a different pace than most families. We have no requirements to wake Bella up before she is ready or run out the door early in the morning, and we enjoy that.
What things do you let yourself neglect to make sure you are spending time expressing yourself ?
Sleep! I work best at night or early morning, so I tend not to sleep as much as I need. Luckily, I have an amazing hubby who takes the girls when I need some naptime.
When you are really in the zone, being productive, and doing all the things you want to be doing, what does a typical day look like?
A “perfect” day would involve me getting up at sunrise and reading my Bible, praying and having a cup of tea. I would get all the laundry and housework done before anyone woke up.
I would make a delicious breakfast that we would all enjoy together. And then we would head off to enjoy nature…packing a picnic lunch!
The rest of the day would involve lots of love and learning…and another shared meal at the end of the day.
After the girls go to bed, I would start working and accomplish everything I set out to do!
This might sound like a “vacation day” for some families, but that’s why I love life on the road, because this is a very real possibility for us to do many times a week!
Do you feel like parts of yourself have been neglected since becoming a mom, or like things have moved to the back burner, so to speak?
Like any mom, I just don’t have a lot time for things that I used to spend time one. Reading books for hours on end….going out to movies on a whim, etc. But those things have been replaced by things that are even better…like snuggling my girls or cooking for my family.
Everything has a season. I am a wife and mother…and that is my first priority. After the girls are older, I will have time for me me me again…but for now, my focus is on Matt and the girls and I love it. I have never resented them for one minute for the things that I “can’t do” now.
What do you wish you had more time for?
I wish I had more time to do something like scrapbooking or documenting our journey on “paper” and not just online. Someday though…like I said…a season for everything!
How do you connect with your own creativity and passions in those times when you feel tired and worn out from your mama duties?
I read blogs! There is so much inspiration to be had…just peeking into other’s lives and seeing how they are being creative and balancing it all. I love that moment when I come across a kindred spirit online … it’s magical.
What would you say is the single most important thing that helps you balance who you are as a mom and who you are as an artist?
Keeping my focus on that things that really matter and not just the things that are “urgent”. At any given moment, I have the choice to do many different things. Work, clean, play with the girls, etc. I always try to choose the one that will make the most impact for eternity.
This is why I TRY to save the bulk of my work for when the girls are asleep. It doesn’t always work that way, but that’s what I strive for. I work a “real” job as well, and several days a week I need to work during the day…but I can do it all from the kitchen table and still interact with the girls and Matt.
What gives you hope and inspiration?
Other amazing artists and mothers.
What are your biggest hopes and dreams for your family?
That our lifestyle would glorify God and that others would see the light of Jesus shining out from our lives.
Any advice you have for our readers?
Do something that inspires you every day!
Share your knowledge and speak love into other’s lives….it’s always worth it.
If you have a dream…DON’T HESITATE! Dreams are rationalized away when you hesitate. Act now and plan later. The details will fall into place.