It's the middle of January, and we're saving and planning. Here's the current rundown of what we've nailed down (in short, not much), what we're still trying to decide, and what our hopes are:
*We'd like to purchase a used RV by the end of the summer and head south for the winter. Ideally we'll find an RV that is clean and comfortable, one that has separate bunk space for an independent boy who probably won't want to be around his parents all the time. I don't need or want an RV that is brand new; they depreciate in value too quickly and we don't have the money for that anyway.
Plus, these months of living in our tiny, old, clean, basic rental has shown me that I feel more relaxed when my surroundings have a little wear to them.
*We're going to homeschool our son. I need to look into homeschooling more - and some of the specifics will depend on the state in which we establish residency - but I'm confident we can make it work. He loves to read, loves to explore, and loves to have adventures. Road learning will be good for him.
*We're looking for freelancing work. My husband contracts with a publishing company, and I recently snagged an editing gig. Plus, I have a Beachbody business that is starting to gain some traction. Online teaching is also an option, though right now those jobs seem a bit hard to come by. We're also discussing the possibility of seasonal work; for instance, I think I'd love to work as a park guide in a national park during the summer months.
That's one thing that may be difficult to acclimate to: living without a fixed salary. But I'd rather freelance than be stuck in one spot.
*We need to embrace minimalism and sell our stuff! Our house is rather diminutive and by many standards we don't own all that much, but the thought of moving into an even smaller space makes us realize that we need to offload a whole bunch of home goods: our couch and armchair, a couple of beds, a kitchen table, a water cooler, a desk, a television stand... Ideally we'll be able to sell some of it and make a little extra cash.
*I need to start cleaning out my office. Ugh.
*We're in the process of paying off several credit cards and other debts. More about this in the future, but in order to pay them off, we cashed out a few retirement accounts (and took the tax hit). We need to reduce our monthly expenses as much as possible before we hit the road. Lack of credit card debt will make a huge difference both financially and emotionally.
That said, we're not going to be debt free. We'll have a car loan and our (somewhat crushing) school loans. I suppose most financial advisors would recommend that we pay those off before making our move, but... no. We'll keep paying our monthly bills on time, and eventually they'll be gone, but in the meanwhile I'm not going to let these stupid student loans get in the way of living.
*We've canceled cable as well as several monthly services and subscriptions. That's another ~$100 a month that we've freed up.
*We need to figure out what to do about our phones. My husband and I both have smartphones that we use all the time, but they're expensive. We've toyed with the idea of getting cheap flip phones, but I'm not sure either of us is willing to actually make that change. It really depends on our freelancing jobs: for gigs requiring quick turnaround, I think having at least one smartphone is worth it.
*Luckily, we currently rent our house and can move out with one month's notice. After the stress of selling our home in Nashville, the ability to pick up and leave so quickly and easily feels like a real luxury.
I'm sure I'm forgetting a million little things and of course all of these plans are evolving, but I needed to take a few minutes to move these random thoughts from my brain to paper.