Happiness Is…

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Up until a year ago, we were your average upper middle-class family. We owned and lived in a 4000 square foot timber frame home on an acre with a built-in pool in the back yard. We also owned another home, which I used as my photography studio, and my husband’s business property, which was an 1800-square foot business condo.

And we were miserable.

Yup, that’s right. We THOUGHT we were living the American dream! To own a home and our own business! For many years, we worked hard and played hard. We had everything we ever (thought) we wanted.

Except happiness.

You see, there was no time to chase happiness! Every day it was work work work. My husband would work at least 10 hours a day, then come home and work all night on the house. I would go to work at my photography studio, and spend all day either working on my business, or working on that house. Then there was the business property, which always seemed to need cleaning and repair. It seemed that if we weren’t working, we were mowing the acre of lawn, or raking an acre of leaves, or cleaning the pool, or pulling the weeds, or cleaning the house. Even on weekends. It took the two of us working together one FULL 8 to 10 hour day to clean the house each week.

And then we sold it all.

And people thought we were a little crazy (although I suspect most of them are secretly jealous!). Yup, we now own NOTHING, except our bus that we travel in and our car – both of which are paid off.

Was it easy? Heck no!! We were SCARED. TO. DEATH. Being without a “home” is a truly frightening thought!! And some days I truly miss having a home (and counter space LOL). And some day I will want a home again. But, it will be a very small home, that is very low maintenance, and has very low taxes, and will be very much paid for in cash. We will not be a slave to our home ever again.

All this to say, don’t believe what they say – it’s a trap! LOL. The world makes you BELIEVE that you MUST own a giant house, and 2.4 cars, and have the perfect little life in the suburbs. That you must have a hefty mortgage, and car payments, credit card debt, and the best shoes.

It’s just not true!

Now, the whole United States of America is our backyard!! It takes ONE HOUR for us to clean our “home” top to bottom. And we are happy.

I was at a funeral a couple of months ago, seeing some family members that I haven’t seen in a long time, and I can’t tell you how many of them said to me, “I’m so jealous of what you’re doing – I wish I could do that too.” Why do you just “wish”? Why can’t you do this too? It’s human nature to become complacent – to become comfortable. Your home is your home, and its comfy there. It’s warm and fuzzy and you hang out there in your jammies and you like it. So you go to work so that you can continue to own your warm, fuzzy, jammie-hanging-out-in home. As I said, we were scared to death to make this leap! And I truly believe it takes a certain kinda person (with some big cajones) to do what we did. But I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world!

We’ve chosen to spend our money on EXPERIENCES, not THINGS.

At this point, we are almost at our 6-month nomadiversary – the date we moved into our RV and called ourselves “full-timers”. I told my husband at the start of this journey that I would give him one year, but at this point I suspect it will be longer than that. This world is amazing, and beautiful, and each place is so unique. And I haven’t seen it all yet! We have been to some great places, and we have visited with some great people, but we have only scratched the surface of what’s out there. There’s a long way to go, and a lot more to see!!!

My advice to anyone who is thinking – even if just a little bit – about this lifestyle, is “GO FOR IT!” Quit being trapped by your pre-conceived notions of the perfect life, and all of the commitments that that entails. Quit putting so much importance on the “things” in your life, and start living for the experiences! When we sold our houses, we also sold all the “things” that we had collected over the years – and I’ve come to find out that they were all meaningless! I don’t miss any of them – not even a little bit! We fill our homes with knick-knacks and “stuff”, and we forget to fill our hearts with joy! We place more value on “being busy” than we do on our own needs!

Need somewhere to start? Start with your finances! This is usually the toughest hurdle for people to get over – they think they cannot afford this lifestyle. In reality, it’s being way less expensive than our 3 mortgages (and property taxes) were!!! We are big fans of Dave Ramsey and truly believe that “if you live like noone else, you’ll be able to live like noone else”. We’ve even done the homeschool edition for teenagers with our 17-year-old son, who now has a solid understanding of how money works, and a good plan for his future income. I cannot recommend this book enough! Even if you are already full-time, but struggling with finances, or wondering how to plan for your retirement, this book is for you.

In the end, we can only do what makes us happy. We are responsible for our own joy. And only we can decide what’s most important for us. And then it’s up to us to go out and chase that dream – whatever it may be.

Roam Sweet Roam is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to (“roamsweetroam.com” (amazon.com, or endless.com, MYHABIT.com, SmallParts.com, or AmazonWireless.com).

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