KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — After selling everything, buying an RV and hitting the road for nine months — an East Tennessee family of seven is back in town settling into normal life once again.
Dozens of cities and one massive road trip later, the Severance family is now living in a house. It's an adjustment after spending the better part of a year in a less-than-300-square-foot home on wheels.
We first met the Severances in the summer of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic led the family to live their fantasy of selling everything, buying an RV and heading west.
When they did that, Paige Severance started homeschooling their five kids on the road. Now that the family is back in a house, she said that her kids are going back to school instead of the continuing to be homeschooled.
Scout, 12, Tate, 10, twins Jack and Rynn, 7 and Hank, 4, all learned nontraditionally this year. Despite not spending time in the classroom, they still learned.
Even little Hank came back with knowledge a lot of other kids don't have.
"Did you know that Flatiron was a volcano?" he asked.
Mom and dad liked to watch their children's life skills evolve, too.
"Just to see them test their own limits, and then having fun while doing it, and that built a lot of confidence in all of them," said Paige.
The kids learned about places they got to explore first hand. Some of the family's favorite places to visit were New Orleans, Sedona and Telluride.
But now it's back to school, at a desk and in a building instead of on the road.
Those are things Scout happily did without while the family was on the road.
"It's kind of weird, but I think I'll get used to it," she said.
Everyone is adjusting to their new school and home routines while dealing with the loss that brought the Severances back to Tennessee.
"We were open to doing this one more year, but my mom passed away in December. And her estate, where we're living now, was kind of left untouched. And we came back to settle her estate and to tie up some loose ends," said Paige.
She notes how lucky they were to have a place to come home to.
With the housing market as crazy as it is, they thought they may have to stay on the road longer out of necessity. But now the kids have 11 acres to explore, complete with a playset and farm animals.
They named the bull 'Slam Funk' and just got 20 new chicks to raise.
Dad still works from home inside the RV, and said he is glad that he no longer has to share it with six other people.
The motorhome is still messy from the long family trip, but it also holds lessons and memories to last a lifetime.
They're putting in power and water lines to the RV, with the thought of possibly turning it into an Airbnb so other people can experience the life they lived for nine months.
The Severance Family also said they won't sit still forever. They're already planning trips for fall and spring breaks.
And of course, they'll get there by driving the RV.
Right now that big blue bus sits in the backyard with a watchful eye on the Severances, waiting to be part of their next adventure.