The Martens family is enjoying the 'RV lifestyle'.
Mom Rita said their journey officially started for their homeschooling family of seven in June of last year, but it was the result of wanting to downsize and see more of Canada.
"Already in the house, we had the kids all together around the table all together on the couch, reading all together, playing LEGO. It was always that they've needed so little space, because they like to be together," she shared.
They did have to make some modifications to the motorhome, like converting a closet area into bunk beds, removing the fireplace for more seating, and doubling the size of the family dinner table.
"We are a family that loves mealtimes around the table all together," she noted. "Those things are reflecting the values of our family, and make the difference in all of this, how it actually is working."
Martens said they have been doing just fine sharing the space, because where they've roamed they haven't had to deal with the harsh winters they knew here in Saskatchewan.
"In the beginning we were traveling. So we started off in Saskatchewan at the sand dunes, and Cypress Hills, Cypress Lake, things like that, and then we went for a month into Alberta. We started in the south and worked ourselves up more towards like Edmonton and crossed over at Jasper and then into BC," she shared. "We went really quickly through BC to get to the Yukon so that we didn't miss out on the weather in Yukon because that's the thing with the north. So we did the whole month of August in Yukon, and then since September we are in BC."
She said they spent the winter on Vancouver Island because it was the warmest place to be in Canada.
"We were in a really nice RV community. Honestly, it was so awesome because like restrictions are in place, but they do outside fires for the community, so everybody stayed outside."
Since Rita and Nick homeschool their five children, Lucas (soon to be 17), J.J. (14), Noah Jamie (11), Liam (9), and Ruby (7), some community members at their winter home offered to teach them how to make various things, explaining their process.
"Honestly, we have met so many amazing people."
They are back on the road, though, currently in Penticton.
"We are kind of waiting here in the Okanagan Valley for the rest of the country to thaw out a little more," she chuckled. "We're going to Saskatchewan next and hopefully my my 40th birthday, and then we're going east."
She said they plan to head all the way to Prince Edward Island, and everywhere in between.
"This whole trip was more that because Nick worked so much in summer and he barely could get off more than a week in summer and we never really got far to travel to see this beautiful country," she explained. "So it was always more in fall or in spring, and that's usually then either going to the United States or going to Germany [country of origin], and so we haven't seen much of Canada, and that's why we said we're taking a lot of time to really experience this country. We have lived here (in Canada) for 11 years, and we didn't get out of Alberta and in Manitoba."
Rita shared that they will decide where to put down roots once their journey is complete. However, along the way, their family is growing in ways they know will benefit the big picture.
"I love the relationships with our kids, and watching them together, too, and how they play, and how they connect so easily with with all the other kids," she noted. "And how they take responsibility, because especially through the winter, when Nick was working again, and I was working at my [Life Coaching] business, the kids started to to cook all the meals and to be in charge of that and they're doing great. They're learning so much more about how to manage the meals and do the clean up afterwards, and all of that now in a small place. It's been a growing thing for them too, and I love that."
"I am hoping that people are inspired to live their lives to the full to whatever that looks like for them, that they are inspired to look at their life and to decide what they actually want to do with their life, and not being stuck in this mentality of, 'I cannot change a thing', because we all have choices we all can do the things in our life that we want to do in some ways. And if it's not in one way, we can move closer to that and still live more aligned with what our values are and what our dreams are, and get more fulfillment from that as well."
The Martens family plans to wrap up their travels this fall.