I was born and raised in Alaska.

My whole life, I’ve had people look at the state I grew up in and ask me, “Why would anybody live here? It seems like it would be challenging to live in a place like this.” I’d nod my head and smile. I would nod because they were right. It wasn’t the easiest place to live. I smiled because they have no idea that for many Alaskans its a source of pride. While some may think Alaskans are crazy for choosing a life where everything isn’t easily accessible, they feel that they were up for the challenge many weren’t strong enough to take.

This is why growing up we would scoff at our friends in the “lower 48” who would talk about how cold the weather was in their neck of the woods. Understand, 40 degrees sounds like a heat wave when you are sitting in -50. We would shake our heads when we turned on the news and saw people in different parts of the country freaking out over a few inches of snow. It was hard to relate to when we had so much snow we couldn’t leave our driveway. It seemed easy when for us, forgetting to plug in your car that night meant waking up to a dead battery.

This attitude of “the challenge is part of the adventure” was very much a part of my upbringing. Our vacations were never pool side in a beautiful resort, but rather our getaways were piling in our old minivan and driving hours out into the middle of nowhere. There was no room service. There was only a cooler full of drinks, snacks and sandwiches that my mom made with love. Our vacations didn’t smell of fresh salty air. They smelled of bug deet and gutted fish. Our “grand stays” were never in fancy hotels with warm beds. They were in sleeping bags in cold tents. And we absolutely wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Creek in the woods with trees on RV trip

I cherish those memories deep in my heart. Those cold nights surrounding the campfire while we waited for the hotdogs and pork-n-beans to finish heating up were magic. And years later I found myself thinking about those days. I looked at the faces of my small children and wanted them to experience the same thrill of the outdoors as I did. I wanted them to play “I spy with my little eye…” for hours in the car as they pointed out the different hues of nature like my brother and I did. But can I let you in on a secret? I was also intimidated by it.

It’s ironic that the girl who spent her whole childhood doing this very thing, found herself a bit more hesitant now that she was grown. It wasn’t that I lost my love for exploration, its just that I worried about my kids. It’s different when you are no longer the child that just gets to tag along for the ride. Now I had to worry about how they would do on long journeys in the middle of nowhere. I wondered how I would deal with bathroom breaks and diaper changes. I questioned if they would be warm enough at night or if they would even sleep well in a tent.

In a way, these mama fears held me back. We still often go out as a family to explore. We have been on many road trips, but most of those were day trips. We enjoy those short adventures, but it limits us from taking trips that we can’t complete in day. Those longer trips would have to be put in the “some day” category we thought. At least until the kids got older.

Then I learned about Go RVing. 

Go RVing water bottle on rocks with valley in view

I was immediately drawn to this company’s heart to encourage people to get out there and explore. I loved that it informed me how RVing is affordable to young families like mine. Growing up, I thought of RVing as a thing only well off people could afford to do. It’s something I always thought would be fun to try, but I didn’t think it would happen for me. I thought it wasn’t in the budget, nor would it be anytime soon. I quickly came to realize that not only was is it possible, it was actually cost effective. With an RV, we are able to travel to these places without paying for plane tickets or nights at a hotel.

I was almost sold! 

I wanted to try this RVing adventure with my family and see what I thought. The reason I say “almost sold” is because there were still those strong Alaskan roots. There was the small part of me that wondered if it would really feel like we were experiencing the great outdoors if we had so many conveniences at our finger tips. Would the magic of my childhood still be there when the RV had a fridge and freezer? Would it still feel like we were on an exciting expedition when there was a TV, kitchen and beds? I guess it all came down to one question for me: Would there still be an adventure without the extra challenge?

Homemade grilled cheese sandwich in RV kitchen

The answer is yes. I can honestly say that this is one of my favorite things we have done as a family to date. I feel like I got the best of both worlds. I still got to listen to my children play “I spy” as they stared out the window. I teared up as I watched them marvel over mountains, trees and babbling brooks. I laughed as they ate grilled cheese sandwiches that were freshly made with love. This trip taught me that wonderful memories and adventures aren’t necessarily created with a certain formula. Turns out beautiful things can happen when we step out and try something new.

young daughters enjoying nature on RV trip