Have you ever experienced a 2 month period where your life changed more than it had in the last 10 years?
Well, that just happened to us.
We found out our house had mold, and though the mold was minor by conventional standards, I believe it was negatively affecting my health.
Now, before I go any further, let me tell you: I’ve long been fantasizing about hitting the road in a more permanant fashion than short vacations. Tahoe life has just been too monotonous for me in many ways. And we’ve always taken these short, few-day vacations that just don’t cut it for me.
So I used the mold issue to turn lemons into lemonade. All in a months time, we LITERALLY:
- Completely moved out of our home.
- Sold my car.
- Found a renter for our home after professionally remediating the mold.
- Bought a diesel Dodge Ram 2500.
- Bought a 33 foot travel trailer.
- Moved my inventory business out of my home office and into the garage of my wonderful employee, without whom this all wouldn’t be possible.
- Bought everything we need to travel.
- And, HIT THE ROAD!
As I write this, we’ve been on the road for about 2 weeks, with a few nights throughout Nevada, 7 nights in Las Vegas, and now a few weeks in Oceanside, California.
So far, I LOVE it, and I think its also very good for my health. We are adjusting to the lifestyle change, but I can tell you that the challenge it brings is so welcome as I near my 4oth birthday and life was just starting to take on a grinding routine which sucked the soul right out of my body. Don’t get me wrong, there are MANY things I love about living in Tahoe. But this change is welcome, physically, spiritually, emotionally.
This blog is about money, so here’s a tidbit on that aspect: We went round and round about selling vs renting our home, and I decided on renting it, mainly because I think it’s a better investment decision; mainly because there’s no where else I really want to put that equity money. Interest rates are too low. Also, I have what you might call “relational capital” in Tahoe – it’s easy for me to be a landlord there because I know everyone, including many prospective tenants, roofers, plumbers, etc. So I can leverage that advantage. My home loan is also at an incredibly low 3.1%, and my property tax basis / assessment is also very low. Trading in and out of real estate is exorbitantly expensive, unlike trading in and out of stocks, so you had better be sure you want to buy or sell, because doing so takes a big bite out of your capital. I just want to remain invested as much as possible, and selling the home would have been un-investing, with no where to put the capital.
So, now, we are getting $2800/mo rent for our home. And, renter is taking over gas and electric, so let’s call it $3000/mo. So, as long as we don’t spend $3,000/mo on housing on our travels, we will come out AHEAD. Imagine that – traveling the world for less than the cost of being stationary! Most RV parks we will stay at will be in the neighborhood of $800-1500/mo, so that will leave us with $1500/mo we can spend on other stuff before we risk being financially worse off. We do have a truck payment now – I decided not to pay cash for the truck – and of course many new incidental expenses like diesel fuel, gear for the new lifestyle, eating out more because it’s harder to stock and cook in a trailer, etc.
But I don’t want to get too carried away with EXACT numbers. The point is that you CAN travel the country in a truck and trailer for as much or LESS than the cost of living in a house, even with kids! It’s pretty amazing. Of course, the income source for your family has to be flexible and location independent, which is the harder piece of the puzzle.
So, I’m giving myself a pat on the back. For once, instead of just blogging and pontificating about lifestyle design, I’ve actually taken a leap into a new, risky, scary, challenging lifestyle. It’s one big experiment and it feel so good to free myself of the barnacles of material poessession, and shed the weightiness of mid-life routine, to push the reset button.
I’ll blog as I can about how things go, but for now, even the hardships of this trip are refreshing to me. In some ways the trip feels like the fountain of youth. You 20-somethings reading this don’t believe me, but I promise you, when your kids get older, life will take on a mind-numbing routine. The longer you stay in that routine, the harder it is to break out and the more numb you become to it.
Would we have had the guts to do this had our house not had the mold issue? Definitely not. LOL. No way. But, then again, God works in mysterious ways, doesn’t He?