How we decided to pull the trigger and move into an RV
This post is not a declaration that everyone need run away in a camper to live an extraordinary life. This is simply an account of us waking up and realizing that the world is full of options.
To not explore options and chase dreams seems a bit sad to me.
We are going to start exploring and chasing, Win or Lose.
First, the “back story”:
Life was/is good! The boss (wife) and I are healthy and secure. We had decent jobs, a comfortable home, a month of vacation each year and our finances were looking good. Our 2 children were out to the house and doing well for themselves. We were empty-nesters having conversations about vacations, hobbies and what to do next weekend.
I was a firefighter and the wife worked management for a large corporate business. We had captured our version of the “American Dream”. Another 10 – 15 years of years of work and then retire comfortably. Maybe travel a bit more and spoil grand-kids. Our jobs were no longer fun but the pay was what we were trading our time for and the money took care of our needs and then some.
It was boring but it was working.
Then came our visit to our daughter in Idaho: (May 2015)
Our daughter had taken a job managing a horse stable at a fly-in ranch in the remote mountains of Idaho. She is a young adventurous soul with a passion for horses getting paid to live in an amazing place. When the opportunity presented itself to visit her we were all over it!
We flew out to Salt Lake city from Orlando, drove through amazing country to arrive in Salmon Idaho (Didn’t see a single potato). Idaho is a beautiful place! From the town of Salmon we hopped on a single prop charter plane and flew into the mountains to visit our daughter. There are no roads to get to this ranch.
After snow covered mountains, breathtaking scenery and flying through cloud banks, we landed on a grass strip on the edge of a river in a valley surrounded by mountains. We spent 5 days there with our daughter and every moment was wonderful.
Having made friends with the managers at the ranch while we visited and telling them how impressed we were with the place they offered us JOBS! I’m not talking Fortune 500 employment or pay, it was a modest but fair offer for seasonal employment in an amazing location.
The wife and I considered it. We wanted to say yes but our life was such that we had too many obligations and stuff to manage. Besides, our retirement savings were not set up for us to take pay cuts and run away at this point in our lives. After a day of deliberation, we had to decline the offer.
I was crushed to pass on such an amazing life experience and opportunity.
We vowed that we would structure our lives in such a way to never have to pass on living a dream again. But how?
We analyzed our priorities and found that experiences, not “things” were what made us happy. Both of us are in our 40’s and in good health but we are aware that doesn’t last forever. If we are planning to live life chasing experiences It will probably be more fun to do it in strong healthy bodies rather than in our bodies 15 years from now.
We also recognized that we don’t want to HAVE to work until we die. How can we build a nest egg or parachute to ensure we could live our later years with comfort and dignity? The stock market scared us. Small business is an option but not much of a sure thing. Our solution was to invest all of our cash savings and disposable income into rental real estate.
I had a friend who was very successful in business and invested in residential rental properties. He introduced me to the key concepts and how it worked. I read books, listened to podcasts and scoured the web for practical information. Over the course of the next 12-months we purchased and renovated 3 properties and put renters into them. It damn near killed us but we made it happen. We wanted it that bad!
Our nest egg now consisted of 4 properties (3 rentals plus our home), a partial pension from my job (starting at age 55) and a 401K from 17 years at my wife’s job. We had no consumer debt and our incomes far exceeded our monthly expenses. Our options increased dramatically.
Exploring our options we asked…..how much is enough? We were working jobs we no longer found fulfilling just to make more money. To what end? Our parachute was in place. Now it was time to do what we wanted!
Then the crazy idea came. What if we convert the house we live in to a rental and move into an RV? WE could live locally for a while, get our bearings and then hit the road. We could stop and work seasonally to cover expenses and then move on to another adventure. The boss said she wants to sell ice cream, I want to be a whitewater river guide. Let’s do it!
And here we are. We sold 98% of our possessions, rented out the house we built 18 years ago and raised our kids in, bought an RV and a truck to tow it. Currently we are living in a campground and saving every penny we can to build a cash emergency fund for the road.
Our life now is simpler and significantly more interesting. Our current big challenges are, figuring out the nuances of living in an RV and figuring out where we are going when we hook up our home on wheels and hit the road.
We intend to hit our savings goal in Early 2017.
When that number is reached we will hook up and pull out of Florida. The plan is to point the truck West. I’m not yet sure of the destination but i’m looking forward to the journey. We aren’t sure what will happen but we are certain that it will not be ordinary.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned for updates!
Please let us know you thoughts in the comment section below!