Saturday, January 16, 2016

Aaaaaaaand we're back!

...5.5 years later!

Five years ago I chronicled our journey to pay down debt and live our dreams - and at that time, the dream was to purchase a boat and sail.

So what happened?

We did not purchase a boat and sail. Se la vie. Instead:

*I went back to grad school and obtained a Ph.D. in a STEM discipline. I had a blast. Conferences, fieldwork in the western U.S. and Brazil, lab work, collaborating with advisors and fellow students... even writing the dissertation. I do not regret the decision in any way. Well, okay, I do regret that we re-acquired some of the credit card debt we'd previously paid off, but I still wouldn't go back and erase that experience.

*My husband continued to work online, but shifted from teaching to science publishing. It's a contract job so it isn't guaranteed, but it's a good gig as long as he has a contract.

*We sold our house in Nashville. We waited long enough that we sold it for almost exactly the same price at which we purchased it.

*I somehow landed a tenure-track teaching job at a small college in the rural Midwest. We moved there and crammed ourselves into a tiny house on a dead-end road where my son bikes whenever he wants and I don't worry about him getting hit by a car. I'm currently in my second year of working here. I love low-key, frugal living in a small space. As for work...

*Last week, I quit said job. Why? Because I discovered I do not enjoy rural living... I do not enjoy the politics of academia... and I just can't see myself staying here, in this place and in this job, for my entire career. More to come about the interesting world of academia and the "I just can't quit you!" nature of walking away from it.

And now?

Now... We're kind of but not really back to where we were six years ago:

*We're still seeking financial freedom. We're still in debt. BUT...

*We cashed out some of our 401Ks and paid off most of our credit card debt. I know not everyone will agree with this strategy, but for us, the debt took an emotional toll and we needed to be unburdened of it.

*We still have school loans we're paying off. Damn school loans. If there's one regret I carry, it's the decision to take on school loans when we didn't actually need to.

*We're still looking for freedom... But this time, the plan is to purchase an RV and live as freelancing nomads starting this summer. We're saving up for a used fifth-wheel trailer. The plan is to homeschool our son, move every few months, work remotely, and spend more time with family.

Do I think this is a decision Suzie Ormon would agree with? Haaaaaaaa. No. Many people wouldn't agree with it. But you know what? Life is short. I want to spend my time having adventures with my family, not sitting at a desk. I want to see the country, meet new people, have memorable experiences, and give my son an education beyond the classroom.

So that's the focus of our new blog: Preparing for, and embarking on, this new and exciting journey.

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