Can you imagine packing up your entire life and moving your family out of a comfortable three bedroom, two bathroom home and into an RV, all during a global pandemic?
One Memphis mama is doing exactly that.
Theryssa Fant Gossman (a Stay at Home Mom); her husband, Jeremy (a digital marketing entrepreneur); their two children, Samuel (12) and Kate (10); and the family dog a Chiweenie named Lloyd, are picking up their lives in East Memphis and hitting the road in Trixie — their new RV.
We spoke with Gossman to find out what inspired her family to trade suburban life for life on the road.
Babypalooza: What made y’all decide to move out of a house and hit the road in an RV?
Gossman: Simplicity. Our life will be simple. We won’t have things weighing us down, activities pulling us in a million directions, and household chores taking up our family time. I crave the simplicity that this lifestyle can bring. I look at the shed that I have as yet to empty in the backyard and just get nauseous. All the STUFF we thought we needed is just there … waiting for me to sell, donate, or give it away. I just want to set it on fire! I won’t miss stuff. We love our neighbors and are sad to leave them. We’ll miss the camaraderie that having great neighbors creates. But we won’t miss the sounds of the city … the interstate, the cars speeding down our street, the neighbors fighting in the yard. It’s time for the Gossies to move on.
BP: What’s your vision of RV life?
Gossman: I follow a lot of RV families on Instagram. I see their cute campers (I’m ditching the brand new furniture ours came with and going with “real” furniture because of them), and I think about what our lives will look like. I envision us swimming in a picturesque lake in the morning and sitting around a fire at night. We’ll be site seeing (as much as the Coronavirus will allow) and of course there will be school. I envision fewer chores, more board games, less stress. But let’s be real …
Instagram: Our family living its best life.
Reality: Me cleaning the tanks out and spilling poop everywhere (hasn’t happened yet but you never know).
BP: How do your children feel about this life change?
Gossman: We wanted to wait until the kids were VERY excited about just the IDEA of going on the road. This is a big change for a child to experience, and we didn’t want to rush them. When the Coronavirus started and everything was shutting down, Jeremy and I started thinking more seriously about the idea. One day, we threw it out to the kids and they said “Yes! That would be so fun!” Not being able to see their friends, go to church, play sports, and go to class made it a whole lot easier for them to say yes. They can’t wait to be on the road. They don’t even mind sharing a room so that should show how excited they are!
BP: How have your family and friends responded?
Gossman: There’s always going to be someone who has something negative to say. I’ve heard everything from “you know you have to clean the poop tanks, right?” to “gross, you’ll have to go to laundromats.” This makes me laugh because in the grand scheme of things, those are two of the easiest aspects of full-time RV life! But overall, we’ve been met with extreme excitement and support. Lots of people say they would love to do it and they’re excited about following our journey.
BP: Where are some places you plan to go in the RV?
Gossman: Honestly, we want to see it all. Nearly every state has something we’re into. A few places of note: Mt. Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the beach where they filmed Twilight. Ok, that last one is for me. The kids want to see the Hollywood sign. Kate is dying to go to Malibu even though I keep telling her Barbie does not live there. We’re going to find the weird stuff as well … we like weird. The painted Cadillacs, the merman skeleton in Hot Springs, or the world’s largest ball of aluminum foil. I don’t know if that’s a thing but you get the idea.
BP: Will you incorporate traveling into your homeschooling curriculum?
Gossman: For sure. We teachers love a good unit study so we’re going to do US history this year with unit studies covering the state we’re in at the time. I have a LOT of planning to do, but I am so very excited about history this year!
BP: Did COVID-19 make this opportunity for your family more possible?
Gossman: The ‘Rona helped because everything we do is canceled. None of us are sad to leave any activities behind because there aren’t any. We’re sad to leave friends, but we really aren’t seeing them either.
BP: Tell us about your RV, Trixie.
Gossman: You know when you’re looking for a new house and you walk in and you get the feeling that this is the one? That’s exactly how we felt about Trixie. I love the gray cabinets and floors. She’s brand new so there won’t be much renovating, just some cosmetic modifications. We all enjoy the fireplace. It will glow without blowing heat so at night we can have a cozy fire even in the summer. We haven’t had a fireplace in a long time so we’re all excited! I love the double slide outs in the living area and kitchen. It makes the space seem so much bigger. She’s got tons of storage. The bedrooms are just the right size. The only thing I don’t love is the fact that the shower surround and pan are off white. That’s a very easy fix though.
BP: What advice would you give other moms who would want to do something similar?
Gossman: Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page. A serious life change like this requires teamwork. If my husband and I are good at anything, it’s making beautiful babies and being a TEAM. RV life is a lot of work, but so is sticks and bricks life. If you want to do it, start planning! Go look at campers. All kinds of them. You may decide you can’t live that tiny, and that’s OK! You have to begin to mold your lifestyle, jobs, and mindset to fit your goal. We knew we wanted to show our kids the States, but we didn’t know this would be the way until about 6 months ago. In six short months, our lives are changing drastically and we can’t wait.
BP: Tell us about your family!
Gossman: I grew up here in Memphis and moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, in 1999 after I graduated from the University of Memphis. I met Jeremy at seminary later that year. We went on a date on January 22, 2000, and that was the last first date I ever went on. We got married in November 2002 here in Memphis, and I moved back to Ft. Worth.
Jeremy is from Ft. Worth and is literally my knight in shining armor in so many ways. He had cancer in the summer of 2018 and never complained once. He’s a rare gem of a human. We enjoy spending the kid’s college fund on concerts, music festivals and trips together. We’re best friends (not something I would ever thought I’d say about a BOY) and love spending time together. We love Jesus and each other in that order. Of our core values is to always help other people get what they want. Jeremy is a motivator and coach at heart and keeps us all going.
Samuel will be 12 in September and is your typical middle school boy. He loves sports, music, building things, legos, fixing things, skateboarding, cool shoes, and hats. He’s genuinely kind and doesn’t meet a stranger.
Kate will be 10 in September, and she’s your classic All-American girl. Whip-smart, incredibly athletic, hysterical, passionate and gorgeous to boot. We often say “she’s a machine” because of her ability to do things quickly and well. Both of our kids love Jesus and it often shows in their treatments of others.
Lloyd is our 2.5 year old rescue Chiweenie. We kept going to the pound looking for a small female dog, but Lloyd was persistent in getting our attention every time we walked past his cage. He joined our family in March 2019, but it feels like he’s been with us forever. He feels like a mix of all four of our previous dogs. Like he got all of their greatest qualities. And he has the BEST ears.
Keep up with the Gossmans and Trixie by following @Theryssa on Instagram!