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Old 07-16-2013, 11:02 PM   #1
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Talking That time when we sold all our stuff and lived in a tin can...

Fight Club said it best: “Reject the basic assumptions of civilization, especially the importance of material possessions.”

At some point around the middle of last year, it occurred to us that the need to pay for our house and stuff was the only thing keeping us from doing what we truly loved – being together as much as we can, living a simpler life in touch with nature, having a plethora of new experiences, meeting and helping a lot of people, making spontaneous decisions based on how we felt on a given day, and living our own adventure instead of just following the conventional and safer path in life. We were trading away the best years of our life for the almighty steady paycheck so that someday we could enjoy everything we earned. Screw "someday" though, what about now? What if for some reason there was no "someday" waiting for us?

We asked ourselves, “If we knew we only had __ more days/months/years to live, what would we do?” The answer was unanimous: we would travel the world together.

Late last year, to better cope with the dissatisfaction in our daily routines, we started joking about ditching our house and jobs and traveling full-time. The jokes persisted, and after enough time didn’t seem so far-fetched anymore. We decided that at least for a while, the most realistic option was an RV. Maybe one day when we don’t have dogs anymore we could go a step further and start backpacking on other continents, or live all over the world on a sailboat. For now though, we needed some semblance of a home for us and our three 4-legged kiddos.

We “joked” about our plans so much that – in a moment I still look back on and wonder “what the hell were we thinking?!” – we purchased our super-fixer-upper '65 Airstream Overlander the day we went to look at it. Neither of us had ever owned, driven, worked on or even camped in (for more than a couple days) an RV before the day we brought it home. We had always thought the iconic silver trailers were beautiful though, even without knowing much about them. We were handy enough with tools and home renovations, so we just dove in before we could even second guess ourselves. How’s that as a kick-off for life of spontaneity and adventure?

Nearly a year of renovations to the Airstream to be our cozy little home on wheels kept us too busy to make many plans for post-completion, but as many of you know, it didn’t take long after the trailer finally started to feel livable to question the rest of our life choices. With the support of one another, the benefit of having complimentary digital marketing and web design skills and experience, and word spreading quickly through our social network after our first couple successful freelance gigs (that we really only did to help pay for the trailer!), we made the decision to leave our emotionally-unfulfilling corporate jobs and start our own web design and digital marketing partnership. We knew the opportunity to seize more control of our life and spend more time together was the next right thing for us. It was a HUGE risk, but one we knew we’d always regret not taking, even if we failed trying.

As much as we've loved having our historic home in Tennessee that we renovated ourselves, we need to experience something else now. A lot of “something else-s,” to be specific. After our recent month-long inaugural trip in the Airstream, it was more apparent than ever that full-time travel is the next step for us. Being home has become a greater source of stress than pleasure. Daily life seems so predictable that it’s almost unbearable at times, and we’re having trouble fitting back into our old routines and social expectations. We need to wake up every day not knowing what new and exciting experiences will present themselves. Wanderlust has taken a firm hold on us and “the norm” is no longer sufficient. That's not to say that "the norm" isn't enough for most people; it just isn't right for us at this point in our lives. Or maybe ever?

Our house is now officially rented for at least a year starting in September, so we’ve started getting rid of most of our excess stuff. It feels awesome to not be owned by so much stuff! Thankfully our renters wanted our house to remain mostly furnished, so we have a lot less to get rid of quickly, and it's mostly ready if we want or need to return here for family or work someday.

Finishing touches are also happening on the Airstream to get it ready for full-timing, and we’re learning and doing as much as we can these next two months to make our personal and business transition to nomadic living as smooth as possible.

The hardest part at the moment is assuring friends and family that we aren't abandoning them, that we will be back to see them - or better yet, they can come visit us when we're camped somewhere really awesome - and we will always stay in touch thanks to the miracles of the internet. We'll stalk our friends who live in other areas of the country and force them to take us to cool local places. Ditto for some AirForums members we've gotten close to! If anyone wants to let us park at their house we'd be happy to cook dinner (we love to grill especially) and/or do some household or Airstream work in exchange!

On a more serious note, I actually started this thread to thank everyone here on AirForums who has supported our renovation, whether with helpful suggestions, letting us stalk your project or full-timing threads, those we bought items from or sold our parts to, and those who commented or messaged us with friendship and encouragement. We truly couldn’t have done it without you! AirForums is the reason we felt confident enough to take on a renovation like we did, and it saved us from costly mistakes countless times. We know will continue to both learn and share our experiences for many years to come!

The adventure begins for us in late August/early September. We plan to head up to New England for a couple months to see the fall colors, meander down the east coast, head to Florida/the deep South/Texas for the winter, out west and up to the PNW in the spring to summer, then maybe across Canada? We'll have to see where the road takes us!
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Previously owned a 1965 Overlander, fully renovated it, then sold it after a year of full-time travel. We're taking a break from trailers to try a class A for a while, but we're still Airstreamers at heart!
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:13 PM   #2
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Sounds like you have a great plan! Go for it! Enjoy the journey and wherever it takes you.

Drop me a line if you are heading to the Lynchburg area. We have parking and an rv hookup.

Dan
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:18 PM   #3
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Thanks, Dan! We may take you up on that. We will head from the east coast back to Knoxville this fall and may well find ourselves in that part of Virginia. My husband lived in Christiansburg for a while when he worked at VA Tech and yours sure is a beautiful part of the state!
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:49 PM   #4
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Oh man. Good in you!
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:02 AM   #5
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Thanks, DryFly! We're super excited/terrified/[insert random emotion here]!
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:12 AM   #6
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Right on.. Screw the norms.

Sounds like we might cross paths in early spring in the Arizona/New Mexico area.
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:18 AM   #7
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Kristin, its great to hear that other folks also understand the joy of living life- which is what we are also getting ready to embark on.

9 months ago I was offered a full-time position in Colorado Springs. After 15 years with the same software company, and living on a lake in South Carolina, my wife and I decided it was time for a change. Her being a nurse (RN), she can work anywhere. So we sold our lake home (a little profit), and packed our 2 Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and drove to Colorado!

On the day we arrived in town, I learned that my job had been eliminated. WOW!!! Well the plan had always been eliminate the worldly material objects and tour the US. Now that we sold our lake home, we have rented a place short-term in Colorado. Over the last 2 weeks, we have purchased a Ram 3500, and Eddie Bauer 27FB (part of the master plan). My wifes nursing contract is up in October, and at that stage she is looking into a travel nursing position that will allow the flexibility of travel.

Myself, not 100% sure yet where the next software consulting position will be yet. However how much stuff does one really need? We are fortunate enough to have health, family, and a little savings to start this journey before having children. Who knows, we might even have children too over the next year :-)

Anyways the point is- make the dream happen. It might not happen over night, but create a plan and try to stick to it. Sure life can give you lemons- make lemonade. If I don't work as a software engineer, I can find work as something else. Plus our 2 dogs are LOVING the chances they are getting to explore new places.

Jason
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Old 07-17-2013, 01:33 AM   #8
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I enjoyed your thread as the Overlander was brought to life over the winter.

Your first trip summary was fun to read about but I had to scan ahead quickly when you mentioned hail. I couldn't bear the thought of dents after so much work. Parents with a big garage are invaluable.

Enjoy the new lifestyle. Happy trails!
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:50 AM   #9
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Good for you!

Have a wonderful adventure, and we'll look for you on the road.


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Old 07-17-2013, 06:46 AM   #10
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Good for you! Congratulations on starting your new mobile lifestyle.
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:21 AM   #11
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The Road Less Travelled

Well, not all of us are ready to make that great a leap of faith in our lives, but there is a common thread on the Forums - that folks do enjoy the feeling of doing what Wally said: seeing what's over the next hill. And there's no doubt that an Airstream can help you do that in a great degree of comfort.

Less "stuff" and more freedom. It sure seems like a good tradeoff. Sure hope that the roads are smooth for you and that the horizon beckons with sunny days, moderate temperatures, newfound friends and a swell life adventure.

Good luck and say safe out there! Keep advising us as to how it's going
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmaah View Post
Right on.. Screw the norms.

Sounds like we might cross paths in early spring in the Arizona/New Mexico area.
Thanks, timmaah! I've actually been following your wonderful blog for a while now as an inspiration and hope we get to meet in real life! I'll keep checking to see where you are, and feel free to follow us on Facebook to see where we may be headed!

Thank you to everyone else too, we are so fortunate to have found this community and get so much support for our new adventure.

I hope that those of you who hope to full-time get a chance to someday, or at least take some longer trips! For us it was an easier decision to full-time than it might be for others, because we don't have/plan to have kids and have very little other family besides our parents. It felt like we really didn't need to be rooted anywhere, but if we had a large family and/or kids/grandkids I know the situation would be much different!

We also aren't going to be living a relaxing lifestyle like a retiree - we typically work 60+ hour weeks since we own our own business and don't know how to take time off..haha. We're hoping the road forces us to take some breaks, reduce stress, turn off the computers and unwind in the evenings. There are so many uncertainties in life and work, as jasperkins mentioned, but a life less traveled doesn't really have much more security, does it?

Thanks again everyone, and we'll keep our thread updated as well as Facebook and hope to meet many of you in our travels!!
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:12 PM   #13
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KristinS,

Thanks for so eloquently sharing your thoughts and decision to "... Reject the basic assumptions of civilization." I have felt precisely as you do so often in my life; you are an inspiration and someday may I have the guts to do the same. Happy trails and keep us posted! Carol
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:51 PM   #14
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WOW! Great posting Kristin.

I am going to re-read this over and over to my wife.
Best of luck to you in your adventures.
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