We have been asked by quite a few people, “How did you do it?,” “How can we do it?”
And, if there is one thing that this website is supposed to do, it is to document our (The Sweetlanders) journey on and off the road. If there is one other thing it is supposed to do, it is to encourage others to not be scared away from pursuing a seemingly impossible, and maybe, unusual dream, be it life on the open road or a boutique designer cat condo business (is somebody doing that? somebody should be.).
So, we put together a simple timeline of the events leading up to purchasing our RV and taking to the open road. It may seem like it took a long time, like it was overwhelming and frustrating. That’s because it was. We are, however, firm believers that we, each individually, come from and have different circumstances, and just as well, have different needs and challenges. You may notice that this transition happens more simply for some than others; we’re in the latter group. We, however, believe in those annoyingly cliched sayings that say something like “nothing worth doing is easy,” or, “it’s not in the destination, it’s in the journey,” even if we absolutely hate them sometimes.
There are definitely things we would do differently if we had it to do all over again, and there are some things we would do exactly the same. If you are considering this lifestyle, your unique journey may be very different or very similar; either way, we hope you don’t just wrestle with and curse the process, but also conquer and grow from it.
So yeah, enough gab; here’s our in-a-nutshell process of an idea that was hatched ten years ago…
- Had the idea to travel the country in a motorhome; decided we’d do it when we’re older.
- Asked ourselves, “Why wait?” Decided to keep it to ourselves, sleep on it over the holidays, and revisit the topic mid-January 2012.
JAN – FEB
- Still felt strongly about full-time traveling. Began researching what it would take– More about that. (Link to “Couldn’t shake it.”)
MAR – SEP
- Life happened. We got busy and, outside of talking about it and planning on paper/Evernote, we made very little actual progress over the next several months.
OCT – DEC
- Finally began the process of downsizing. More about that. (Link to “Downsizing your stuff.”)
- Mark met with his team, boss, and HR department at work to let them know about our plans and discuss the possibility of staying on staff full time, and telecommuting. Conversations were less than encouraging; they said they would think about it.
- Around this time, we also began telling family and friends about our plans.
- Again, life happened; the discussion with Mark’s job about telecommuting didn’t seem to be going anywhere.
- We got busy and felt like the RV dream wasn’t progressing.
- The savings from downsizing/selling stuff got eaten away by life’s little happenstances, thanks to poor budgeting habits.
- Decided to take control of our situation and do something big; move out of our 3-bedroom house into something much smaller.
- Moved out of our 3 bedroom, 1400 sq. ft. house and into a 1 bedroom, 900 sq. ft. apartment close to Mark’s work to save money and get used to a small space.
- Recommitted to a dormant side business.
- Finally dusted off our Dave Ramsey DVD’s and started getting serious about paying off debt, budgeting, and saving money.
- Side business picked up. We put the profits from that toward paying off debt so we could put more aside for the RV.
- Began homeschooling August.
OCT – DEC
- Spent the next few months focusing on homeschool, paying off debt, and continually downsizing.
- Decided to go for it. Mark met with his bosses, laid everything out, and put his job on the line.
- Mark quit his full-time job and made the side business the main business.
- Pursued a little dream we had to live by the sea, and moved from our 900 sq. ft. apartment to a 700 sq. ft. apartment in a historic house three blocks from the beach, on Galveston Island, Texas (one hour from our then current home).
- With the time we gained from Mark quitting his full-time job, we were able to focus more time and effort on our family, our dream, and new business.
- Loving the beach and life in Galveston.
Continued focus on downsizing and looking for just the right RV.
Found what ended up being “the one” in Lockhart, Texas (two hours north of Galveston).
Began renovations on RV with a plan to finish by the end of December.
Lease at current home was scheduled to end in November, added 30 days to finish RV renovations.
Downsized the last of our stuff (gave family some of the best of it and stored the keepsakes in a storage unit in Austin).
Didn’t progress too much with renovations because of the holidays.
- Lease was up at our Galveston home, and our landlord had found another tenant. Had to find somewhere to live and park the RV.
- Moved to a beach house/vacation house with some land and space on Bolivar Peninsula (30 minute drive/ferry ride from Galveston), to continue renovations on RV.
- Took time out from business and spent everyday, dawn to dusk, for the next month working on the RV.
- Moved into a nearly finished RV and drove it to Austin to park in family’s backyard and prepare for our sister’s wedding.
- Took some time off from renovations to enjoy our sister’s wedding, rest from a whirlwind past few months, and focus on business.
- Picked RV renovations back up.
- Continued RV renovations.
- Enjoyed our time in Austin, exploring the city and spending time with our sister and her new husband.
- Finished RV renovations.
- Left Austin and finally began our life on the road!!!