Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pinch Me...Have We Really Reached a Decision?

Today, my wife and I went for a long drive, the purpose of which was to take a look at a 4+ acre place near Denison. We saw it and I immediately fell in love with it. It has a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house (1 bedroom and 1 bath were add-ons and need to be demolished), plus a 2 car garage, a separate workshop (HUGE...concrete floors, separated into 2 units, one garage area big enough for the Kubota tractor and separate riding mower plus lots of implemenets), a storm cellar, lots of trees (some mature pine and oak, some smaller plums and various fruit trees, etc.). The tractor and mower and lots of tools come with it. And, there are two wells, one a surface well about 30 feet deep and the other a 500+ foot well. Plus, the place has city/rural water and a pond and...I could go on. And, they're asking only $165,000 for it.

But, we don't have $165,000 and it's too far to drive to our offices every day anyway. It's about 75 miles from our house, so about 86 miles from our office. Even working at home 3 days a week wouldn't do it.

I wanted to buy it. But I knew it wasn't plausible. It is not just that this place won't fit our plans and our finances. It's that there is no place that will successfully marry my dreams and my financial wherewithal.

It hurts to realize that my lifelong dream of having a place in the country, a real place I could work and make my own paradise, will never be achievable. But, in the back of my mind, whenever I've allowed myself to think rationally about it, I've known. We simply don't have the money, the retirement funds, the "stuff" to sell, etc. to ever get us where I'd like to be.

The drive back home, after reality hit me hard in the face, was not happy. It was a long drive in absolute silence; I was just not in the mood to talk about what had suddenly become a conscious realization about our financial capacity. My lifelong dream of having a "place in the country" simply is not achievable, at least not in a way that would make us comfortable and happy.

When we got home, though, we talked. We talked about our options. And we talked so much and so quickly that we successfully accomplished in an hour what we've not been able to do in 15 years of start and stop conversations about what we will do in retirement.

Here's our plan.

For the next three years, we will suck in our guts and save money like crazy. We'll cut our restaurant spending dramatically. I'll immediately take my 181K-mile Avalon off comprehensive insurance and keep only liability coverage (and my on-again, off-again thinking about replacing it will be set to permanent off, unless it craters and we have to deal with it...and then, maybe we will just get by with one car). We'll increase the deductible on our homeowners' insurance to save another $300 per year. All the money we save will be put in the bank to help finance the plan: We will, some three years hence and after selling virtually everything we own and either selling or leasing our house, buy a roadworthy vehicle, possibly a camper of some sort, and hit the road.

We both want to do this. I'm absolutely willing to stop occasionally and take temp work or get a part-time job to help cover our expenses. That will be part of the plan. We want to just travel and be gypsies of sorts. We envision stopping periodically to get jobs, renting an apartment or a house, and living there for awhile. Then, on the road again, staying in our camper/whatever sometimes, other times staying in very inexpensive motels, etc. Or maybe visiting friends and family.

We have lots of research to do and lots to learn in preparation for our grand adventure. Three years sounds like an eternity to me, but I'll only be 58 by then and I hope to have some time to really be free and enjoy life. And maybe then, finally, I'll make good on my promise to write something that may be worthy of somebody buying it.

I'm so excited I bet I don't get a wink of sleep tonight. I'll be burning up the Internet, trying to explore what other people have experienced when they, like we, have finally said to themselves, "Life is too short; we have to get out of here and live!"


KathyR said...

Awesome. I hope you blog from the road.

Do you read Me, You & Ellie? Ellie & her husband have done a lot of traveling in their VW van.

Springer Kneeblood said...

Kathy, thanks. In fact, I've already asked Ellie to give me advice.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Well, this is just great news. The only less-than-stellar part of this fab plan is the waiting-3-years part.

I'm happy to talk and talk and talk about it. Or maybe you already knew that. The main thing, though, is it's easy. You just have to roll. The *hard* part is making the decision to do it. And that part you've already done!

Good on ya.