Catherine Abegg » wedding & portrait photographer from seattle, wa... specializing in lifestyle, travel, and film photography.

Mali Mish Family Photos // Bend, Oregon

This is the Mali Mish crew. They have been living in their airstream named Mali Mish since 2008 (or “The Mish” for short; as in, “let’s head back to The Mish for dinner”), and have in time grown to be a family of five + one cat. We met them at the great gathering of Descend On Bend, and obviously I was fiercely drawn to them & to their story, since we also hope to live a life on the road with our child. After quarantining them to the campfire so that Michael & I could ask them one billion eager questions about their life on the road, I finally got up the courage to ask if I could meet them the following morning to photograph them in their home on wheels… and thankfully, they didn’t think I was too creepy & they said yes.


When they first moved into their airstream, it was mom, dad, their two girls Ava & Mila, and their cat… and since then they have added their son Luka too. Some of the things we were most interested in talking to them about was how they transitioned during their life before & after Luka, and why they decided to keep going even after he was born; because obviously we have also chosen to give birth to our son and then continue on with our adventures as a family, so we were interested in how they made it work. And we also had a lot of questions about their schooling situation. We knew that they homeschooled (or “roadschooled,” as is the appropriate term), but we really wanted to get their perspective on it & how they’d made it work for them. I know that school is a little bit more in the future for us, but Michael & I have opposing views on traditional schooling, so it was good for us to meet a family who are living this life and providing for their children an education based on experience.

But it wasn’t from all of our incessant interrogation that I learned the most from this amazing family… it was from my time spent with them in their trailer the next morning. I knocked on their door at 9am, and because of the inevitable nature of camping when the campfire has this tendency to draw you in for way too long into the night, they were not all awake yet. So I sat patiently at their dining room table while each child each made their way out of bed on their own time, the curtains were drawn for light to come streaming into The Mish, outfits were picked out & hairs brushed, and breakfast slowly started to take form with the help of every member of the family. Just like in any other home, time took on its own desires, small arguments were made & small arguments were resolved, a little coaxing had to be done to get things done, and everyone interacted with each other in a familiar, at times playful manner.

It felt like home.

Which reiterated what I’ve always known: That home is where your people are. It doesn’t matter the size of your house, the location of your house, or if your house even has a location… what matters is that it’s a place where living is encouraged, and where love is given & received.

We eventually made it out of The Mish so that I could take a few photos of them all outside, and even then it felt like home. The kids have an intimacy with nature that can only come with having lived almost all of their years with a freedom to explore. They seemed to be learning with each step they took in the wild brush & with each breath of fresh air that they took in… and I found myself learning too.

Thanks to this incredible family for patiently schooling us on all things road-living, and for teaching us what’s most important in this crazy world… you left us truly inspired.

{this post can also be found on our other blog:! follow along!}


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