“The die is cast.” Caeser said this as he crossed the River Rubicon in 49 BC, beginning his campaign against Pompey and the Optimates. It usually denotes the point of no return in any mission or endeavor, and we have reached that point.
I was laid off from my last employer in January 2008. My experience lies in warehousing, funeral service, security and IT, although I’ve been out of the IT field long enough that most of my skills are pretty much useless at this point. There’s not much call for COBOL programmers with 2.5 years of experience these days, especially when it’s been ten years since I’ve written a line of code. I’ve been looking for work since then, but haven’t found anything in Central Ohio that would support us.
My trust fund has been paying my mortgage for the last year, or we probably would have lost the house. But that trust fund pays out the last of the principal in November, and the remaining principal isn’t enough to pay off the remainder of the loan.
When Diana and I sold our last home in 2007, we kicked around the idea of fulltime RV life. We knew a couple that was living that way, and they loved it. We did some research, but found at the time that there wasn’t an affordable RV that would reasonably carry all of us. The kids weren’t really ready for that drastic of a lifestyle change either, and there were a couple of other things keeping us in the area. Most of those things have been settled now, and the kids are all a couple of years older. The RV industry has built several rigs that are larger and more suitable for large families. I haven’t found any work in eighteen months. It’s getting pretty bad when you can’t even get hired at a Wal-Mart warehouse.
We decided it was time for us to re-visit that lifestyle change. We ramped up our research. We discovered that if we didn’t have a mortgage or real estate taxes or utilities, we’d save over $36,000 annually. Wow. We knew we were spending a lot of money on the house, but that much? And it’s only about 2600 square feet.
We found several large families living on the road, including the Ticknor family: 11 kids. Yes, a family of 13 people living in about 400 square feet. We know it can be done, so now it’s time for us to do it.
At the end of September, we put down a deposit on a Sandpiper 35Loft by Forest River, AKA the Treehouse. It will hold our family comfortably. No, it won’t hold all of the stuff we have, but we won’t be getting rid of everything. There’s a piano and several large antique pieces we’re going to store somewhere. The kids will be limited in what they can take, but that’ll be okay. One of the lessons we’re working on teaching them is that things aren’t as important as experiences and places and people.
So this is the public announcement that we’re moving. We just don’t know where we’re going yet. I feel a bit like Abram when God told him to pack up and leave. Abram didn’t know where he was going; he trusted God to guide him. That’s what we’re doing. There’s a list of places and people we want to visit, but we don’t have an exact itinerary set. For that matter, we’re not even sure when we’re leaving. We’re thinking mid-February right now, but that’s subject to change as we work on downsizing our household. Watch this category for more post about our journey. We’ll share our research and our decisions, and hopefully others who come after will learn from our mistakes and tribulations as they try the same thing.