Lewis Griswold

Family in RV on quest for simpler life makes Porterville stop

Ricky and Kristy Fay and their six children stand next to their recreational vehicle during a visit Porterville while on a cross-country adventure.
Ricky and Kristy Fay and their six children stand next to their recreational vehicle during a visit Porterville while on a cross-country adventure. Special to The Bee

Krista and Ricky Fay sold their home in Leesburg, Fla., hit the road in a used RV – with six children ages 1 through 10 in tow – and haven’t looked back.

“People say we’re crazy,” said Krista, 29.

But they are loving every minute of life in a 300-square-foot RV.

“We simplified everything in order to gain more time for our family,” she said. “It has strengthened our marriage and our relationship with our children.”

The cross-country journey began in mid-February, and they have been to 14 states so far.

Last week, they stopped in Porterville to visit a relative for a few days before heading to Yosemite and eventually the Pacific Northwest.

Their dream of breaking free of the rat race was born when Krista came to the realization that her husband, a housing contractor, was working 60-plus hours a week, life was frantic and they were acquiring ever more possessions, just like all their friends.

“No one is really happy,” she said.

They talked it over, and with faith in God in their hearts – they met each other at church – decided to hit the road and see what happens.

With the money from selling their home and virtually all of their possessions, they paid cash for a 1999 Fleetwood Southwind RV and lit out for the territory ahead.

“We have zero debt. Our biggest expense is gas,” Krista said. “Rather than have a house full of possessions, we are making memories.”

Some of those memories are on Krista’s Facebook page Simple Life: Full Hearts. She keeps a blog at http://bit.ly/1T5J974.

An early blog post states, “I promise you that getting rid of everything was the most refreshing and exhilarating thing we have ever done.”

Ricky, 36, picks up odd jobs putting his construction skills to use. They shop in thrift stores for clothes.

They do a lot of “boondocking,” or free camping, because Ricky rigged the RV with solar panels for electricity so they don’t have to plug in every night.

Disneyland is definitely not on their must-do list because of the expense.

“We take hikes,” she said. “You don’t have to win the Lotto to live this life. You just have to be content to live with less and on far less income.”

Krista, who has a degree in teaching, home-schools the children – Kaleb, 10; Alison, 8; Keenan, 6; Lyla, 5; Kanyon, 2; and Mishka, 1. The older children love to read and are learning a lot of geography, she said.

In Las Vegas, daughter Alison was shocked by the number of homeless people, so they made a family project of creating aid packets that they offer to those in need.

Their goal is to travel for a year and find a place to build a home – by hand – using Ricky’s skills and teaching the children.

“We don’t want a big home,” Krista said. “We want to be completely off the grid.”

One of the unexpected joys of the trip has been inspiring others to take the plunge.

“Our story is truly making a difference,” Krista said. “Families are slowing down and coming back together.”

MESSCHAERT BUST: A memorial bust of the late Andrew “Andy” Messchaert was unveiled Friday at Porterville College Library before about 80 family members, friends, students and faculty.

Messchaert was a professor of philosophy at Porterville College who was known for his wit among colleagues, humor in the classroom and mental rigor.

An avid bicyclist, he died last year from complications after he was struck by a vehicle in Three Rivers. He was 45.

“He was beloved by faculty and students,” said Mo Montgomery, communications and marketing manager at the college.

Glen Hill, adjunct art professor, sculpted the bust.

“The bust has a raised eyebrow and a smirk that captures his personality, which is something everyone loved,” Montgomery said.

The Associated Students of Porterville College raised funds for the bust via a GoFundMe page.

Additionally on Friday evening, two $500 scholarships were awarded to students in his honor.

Lewis Griswold covers the news of the South Valley for The Fresno Bee: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGriswold