How did we turn down this crazy road?
It seems only natural to start our story by answering the question that everyone asks (including me on occasion). “How did we get here?” To get to the answer, let’s have a quick flashback…
Matt and I met in high school. Here is a picture of us heading out to my Junior Prom. Clearly, we have been trendsetters for a loooong time.
High school love is a fickle thing. We didn’t last long after that fabulous photo was taken. Eight years later our paths crossed again, while I was working in Phoenix and Matt was heading for a job in Cali(fornia). In 14 short weeks, we were engaged. Proof that we are not afraid to take a leap!
Over the next 2 years I lost my job in the construction industry and moved back to St. Louis. We got married in a small ceremony in Taos, NM. I spent 16 months working third shift. We bought our first house. And it seems like life hasn’t slowed down since.
I started the slow climb up the corporate ladder, savin’ our pennies for someday. Matt continued traveling for work about half the year. We were living in a tiny ranch with one bathroom, packed to the rafters with music/audio equipment. I’ve always been fairly independent, living alone most of my adult life, and was struggling to learn how to share my personal space.
After a couple of promotions, it just seemed like a natural progression to buy a bigger house. (Cuz that’s what it’s all about, right?) I could have my own space. We would have more room for our “stuff”. We could move closer to work, reducing my 45-minute commute. This is where things started going off the rails.
We decided on a Friday that it was time to trade in the Chevy for a Cadillac. By Sunday we were under contract on a 3,000 square foot house with all the perks, including an in-ground pool. It was a-mazing! I had a home office. We had whole room dedicated to a gym (which never really got set up). The wet bar in the finished basement was bigger than the kitchen in our starter home. And, of course, there was this…
The house had a built-in 10-bottle wine rack. We weren’t wine drinkers when we bought the house. Now we had to have 10 bottles of wine, so the rack looked nice. We had a big dining room; so we had to buy a dining room set. The pool needed a new pump; so we bought a new pump, a filter, and a liquid chlorinator. Plus an absurdly expensive sofa bed. (my bad…) We never did figure out what to put in the upstairs living area. It ended up being the pet area for our brand new German Shepherd rescue puppy. Because we obviously didn’t have enough on our plates.
Suddenly our a-mazing new house became an anchor. We were spending every spare dollar and minute on the house. We didn’t have time to enjoy ourselves because we had 10 years’ worth of projects on the honey-do list. At the same time, my job was slowly turning away from the parts I loved and focusing more on the parts I didn’t love. I was ready for a change, but my options were drastically restricted by two mortgages, two car payments, student loans, etc. We had started an endless spiral of movin’ up, and it was weighing heavily on our health and our marriage.
About a year into the new mortgage, I made a tearful call to Matt from a parking lot on my lunch break. I had reached the edge. My life was no longer my own. It was going to give me a heart attack (ack). It was a hard conversation, particularly for me, because I had driven many of the requirements of this new lifestyle. I had insisted on the extra room for a home office. I had insisted that we move closer to my current job. In hindsight, it seems so obvious that we were off-track, but sometimes you just have to learn from experience.
We oughta know by now that there is an important lesson here about looking before you leap. Instead, we chose to learn that the “white picket fence” wasn’t for us and take the next leap!
So where could we go from here? I was ready to sell it all, quit my job, and buy a tiny house where I could raise bunnies. If it seems a bit desperate and dramatic, I was certainly feeling desperate and dramatic at the time.)
Not that I’ve ruled out a tiny house with bunnies at some point in the future.
However, Matt’s inner-rockstar had other ideas… tour bus.
***Disclaimer: This is not our bus. This is how Matt’s inner-rockstar sees our bus. A full tour of the actual bus is coming soon.***
Let me clarify few things…
First of all, we do NOT recommend selling your home one year after moving in. We were incredibly lucky to be able to sell our house for a large profit, which allowed us to break even on all of the pool equipment, loan fees, sellers’ agent fees, etc. We may also have to pay gains taxes. It really makes you wonder if that’s all you get for your money…
Second of all, we do not expect the RV lifestyle to be a magic cure for all that ails us. We DO expect that reducing the “stuff” in our lives and choosing time over money will give us the freedom to experience life more fully. This is not an “easy” lifestyle by most people’s standards. Sure, we will post a lot of pics of us sitting on the porch, cocktails in hand. What we don’t post is pictures of me cleaning dog hair twice a day, or of Matt emptying the black tank. (You’re welcome.)
The fact is, we will not be sitting around soaking up the rays. RV life requires quite a bit of hands-on and DIY. But knowing that we are the direct beneficiaries of that hard work and that it buys us a different kind of freedom, makes that work more rewarding than the paycheck we are giving up. (At least for now.)
So we will ride the wave of good luck that optimism and honest living affords us. We will continue down this road until we get bored or run out of money. Then, we will take the next exit in life and see where we land.
PS. You may have noticed a (not so) subtle reference in purple throughout this article. Music plays a big part in our lives. So in each article we write, we will pick a song that fits the story. Something that we are likely to sing along to while road tripping towards the next adventure. For those of you paying along at home, see if you can catch my hints and name-that-tune before you reach the end of the article. These are some of our favorites. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!