As part of my family’s own pursuit of happiness, we sold almost everything we owned, bought an RV, and are taking off to travel around the United States for a year.
On June 1st, 2011, our family of four – me, Jared, Devin (11), and Emma (6) – are moving out of our home in the Central Florida suburbs and into a 24 foot travel trailer. Voluntarily.
Our first scheduled stop is in tentative route that’s designed to a) cover the parts of the country we haven’t seen much of and b) avoid cold and snow., Georgia and our plan is to end up in Parkersburg, Iowa. We have a
Some questions people have asked me:
What about the kids?
We’ve decided to take them with us. They’ll be enrolled in a virtual school for the year, will each have their own bunk, and have been allowed to bring almost no toys with them. They seem to be excited.
What about your husband?
Jared gets to take the year off work and will therefore be responsible for the kids’ schooling. “We” anticipate an interesting period of transition as the three of them get used to that new dynamic. We like to say that this is Jared’s chance to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up.
How can you afford this?
It usually takes about two warm-up questions before people eventually get around to asking this, which I totally understand. Jared and I are only 31 years old; we do not have a retirement account to cash in, a “life savings”, or any other impressive investments to live off for a year.
In the fall of 2010, we made a budget to determine how much we thought it would cost to travel for a year. And then we started saving. We cut off the cable, started using the envelope system, and quit shopping. We sold almost everything we own. We were able to accumulate about half of what we expect to need to live for a year in an RV.
The RV we are living in cost $6,000. We decided to purchase a tow-able travel trailer because we already owned an SUV that could (supposedly) provide the four wheels and engine we needed for the trip.
We estimate it will cost us about $46,000 for the four of us to live on the road for a year. I based that number on our current spending habits, a little research, and a lot of guessing.
I’ll still be working as a professional blogger and freelance writer while we travel. Ideally, we’ll have the bulk of that savings left at the end of our trip because I was able to support us with my writing. We shall see.
Speaking of which…
What are you going to do when you’re done with this trip?
We don’t know. We have decided not to decide because a lot can happen, we imagine, when you’re traveling the country in an RV for a year. We’re kicking around the idea of moving to New York City or taking our travel overseas, but we may just as easily stumble across the perfect neighborhood in a city we never thought of and just know that we’ve found home.
Our grand plan, in other words, is not to think about that right now.
Why are you doing this?
There are several reasons we decided to make this dramatic lifestyle change. I loved the freedom I had in my work and personal life, but hated how little freedom my husband and kids had in their lives as they spent their days in traditional school and work environments.
I loved that I was able to travel, but wanted to be able to share those experiences with my family.
And mostly, I love traveling and doing new things. I believe that we should always be striving to spend more of our time doing what we love and less of it doing what we don’t love.
What does this trip have to do with Happiness?
This blog is about Happiness, not travel. But this trip is really the real-life manifestation of everything I write about on this blog. It’s about throwing out old ideas of what we “should do” and deciding to focus on what we want to do instead.
We’d love to meet you!
As we make our way around the country, we’re hoping to be able to meet up with readers and friends. We also hope to save money where we can by parking in your yards. Seriously.