“When we used to live in a house, when we only had our first child, we’d go months and months without seeing other people,” reveals Dan, father of the Mali Mish family, as he compares the community implications of living on the road with his wife and three children to living in a traditional home. As we speak, fellow Roadsteaders and family of three - BodesWell Volkswagen - sit parked across from the Mali Mish’s. They’ve been caravanning together since exploring Alaska this summer. “A lot of families seek us out,” Dan tells us.
Dan, Marlene Lin, and their three children - Ava, Mila, and Luka - make up the Mali Mish crew, along with their thirteen year old cat Yoda . The family of five have lived in an International Ocean Breeze Airstream trailer since 2008.
Dan and Marlene met and became college sweethearts while attending school at UC Santa Barbara. Dan has worked in web development for most of his career, working freelance for nearly ten years until coming on staff with a company that has allowed him to work remotely from the road.
Raising three children under the age of ten is bound to have its challenges regardless of where you are rooted, but the added element of living a mobile lifestyle with children is surprising to say the least. However, as Dan and Marlene explain their motives behind taking their family on the road, it’s clear that the decision was well calculated and thought out. “For us it wasn’t like a sudden epiphany that we wanted to simplify and live on the road. For us it was originally more about starting a family, having a kid, and wanting to go do something with our kid,” Dan shares.
The Mali Mish children are homeschooled, and much of their curriculum is based off of their current surroundings. “So much of what they’re learning is based on the opportunity that they’re having at the moment,” explains Marlene.
After living on the road for so many years, the Mali Mish family have built a stockpile of stories from their collective shared experiences. One of the more disgusting stories came while the family was traveling through Dawson City, Yukon Territory - where Dan drank the Sourtoe Cocktail, which features a real mummified human toe. “You have to do it,” Dan relishes. “I don’t see how people go there and don’t do the toe challenge. You’re pretty much at the edge of the world and this place lets you drink a shot with a human toe in it. And it’s only 5 bucks!”
Listen to the full audio interview with Dan and Marlene, and a special bonus clip with the Mali Mish kids, below.