7.01.2014

why we are giving up suburbia for the unknown

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 :)

31 comments:

  1. I am SO IN to follow along your fun (not at all crazy) ride in this life. What adventures you guys will have! I think it really takes courage to pick a lifestyle outside the norm (especially outside the norm of your current community) and I am just so impressed with you guys for choosing a life of happiness. I, for one, can't wait to follow along with your travels. I'm so glad to hear you are "over it" - you are on to so many other amazing things in your life. Yippee for fun and congrats on taking the new-life plunge!!

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    1. Thanks Brit! We are so excited too- now if I can just sell this house quickly!

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  2. This is so amazing!!! I wish I could hug you and I'm so happy for both of you! Be sure to share your travel blog here because I want to follow along on this crazy, awesome new adventure! Cheers to you guys and figuring out what works for you!

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    1. Don't worry- I will! I've been slow to get it ready or even post but I've been busy :p

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  3. Oh wow! Big life changing things are happening! Follow your dreams and your heart and you can't go wrong :)

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  4. This sounds like SUCH a great idea. There really is no time to travel like when you are young. I think it sounds like a great adventure!

    And I totally hear you on living a place where you feel like an alien :) That can happen in the best of neighborhoods :)

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    1. Glad to hear it- that makes me feel better!

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  5. WOW! wishing you guys all the best- sounds like a blast! and i agree with katja- do it now while you can. :)

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    1. Thanks Cassie- thats what everyone says!

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  6. There will be plenty for you to fill us in with! You need to watch Tiny on Netflix. It will make you feel so great about your decision! Also it will help you part with stuff that really isn't necessary. I was about ready to sell the house after watching it! Can't wait to see what you're up to!

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    1. I will totally have to watch that! ALso on the list is 23 feet and apparently a movie made by lucille ball and desi arnez before the show where they lived in a trailer. Kinda cute since my husband is hispanic and Im a redhead. I have some catching up to do!

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  7. Wow, that is awesome! Best of luck to you! Sounds really exiting and like it is meant to be.

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  8. Sounds like you're about to start a really exciting journey of life :) Will be interesting to here more about it.

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    1. You guys will be the first to hear more ;)

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  9. This sounds pretty amazing. Kuddos to you for having the guts to do it. I feel like so many people always complain but are to afraid to take the leap. Wishing you safe travels and lots of fun along the way!

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    1. Yes! It's scary but at the same time everyone I talk to says how much they wish they wouldve or how they want to eventually. So excited to do it now!

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  11. Love this!! I so feel this is exactly what you and Oscar should be doing! Living and experiencing life and I'm so happy that you have a job that will allow you the freedom to embark on this new journey....it sounds very freeing! So thrilled for you :)

    One of mine and my husbands goals is to travel more just the two of us and as a family and create memories of adventures for our kids and enjoy life and jump out the hamster wheel (of work etc) with those memories no amount of candles can by -- Congrats on your next journey and living it!

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    1. Thank you so much Katrina for your kind words!

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  12. Oh my goodness! This is just a really cool idea, and I happy that you've both come to this decision. What adventures you'll have! I hope you'll let us follow along, when you have time for updates.

    When I met Dave (husband) years ago, we were like, "Let's work in Spain for a summer!" But, my practical side got the best of his inborn sponteneity, and we just...didn't. Now, 10 years later, and happily married with kids and the whole she-bang, do you know what a huge regret of ours is? Yep.

    So, go do it for all of us that missed out!

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  13. This is going to be the best thing you've ever done...You go!

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  14. Wow! I feel with you. such a great adventure ahead! good luck to you and your little family! love to stay in touch! take care! all the best, Katharina

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  15. Good for you guys! It sounds like such a wonderful adventure!

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  16. Good for you guys, Caroline! I get that itch, too sometimes. And yeah, it took me abroad for a year. My life's motto is that we more often regret the things we didn't do rather than the things we did so just go for it! I'll be following along your journey : ]

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  17. Yay! I love a good adventure. You know I the hardest thing I discovered in my 20's is realizing that I can make my own picket fence and have it be whatever I want it to be. Do what makes you happy! you only live life once.

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  18. Hey why did you stop this blog here? Sounds like life just started getting interesting?

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    1. haha! well I had a travel blog Nomadic Nolazcos but it somehow disappeared overnight-- now I'm just on instagram since my time is so limited :)

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