I am Mackenzie Mitchell, and this is my story..
When we sold the house and first moved into the RV so we could move to Mexico I don’t think I was really old enough to understand what that really meant. I had just turned 10 so the RV seemed really big and I was with my parents and my pets so I thought it was fun.
When we left Canada and went through the US I don’t really remember us doing anything really through Washington or Oregon. I remember little adventures starting in California. We went to Alcatraz first which was really cool but I didn’t really understand the history I was kinda learning. I knew it was a jail but I don’t think I even knew what “prison” meant and it was very cool that it was in the middle of the water and you had to take a boat over to it. I remember seeing that jail and thinking that it didn’t at all look like the one my mom worked at. For whatever reason, the comparison came to mind.
After Alcatraz (I’m hoping my order is right) we went to Silicon Valley where we went to Intel. My dad thought I would like it, and I really did and I became more interested in computers after that. We were doing little day trips to let my mom rest because she just had knee surgery before we left Canada so dad and I would go out on lots of little day adventures and then mom would come on the big ones.
We then went to the Myth Busters Exhibit. It was my absolute favourite show at the time and I was so excited. Everything was neat and cool because I was 10.
Our first big big big stop was going to be Legoland. It was EVERYTHING! I was so excited! But first, we had a few more stops and went to Six Flags Magic Mountain near Santa Clarita. We stayed at my parents’ favourite camping/RV spot at Valencia Travel Village in Castaic, California. I was so excited to go back to Six Flags because the times before I wasn’t tall enough for most of the rides. I was never tall enough. So this time I thought for sure … but no, still not quite tall enough but dad and I had soooo much fun.
Then we went to Universal Studios (again, still too short for a lot of good stuff!). We had such a fun day. Mom rested her knee enough so she was good to come with us. We had such a good day. The best part was going on the tram tour and seeing the dancing cars from Fast & Furious.
The next stop was Legoland. FINALLY! I was so excited, so happy. This was the coolest place for a 10-year-old lego junkie. You have no idea. This was better than Christmas morning. We love of lego went through the roof after that…you have no idea!
Our next day adventure was the Biosphere in Arizona. This was actually my all-time favourite (even more than Legoland). I got to learn so much and it somewhat helped me understand more about the solar house we were building in Mexico. Some other favourites adventures were the Sonora Desert Museum, the Titan Missile Museum, Old Tucson Studios, Nasa, Pima & Disney World. I know there are others but these ones stick out most.
Travelling through the US was fun. I got to see so many awesome things. One of my favourites was meeting the soldiers and getting to take a picture with them. I couldn’t wait to get to Mexico to our new house. I was dad’s co-pilot 96% of the time. As I look back, the education itself was priceless. I learned so much in all those hours of driving with him; listening to him and watching him.
When we got to Tulum, we went straight to the resort. We had stayed at the Dreams Resort in Tulum before and when we moved there they welcomed us back. They had put in a place for our RV and plugged in our RV on the grounds so the air conditioning always stayed on for Bailey and Chanel and Taz, and we went to a suite for a few days to unwind from driving here. We went to the RV like 10 times a day to check on the animals and rested before going to where our house was.
Staying in the jungle was not fun. No power meant no air conditioning and the RV was a very hot, unhappy place. Mom was getting sick and I think dad did too. Our house wasn’t ready yet so my dad’s friend let us park the RV in his lot while we waited for ours to be finished. But after 3 weeks we couldn’t be in the jungle anymore with no power.
So my dad found this awesome place on the beach where other RV’ers were staying and people also had palapas. I was sooooo happy to be there. We were on the ocean, there was a restaurant, a little church, a corner store, a dive shop, a little hotel, security staff. This is where we were going to stay until our house would. Be ready. We got there in April and our house was ready mid-December. We never ended up moving into the house because my mom got really sick for a really long time and the house was way too far away from the hospital. We did however stay in the house for 3 weeks over Christmas 2013/New Years’ 2014 🙂
So we stayed in the RV on the beach for our duration in Mexico in a place called Paamul. Living on the ocean for almost 2 years was an experience I will always remember. It was amazing, for the most part.
My dad worked for Dreams now and I was going to International School in Playa Del Carmen. It was an adjustment because of the language barrier. Half of the day was in Spanish and half of the day was in English…it was so confusing for me but the experience itself was something I will always remember. We met some very special people in Mexico and they are still family today.
We came back to Canada because my mom was still trying to recover from her emergency surgeries, my grandpa had died and my Uncle Jim was sick so my parents wanted to go back for a while. So we left Mexico and got back to Canada on Christmas Eve 2014. After settling back in, my parents enrolled me back in school and after a while, they didn’t want to disrupt me again. They wanted me to have structure, stability and consistency throughout my high school experience so we made the decision to stay until I graduated, and then we would see what would be next. What would be next would be my decision to have a future in policing in Alberta so we’ll be leaving this summer 🙂
Living my teen years in an RV has been an experience. It’s not nearly as big now that I am older and I do have my moments of frustration but overall I don’t look at it any differently than if we were living in either our old 5 bedroom house in Fleetwood or our 5 bedroom/ 5 acres in Mexico. My parents and I have such a close, unique relationship and I wouldn’t change that for anything. This life isn’t for everybody and there are a lot of people who look down on and judge it or make snide remarks about it but my experience has been one of gratefulness. I have my family, my pets, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, a warm bed to sleep in and food in my stomach. I am grateful because my family has grown closer than we ever would have if we had not done this. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything, or was deprived of anything. My parents did something most are scared to do. They followed their dreams.
As a 10-year-old, I was filled with excitement. Everything was new and different. Seeing all the places I saw would be different now, at 18. Obviously, at 10 everything is neat and cool and fun. Now though as I look back I see the knowledge, the education and experiences that I had, all outside of a classroom and how lucky was I?
Living my teen years in an RV wasn’t as bad as one might think. We were in a small space but I had a roof over my head, food in my stomach, friends at my side and love all around me. Overall, it brought us closer as a family and that’s an experience I wouldn’t change for anything.
LIFE IS SHORT AND THE WORLD IS BIG, SO GET BUSY!
**My mom wrote a story about our 2 years of travel and what it was for me. If you haven’t already, give it a read…..
**My parents held a party in 2019 (5 years after her surgeries) to celebrate those who helped us through my mom’s medical emergencies. Here’s a look back …..