How We Found More To Life Part 2
In Part 1 of this post we began to tell you how it was that we came to find more to life. We told you about when we started wondering if there was more to life as well as why we started to wonder in the first place. Then we started to explain what we did about all of our wondering, beginning with asking ourselves a few questions. Today we want to tell you all about what we did next.
Hmm, not so good. Looking at the answers to the questions we had asked ourselves, it was clear: We weren’t headed in the direction we wanted to go in.
We wanted to live for more than just the weekend. We wanted to travel. We wanted to drastically cut down our cost of living.
We came up with a few different ideas (building a tiny house, Jon switching careers and becoming a firefighter to name a few), but nothing seemed right.
After a while, I began to have trouble seeing how we could break away from the tired routine that we had. One afternoon Jon put pen to paper. He opened up a light brown faux leather journal he'd received from a winery through his job. With a quick glance in my direction, he drew out two columns on the page. One column held our current expenses, and the other column held a proposed plan for what our new expenses would look like.
The black ink on the page spelled everything out for me in black and white, and suddenly I could see what Jon was seeing. The key to everything, as written on the page, was to sell our house, and make sure to spend no more than about $130K on the next house.
Over the months that followed, in the Fall of 2015, we spent many weekends traveling up to the Atlanta area. We had decided to look for a small house or to buy land to build a small house there because the cost of living was much better than Miami's. By the time we officially left Miami, we had gone through many more ideas (like building a shipping container home) and settled on living in an RV, that we would park on our land, for 3 months until our new tiny cottage (800 sq ft.) would be built in Northern Georgia.
Of course, that’s not exactly how the story ended up going! One thing I do want to point out is why we chose to start making changes by leaving our hometown. This change would address both the cost of living and the desire to travel more.
Miami is a very expensive city, and Atlanta, just a tad to the north offered a much cheaper cost of living–instant breathing room! Because Miami is all the way at the southern tip of a state, it takes about a 10-hour drive to make it out of the state. This makes it impossible to do much in the way of weekend travel (outside of the state or to anything other than a beach) by road. When we had left the state for vacation, we noticed there are many places you can live and be within a 3 hour drive to mountains, different cities, different states etc. We wanted to live in a place where that would be possible.
Well, we didn’t build our little house (we do still have the floorplan for it though) because in the process we discovered that you can actually travel around in the RV. Jon, I think, knew way before I did that the plans would change, but nonetheless we didn’t travel around much for a while (not an entirely bad thing given we’d hardly ever seen an RV before we moved into ours).
We traveled from state park to state park in Georgia. Then, we slowly began exploring parts of the Carolinas, even making it as far as Richmond, Virginia. And then, about 7 months into our adventure, we went to Texas for the RV Entrepreneur summit. After that we kept on going, and there was no going back. We fell in love with the road, the freedom, and with the feeling of waking up in a new place. Despite living in a tiny box with the contents of our house (contents we had loved) stuffed in a storage unit, we found more than we could have imagined, along the way.
We hit the road in 2016, the election year, and a year that saw a lot of negativity. But you know what? Nothing is as bad as it seems on the news. Negative things tend to be what's newsworthy–nothing new, this has always been the case. Yet, it was still completely surprising to find that people are by and large happy, kind, and extremely willing to help. Our entire adventure began thanks to the kindness of a complete stranger. For the most part no one is out to get you. There’s no sense in holding yourself back from exploring new places out of fear. We've always felt safe on the road. We’ve read similar things when it comes to world travel, and we cannot wait to discover this is true in other places around the globe for ourselves. Over the last 2 years we have found more kindness on the road than we would have thought given the news stories.
Once we attended the RV Entrepreneur Summit, we found more friends on the road than we thought possible. Jon and I are very content adventuring on our own. However, we do love the company of friends. Since our friends from back home are not full-time travelers, we didn’t really expect many interactions with friends. However, we met many new friends at the summit and that just opened the floodgates. We continue to meet new friends all the time. We also continue to meet up more often with the friends we have made on the road. We were even able to take a dream trip to Canada with our friends this summer. As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also been able to see old Miami friends that have moved away more than we did before traveling full-time. In fact, as I write to you right now, I am sitting at the dining table of one of our dear Miami friends.
Jon and I have seen more of the United States than we ever would have if we lived a more traditional lifestyle. The beauty here is abundant. There are more beautiful places than we thought. There’s so much we love that we had no idea we loved. The desert. We would've never guessed we loved the desert, but we do! We absolutely LOVE the desert. We love mountains. We love lakes. We especially love alpine lakes. We love Idaho! Growing up Idaho was a way to express the idea of the middle of nowhere, or a place with nothing to do. As it turns out the Fall is our favorite season. Who knew? We had no idea how breathtaking the Canadian Rockies are. It’s beautiful back in Florida, but there’s also so much more to see. Our trip to Canada was filled with the most amazing landscapes we have seen and we can’t wait to try to top that.
Leaving home, and living on the road has forced us to really push ourselves creatively and professionally. Pushing ourselves has led to new skills, new interests, and new endeavors. Traveling full-time has also allowed us to meet new people and come into contact with new opportunities. In many cases Jon and I still use all of the experience we’ve built up through the careers we had before, but we get to use that experience in new and exciting ways. This is not to say there isn’t a lot of trial and error, but for us personally, that’s better than the old routine we had where it was largely the same thing day in and day out.
It’s Your Life
Our life is ours to build. And it’s largely ourselves that hold us back. We’ve definitely learned that in the past 2 years. It seems all of the cheesy self-help books we love are right.
Nothing is perfect. We aren’t claiming that life now is perfect and worry free. But life wasn’t perfect and worry free before either. What we are saying is that we are doing what we want to do, what we dream of doing. And we are saying that taking a leap and making a change led us to more. We love living a nomadic lifestyle. Being digital nomads, living full-time on the road perfectly suits us. This may or may not be the case for you. But we wholeheartedly believe that if there's something you want or dream of, you must begin by making a change. That change you’re hoping for isn't going to come and knock on your door.
We feel the key is to always keep making changes, even so-called little changes. Change is what helps you get “un-stuck”. If you’re feeling like you’re wanting more out of life, you may want to switch careers, move houses, move cities, change your morning routine, or even listen to a new podcast. Yes, we found more by living on the road, but in a big picture sense we found more because we made a change.
If you’re on the fence about RVing full-time, van-life, or any other form of the digital nomad lifestyle, feel free to ask any questions or bounce off ideas in the comments below (or email us, or find us on social media). A mobile lifestyle is probably not for everyone, but it’s definitely amazing if it hits all the checkboxes for you.