Four years ago, at the ripe age of 23, I became a homeowner. I never lived on my own or even rented an apartment. I went from living at home, to living in a dorm with a roommate, to living at home, to owning a home. I was happy to skip what I considered an unnecessary step and jump feet first into home ownership.
I worked my way up the nursing ladder as far as I could with my associates degree and realized how unhappy I was. How unhappy we were as a couple. Everyone I worked with seemed to be miserable and I felt like I had little control over my job. We weren’t happy with what this small town had to offer us. I had racked up debt, being unfamiliar with budgets and something called “saving.” What’s that for anyways?
Turns out its good for things like home ownership. And life. I got used to relying on plastic for mini bailouts. And although I loved making my home fit our needs, we never felt right about something. A few things that took awhile to put our fingers on. The biggest two things were that we never felt like we fit in in our own town and that we craved traveling in a way we never had before.
It sounds so weird coming from me. I’ve lived in the Shenandoah Valley for my whole life and have rarely ventured far. I never dreamed of living elsewhere and when Oscar mentioned living out of the country when we first got married, I flinched. Surely he didn’t expect me to leave all of my family and friends for some questionable foreign country?! Nevermind that he did the same with no complaints.
It was something that sat in the back of my mind. I agreed that this area didn’t really fit into how we pictured our lives but was that really a good enough reason to leave? People stare when we run because physical activity is not a priority in these areas. I’m not trying to fit everyone into one basket here, but I was made fun of by a neighbor for running [not how I did it, just the fact that I was doing such a thing]. Sometimes people stare at what I can only imagine is the difference in our skin color. There aren’t close beaches which is something we both want to live close to and the winters can be harsh. Winter hasn’t been fun since I was 12. There were plenty of things to celebrate about my hometown [gateway to the Skyline Drive!] but we found the negativity and close mindedness we encountered regularly to be stifling. We craved excitement, change, new things, and choices. Choices! Like beyond Chili vs. TGIFridays. Oh the humanity!
Oscar kind of let the whole living abroad [or anywhere else] thing go and I don’t think he realized how much I was mulling it over. Now, I still have yet to get my passport [um I gotta get on that] and even if we want to live abroad, it isn’t on the agenda for a few years. But my attitudes towards it have changed so much. I realized how much I didn’t feel fulfilled in this area. At times it felt the only good thing was my friends and family that lived nearby. I know there’s a lot more than that and I may not fully enjoy those things until I move away. But our surroundings don’t reflect us.
So although a life as an expat is our “ending” goal, we have quite a journey until we get there. My career as a nurse offers up the opportunity to travel. I left my local job to travel for different companies. I’ve been in Philadelphia for almost a year at the same job and I just signed on for 13 weeks at a hospital in Virginia, close to home. Our house went on the market a few weeks ago. This is the point where I’m overwhelmed with questions. Questions I don’t always have an answer to.
No we aren’t buying again, at least not for awhile. We are putting some of our stuff in storage and selling the rest. We are going to use my job to travel the country. My company will find places to put us up in or we can take care of it ourselves which I will prefer so that there’s more money in my pocket. Or we can travel in an RV. Ha! We are excited to pick new places to explore, to have control in picking the shifts I work and the amount of call I take.
Its taken a good year of prepping the house and finishing projects. A year of pondering this decision and if we could do it, are we up to it? A year of second guessing and I-cant-wait-until-we-do-its. A year of feeling like we were going nowhere towards our dreams. And now it seems as though it’s almost all in front of us.
I have no idea how we will manage to travel with two cats, a dog, and not go insane. I have no idea how we will fit everything we need into one vehicle alone. I have no idea how we will adjust to constantly living life on the go but I think all that really matters is that we are on the same page and we are EXCITED! We want to pay off our debt, save, and put that leftover money towards living experiences instead of collecting things. Things that only seem to clutter life and make it more complicated. We are excited to redefine needs and wants.
I dont know what will happen to this blog. I feel like I’ll be cutting it off right as I had started to get somewhere. But after months of hemming and hawing, I’m over it. I’m over the stress of something that was meant to be fun. We will have a separate travel blog for fun, for documentation of our travels. But I hope to be back one day and I hope you follow our journey and where it takes us. I can only ask that you don’t judge too harshly. I know the lifestyle we are embarking in is not for everyone and is rather alternative. And I hope you can join us for the crazy ride it’s sure to be :)