We’re Not Having Any Fun
Perhaps you’re like I was. Your life is pretty good. You’re in a good relationship. Your children are grown and doing well. You live in a safe and pleasant neighborhood. You have friends and family you enjoy spending time with and can count on. You have a job that is challenging and rewarding without being too demanding. You pay your bills on time and even save some money, but you’re not having any fun.
After you put in your hours at work, tend to the household chores, and set aside time for adequate rest and relaxation, there doesn’t seem to be enough time or energy for much else.
This is the situation in which I found myself in 2015. Even though I felt life was good, I knew there had to be something more. My husband, Steve, and I found ourselves saying “we aren’t having any fun” quite often. We decided to do something about it.
Our Mission Statement
We discussed ways to lighten our workload including hiring a lawn service and a pool service, we scheduled outing days, and we considered downsizing now that our children were grown. Our soul-searching resulted in this mission statement:
Vision: Live of life of adventure, enrichment, and discovery
Mission: To provide a lifestyle of simplicity with ample time and resources devoted to achieving our vision
Values: Family, Financial Security, Free Time, Health, Time in Nature
The Sentence That Changed Everything
In the fall of 2015 my husband, Steve, and I decided to look at apartments in our city of Jacksonville, Florida with the intention of downsizing. We wanted to be in a part of the city where we could walk to stores and restaurants, and leave the energy-sucking maintenance of home ownership behind. We saw several nice places, but there was no “wow” factor.
While driving home after one day of apartment hunting we discussed how none of these places felt like our future home. How we weren’t “feeling it”. Without thinking I blurted out “We should just sell everything and travel the world”. Steve said, “I’ll do it”.
An Obsession Is Born
Sounds like a wonderful dream, doesn’t it? But people like us don’t do things like that. How could we possibly ever afford it? Traveling is expensive, isn’t it?
The idea wouldn’t leave my mind, so one day I Googled “travel blogs”. Imagine my surprise when I saw a result for the top 50 travel blogs. Not just 50 travel blogs, but the top 50!
A quick look at a few of them showed me that there are a lot of people traveling full-time. Some of them, including Simon Fairbain and Erin McNeaney from Never Ending Voyage and Shannon O’Donnell from A Little Adrift, had very generously shared their costs. See Never Ending Voyage’s 2016 budget here along with a six year comparison. A Little Adrift’s 2008-2009 budget can be seen here along with a 2019 update.
Again imagine my surprise when I discovered that a couple could travel the world on around $3,000 per month (excluding medical insurance). That day I became obsessed.
For weeks I dreamt about what it would be like. I started planning in my head. When would we do this? What would we do with our house and cars? How much time would we spend in one place? And how much time would we spend out of the US?
After weeks of obsessing, I told Steve what I wanted to do. I was certain he would tell me I must be a little daft, but to my surprise and everlasting appreciation he said: “Let’s do it”.
Where Did That Come From?
You may be wondering what made me blurt out those life-changing words. And the simple answer is I’m not sure. Perhaps it was the lingering memories of a book I had read many years earlier titled One Year Off by David Elliot Cohen. In his book, Cohen describes in delightful detail the year he, his wife, and their three young children (ages 2,7, and 9) traveled the world. Or perhaps I was ready for a really big change in my life. Whatever the reason, the seed had been planted.
Setting the Plan in Motion
We set February 1, 2018 as the target date to leave the U.S. We spent 2016 and 2017 learning about world travel and divesting ourselves of at least 80% of our possessions. Steve retired from his job as a sales manager in January 2017 and spent the year getting the house we had lived in for 30 years ready for sale. I retired from my job as an accountant at the end of 2017 and joined Steve in working on the house.
We decided to go from Florida to Europe by sea, so we booked a 15-day cruise to Barcelona. The cruise didn’t leave the U.S. until early April, and this turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we spent all of February and March finishing the house preparations.
On April 7, 2018 we gave extra-long hugs to our daughters, Stephanie and Laura, and set sail towards our new life on the Norwegian Epic.
We are looking forward to sharing our experiences with you.