Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Our motivations

When we first thought of traveling for a year, by selling the house and quitting our jobs, we knew we'd face a few objections, or at least, a few questions. We came up with a list of "reasons behind our motivations" in order to answer those questions.

What is it that motivates us to:
  • sell a house (considered an investment)
  • quit our jobs (how are you gonna pay for stuff? how can you afford to travel?)
  • buy a fifth wheel, a truck, get storage, increase the gas budget (are you nuts? can't you rent hotels like everyone else?)
  • minimize and purge a good chunk of our stuff (there's that word again - stuff!)
  • not look back in regrets
All good questions. It all comes down to 3 reasons for us:  
  • We want to be (and remain) debt-free
  • We want to travel
  • We know there's more to life than working for the weekend (and your 2-3 weeks' vacation)
Now, we know that we have an easier life than others. We don't have 2 kids to feed, raise and put through university. We aren't in bad shape financially. My parents are still in fairly good shape. We are healthy (physically and mentally). It's been good and my obsessive-compulsive nature will want to ensure that we remain in good financial position.

Reason 1: Be debt-free

I am proud and glad I did the "I want a house, it'll be a good investment". For 8 years, the house I purchased has been a good home to me, and then to us when I met my better half. We can afford it, but we cannot "work less to travel more" with a mortgage on our backs.

The way I see it, I am still working at my current job for the only reason that I cannot afford the house otherwise. I got the house because I was working at that same job and realized I made a good enough salary to afford a mortgage. Funny, eh? Over time, I grew comfortable in that job. Also, the job changed and most importantly, I changed.

I want to be my own boss doing what I love. For now though, I cannot do it while having the house to pay for. That will likely lead me to use my emergency fund and I do not want that. Staying at my current job is not a long-term option. Finding another job? Not interested, at least not in the town we currently live in. We are tired of the neighborhood and the town too. I despise the downtown core so it's not really an option for me. It would involve a longer commute, extra expenses (either for common transit or parking downtown), which I think defeats the purpose.

What I need to do is take that leap and start freelancing. Be able to work from anywhere is a nice thing. By selling the house, I will get rid of my biggest debt. The money invested, plus our savings between now and then, will be our ticket to buying a small property without the need for a mortgage.

That will see us debt free. And I love it.

Reason 2: Traveling

We decided, for a year, a year and a half, or more (!), to make traveling and exploring a priority. With still 22 years to pay on a mortgage, I was going nowhere fast. How can you pay a costly mortgage and travel 4-6 months per year? That also involves a lot of extra steps such as closing the house, have security or someone to check on it, insurance issue, etc. No thank you, not for me.

We have been saving for over a year already for that adventure. Yes, we will use a part of the house sale profit to fund it. It is my given right to do so for all the work we've put into it! We are also selling what we do not want to keep and putting in storage what we are keeping (items such as artwork, a bed frame and bedroom set, a few pieces of furniture, etc. that will all go to our new home). I will sell my small car (which is soon to be paid for) as well.

We are leaving on our adventure with no excess baggage (aka stuff), no debt and the savings to keep us afloat for at least a year (on a budget, but a debt-free budget!).

After that, we don't really have a plan. However, if we come back and rent an apartment or buy a small house (mortgage-free), we would still make travel a priority. That means it is up to US to be in charge of OUR jobs, OUR schedules, OUR lives.

Reason 3: Live your life

We aren't delirious, we know that we need to work to buy food and have a roof over our heads, etc. However, I think it is time to start thinking outside the "conventional box", the box that most people think is "normal".

I am tired of asking for vacations. I have 4 weeks vacations and I find it not enough. I can't imagine starting over somewhere else and have to go back to 2 weeks vacations. Also, when it's time to go on vacations, everyone else is likely on vacations too! And in those weeks you have off, you try to cram as much sightseeing as possible. No wonder why most people are tired coming back to work after a vacation.

If I am my own boss, then I am dictating my own schedule. I hope the same for my husband - that he can find a writing position and be able to do what he loves. I know it will take time and effort before either one of us can be producing enough money to be sustainable. But I am willing to try it. With our house expenses being a lot less, we won't need to bring in $5000 (net) per month in salary. We need to be able to eat, to have food, to warm the house and save. The rest is fluff.

We want to live. We want to get up, open the door and view the mountains. We want to smell grass and hear birds chirp. We want to lounge in our PJs until 10 am, sipping on coffee that we brewed on our camp stove. Then decide to pack up a lunch and go for a hike! Come back mid-afternoon, "work" if needed (hey, being a freelancer means working at odd hours!), then have a drink and watch the sunset together before prepping dinner, and either spend the evening around a campfire or play Scrabble inside.

That's life.