Ruth, with our friend Andrei at the Orheiul Vechi Historical Complex at Trebujeni, Moldova. Photo taken December 2, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Why we're doing what we're doing.

Many readers have commented over the past five years that we are “lucky” to be doing what we are doing at our age. But it has nothing to do with luck. It has to do with a conscious decision to do something different in life.

Here’s the standard plan…

Go to college or university. Get married and have children somewhere along the way. Get a long term job. Buy a house. Buy all kinds of stuff to fill up your house with. Pay for your children’s college or university. Once or twice a year, take a couple of weeks vacation. Stay at the job you hate until you retire, hopefully sometime between age 55 and age 65.

Then do what you want.

The problem occurs when something goes wrong with the plan. Like you or your spouse get sick. Or worse.

When we were in the process of selling our house and all of our “stuff” at the age of 45, a woman asked where we were moving to. We said, “into that little motorhome parked across the street”. She thought that was great, and explained why.

“A few years ago, my husband retired, after 30 years in the military. We had a decent pension, and our house was paid for. We had all kinds of plans, including travel. Then, totally out of the blue, he died. Just like that, at age 52”.


And so here we are at age 50.  Ruth’s sister in law passed away last fall, at age 50. That’s some scary stuff. If one of us were to die at this age, we don’t want to be saying “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve,” lying on the death bed.

We don’t have a lot of money. In fact, we’ll probably end up going to back to work again, maybe for six months at a time. But there will always be that light at the end of the tunnel, and when that time is up, we’ll take off again for six months or a year or more.  But at least we’ll have seen and done a lot, and nobody can take that away from us.

And so we simply decided that we wanted to enjoy life while we were young enough to do so. It had nothing to do with luck, it simply meant that we chose to give up the security of a home and a job in exchange for something different.

27 comments:

  1. You guys are so common sense that you should win some kind of award for it!

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  2. Well said my thought exactly. A few obstacles in the way but finally did it at 56 yrs old and my wife 49, now after 6 years have explored a lot of North America, and could also say, “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve,”

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  3. Well said. We've had so many people tell us we are lucky and they are envious. Yet so many are so encumbered by fear and/or stuff that they just plod along. We chose to take the risk and aren't regretting it for a minute!

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  4. We hear the same things and it’s sometimes hard not to take the words as an accusation: “You’re so lucky.” We are lucky: lucky to have been born in a wealthy nation, to loving middle-class parents, in health and with all of our faculties. We’re lucky in the same way hundreds of millions of other folks are lucky. Beyond that, there are choices and there are sacrifices. It’s the latter that separates us from the cubical dwellers who are every bit as lucky as we.

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    1. You are very right,it is all a matter of choice and sacrifices. I think that for some it is fear of the unknown as well.

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  5. I think it's amazing that you guys think out of the box. I struggle to do that and I never thought of anything except that I was supposed to have a job and it was supposed to be a good enough job for me to be a part of society. I had never heard of living in an RV. RV meant camping and I am not a camper. Then I met Tina and Woody and my whole world changed. I am so grateful to them. So happy you guys didn't wait until you were old.

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    1. Happy that you took the chance and are now living the life you love.

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  6. I agree. So many were surprised we retired when we did but we have seen how short life is, neither of us has parents and we watched John's brother die at the age of 32. If there are things you want to do you need to find a way to do them. All the money in the world won't replace the things we've seen and done the last 2 years and what we plan to do into the future. Great blog post.

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    1. We think that if you want to do something bad enough you find a way to do with lots of money or just a little money. Glad that you are out enjoying your life.

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  7. It's taking us a bit longer, but early retirement has always been part of our plans so that we can enjoy what life has to offer without being tied down to things. Not everyone understands what we're doing, but that's OK.

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  8. Here... here... and what you said! Are we all crazy? Hell yes we are but living life to the fullest...

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  9. Well the way I see it, you are doing the right thing.
    I feel the same way as you, one never knows how long they are going to be on this earth so we need to live and enjoy every little thing while we can. A few little health scares, the body deteriorating and you realize life is SO very short.
    Like everyone else, we've followed the general rule of thumb as you explained but every day we yearn to be on an adventure somewhere on the other side of this planet.
    We took our kids out of school for six months once and headed off to Australia, you might say on a whim, and it was the best thing we ever did in our lives (the kids will agree). Everyone asked the same thing, "how can you afford to do it", "we couldn't do that", "you're so lucky", well it's like you said, you have to set your priorities, make a conscious decision and go for it. In fact we actually borrowed to do it, we've since paid it off and don't regret a single minute (or penny) of it.
    Following your blog only solidifies our thoughts of making some changes in our lives and doing what pleases us the most, doing what we've dreamt of doing for many years - being able to see our children, seeing the rest of the world, and escaping the cold realities of winter.
    We may not go to the extreme that you have but we are in the planning stage of sorting life out so that we can at least spend 4 to 6 months of winter somewhere else and working the other 6 months at home, (only because we are not yet willing to give up our little slice of paradise here on the lake- been in the family for 70 years so it's not likely we'll let it go).
    We do think we are moving in the right direction though by simplifying our lives, letting go of material things, and making plans. We thank you for letting us see that it is a possibility, that it's not just a passing dream or a futile wish.
    Hope we can meet up with you on the trail at some point.
    Keep on trekking you two, it's a great life!!!

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    1. 6 months is better than no months! Hope we can see you out on the road somewhere.

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  10. Life is a series of choices and if you are brave enough to follow your heart and mind then an entire new path opens up. Proud to be your friends.

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  11. We pulled the plug and hit the road in our mid fifties and all my wife's siblings, all older are still working in their 60's and 70's saying they can't afford to retire. They are jealous of us.

    We are happy to have our RV and travel where and when we want and not surrounded by junk in a huge house that just collects dust and will be tossed in the trash one day.

    It's all about perspective and priorities.

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    1. Objects to us don't mean much it's the memories that do. Right now we have loads of memories and looking forward to more.

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  12. We're with you, we've done exactly the same thing and are having the time of our lives. Enjoy!

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  13. life is indeed to short!..good for the two of you for being able to do what you are doing!

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  14. I guess it's a matter of priorities. Some folks just like the stability and security of living their lives with no real surprises. My parents are that. Those people dont understand wanderlust. I do. Love it!!!

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    1. Not everyone wants to travel and we understand that but it still works for many things. People often wish they could do something but don't make a point of just doing it, they sit back just thinking about until it is to late. As we said life is short, death is for a long time we don't want regrets at the end of it.

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  15. You two sure know how to do what you do - enjoy life - that's what it's all about - bless you!!!

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  16. Sounds like you have a good plan and will have no regrets. We did not start full time until I was 59, but it has been a great five years. Now we are back to any timers as we explore other adventure plans and enjoy the grand kids:)

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  17. We totally agree with your thinking and wish we would have retired at an earlier age. We are making up for lost time now by seeing as much as we can. It was so liberating to sell our home and stuff and no longer have the attachments. So many do not understand this and that's ok. Everyone gets to live the life they want. We feel we will still have some precious memories long after their "stuff" has been discarded. Great post!

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    1. Yes, our "stuff" is just that "stuff" it's the memories that make that item important, so as long as you have memories that what counts. Once you are gone so is your "stuff". I think we as a society put to much emphasis on material items and not enough on doing what makes us happy dispite what others think.

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