Over the last week or two, Shelly and I have been discussing our next adventures. Our planning process is somewhat disjointed, but it’s a process that gives us goals yet allows for enough flexibility to fully embrace serendipity.
Our Current Situation
We have some accumulated debt to pay off, which is our current #1 priority. After we pay off the debt, we’ll attempt to rebuild our savings. The goal is always 3-6 months of living expenses, which will give us a cushion for any future adventures. We’re rebuilding our foundation for future adventures.
To pay off our debt and build our savings, we’ve gotten “normal” jobs. I’m currently working at Dixieline, a lumber company. I’m a materials handler, which is the fancy term for working in the lumber yard. Shelly recently got a job with a local recreation department, which I imagine will be just like Parks and Rec.
Immediate Future Plans
Both jobs are part-time and do not offer benefits, so we’re continuing to apply for better jobs across a variety of industries. I really enjoy my current job, which may or may not offer opportunity for more hours or higher pay. We’re in the process of getting certified in California so we can work as substitute teachers. The pay is decent and the working conditions and hours are ideal. The goal is to rebuild a foundation as quickly as possible, so we’re not tying ourselves to our current positions.
Since we’re focusing on saving money, we’re not looking beyond the greater San Diego area for the immediate future. We enjoy the area, the weather is fantastic, our kids are ensconced in the local school district, and the cost of moving anywhere would be prohibitive. Also, we’re really digging our MMA training at the San Diego Fight Club. It’s a welcome change from all the running we’ve done over the last few years.
Six Month Plans
The advantage to living in an RV is mobility- we can move pretty much anywhere in the US with little notice and few headaches. Because of this, we’re considering returning to the classroom as full-time teachers in a variety of interesting places. By the start of the next school year, we’ll have accumulated enough savings to be able to move the travel trailer. Our kids would also be able to start a new school district at the beginning of the year.
As of right now, the likely locations would be California (since we’re getting certified here), Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona. Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana are on the secondary list. There’s something appealing about considering living in a place like Vegas or Reno for a year. Imagine the possible meetups?
One potential complicating variable- we’ll likely lose Stephanie (or niece) as our live-in nanny. She’s been taking online college classes for a few semesters and is eager to attend “live” college. The convenience of being able to leave our kids pretty much any time has been a nice luxury. There have been a few times she’s left to visit friends, which we’ve managed by hiring babysitters. It hasn’t been as big of a problem as we would have expected, so if she does decide to leave it won’t impact us too much. Of course, we would consider taking on a BRU intern if anyone’s interested in joining our clan.
If we don’t find enjoyable, high-paying jobs here in the San Diego area, we’ll move. Not being tied to a specific geographic area is definitely one of the best parts of the hobo lifestyle. We’ll continue to live in the RV for this time.
The goal of this “phase” is to fully fund that 3-6 month emergency fund. If we get teaching jobs, we’d be able to accomplish that within a single year. If we enjoyed the school district (or other employment), we would have the option of continuing indefinitely and putting down more permanent (non-RV) roots.
Projecting plans over a year is always a tricky proposition as situations and conditions change in unexpected ways. Still, I like having a rough plan- a direction in which to travel. As of right now, our long-term goal is to live internationally. That may involve teaching, or it may involve doing something completely different.
Either way, we want our children to experience living outside the US for at least a short period of time. It’s an experience few children have. After seeing the benefits of our US travels, it’s definitely a worthwhile endeavor.
As I said before, these plans are VERY tentative. A lot can happen over 18 months. Our current jobs may turn out to be more lucrative than expected. There may be a sudden resurgence of barefoot running. We could be offered interesting unforeseen jobs. The key is to remain open-minded and flexible. Be willing to embrace opportunity and change.
There you have it- our rough plan for the next year or two. The last two years have been an incredible learning experience. Perhaps the best lesson we’ve learned- we’re in control of our destiny. If we have an idea for a new, exciting adventure, we have the power to make it happen. It’s about freedom to make choices, and we plan on continuing to capitalizing on that freedom.