Exciting News!  (the official announcement)

I guess we had really decided on the “big plan” a couple of years ago, but we just didn’t know what it would look like.   We knew we liked our life to date but there has always been a certain restlessness that was bubbling up deep inside.  Our life together as a family has been magical to say the least.  Great family network, great career, great health, little minor food allergy blips, but all around magical.  Within our tiny enchanted world; we have unfortunately been surrounded by close friends that had to deal with some unthinkable hardships and curve balls.  Breast Cancer, Accidental Drowning, Organ Failure, to name just a few.  Their hardships have permanently altered our own perspective on life.  Things you would NEVER expect anyone in their early 30’s to live through; some of our closest friends have.  We have severe food allergies to contend with personally, but in reality… we ABSOLUTLY can NEVER compare our food allergy blessing to the scope of challenges our friends have to endure in their lives.   Yes I called it a blessing.  However you look at it, we truly do look at what we have to deal with as a blessing.

So then, what came first  the chicken or the egg?

Well our “big plan” developed first with the purchase of our first RV and the freedom it gave us to travel and explore with our family; free from food and environmental allergens that surround our relatively active life.

Cape Cod 2012 Braga Family

Cape Cod 2012 our first camping trip in our 2001 Starcraft Travel Trailer

After we experienced life on the road in an RV, the depth of quality family time we experienced; and the countless memories we made…. We knew we wanted much more of it.   After a short time with our first RV we purchased a brand new one and committed ourselves to a future of fulfilling family adventures and insanely powerful memories.   2015-09-22_0002Maybe this is what I would consider the “egg” before the chicken

The Elephant in the Room.

The elephant in the room was always Shayla’s allergies; those allergies around other people, her unsupervised contact with any of them, her inability to differentiate what is safe and not, and her overall well being.   Pre-school  was ALWAYS on our mind.  What will we do when that time comes?  Where can we send her so that she would be safe and stay healthy?  How many snack and lunch times does each school have.   If we find the perfect pre-school scenario; what then happens with grade school…  Ugh it gets more and more stressful the more we think about it.  Ignoring the big pink elephant was the easiest thing we could possibly do.  SO we kind of did just that.  Really long story, made short; we opted out of all the conventional schooling options for Shayla; but that is a whole other blog post in itself. Opting out was the only option for us and boom the chick hatched and we faced the Elephant in the room head on.

 

Homeschooling our little baby chick.

Homeschooling was the obvious solution we had been looking for.  At least until she was more self aware and can self manage her contact and food consumption.  After the years of 5 and 6, there are also a decent percentages of her outgrowing some of those allergies as well.   So if we could just keep her safe for a few more years we can start to rest a little easier.     So there it was.  The idea to homeschool her was conceived, planned, and implemented.   In our “big plan” the chick was born and fully running around the chicken coop.

 

Here is where that single chick turns into a whole chicken coop full of chickens running around crazy. (ie our “big plan” really gets out of hand and we start “dreaming”)

In our business and the New England photography industry in general, the winter time is the “off season” and we aren’t shooting as much.  Instead of shooting daily and weddings most weekends, we then get to work on our marketing, meeting new wedding clients for the following years, family time, holidays, house projects, etc.  The ONLY problem with our down time, is that it is WINTER and we both kind of despise winter.  We thought we should use Leighton’s school break to take the RV somewhere warmer! Get out of Dodge!  Boom the idea grows legs.

Only one problem, where can we possibly go in 1 week that would be warmer?  Ugh I wish we had 2 weeks off from Leighton’s school.   Lets just take her out of school for an extra week.  How bad can it be?

Wait a minute.  Wait wait…  what if………………..

 

The Plan was Born.

What would we need to do, to take off for the whole winter?   Find an office somewhere warm?  Rent a condo somewhere?  Have Us and Leighton transferred to a different school district in a different state during the winter months? Wait wait wait…. Why don’t we just homeschool both girls and take our “house” and office on the road during those months!

Come on that’s just crazy talk…or is it?

That is about all it took.  Yes of course there were some other influences and lots of what if’s, but ultimately we just decided that this was “Our One Chance” to do something big and bold with our scenario, and life.

 

So what is the Big Plan?

We will be hitting the road and living in our RV full time for the months of January – beginning of April.  Living, Roadschooling, Working and Exploring the southern route to California.    Our goal is to travel south and west and spending the bulk of our time in Southern California for the coldest time of our New England winter.  Currently our plan is take some amazing photos of the trip,  pricelessly educate each other with once in a lifetime lessons,  eat clean and allergy free, document it all for history sake, and see what we can make of it.  Currently we are planning on working from the road this winter  2015/2016  and again for the winter of 2016/2017.    (Hint: If you know anyone in need of photography in those months we will be sharing approximate locations 🙂 )

Screenshot 2015-09-22 11.02.33

Implementation

The Big Plan took quite a few steps to implement, like selling our newer travel trailer and SUV; then purchase a new truck and trailer combination that can handle the mileage and living / working needs.   Travel Trailer vs 5th Wheel Comparison

As things are getting closer to implementation,  several things are in play already.  Lining up the steps to be able to pull this off include: planning our route, reaching out to friends in areas we will be travelling to set up work / hang outs, building a mobile office scenario with connectivity in the RV,  customizing our RV to fit our unique needs (work and school),  automating our business to simplify remote work,  hiring more photographers and office team to handle the “off season” and beyond, giving up one of our dogs (more on that another time) etc. etc. etc.

Be clear though: We are NOT moving or changing our business in ANY way other than we will be remote working during the 3 slowest months of the year.  Actually on the contrary, we are expanding our business quite a bit with the inclusion of 2 more Associate photographers!   I will be flying back and forth for any larger jobs/events and weddings we have booked during those dates and we will work through all the other smaller logistics as they come about.

This blog will not only serve as a tool to keep us all connected, but help share our experiences with everything related to this big plan.   Possibly help educate anyone interested in doing the same or at least parts of it.  Maybe just eating allergy free and clean,  maybe homeschooling, maybe RVing, or maybe even Photography tips 😉    I will be keeping it updated with articles about all those ideas and more.  We even have a few guest bloggers scheduled to write articles for us!  So sign up for email updates or Facebook like the page or add this blog to your RSS reader.

Looking forward to Our One Chance!

Jennifer, Jerome, Leighton, Shayla and Cole.

16 Comments

  • Reply Delia (Prima) D'Agostino September 22, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    What a great idea! This would be an awesome family experience of a lifetime. I might even have some clients for you just let me know the dates to let them know. God bless and happy travels! hugs!

  • Reply David fritz September 22, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Jerry, that’s so awesome. Good luck on your family’s journey. The girls will learn so much during these adventures and life will shine on you all for living it instead of being part of it.

  • Reply Bruce September 22, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    cool!

  • Reply Lory Camara September 22, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    Jerome…I wish you and your family all the best on your new adventure. Your kids are young and this is the best time for you to be taking this wonderful journey. Take plenty of pictures lol and maybe start a journal so when your kids get older they not only have the pictures to look back on but also their parents thoughts

  • Reply Tara Amodio September 22, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Omg, I’m so happy for your entire family!! What an amazing opportunity!! We look forward to following your adventure and wish you nothing but love & happiness always!

  • Reply Rachelle and Joe September 22, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Sounds like an exciting plan that will lead to many amazing experiences. Best of luck with all the upcoming changes!

  • Reply Sharlene September 22, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    I love the idea! Actually my husband’s Uncle did this for years. I do have a suggestion though, you guys have to go to Oregon. Actually the Pacific Northwest period. Also suggest at some point you go the top half of the country. We did when we moved here and it is memories that we will always cherish.

    • Jerome Braga
      Reply Jerome Braga September 22, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      I know but our business is only in the slower mode in the deepest of winter. And that isn’t the best time to be up there.

  • Reply Candy September 22, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Safe travels!!! What an amazing experience!!!!!!!!

  • Reply Chris Walsh September 22, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    I think this is the coolest idea. I’m sure you’ll look back on this as one of the best decisions of your life. Good luck to you all!

  • Reply Kate September 22, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    How exciting! I’ll spread the word to some Colorado folks and if you want to stop in Denver let me know!! I promise you will get plenty of beautiful shots!!

  • Reply Kathryn Fell September 22, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    We could use some family photos. I know we aren’t on the #WarmerRoute but showing the love that a mixed family has is ALWAYS a blessing. Even though we (Jennifer and yourself) are family, I wouldn’t dare ask for FREE photos. What do you say?

  • Reply Erin Yarbough September 24, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Jerome – this is awesome! Life is so short, and you are giving the girls the BEST memories. Have a blast!!!

  • Reply Jenn Bonito September 24, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    What an amazing experience. So great that you are open to an adventure and able to make it happen. All the best to you and the family. Can’t wait to read about your journey.

  • Reply Asha May September 25, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    What an amazingly brave decision and what an incredible adventure your family will have! I am so greatful for the special moments I get with my kids when we are disconnected from the distractions. You are going to have that in spades on this adventure…safe travels! Looking forward to the postings.

  • Reply Brian Davis October 11, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Wow, so awesome…your girls are so lucky to have such great parents willing to do something like that…I hope someday we can be 1/2 as adventurous as you guys…and that new RV is mean…best of luck

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