The First Point of No-Return

At the end of January, we passed our first “point of no-return” as we pursue our dream of a location independent lifestyle: we gave our 3 month’s notice on our apartment.

While we still aren’t planning to leave this area until the fall, we will be out of our apartment by April 30. From May 1 until we are ready to board a plane, we will be living in our camper.

Why?

We made this decision for several reasons. One is financial. We have an opportunity to park our camper very inexpensively and for several months remove not only rent, but also renter’s insurance, parking, and other monthly expenses from our budget. In fact, starting in May, we will have no fixed monthly costs.

Another is more practical. Moving out to the camper allows us to sell or donate larger items such as furniture well in advance. It forces us to reduce our possessions sooner, which is a process that seems to fill as much time as we allow it to. There are difficult decisions left to make about what we will and won’t keep, but dragging them out into the summer won’t make them any easier. The hope is that we can enjoy the summer with most of the practical aspects of leaving behind us so that we can be free to focus on people and relationships.

Not to be ignored is our eagerness to begin living this lifestyle! Already this spring we can take the step to live life in a home on wheels. Even though we won’t have very many opportunities to move the camper or travel very far, since Staffan will still be working, it is still a significant step toward living the life we dream of, and that is exciting!

Feelings

There are, of course, other feelings involved too. Looking around me at how much still fills this apartment and watching the days tick closer and closer to April, it’s a little overwhelming to think about all that will happen between now and then. It will take a lot of time and energy, but more than that we will be pushed in new and deeper ways to confront what we value and why.

We’ve lived in this apartment a lot longer than we ever intended to. We moved our stuff here to have someplace to come back to when we left for our big road trip in 2012, thinking we’d get that out of our systems and have this place to land and figure out what was next. When we moved in, they said the smaller bedroom needed new wallpaper and offered to let us choose the pattern. We said not to bother, since we wouldn’t be living here for very long. The next tenants can choose the wallpaper. Hard to believe that was nearly four years ago. Four years is about as long as we’ve ever lived in any single place. We left most of our things in boxes for months, since we were planning to move again soon. And yet somehow we’ve managed to make a home here and our kids don’t remember living anywhere else. It’s actually a little scary how quickly inertia can take over when we settle into a routine, and how easily a year can turn into 5 or 10.

unpacking
We unpacked the most important boxes at least! It really doesn’t seem like 4 years that we’ve lived here… until I look at  pictures from moving in!

And while we still have countless safety nets beneath us if we should fall in this endeavor, leaving a brick-and-mortar building with a permanent address is certainly removing a big one. The housing shortage here has reached crisis proportions and finding a new place to live is by no means guaranteed, should we change our minds.

It’s the first real step away from the status quo and into all that is to come. I have this nervous-excited feeling deep in my stomach, like when you’re sitting on a roller coaster that is click-click-clicking its way up to the top of that first hill. Roller coaster enthusiasts know that the initial anticipation is part of the thrill of the ride, and I think the same can be said of where we are right now. My knuckles are turning white, my eyes are closed, and someone should probably remind me to breathe, but I don’t regret getting on the ride and pretty soon the real fun will start. In the meantime, this preparation, this building of energy, this feeling of being scared but doing it anyway… it’s an essential part of the journey. I have never liked that click-click-clicking sound, but I imagine the ride would be a lot less fun without it.

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