Week 1

Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park – Harlan
Week One has come to a close.  Could it really have been only one week ago that we arrived in Seattle to pick up the van?   (We need a name for this ride!)

Here are some observations in no particular order:

From Harlan:  So far, in this first week, this journey has been a bit of everything. Mostly learning, a good amount of physical pain*, waiting, hopefulness and complete boredom. I’ve been messing around on my skateboard and have been excited with the progress as well as optimism for my future of skating. As we are going along with the trip, my excitement for the rest of the remaining months is only going up.

*from skating

From Roxanna:  The Pacific Northwest can be both achingly beautiful – as in my soul leaps in true moments of joy while I drive on the backroads of Olympic National Park.  And it can also feel like the loneliest/quietest place in the world.

My mood is directly proportionate to the amount of sunlight I am experiencing.

I am able to do more than I ever imagined.  I have jimmied fuses to get a diesel stove-top  working, dealt with “blackwater” (which has absolutely nothing to do with the awesome song with that name), checked solar power battery gauges, emptied the gray water, maneuvered tight parking spaces, and the list continues to grow.

Sleeping bags suck to have hot flashes in.  Like for real.

Harlan hates the name Road School. This dismays me. I love it. I am not going to cave on this one.

Real maps (as in paper) are cool and often more reliable that WAZE.

It’s good to have a little alone time each day and my son is the one who broke that to me on Day 1.  He’s right!

When things get weird, go for a walk.  Nature always helps.

This trip sometimes feels like it will be over in a blink and other times stretches out to infinity, like the drip drip drip of the rain drops on our windshield.

Routine is good; falling into an easy pattern of setting up the bed and flossing (yes, every day) and brushing teeth before bed and conversely, stowing sleeping bags, folding blankets, brushing teeth (yes, twice a day) can bring a nice rhythm to the day.

Harlan has a good heart with a soft spot for underdogs.  I really love that about him.  I am appreciating the opportunity to get to know my son for who he is, not necessarily who I want him to be or who I think he is.  And in all the space that we have created, I am learning more about him and about myself than I ever would have thought.


On the Road

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Moving out of the condo. Putting everything in storage. Living on the road. Coordinating with the online school program, setting up appointment times. Double checking packing lists. Taking care of last minute details like changing phone plans to unlimited data, etc. 

This plan was conceived almost five months ago and even though I have thought about it every day since then, I didn’t really let myself believe it could happen. 

It is surreal to me and not just because I’ve been up since 5am.  


Flying to Seattle. I can feel tears ready to spill out as I think about all the people who have helped make this possible. 

This truly is the van that LOVE bought (rented).

So many people have reached out to me, sharing their hopes for us on this journey. Offering love, support, blessings, prayers. I am humbled – and forever touched by the generosity of family, friends and strangers. 

I wish I could tell you all the poignant stories people have shared with me – parents wishing they could do this with their child. I know that it is a (HUGE!) gift to be able to do this with my son, right now, at this time in my life. 


And…right now, on this plane, the thought of driving a big van is scaring me. I am feeling overwhelmed. I send a text to a friend:

“Dude I just landed and I’m starting to cry. This is a big deal!! Wahhhhh. 

1- holy shit…who does this??

2- what was I thinking??”


This reminds me of just before I gave birth. Right before each of my babies were born, I became terrified that I couldn’t do it without drugs. But I learned (for me) that the pure panic I felt was a precursor of the imminent arrival of my children. 


Landing. Wheels down. Pine trees. The air is hazy with smoke. Reminding me of flying into Delhi. Another world. Another reality. That feels fitting. 

Something is definitely about to be born. Absolutely. 

I started this for my son. I see already that this is for me. An unfolding – even if I don’t know what it is yet, my intuitive mind knows it’s big. 


I see Harlan at baggage claim. With his skateboard. I’m ridiculously happy. I’m wearing two backpacks and my giant straw hat is hanging down my front. He’s embarrassed when I take a selfie of us. 

We get our bags and take Uber to the van place. Steve gives us tutorial on the vehicle we will call home for the next three months. The tutorial lasts over an hour and a half. There’s a lot to learn. Steve reassures me that it will make sense soon. “Right now you’re drinking from a fire hose, but don’t worry you’ll get it.” Drinking from a fire hose. Yup. 

The van is big. It’s more like a diesel bus. I’m learning that the trick is to take it slow. Enjoy the ride. Trite but true. 

I will post a video of this incredible ride in the next day or so. Right now we are in nature, relaxing and enjoying some down time after navigating Seattle traffic. Harlan was a great co-pilot. I love/hate Waze. 

I am present. I am home. Today we live in Washington.  I hear sea gulls and smell the ocean. 

Fresh Ink

No, not a tattoo.  Our story was published in elephant journal yesterday!  Very excited to share with others about our journey.  Parents have been commenting that they wish they could do this with their child, or how they made changes in their child’s education when their kid was struggling, and that they’re so glad they did.  My prayer is that our story offers some form of  inspiration to parents (and kids) that school doesn’t have to be a monotonous slog through life.  That sometimes life is more important than a grade.  You can read the article HERE.

Great News!


We got a van! Campervan North America, a rental company out of Bozeman, MT, has offered us one of their vans at a reduced rental price. It’s an incredible offer. We have two weeks to come up with the balance of the rental money, so now the heat is on to promote our story.  If you are feeling so inclined, please keep the well wishes headed our way and pass along our story and this Go Fund Me link to any of your community that might want to support us on our journey. They say it takes a village, and we are feeling the support of our global tribe. Wow.

Huge ‘Thank You!’ to all of you that have offered your love and blessings and generously donated money to Road School 2017. It has already changed our lives.  I have been deeply touched by the outpouring of support and kindness from family, friends and strangers.

We have received offers for places to stay, people to meet and things to do. We have a National Parks pass, museum passes, concert tickets, and, as of last night, a laptop for Harlan! The whole experience of asking for what we want, and then receiving it, has been a journey that I could write an entire book about.  I am definitely looking forward to writing more this Fall as this whirlwind of the past few months gets integrated into our new reality of life on the road.

Now that we have found a van, we are getting busy creating the area of study that Harlan will be focused on this Fall.  It’s shaping up to be a very creative and exciting cirriculum and I can’t wait to share it with you very soon.

In less than three weeks, Harlan and I fly to Seattle and pick up our van to begin this journey! It continues to unfold rapidly and gracefully and I know that there is an energy greater than myself at play here.  It feels miraculous and big and I look forward to continuing to share it with all of you.

With love and humility,


Looking for a Van!

We are looking for a camper van.

Dear friends, my son and I are looking for a van that is safe and road-ready, for this Fall, 2017.     Would you please share this video with your community?  With love and gratitude…



Do you (or someone you know) have a van that you would be willing to donate for this life-changing journey?


  • Weekly shout outs on Social Media
  • Free advertising on your vehicle
  • Mentions in the Press (our story is generating a lot of interest and inspiration nation wide
  • Good Karma points – Life is short.  Supporting a boy to find hope in life is priceless
  • Undying gratitude from this Mama


Vancouver to Baja – September through December

As I listened to my son tell me that he really and truly doesn’t want to go back to school and wants to “drop out” I had an “Aha!” moment.  What if we “Dropped In” and hit the road? 

My son is one of my favorite people on earth.  He’s hilarious, he cracks me up.  When people meet him, they tell me how great he is.  I’m not kidding!  This kid is good people.  He has all the things I never did at his age – maturity, smarts, musical skills, and…he’s cool.  Really.  People confess to me that he is their favorite Student, Client, Employee…(fill in the blank, this happens all the time.) He would KILL me if he knew I was saying all of this.  Oh, he’s also humble.  (Which adds to the cool part.)

This Spring my son was struggling.  Not going to go into the details because that’s his personal story, but just trust me on this.  Uncharacteristically, my son wasn’t getting up in the morning, he was isolating from friends and was basically refusing to go to school.  Remember, I said this kid is smart – he used to do his big sister’s math homework in 2nd grade.  His love of learning has always been with him from infancy.  But ever since 6th grade, he’s slowly and progressively been losing interest in school.

Over the years I’ve watched the light go out of his eyes in the traditional classroom setting.  By the time April of this year rolled around, my son had two life goals: dropping out of school and living in a van.  Maybe getting a dog.

As I listened to my son tell me that he really and truly doesn’t want to go back to school and wants to “drop out” I had an “Aha!” moment.  What if we “Dropped In” and hit the road?  What if we took the Fall Semester of 2017 and he got to live and learn in real time, in the real world, seeing life through the eyes of a traveler?

This Blog will chronicle our travels this Fall, from Vancouver down to Baja, living in a van and seeing the world through fresh eyes.  Thank you for sharing this with us!

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