Journey or Homestead?

Every great story involves a quest. In J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins ran from the door at a quarter till eleven without even so much as a pocket handkerchief and launched on an adventure that would change his life forever. Alice stepped through the looking glass into Wonderland; Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter stumbled through the wardrobe into Narnia. Abraham left his country, his people, and his father’s household to follow the most outlandish sort of promise from a God he’d only just met, and he never came back. Jacob and his sons went to Egypt for some groceries and four hundred years later the Israel nation pulled up stakes and headed for home. Peter, Andrew, James, and John all turned on a dime one day to follow the Master, their fishing nets heaped in wet piles behind them. The Sacred Romance involves for every soul a journey of heroic proportions. And while it may require for some a change of geography, for every soul it means a journey of the heart. The choice before us now is to journey or to homestead, to live like Abraham, the friend of God, or like Robinson Crusoe, the lost soul cobbling together some sort of existence with whatever he can salvage from the wreckage of the world. Crusoe was no pilgrim; he was a survivor, hunkered down for the duration. He lived in a very, very small world where he was the lead character and all else found its focus in him. Of course, to be fair, Crusoe was stranded on an island with little hope of rescue. We have been rescued, but still the choice is ours to stay in our small stories, clutching our household gods and false lovers, or to run in search of life. (The Sacred Romance , 143-44)  John Eldredge
It’s interesting that this Daily Reading from one of my favorite writers, John Eldredge,  was sent to me this week while I am in the planning stages of full-time RVing. You see, this is a dilemma that has been haunting me for months…to Journey or to Homestead?  Lately, I have felt the need (perhaps from watching too many Glenn Beck shows this past year) to move away from high population areas, buy lots of land, and become homesteaders, like Robinson Crusoe, securing my family’s survival. I have been reading about self-sustaining things like bread-making, canning, and off-the-grid-living in general. I am a avid follower of politics and given our current state of affairs I feel that there is reason to fear the possibility of a collapse of the American system including everything we have come to rely on from energy delivery to food supplies to the value of the dollar. There has been this tug-of-war going on between my heart (journeying) and my brain (homesteading). My brain says to follow the logical conclusions of my fears and hunker down for difficult times. My heart says to trust God and follow my dreams.  But, when you are a husband and father your personal dreams tend to get overshadowed by things like security, as they should. Or should they?
What would I be teaching my daughter by living and planning our lives around fear? I believe in living in reality, but not at the expense of our hearts. As long as my wife is on board with the full-timing dream (and she emphatically is), then we will go in that direction, throwing caution to God. I will be wise and plan properly, but not obsessively.
I believe I have the heart of an adventurer for a reason: I was made in God’s image. His image is one of adventure, wildness, and strength…not complacency, fear, or passiveness. Society has convinced too many men that their work is done once they have built their family fortress. This has cost us dearly as men. Our hearts have been destroyed by trading them in for security. I refuse to live like that. I want to take the journey, wife and daughter in arms, and see what God has in store for us as we trust Him for our security.
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.
Henry David Thoreau

10 responses to “Journey or Homestead?

  1. Well written. If all men lived and raised their family with the philosophical untethered belief “man should go forth and seek adventure with abandonment of securing a home with a sense of belonging” I do not know who would hold our country together? We would have no continuity if all men said , “I will let God decide.” This is why God gave us a brain with which to make decisions. Those men with roots are the foundation of our country. Does one truly believe the “song in the heart” is fulfilled by wandering?

    • 1) All men should not do as I do.
      2) Seeking adventure does not require “abandonment of securing a home and sense of belonging”. Nor does it require one to disregard his country.
      3) I never said I will “let God decide”. I did say I will listen to what God is putting on my heart and then go in that direction, trusting in him.
      4) I believe in establishing the same “roots” as our founders: philosophical and spiritual roots. Those roots are eternal and can be passed through generations regardless of geographic location.
      5) The “song” may or may not be fulfilled by wandering. We do not plan to “wander”. We plan to journey with a purpose.

  2. Great post! I look forward to reading your blog updates.

      • I couldn’t help but notice the first person to respond had the same last name:) A relative?

        My wife and I were born and lived in the same place for 42 years but we always wanted to travel and see the world. My family was totally against it and so were my in-laws. We always resented their meddling in our lives, why didn’t they want us to be happy, how could they be that selfish? “A life without regret is a good life.” Even if things fell apart and we had to return to our hometown to re-group, at least we gave it a shot and we wouldn’t go to our graves wondering what could have been.

        After 22 years of marriage my wife and I said “to heck with it,” sold our house, business, said goodbye to friends & family, and re-located 2100 miles away from everything that was familiar to us. Four (very happy) years later we are planning our next adventure, full-time RVing.

        Society wants us all to believe that it’s abnormal live on the road and explore this beautiful planet. I guess we should all go to our 8:00 to 5:00 jobs to pay the mortgage, car payment, insurance, taxes, etc. Most of the time both parents need to work to provide the American lifestyle and then the child suffers too. That life may be great for some people but not for everyone, if we were all alike what a boring world this would be.

        When we hit the road full-time, we will cut our expenses in half and I will be able to spend more quality time with the ones I love and I will be able to volunteer more of my time to help others. Plus I get to travel! Don’t let anyone stop you from living your dream.

        Mark W.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story, Mark. Please consider starting a blog of your own so that others can follow your journey!

    Unfortunately, FT RVing does not negate our responsibilities to continue paying “the mortgage, car payment, insurance, taxes, etc.”. We just get to change our backyard every few weeks 🙂

  4. I love the comment from John Eldridge. He really hit it on the head when he said “We have been rescued, but still the choice is ours to stay in our small stories, clutching our household gods and false lovers, or to run in search of life.” This was one of many messages I received in a short period of time that led to my retirement. My blog has the rest of the story.

  5. Ron and I will be following your blog also, and we are so excited and very interested to hear about your challenges and your “gold nugget experiences”. What a great opportunity for your family!!! Cindie B.

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