Here we are
We’re a family of 4 (+ 2 dogs) from Southern California. We’ve talked about going full-time for years, but only recently (2015) has everyone been a ‘Yes’.
Where the idea came from
It started somehow with a google search maybe – probably for travel ideas hoping for an escape from the drudge of life, or maybe homework for my oldest. We talked about moving – I suggested the Caribbean, but my wife said that was too far from family. I suggested we go to the Seychelles Islands to look for undiscovered pirate treasure. The kids said ‘Yes!’, the wife – “Too far”. I mentioned how much closer the Caribbean was and she said “maybe some day”. That was a win that started it all.
From there, when I got frustrated or bored at work, I’d end up finding a blog of some family that had tossed out the traditional life to live a life of exploration and adventure. I started to wonder what life would be like if we stopped worrying about the traditional life of getting a job to pay for the house while stashing money away for retirement – if we lived that long.
Other things we tried
Our house needed repairs, and we needed vacation, but neither was happening. From being tired, or ill, or too much running around for errands, we never seemed to have a good time for all of us to take a vacation. We finally refinanced the house and took a bit of cash and upgraded the house. We redid the whole kitchen, the baths, the floors, the ceilings, the patio cover, the garage door.
But after a year of living in the newness of the upgrades, we realized that life hadn’t changed. We still got up to do the same things everyday and we recognized why it’s called the “grind”.
Finding a new way to earn money
Most of the time I love work. I enjoy what I do – building software teams and architecting software & web solutions. But work was starting to tear at me. So much stress from the chaos the creeps in from unclear business goals, meetings about meetings, you know how it is.
I have always been generally in decent health, and my blood pressure was always low – so low that everyone took it at least twice and asked me about it. A year ago my doctor told methat I had high blood pressure. I laughed and figured it was a mistake. But a few more appointments kept showing the same thing. I realized that my job and the workload and the chaos we’re taking it’s toll on me. I know – whine – welcome to the club, right. But I realized that I had worked for myself before, I could do it again – maybe??
I decided to work for myself and make a go of it. It was freeing – not nearly as profitable (most new ventures aren’t), but man did my health, my outlook, and my enjoyment of life all flourish. It’s still not very profitable, but with money in the bank, we’re hoping to turn that corner still.
Getting everyone on board
I started asking the family more about “why – why not”. Why shouldn’t we go? With a lot of discussion, we realized that what we wanted was to spend more time with friends, more time together, more time exploring and adventuring. Our favorite times we’re sharing meals with friends and talking about life, work, kids, and just enjoying the time together.
My oldest started high school and we knew our clock was ticking. We needed to do this as a family and that meant we needed to do it soon. We began to think about just doing 1 year. We talked about all the changes – back to homeschool for the oldest. Away from family and friends – which we didn’t see very often anyway since we’re all so busy. How would we do it? Where would we go? Could we afford it? Should we rent or sell?
Over the year of discussing it often, finally, everyone agreed that traveling would be good and everyone wanted to do something different, this could work. Over time, while trying to start a business and think about traveling, we thought about selling the house vs renting. If we rented, and someone defaulted, it would cause financial trouble for us. Then we got an offer without even listing the house – an answer to prayer.
We bought an RV
It took us a few tries (and we’re still looking to upgrade) we finally got an RV. After 3 weeks, we were learning that the kitchen is a bit too small, the shower too awkward, the storage a bit weak, and in general, the rig really is just a recreational vehicle, not a living vehicle.
We’ve stuck a whole bunch of stuff in storage – will we regret that – not if we’re coming back. Our plan is to do a year (or so) and then come back and figure out what the new normal is. A year is a long time, but it’s also a short time. It’s a good amount of time to allow flexibility, changing of our mindsets, and being open to new plans, opportunities, and interests.
Other options include moving to Texas, or maybe Florida. We’ll see what the Lord has in store and maybe some other amazing place will open up.
Will we survive
We, like any other family, have our ups & downs and good days & bad. We love having the space of a house to move around – each of us can be in a separate room – and/or we can hang together. Being in the confines of 300 square feet will be less than 25% of our current house, and the only place to escape will probably be the bathroom.
So, we’re hoping we’ll be able to handle the pressure of being so close together constantly – especially 2 sisters So far, we’re adapting, minus the small issues of not enough space to be completely comfortable or having a place for everything. After all, where do you put your printer in an RV?
On the other hand, since I left a full-time job about a year ago, we’ve had much more time together and since the girls are experienced homeschoolers, we should survive OK.