The Dream, The Plan (Part 2)

If you missed reading The Dream, The Plan (Part 1), please follow the link and read that post first…

And there, by the river on our 11th wedding anniversary, the dream became a plan…

Let’s get back on the road. Indefinitely.

What if traveling wasn’t just for vacations or a 4-month gap between jobs, but a lifestyle where the world is our classroom to explore and learn together? What if we could feel as alive every day as we did when we were on our big road trip? Why can’t we?

It was startlingly simple and intimidatingly complex all at the same time. It was as though the solution had been staring us in the face for months, waiting for us to get up enough courage to finally see it. It would mean getting rid of most of our possessions. It would mean leaving Sweden, where homeschooling is illegal. It would mean walking away from almost everything we counted as familiar and stepping out into the unknown. And we were ready to do it.

Or rather, we were ready to start planning to do it. We wanted to take our time, plan it well, do our homework, and give our dream the best possible chance of actually succeeding. We decided to make the transition before Emelie would be required by law to enroll in school, at age 7. So 2016. It was a 3-year plan. Reduce our stuff gradually but consistently, save as much money as possible, and do lots and lots and lots of research.

And now, 2015 is drawing to a close. Less than a year is left until we take the plunge early in the fall of 2016. So what will the next year hold for us?

The Big Picture

One way tickets to New York. A transition period, probably lasting several months, allowing us to land and prepare what can’t be prepared from this side of the Atlantic. A camper (travel trailer) and an appropriate towing vehicle. Location independent source(s) of income. A “full-time family” free to explore the continent of North America (for starters).

The Specifics

Though it seems impossible, after more than two years of selling and donating things, we still have a lot of stuff we don’t use and certainly much more than we will move across the Atlantic. I can’t count how many times we’ve left a trunk full of stuff at the secondhand store, and I probably don’t want to know how many more times we will load up the car in the coming months. It’s so hard to understand how we can get rid of so much without ever really missing any of it, but we don’t. We feel a little lighter and a little more free every time. By spring we will only have what we’re moving with and some select items that can be stored here. So the great reduction continues.

Our savings goals started out pretty ambitious and the fluctuating exchange rate has unfortunately moved the goal even farther away, since we now need much more in Swedish kronor to reach the equivalent amount in US dollars. We continue to work hard to cut our expenses in order to save enough for our travel and start-up costs, as well as have a several month cushion while we work to establish an income. While adequate finances are essential if our plan can succeed, we never want money to make us lose sight of who we are and our values. We have not reduced our regular charitable giving nor have we been willing to give up doing what we love, such as traveling as a family. We even invested in a used camper to use and keep on this side of the ocean, which moved us farther from our savings goal but closer to living the life we want to live in many other ways. We consider it a worthy trade.

The first big step will be moving out of our apartment and into our camper, which we will do once spring has begun to thaw out the north of Sweden. The next big step comes a few months later when it’s time to board an airplane. There are still many decisions left to make and a lot of details undecided. Some of that will be resolved in the next few months, but some of it won’t. If we waited until every question was answered and there were no more uncertainties we would wait the rest of our lives. We believe in being as prepared as we can be, but we also know that some things can only be solved in the moment. Some of the issues we expect may never actually arise and there will almost certainly be plenty of problems that we never anticipated. Preparation is important, but at some point you just have to jump or you spend the rest of your life wondering.

So that’s the plan! We know from sharing this with people in person that this plan often raises more questions than it answers, so we’ve written a third post in a “frequently asked questions” style. We definitely have a few that are asked very frequently, but we’d love for you to ask your questions in the comments and we will try to answer as many as possible. What are you left wondering?

camper sunset

12 thoughts on “The Dream, The Plan (Part 2)

  1. Pretty crazy and cool! My question would be, what types of “location-independent income” would you be seeking?

    1. Thanks for sharing your question! That is definitely one of the frequently asked questions that we’ll include in the follow-up post, so stay tuned!

  2. Wow, I really respect you for following your dreams! Since I’m traveling myself a lot, not having my own home anymore, I sold my trailer in the fall, I wonder how you will arrange the health insurance for your family? I’m single, so I don’t have to worry about it as much as you who have a whole family to consider? I like to hear your idea’s and/or solutions! Lots of blessings in the coming period!

    1. Great question Theo! We have done a ton of research and can give a brief overview in the next post. After we’ve posted that we’d be happy to connect individually if you are still interested in more specifics. Are you enjoying the nomadic lifestyle? /CL

  3. Interesting, exciting, bold and adventurous. Sounds like fun. Best of luck as you continue to move towards your goal.

  4. Goodness! I must say, I am speechless. It is very adventurous. I wish you all well. I am quite curious to hear about your independent income plan. Looking forward to more updates!

    1. Thanks! We know it’s a little outside the box, but we feel like we’ve tried a lot of different boxes and none of them really fit 😉 We’re excited to try! The topic of income is definitely one we’ll address in the follow-up FAQ post!

  5. Wow! I would say that you guys are brave, bold and bold again! To the world it sounds crazy to trust the Holy Spirit to be our Teacher and our Guide, but if He isn’t, then who is? I could really recommend you guys (if you haven’t already) read John Ortbergs “If you want to walk on water, you have to step out of the boat” (a little uncertain about the title)!
    I also appreciate hearing about your mission since it challenges me and my Discipleship too! Thank you for that!

    1. Thanks for the book tip! I’ve heard of that one but never read it. Sounds like it’s right up our alley. 🙂 We’ve talked a lot about the unique opportunities for ministry that can come up when we reach the level of “location independence” we’re aiming for… we’re excited to see what God brings along. We’ve felt like the Holy Spirit has been nudging us for years about the role of “stuff” in our lives and every time we took a step toward owning and consuming less, we were nudged farther and farther. Paradoxically, there is unbelievable freedom in obedience! Icing on the cake if God can use our journey to inspire/challenge others! /CL

  6. Christine, it seems like you and Staffan have put together a great plan! My question is where will you stay while you’re driving? Will you pay for a campground each night, or park wherever you can?

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