As many of you know by now, Sherry and I are taking a kind of leap of faith. A little less than a year ago we started talking about making a big change. This isn’t new. We’ve always loved to travel and engaged in conversations about what it would be like to move to a different part of the country. However, this time we really started to take a good look at what’s really stopping us. For the most part, it just came down to fear of the unknown. So we started a list.
If we can move, how do we decide where to live?
This list basically consisted of all of the things that we would need to manage in order to move somewhere else. Where do want to go? What do we want to do? Do we have enough money to move? How much would we need to live somewhere else? If we can move, how do we decide where to live? The list was quite extensive, and changed over time, but we continued to engage in the fundamental questions….Is it possible? Can we do it?
Late last year, my then 84 year old father and I started talking about this whole dream of ours. Mom and dad moved into an assisted living facility a few years ago. They have traveled all of their lives including having owned and used several travel trailers since before I was born. Mainly due to some medical issues, it has been more difficult for them to get away, and their trailer has been in storage without use. Dad offered to let us use it if we could.
When you really can move anywhere, choosing a destination is a little difficult.
At first it seemed kind of ridiculous, but less than a year later, we have downsized and will soon be living in that trailer full time. We simply kept engaging in each of the questions. As it became apparent that moving was something we actually might be able to do, the big question became where? When you really can move anywhere, choosing a destination is a little difficult. So we came up with some criteria that worked for the both of us.
- Within 2 hours driving time of a major airport so that if my parents needed us, we wouldn’t be more than a day away.
- Nothing too hot. (Richard)
- Nothing too cold. (Sherry)
- Someplace with easy access to outdoor activities, specifically trails for running and hiking.
- Someplace where we could afford to live.
- Someplace we could both find jobs.
- We wouldn’t mind living relatively near some of our family for emotional support, though not 100% necessary.
At one point we actually printed out a United States map and drew circles around major airports estimating 2 hour drive times. We could easily eliminate the super hot and super cold areas. We settled on the west coast and southwest states. I took a trip out to Los Angeles to take some stuff from my parents to my sister and niece, which also gave me the chance to look at California as a potential place to live. I ended up spending time in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, the San Francisco Bay area, and a little time in Sacramento and Temecula while on my trip. The climate is generally awesome (nevermind the earthquakes and wildfires) which made it very appealing. However, the sheer volume of traffic, the general crowdedness were drawbacks. But most importantly, it would take both Sherry and I finding relatively high paying jobs (compared to MO) just to afford basic necessities there. I did register with an employment agency while I was out there and talked with their representatives, but it didn’t seem a fit for me. I decided to take a different way back on my trip home.
When I told Sherry that I was thinking of coming home through central Arizona, she quickly got on the Indeed job listing website and found something that might be perfect for me. I had great interview, but didn’t end up getting the job. However, I did get to spend a little bit of time in Prescott. Beautiful town surrounded by trails for running, riding and hiking. So we began taking the steps to make this our future home. At least that’s the overall goal, but as you know a lot of things don’t always work out the way we plan.
Downsizing from a 1800 square foot house to around 300….
Becoming full time campers has come with it’s fair share of challenges. Downsizing from a 1800 square foot house to around 300 meant getting rid of a lot of stuff. You really start to think about what is important. As an interim measure, we were able to share some storage space with my parents in Oklahoma City. In hindsight, we both think we probably saved too much stuff and fully expect to get rid of a lot of those items by the time we get back to it all. There’s also a learning curve that comes with our new lifestyle. Many we anticipate, but already some we have not.
Our plan was to try and get into a park near Prescott that caters to 55 and older residents. When I first contacted them they said to call back when I got closer to the time we wanted to arrive. In mid August, I contacted them again and was told that they should have some sites open up and to call back on Sept 1st. I was under the impression that they expected to have room. When I called back, I was told that they had no space and to call back in two weeks. We were a bit panicked as our moving day was only five days away, so our plans have now shifted.
We are open to what the universe has to offer us.
I called around to every RV park within the local Prescott area and found that no one had any monthly rental spaces available. So I expanded the area of search. So here is the major change. For the first month to two we will be living in Black Canyon City, a small city along Interstate 17 between Phoenix and Prescott. Ironically it will be quite a lot warmer than where we live now (see #2 above), so we’ll have to see how that works. We still plan on ending up in Prescott, but who knows. We are open to what the universe has to offer us. What is it they say, “Opportunity favors the prepared man,” or something like that? We’re trying to be prepared for the unknown. (So that’s probably not a thing, but we keep telling ourselves that)
So for the near future we will be pulling all of our current stable support structures in our live out from under us. We are out for an adventure, out to see what shows up, what’s possible. We’re even open to the idea that maybe Prescott isn’t where we are supposed to end up, but it provided enough motivation for us to take the necessary steps to take this leap of faith.
I’ll let you know how it goes!