Yesterday I had a conversation with someone and in the midst of the conversation the other person said some things that left me in a state of being completely stunned. They shared their view on some aspects of our life and what they believed to be true. Now, this is just a part of life. People spout their views and assumptions all the time. Some more than others.
This was a person who has been around us enough, though, that I didn't realize until that conversation they did have many assumptions about us and our life that were just not true. At all. I started to share the truth as I see it, but then a voice inside of me said: Do.Not.Even.Try so I hit the backspace button and deleted it and just let them know I heard what they shared.
They then went on to share something they did, that I think they were sharing was the same as how we have lived for four years now, and given it was not even in the same ballpark, my brain really went on full tilt. I'll be honest, I'm still reeling from that conversation trying to truly wrap my brain around some parts of it.
As I was pondering it today, Dr. Phil's "you either get it or you don't and you're not getting it" popped into my head. Sometimes we just don't get it in life. All of us. But then I pondered my experiences where I have wanted to get it and am starting to get it and just need a bit more information to understand it. So while Dr. Phil might have some wisdom on that topic, I don't think it represents the whole truth. Sometimes we are simply on our way to getting it and in between those two places.
I remembered how much research I did before we decided to be full timers. I remember how it took us about two years from the time we first considered it, until we really did it. And I needed, desperately needed in fact, to hear how it really worked. I wanted to get it. I just needed others to be willing to share the nitty gritty of it all. I needed to know this was not only possible, but what would our lives look life if we did do it.
I had this fear that doing this might be this unstable, bizzaro world experience...one that would have me deeply regretting it. I wondered just how much doing "this" would change everything. We are on year four with this now and so today I understand a few things that I didn't know then.
To me, how we live our life is very simple and easy.
We have a house. This is what it looks like:
To us, it is just like our last house that looked like this:
It is a place where we eat, sleep and hang out some. No, the houses are not exactly the same. They both served the same purposes in our lives though. One has wheels that allows it to go with us as we move from place to place. The other doesn't. We sold the one because it didn't have wheels. We bought the other because it did. That's it.
Other aspects of our lives are pretty much the same. We needed love, peace, joy, community and family before. We need those things now. We needed food, shelter and some material goods before and we do now. We needed income of some sort to provide those things then, and we do now.
We had a job that provided income when we lived in our last house. And even though we had an unexpected job and income loss last year, except for three weeks in between "jobs", we have had a job that we worked to provide income since we moved into our current house.
We aren't rich. We aren't retired. And as much as we joked last year about maybe having to get a J.O.B., that was about us being spoiled and both being able to be home all day long with our kids while making money and today one of us leaves the house for some hours of our day to make money. Someday both of us might have to leave our house for a few hours each day to make money. While that is not our preference, we are mature enough to roll with that if it does happen. That might happen no matter what kind of house we choose to live in.
We would and do pick jobs that we think would work well for us. We think that is only fair to ourselves and our employers. We have both been in positions of management so we get how truly awful it is for a place to have employees that aren't happy there. So we have pretty much always done that. Again, no difference there in our view.
For those that are considering this lifestyle and do wonder, how does it work when you are a bit younger than the normal full timer: if you have a job that you can do from home, you most likely have a job that you can do from a home with wheels-even if you do move around with that house. Yes, you might have to figure out what is necessary to do so, but isn't that true of any job? Jobs with insurance are available to both. Jobs that don't have insurance are available to both.
If we want to settle down meaning stay in one place, we will and more importantly, we can. We are doing that now in fact.
If we want to move around, we can.
We don't think that limits our options because we have done the math and when you have a house that will allow for both, we think that means that increases your options. In this economy, we think it is a smart choice to increase your options as much as possible. If we were in a different field of work, this might not apply. We trust most adults to be able to tell the difference between the two. We believe we know the difference between the two. If we didn't, we would not have been able to live for four years on the road.
Even when I thought I'd try this for a year, we did not do this to get a vacation. We did not want or need to escape our "life", even if for a season, so there was no need for a vacation. We had a goal long before doing this to not live a life that we needed a vacation from. We reached that goal long before we ever did this.
We did this to take our life that we already enjoyed and moved it to this space to continue to enjoy it. We hoped we would more fully enjoy it. I have shared time and time again, we just took our life we already had on the road. And for the most part, it really is that simple.
We did want less of some things (stress, material goods and working hard to maintain those material goods) and wanted more of other things (time with our kids and each other) and we wanted to see our country up close and personal and learn tons while doing so.
In many ways, even though we took our life on the road, we do live a very different life today. But it still isn't so much that we strive to not live our old life.
It's that we fully immerse ourselves in our new one. And in doing so, we have in fact experienced a whole new way of living, being and interacting with each other and the world than we did before. Wouldn't it be wise to do that no matter what your circumstances though?
For us, we took the route that worked for us because of who we are. We have seen others leap and do this in ways that would have struck terror in my heart. We have seen others do it in ways that we deeply admire and still it would strike terror in my heart to do the same.
We do what works for us today. We see others doing the same. My guess is both of us are pretty much the same people we were before and both of us have grown and changed in some ways since. Again, I think that is true of people that live in houses too. It really is that simple.