My wife and I recently made a pretty big change for us. Of course, for us, big changes seem to be the normal. This one, however, is guided by something real.
If you know anything about us, you know we moved from Indiana to Florida (in the snow, btw). Then, we went from living in an apartment to a 32-foot Class A RV from 1999. This was a huge change and one of the first big changes we made after getting married.
Our journey has been full of big changes as we sold the Class A about eight months after buying it due to mechanical issues. We lived in a hotel for about three months before witnessing something rather disturbing and moving in with family for about four months.
All of this moving was guided by the goal of buying a truck and traveling the United States with a travel trailer. We knew about 3 months into living in the Class A that this was a better situation for us and started making plans to move in this direction.
After living with family, we were able to buy a truck and a travel trailer, which we moved into and went right back to traveling. We had a great summer of exploring Wisconsin, parts of Michigan and a little bit of Indiana. However, we also realized some of the things we were missing and couldn’t do in our truck and travel trailer set up.
One of the major reasons for this new big change was the need for more freedom. We want to travel the entire country without being limited, and eventually the world. Our truck and travel trailer set up was great for going north, going east and going south. However, it wasn’t the best option for going west, which has been a desire for both of us since the first conversation of full-time travel.One of the major reasons for this new big change was the need for more freedom. Click To Tweet
The change we made (I will get into it in a few minutes), was guided by freedom.
Chasing Real Goals
Another huge reason for our travel plans changing and our living situation changing are two of the huge goals we have had since the day we decided to get married. We want a family and not just the typical two children family. We both desire a large family and have been suffering from baby fever for quite some time now.
Our truck and small travel trailer set up wasn’t really suited for children. While it had two bunk beds, the small size wasn’t conducive to living with a baby, two dogs and two full-grown adults that also need to work from home.
We had already started to discuss upgrading the truck and travel trailer for more power and more room. However, that would run between $35K and $60K, which means waiting another year or two in order to save that kind of cash; maybe longer.
The big change we made puts us in a situation where we can have a child without any worries about our living space. It also allows us to enjoy the process without as much stress.
Another huge goal we have had for quite some time is to get out of debt. It has felt like we are barely making progress (have made some here and there) because our emergency fund gets wiped out too quickly when something small comes up, such as a vehicle repair. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to work and we felt like we were one disaster away from really being broke and in trouble.
The change we made puts us in a better financial situation and should allow us to start working on paying off debts in a few months. We are going a bit out of order as we believe a larger emergency fund is necessary for those working for themselves than the recommended $1,000 from Dave Ramsey.
He recommends saving 3 to 6 months of bills after paying off all debts, but we are going to skip right to this step, first, as it will give us the necessary cushion to relax and start chipping away at our debts.
The Big Change
We went from a Class A of 32-feet (including driving cabin) to a Travel Trailer of 23 feet with a slide out rear bed. Now, we are traveling the country without either of these. We are not living in our truck, as that would be really small. Instead, we are using AirBnB rentals with the goal of staying on one place for a month at a time. Sometimes, it will be shorter, other times longer.This gives us some of those creature comforts we feel are helpful when it comes to our productivity. Click To Tweet
This gives us some of those creature comforts we feel are helpful when it comes to our productivity. We were really struggling to do work in the travel trailer on a day in and day out basis. It just wasn’t fully suited for the way we work and saving up for an upgrade seemed rather difficult while trying to be productive in that setting.
Sometimes, you have to make a change. Plans are templates and often need adjusting. We know we live a weird life and we are constantly saying, “our life is weird.” However, we love traveling and we love our life; just fell out of love with the cramped space.
Why the Change and What Guided it?
My wife and I visited Grand Haven, Michigan this fall and got lucky. The temperature was above 80 every single day and we were right on the beach. It was a little slice of heaven.
Our next stop was near a state park with sand dunes, which we enjoyed, as well. These two beaches, for some reason, started the wheels turning in my head. I didn’t know what had to change, but I knew something needed to change. I was disoriented, out of focus and struggling with certain things. Maybe the peace of the sand and water helped my mind focus and realize something had to give.
As we talked about things changing, we started to discuss what was driving our plans. We had gotten stuck in a rut of focusing on the next destination without a true goal driving us to go somewhere specific. We were too focused on the actual destination and not the reasons for the lifestyle we were living.
We made what we thought were good decisions. Traveling by truck and travel trailer with a campground membership allowed us to keep the monthly bills very low. However, this also caused us to make less because the working situation wasn’t so great for productivity.
I love working outside in my camping chair, but the weather takes this away sometimes and working inside becomes very difficult for me. My wife prefers a desk and a dinette isn’t a good substitute.
As we discussed what was driving us to live in a travel trailer, we realized the most important goals were not the drivers. We thought getting out of debt was the driver, but it wasn’t. Dave Ramsey says you should get a second job and get gazelle intense to get out of debt. Traveling doesn’t lend itself to a second job, but we can do other things from home to make more money, just not while living in a travel trailer.
I work for both clients and myself on this blog and through my eBooks. I can make more by doing more and taking on more clients. We can also make more money by getting back to blogging about our travels on LiveSmallAndWander.com. It has been neglected, but that will change very soon.
However, when you struggle to do the work you have in front of you because you’re not comfortable with the chair you’re sitting in or the work environment, doing more isn’t really an option.
The drivers changed, which meant something else had to change. Our main goals became evident as we spoke. We want to start our family and get out of debt. This led to looking at every option under the sun and opening ourselves up to the possibilities.
We looked into:
- Going back to traditional apartment/house living – Neither of us liked this idea, but had to look into it, anyway.
- Staying put in one campground in our travel trailer – Didn’t solve the stress of working in a small space and added to the monthly budget.
- Hopping from one membership campground to another in the same area – Still didn’t get rid of the small space for work, but wouldn’t add to our budget.
- Upgrading to a new truck and 5th wheel, while keeping the travel trailer until we could – Would take us years to get there by paying cash and financing only adds to our debts.
- Living in pet-friendly weekly/monthly hotels – This is our current backup plan if we cannot find an AirBnB to rent.
- Living in AirBnBs across the country – We chose this option, even though it meant paying rent again.
The option became clear and wasn’t what either of us would have thought before looking into our options. However, it allows us to continue to travel, while gaining creature comfort for work and home life. It also means we can bring a baby into the world and stay put for a few months, if necessary.
While it adds to the monthly budget, we were also able to use the sale of our travel trailer to fund the first couple months, which takes some of the financial stress away. This option simply made sense.Once we got out of our own way and looked at what was driving our decisions it became clear Click To Tweet
Once we got out of our own way and looked at what was driving our decisions it became clear. We are Christians, so we try very hard to make decisions that glorify God. The ability to start a family certainly glorifies God and the ability to become free of debt also glorifies God.
Now, we just have to keep working hard and trust that God will provide as we live our weird life and continue to see this beautiful country!