Every month we feature inspiring women as our Travelette of the Month – and when I read Bionca Smith’s story about giving up stability for #vanlife and traveling around the world with her son on Facebook, I wanted to find out more. So we asked her to tell us everything about her journey as a single mom, nomad and entrepreneur on the road!

Travelettes of the Month: Bionca Smith

The Before

Before my son was born, I lived in the ghetto with roaches all my life. Then I became a single mom and 2 weeks after Carter was born, I made a promise on a tear. I promised to work so hard and become successful before he could remember our struggle. By the time he was 5, we were living in the middle class in a high rise with fancy cars and annual short vacations. Earlier this year I hit pivotal moments that changed everything. My son had a hard time reading in school and I had 15k worth of credit card debt that I was determined to pay yet struggled to do, each year as usual.

So what did I do!?

I wrote a Facebook post.

I know…

It all started with a secret. I made a Facebook post about how ONE DAY I want to travel the world with my son for an extended period of time. Someone commented and said “What’s stopping you?”, and this made me think. It was THINGS. I finally woke up and realized that I was allowing THINGS to postpone me from living my life fully. I had excuses like timing, lack of money and concerns about leaving my community. These were all things that would be around with or without me. The truth is that I was conforming to pressures from society and pushing away my dreams.

It got real when I put in my 30-day notice 11 days later. The clock started ticking. Piece by piece, detail by detail,I started carving out my dream. My son would have to be homeschooled, so I did research online and by surprise found a FREE virtual public school. I submitted the necessary paperwork and within 10 days we received his equipment and school supplies. It felt like an expedited Christmas!

Getting ready to hit the Road

I sold and donated as much household goods as possible, but it was like playing a mental game of tug of war! I debated on what to let go of and what to keep. I reminded myself why I had to let go and the official release of each object made me feel lighter and richer. Now with less and less stuff, more reality was setting in. I hadn’t even planned for where we would travel to once our “rental timer” went out. I was nervous, uncertain, anxious, and a little scared, but I continued to surrender for a greater gain. The hardest detachment came from when we re-homed our pet pig to a friend.

With 7 days left of our lease, I looked at a map and decided to purchase our flights. 3 day left, we slept on the floor after someone from Craigslist took the couch one morning while we were resting on it just seconds before the new owners arrived from Craigslist. On the final day of our move out, I still had no clue where I would even park my car while we traveled and it was now time to leave out to the airport. I locked the apartment door for the last time, called an Uber and placed my car key underneath the car floor mat. I trusted that everything would be alright now and that I’d figure it out as the carving process continued!

We hopped in the Uber and headed straight to the airport with 2 one way tickets to Thailand!

I decided that we were just going to explore and don’t worry about anything outside of the continent that we’d stand on. The result: One of my new friends ended up offering to park the car in her garage and she came and got it off the street. We arrived on an island and let go of time for two months. We did whatever we wanted WHEN we wanted and we got work done. My son’s reading has improved and he also made honor roll! 2 months turned into 8 months and 4 countries of traveling.

Travelettes of the Month: Bionca Smith

Living the #vanlife

Upon returning to the States in late summer, I went all in again. I purchased a camper van, but with a greater purpose and humanitarian cause in mind this time. I wanted to show my son another lifestyle involving connecting and giving back to humanity. So here I am – here we are. Living, working, schooling and traveling in a 1989 Ford Campervan.

My mission is now to travel for a greater purpose by working with schools to create programs that will eliminate or at least dramatically reduce bullying. As we prepare for our 2018 anti-bullying campaign, I’d like to reflect on how life on the road for the past 90 days has been by far the greatest journey I’ve ever had in my life. By popular demand, we have started a YouTube channel to share this journey.

My son and I have learned so many things and we keep meeting the most incredible people! I have to admit that the additional reality is that we still have had some ups and downs during this van life journey. Especially since I knew practically nothing about “vanning” in the beginning. One month into our journey, our engine broke down and we ended up being stuck in New Mexico for over a month! However, it is nice to remember sometimes that obstacles are a part of success – and so are miracles! With the help of our followers, we were able to get back on the road sooner than we imagined. There aren’t enough emotions to identify what this deed has meant to me. I am forever grateful and determined to help others even faster.

Telling my story

During my travels, I’ve been writing an inspirational book called Promise to Prosper that will be released in a few weeks. I love making friends and inspiring them to go after their dreams no matter what life brings.I hope that my book and sacrifices inspire someone reading this to JUST DO IT ALREADY!

I’m a single mom with plenty of responsibilities and I still went all in! It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are. Everyone has a story, so don’t be afraid to get creative, be flexible and make some sacrifices. If you’re not on your way to doing so; what will you tell yourself in 1 or 5 or 10 years? Start packing and worry about everything else later! Things will fall into place when you take action and persevere through obstacles. Be unapologetic and live your one and only life the way that you want Follow the whispers in your heart!

Travelettes of the Month: Bionca Smith

 


Travelettes of the Month: Bionca Smith This is a guest post by Bionca Smith.

You can follow her on Instagram at @bioncasmith and @offthegridwithakid, and on Snapchat at Bionca Smith.