Who are we? Well…
We are the Tinkle family, just a small family of 4, with a dream to explore as much of this beautiful land God created.
Brandon and I met shortly after high school. We both attended college, earned degrees, and were excited to finally start our full-time careers. Brandon began his career in the food industry, and I got my first job as a high school special education teacher. We were ecstatic. We had finally made it! Made it to that career which we were encouraged by society to begin thinking about at such a young age… “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We could both check that box off of the success list!
We got married and bought our first home in 2008. It was a modest home in a great school district. Nothing too fancy, but it did have pool! (Insert happy dance and two more checks to our success checklist!) It was the perfect home to start a family in, and we loved it. Our son, Liam, was born in 2010. Soon after, we realized we had completely outgrown our small home and it was time for bigger (and newer). So, we decided to build a new home. We found out we were expecting our little Cora during the building process. Cora arrived in 2013, a few months after we settled into our dream home.
I absolutely love teaching special education, but after a few years of doing it, I quickly realized I needed something to fill my creative need, and lesson planning was not it. Photography had always been an active hobby of mine. Once Liam was born, I was using photography more and more. I started photographing family and friends, and second shooting weddings. In 2010, I launched a small photography business.
Brandon and I have been married almost 10 years, and we realized for all of those 10 years, one of us was working at least 60-70 hours a week. Brandon worked in Minor League Baseball and loved it. The work atmosphere and his co-workers could not have been more enjoyable; but the hours were long no doubt. The kids and I would visit him at work because, well–dad was always at work, (and ballpark hot-dogs are always a win). After 6 years in MiLB, it was time for a change. Brandon took a job in sales that allowed him to stay in the food industry, but also gave him more time to be at home and around our family.
No sooner did Brandon’s hours cut back, my work hours seemingly took off. I was teaching during the day, and running my business in the evenings and on weekends. I took workshop after workshop to better my photography skill. Year after year, I set goals for my business and my business grew! I was continually telling myself, I will finally “make it” when I… photograph a certain number of weddings a year… when I make the “best of” lists…when I can charge x $ amount per wedding…when I have a brick and mortar newborn studio space…so on and so on. Don’t get me wrong, setting goals and working hard are definitely required to make entrepreneurship work, but after reaching every one of those goals I set, I still never felt like I had “made it.” There was always more to accomplish next, and I was always moving my target further and further away.
Then it hit us, the success we were striving for is what society and our industries made us feel was necessary to be considered successful. What we have come to realize is that we are not wired as a society to be content with our success. There is always more to do, a ladder to climb. More Work = More Success. But is that really true? Isn’t success based upon individual perception? We were both working all of the time and were left with little to no time for the people who matter most in our life. But, we had an awesome new house, everything we could ever need or want, and business was really good!. Does that make us successful? What about all the other areas of life, Spirituality… Family and Friends…Physical Well-Being and the list goes on. We were failing in those areas and began to question why we were doing all of this in the first place. Is this really how we want to define ourselves, our lives, and or success? Is this what we want our children to witness and learn about life? It was time for a change.
All of this has led us to where we are now..this part of our Earthly journey. The journey where we give up everything we have worked so hard for, the great jobs, the new house, the “live to work” mentality. As a family, we asked ourselves, what do we really want in this life, excuses aside, what do we need to do to get it? Once we really decided to stop making excuses for why we can’t (and we had a lot of them) we realized the life we dream of is doable now while our kids are still young and want to be around us. We don’t have to wait until we make more money, until our kids graduate, or for retirement. We can live a life focusing on faith, family, and experiences, with a more “work to live” philosophy now! We just need to live simpler, smaller, and smarter. And that is just what we are going to do!
So, whats our plan? Well, we bought Roberta! She is our new (to us) and much, much smaller home on wheels. We are currently renovating her to make her feel more like our home. (You can read about Roberta and her renovation here.) We plan on taking her all around North America this year to start our full-time RV living journey. We don’t have much more planned than this, but we do know we are heading into a journey that will undoubtedly change our lives.
We are excited for what this leg of our journey has in store for us, because in the end it’s all about the journey of living a Christ centered life.
Brandon & Jessica