Well, we’ve done it — we’ve sold our rental property and our house. For the first time since 1992, I haven’t owned any real estate (and at one point we had 3 homes). We decided to go all-in with our location independent lifestyle. As I type this, I’m sitting on the patio of a condo I rented in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
We sold 99% of our belongings for pennies on the dollar. All those treasures I’d found over our 20+ years together are gone. The high-end stuff that we bought when business was booming is gone. The masks I bought as we travelled the world are gone. Photo albums are gone (I kept a few of them but basically no photos of our lives before we met.)
My walk-in closet has been reduced to a 4′ wide closet which I share with Steve and the stuff that was in the hall closet in the house.
I have to remind myself “it’s just stuff”. It’s stuff that we actually don’t need. It’s stuff that weighs us down. It’s stuff that we have to let go so we can follow our dreams.
I’ve been longing for this type of lifestyle for years. My first mentor had me write out a list of what I wanted for my life and one of the items on it is “living where I want to live”.
I wrote that because Steve was in the military at that time and we’d just received a posting that neither of us wanted. We knew that we would be posted one day, and that’s why I created a flexible, portable business right from the start — we just felt like we were being punished when we were posted to this particular base — so Steve quit and we decided we’d figure out the pension side of things later.
When the effects of the 2008 / 2009 economy nearly destroyed my business, I moved my office back home after all my employees quit one by one. I was in a really dark place for a while. My pity party went on far too long. I was lost, confused and lacked confidence for quite a while.
When I started to pull myself back together and figure out what I wanted, the dream of living where I want to live while I continue to make money resurfaced. I took myself through an exercise that I ask my clients to do — imagine your ideal lifestyle and your ideal day.
Document with such clarity that an actor and director could reenact this day — from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed. Where are you? Who are you with? What does your bedroom look like? What type of accommodation are you living in? What do you smell? See? Feel? Taste? What do you do in the day? Who do you talk to? … and so on…
My ideal day takes place in a villa in Tuscany. I am living a jet-setting lifestyle and I’m making money as an entrepreneur, author, speaker and consultant. I have a few brands and they are managed by an excellent leadership team. I am a subject matter expert on reinvention — both personal and business — and I get paid well to help others do the same. (There’s more to it than this but this is the simplified version.)
With our eldest daughter settled in her job and talking of plans to buy a house with her boyfriend and our youngest daughter starting her second year of university, Steve and I started talking about bringing this dream to life. I wanted to sell everything and travel the world with nothing more than a backpack. While this is not unusual if you are in your 20’s or 30’s, we are 50. We are “supposed” to be using this time in our lives to pay off our mortgage and build up our retirement fund. We decided we’d rather enjoy being together and travelling the world while we still have our health. We’ll figure the rest out later.
Steve wasn’t quite ready to have nothing though. He needed an in-between. A place for his stuff, a place to call “home”.
Last summer we bought the “Bellagio” a 2012, Montana Big Sky 3585sa from a couple we met at our eldest daughter’s horse show. We had never been inside a RV before and we were blown away at how spacious they are — 2 TVs, fridge, convection/microwave and a shower… we were so green… haha!
We moved into the rig (I still don’t know why they are called rigs and now it’s a bit embarrassing to ask) at the end of August with the intention of travelling North America for 2 years before selling it and moving overseas until we get bored and want to come home. It didn’t quite work though as our tenant was a problem and we ended up breaking the lease and moving back into the house in December. We put the house on the market back then too.
When we accepted the offer on the house in early February, we decided to bite the bullet and renovate the rig. There was nothing wrong with it, except it wasn’t to our taste. It was 50 shades of brown and I’m more of a 50 shades of grey kind of person (no, not in “that” way).
We figured, it’s only about 400 square feet, so how much time would it take to install a washer/dryer combo unit, rip out the carpet, paint all the walls and cabinets, install vinyl laminate and replace the bathroom vanity?
I can honestly say we have never underestimated the scope of a project as badly as we did this one. It’s been 2 months of many hours each day on work days and full days on days off.
We got as much as we could get done together, done before I left but there was so much more to do. We couldn’t move the rig from our friend’s driveway because it was still torn apart. We obviously couldn’t move into it when we moved out of the house. So since March 26th, Steve has been living in a hotel and busting his butt trying to get the rig back together before joining me here. I hope he is able to leave it knowing that he’ll be able to move it and move into it when he goes back home — I’m here for a month and he’s here for 18 days.
The transition hasn’t been as smooth as we hoped but it is what it is. We’re now living our dreams. We’ve started our new chapter.
I can’t think of a better way to spend our 20th wedding anniversary than back in the place where we got married and started creating dreams together.