We are the Bagasaos, a family of 10 plus a cat traveling the USA for our Christian music mission. We have been traveling full time since February of 2012. We’re happy you’re here. Grab a cookie for each hand, spill some coffee on the couch, and meet the family!
Clockwise from center: Stephen, Eliana, Elijah, Marissa, Emily, Hannah, Elisabeth, Rebecca, Christy with Judah
At the Grand Canyon, left-ish to right-ish: Hannah, Elijah, Elisabeth, Stephen, Emily Rose, Rebecca, Judah, Christy, Eliana, Marissa
Steve is more commonly known by his stage name, Stephen Bautista. He is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter who runs Stephen Bautista Music, our music mission. He is also the man who can fix anything, the “go ask Daddy” aspect of our roadschooling, the techie, and the instigator behind the phenomenal hikes we take.
Steve was a US Air Force brat, so traveling is in his blood, although we’ve taken it to a new extreme. He graduated from Marquette University in Wisconsin with a biology degree, established an appraisal business in Nevada, and now is a musician–it’s a natural progression, don’t you think?
Christy runs the roadschool and The Travel Bags blog. She also owns and blogs at The Simple Homemaker. She is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in many places, but none as important as right here. Grin. She wrote the ebook, From Frazzled to Festive: Finding Joy and Meaning in a Simple Christmas.
Christy and Stephen secretly eloped to Las Vegas in 1996–we highly recommend eloping, but not in secret. Christy is a Wisconsin Lutheran College graduate. She grew up on a fourth-generation farm in Wisconsin’s cheese curd and cherry country. This seems like an appropriate time to warn you that you can take the cheesehead out of Wisconsin, but you can’t take the cheese out of Christy’s jokes–case in point. (We apologize in advance for her humor.)
Hannah (20) is a freelance writer. She sells articles, writes poetry and short stories, and is currently editing one of her novels. She is also working on an extraordinary chocolate cookbook with no grains or sugar. She is an avid pianist and photographer.
Hannah is a Crohn’s warrior, having been diagnosed a few months before we went on the road full-time. She keeps the disease at bay mostly with diet and with a super positive attitude about the whole mess. Hannah is in the process of launching a blog encouraging others with similar challenges…and sharing her chocolate recipes. Currently she’s trying to figure out how to add a baby grand piano to the rig. We might have to kick her out.
‘Rissa (19) (also known as Nee or Nancy) has been singing with Stephen on the road since she was 15 and made her Nashville debut on his fourth CD, A Wondrous Journey–An Acoustic Christmas. She is a senior in college with a goal of earning her entrepreneurship degree debt-free. So far, so good. Her plan is to run her own art business, which she has already launched via Facebook, The Art of Marissa Renee. When you click over and check out her amazing portraits, remember that she’s self-taught. Marissa also plays guitar and ukulele, because they’re small enough to fit in the trailer, and is editing a novel she wrote for her sister, Emily.
Gracie Bean (17) is a crucial behind-the-scenes team member. She has a lovely voice and joined Stephen and two of her sisters for a Christmas quartet in 2015. Elisabeth would like to play the cello, but trailer living and cellos aren’t highly compatible, so for now she practices piano and ukulele and has just begun violin…which is like a small cello…sort of. Elisabeth loves to read and prefers hikes that won’t get her killed. She is a favorite among the little ones for her gentle spirit.
“Rose” (14) is our comic relief. She is gradually preparing to join the singing team and has just taken up the violin. For now we make her practice far, far away, but we’re looking forward to future piano, vocal, string quartets with her and her sisters. Meanwhile, we’re enjoying the laughs she brings to the family and the songs the four oldest girls sing together. Emily, too, appreciates hikes where the chances of survival are strongly in her favor. She is also a talented artist. (Kidding about that practicing far, far away comment.)
Elijah the Boy (11) loves reading and Legos. He’s also recently gotten serious about his piano practicing, so when there’s no space to spread out the Legos, you can often find him hitting the keys. He signs a song or two for many of the performances using American Sign Language. Elijah loves exploring the world and is always up for an adventure and for getting to know people. He wants to be a chef someday and possibly a pastor, so we give him as much practice as we can (on the cooking, not the preaching). He makes a mean caramel brownie and pizza pie that will make you die happy.
Becca-Boo (9) doesn’t remember much about life before we hit the road–she was only three. She has a knack for music and likes playing guitar, piano, and ukulele. She has a lovely voice and sings often. Her interests are numerous, but do not include math. She is a book-lover, much to the chagrin of our limited shelf space. She seems to have the art gene as well, and makes a hearty pot of oatmeal. Someday she wants to be a baker, and we’re encouraging her to perfect her cookies and biscuits.
Little Ellie (5.5) is our Thanksgiving baby, and we couldn’t be more thankful for her! She was not yet three months old when we started full-time. She has been singing on stage since she was two years. She loves all things bookish, pink and purple, flowery, and cute. She is our little gardener and is responsible for the pots of tomatoes, flowers, and questionable flora growing outside our trailer. She loves everything creepy and crawly and is afraid of nothing…except spiders. Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh!
Judah Ebenezer Robert
Eb was born on the road in August of 2015. He is an unimaginable joy. He also made the trailer shrink incredibly with his boyish exuberance. He loves books, dogs, horses, cats, Hannah’s chocolate, and balls, but his first love is music. He grooves to anything. He loves music so much that we had to get him a decoy keyboard so the other kids could get some piano practice in without Eb literally dancing on the keys. We adore him…but he doesn’t sleep enough. Grin. You may call him “Kid Lone Ranger.”
Tuppence A Bag
Tuppence A Bag was named after the song “Feed the Birds, Tuppence a Bag” in Mary Poppins. She is a rescue kitten from Door County, Wisconsin, who joined our family in July of 2015. We found her after an eight-month nationwide search for the perfect traveling kitty. She is it! Just don’t touch her when she has that look…you know the one. Yikes. She claims “the throne” as her own, so don’t forget to knock before entering our tiny bathroom.
We drive a 15-passenger Chevy Express Extended Van outfitted for 13 people. It boasts a 6-liter gas engine with a 6-speed transmission. Our trailer and full-time home is a Keystone Passport. With the tongue, it’s 33 feet, which means around 30-feet inside. It has a single half slide about 10 feet long, which moves out 18 inches. Yes, it really does sleep all 10 of us, and yes, it has all the comforts of home…except room…and durability. We call it home, because home is where you park it, and anywhere we go with the people we love is home, sweet home.
Storyville in South Dakota, 2016: (On the rock) Rebecca, Elijah, Emily Rose, (In the dirt) Stephen, Christy, Judah, Marissa Elisabeth, Eliana, Hannah
Mount Rainier, 2016 (L to R) Elisabeth, Emily, Eliana, Rebecca, Marissa, Elijah, Hannah, Stephen, Judah, Christy