There were three big hurdles in our minds that we needed to overcome in order to transition into the nomadic lifestyle. In chronological order, they were:
1. Selling Amalia's Pilates studio.
2. Chase quitting his job.
3. Selling our home.
SELLING THE STUDIO
Amalia started her Pilates studio in 2014 in a sweet little 500 square foot space in the heart of downtown Delray Beach, FL. She opened the studio with a friend but within the first year she bought out her partner (who decided she wanted to be semi-retired and remained an instructor) and outgrew the original space. She decided to move the studio down the street to a space 3x the size. Within the 2 years after that, she grew the business to 3x the staff and clientele as well. The dream was to create a business that would run without her. Essentially it did last year, when we took 2 months off to travel. But it also revealed to us what that really looked liked...not bad...but not easy. The idea of selling it instead started to become more practical in our minds when we started considering the idea of moving on the road full time.
I thought that selling the studio would take quite some time and that it would be the deciding factor on when we could actually leave. I mean. you first have to find someone who is even interested, go through lots of negotiation, draft a contract, get lawyers involved to review everything, etc... However, from start to finish, Amalia sold the studio in about a month...to one of her instructors in training. I was quite impressed in how fluid the sale went through. Even the lawyers that finalized the contract commented on how this kind of quick transaction never happens. They negotiated everything on their own, without brokers or lawyers. Just had a lawyer make it official at the end. It seemed like the universe was giving us good push in our new direction.
Amalia was happy that someone she knew was taking over and that the business she started was being left in good hands. It definitely relieved a lot of personal stress for her as well as the giving us the ability to move full steam ahead with our plans. I think that the business aspect of the studio was really weighing her down and she felt a great sense of relief when the sale went through.
One down...two to go.
QUITTING MY JOB
I worked for the same civil engineering company for five and a half years prior to submitting my resignation. The hard part for me is the idea of walking away from a steady job and a paycheck. I had never lived on my own without a job and was very apprehensive about how to pay for life without a regular income. Getting over this mental hurdle was a very difficult aspect. I also didn't hate my job or my coworkers and I definitely wasn't someone who dreaded going to work everyday. My biggest knock against my job was just having to be there from 8 am to 5 pm whether I had work to do or not. I also had health insurance and a 401k plan that I was walking away from.
Furthermore, I went through a lot of school (including a master's degree) and took some very challenging exams to get where I was. Becoming a Professional Engineering isn't impossible but its no walk in the park. Part of me felt that I was throwing away all that investment of time and energy. But what I came to realize is that I achieved my goal of becoming an engineer and that it was okay to shift my focus elsewhere especially if that meant spending more time with Amalia. And despite my respect for my profession and my firm, it just became very clear to me that I don't want to be chained to a desk for the next 2-3 decades. I started researching alternative lifestyles and income models and stoped believing that I didn't have a choice but to follow suit if I wanted to have children, healthcare and retirement. A lot of people think moving into an RV means forsaking those things.. but that was never our plan.
I gave my boss about 6 weeks notice as I knew that finding a replacement was going to take some time. I wanted to leave on a good note and I had no reason to burn any bridges.
Two down...one to go.
SELLING THE HOUSE (AND OUR STUFF)
The final hurdle...selling the house (and everything in it!). This was definitely the most challenging. I never though that downsizing would be such a challenge...and kind of expensive (subject of our next blog!). I was initially excited to start getting rid of stuff we didn't use. We were trending towards a minimalist lifestyle as it was anyways so emptying out the house of unused and unwanted items was something we already had planned to do. We began by purging the closets, pulling crap from under the beds, going through cabinets and piling up everything we knew we didn't need or want anymore.
Our house started to look like one of those homes from that show "Hoarders". But after a big haul to Goodwill and throwing a lot away it was much more manageable. We started selling items on Craigslist, at a local ebay store and through different mobile apps. Keeping up with responses to inquiries and meeting people throughout the weeks could honestly be a full-time job (and a low paying on at that). In an effort to sell items quickly we priced them very cheaply...we had many items listed for $5 which is hardly worth any amount of effort. However, my thought was that a lot of $5 items would add up. And in the end it did. We collected several thousand dollars buy selling mostly stuff we didn't use anyway.
Getting rid of the stuff we didn't need or want was easy. Finding something to do with the things we didn't want to get rid of was the hard part. When you live on an RV you have to make very conscious decisions about what goes and what stays. Differentiating between wants and needs becomes very clear cut and it's hard to let go of some of those wants. to help aid in making the decision of what was coming with us we essentially packed the RV as if we were really leaving. We packed our clothes, pots, pans, books, etc...everything. This allowed us to see what we had room for and what didn't.
We wanted to sell the house "by owner" and furnished ideally, so that we didn't have to try selling all of our furniture individually. The truth is, we have created commitments and some momentum with our new business (AML) and we didn't get the house on the market as soon as we would have liked. So after a week or 2 of trying to sell on our own, we decided to put the job in the hands of one of our close friends who is a realtor. This way, we don't have to wait for the house to sell for us to leave. Time is ticking, as we have our first private retreat scheduled in upstate New York in just a few weeks.
Once the house sells, we will most likely fly down for a few days to take care of some business and sell the rest of our stuff if necessary...but at this point we are just ready to take the leap!