Hey there! We are Jack and Victoria Huizinga. On this blog, I (Victoria) do all the writing, and Jack does all the behind the scenes stuff like taking my crazy idea for a minivan camper and making it come to life.
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Jack and I have been married for over 25 years and have three children. Thomas, who is currently taking a break from college and working at a zoo. Aiden, who is currently working on an associate’s degree in cybersecurity, and Courtney, who started on her Medical Coding certificate this year.
Currently, they all live with us, but they certainly don’t need our 100% presence 24/7 like they did when they were infants. And that has opened up opportunities to explore for Jack and me in ways we haven’t been able to since our child-free early twenties.
What You Will Find On The Parents Flew The Nest
Vehicle To Camper Conversion Tips
We converted the family van into a weekend camper.
Why a minivan camper? It is inexpensive on gas, can be parked anywhere, sleeps two, and when we are not traveling it can be converted back into a regular day to day vehicle in under 30 minutes.
Our son however got in an accident with that van and it was totaled (thankfully he was okay). We replaced the van with a car for our son to drive to college and work and decided to convert the back of our truck into a camper.
Slide-In Truck Camper Tips
On the first trip with our DIY truck topper camper, our truck engine decided to ask for a repair that was almost worth more than the truck itself. So we bought a new to us truck, but this one had a bed that was longer than our original truck so the topper was too short.
The plan was to buy an inexpensive used truck topper and then put the guts of our homemade camper inside it, but while I was looking for one I found a truck camper that was listed for a steal of a deal. We drove out to see it and bought it. We LOVE it and here are all the reasons why.
Packing And Planning Tips
We are always learning new ways to pack more efficiently as well as ways to plan trips either on the fly or in advance. As we learn about them, we will share them with you.
Here is one article I have written that will help you stop overpacking: Books That Will Help You Pack Like A Minimalist
And here is another in which I spill all my secrets for finding awe-inspiring place to explore.
RV Camping Tips
For our trip in 2017 with our three kids, we towed a 28-foot Jayco trailer behind us. Since that trip, we have used the Jayco a few weekends each summer, and as a place to host guests in our backyard when they visit. (at the beginning of each camping season we re-evaluate whether we should keep the trailer or sell, so far each year we have kept it–but that could change)
We also have our new to us slide-in pop-up, which has 8 feet of living space and then the bed over the cab. Between the two campers, we have learned a lot about RV camping and we plan to share our knowledge with you.
Here are our tips for creating a cozy personal haven in your RV.
Budget Travel Tips
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We are a thrifty family. So thrifty that we have enough thrifty living principles we follow to create a book. That doesn’t mean that we always spend as little as possible on travel. Instead, it means we cut costs on things that don’t matter as much to us so that we can spend more in areas that do matter to us.
We will show you how to save money on all things travel so you can decide which areas you are willing to cut costs on so you can splurge on the things that matter to you most.
Here are a few posts we have written on keeping travel affordable:
- How To Plan A Fun Weekend Getaway On A ShoeString
- 33 Ways To Save Money On Travel Accommodations: Including 9 FREE Options
Ways To Increase Your Streams Of Income So You Can Travel More
We realize that creating enough income to be able to afford travel is a major stumbling block for many families. Our family has created several flexible streams of income, including my blog Snail Pace Transformations to help with the financial costs of raising a family. The additional income has given us the wiggle room in our budget that we wanted to spend one weekend a month traveling.
We are continually trying new ways to make money that are flexible and not location dependent. We want to help grow your family’s income so you can travel more too.
Gear Recommendations For Camping, Hiking, Biking, Kayaking, And More
Wondering what you need to go camping this weekend? If those light-weight camping towels are worth it? Should you pay the extra money for that particular camp stove model? Us too! So we are going to figure it out and share what we learn with you.
Pictures And Stories From Our Travel Adventures
Currently, with two children in college, our wiggle room in our budget to travel is small–but we plan to make the most of it by exploring areas that are just a few hours away from our home in Marion, Indiana.
As time goes by though, we hope to explore more of North America and beyond. We got a small taste of all the beauty our world has to offer on our five and half month road trip with the children in 2017 and now we don’t want to stop seeing exploring the wonders of creation.
Our intent in sharing our adventures here at The Parents Flew The Nest is to inspire other couples to make time to explore together a priority regardless of your budget and time restraints. Most of our adventures take place over a weekend, others in a single day, only a tiny handful are longer than that. Get out there and explore! If you search around your area, you will find hidden gems without spending much money or time and the best part is you will grow closer together while seeking them out.
Top Travel Posts:
- What To Do When You Only Have One Day In Nashville: Cheap & Free Options
- Scenic Fall Hikes Found In The Red River Gorge Area
- Camping, Hiking, And Canoeing In Chain O’ Lakes State Park, Indiana
How To Follow Along On Our Adventures:
We would love to get to know our readers!