Hakam and I met in 2004 when he was a Naval Officer stationed at MCAS in Beaufort, SC. I worked for a data company. The short version is, we moved to another city, I accepted a position as a police officer and then we got married. During my career I worked in patrol, special operations, and then as a Detective in the Special Victims Unit. Hakam completed his 22-year military career in 2012 and retired. He went on to also become a police officer. At the time we met, I had two children and so did he, but we never had any of our own. We were both in our thirties, career driven, and figured four children was enough. Our children are now adults with their own careers and families.
In 2016, and well into our forties, something changed for us. After watching a Tiny House Big Living episode on television, Hakam and I started throwing around the idea of downsizing our lives. At the time, we were living in a 2,500 square-foot home which was much more space than empty-nesters needed. Not only had our children grown up and moved out, but one of our two beloved dogs had passed away. It was then just the two of us and our dog, Wilson. The home was a three-story townhouse and the first of these floors was a 450 square foot room we converted into a gym. After watching that tiny-house episode, Hakam and I started imagining our home in that space. It wasn’t hard. We knew we could live in it, and with our dog, too.
We started talking about how much money we were spending on mortgage, utilities and maintenance, and how much we had already spent on furniture for those formal living areas and guest rooms dedicated to company that never got invited. And the gym we built (our new imaginary living space) never got used because we either had no time or were too tired. We talked about the hours spent cleaning the home, doing laundry and ironing, paying bills and grocery shopping, and completing it all just in time to start the new work-week.
I don’t want to say that tiny-house episode put things in perspective for us, because we always knew our lives were consumed by work, but it allowed us to start a serious conversation about what we really wanted and needed to feel truly fulfilled. We wanted time for ourselves, time with each other and our children, and time to travel and do the activities we enjoy. We had none of that. We both felt trapped, bored, unfulfilled and tired.
Once we both knew we felt the same way, we agreed to start taking steps toward a simpler life. We knew this meant doing-away with the things that made us dependent on our jobs, which included selling our house and living full-time in something much smaller than we were accustomed to.
We watched more and more of those tiny house episodes but eventually transitioned into RV shows on You Tube. We followed full-time RV’ers like Technomadia, LoLoHo, We’re the Russos, Cheap RV Living and Carolyn’s RV Life. After absorbing everything we watched and seeing a variety of ‘tiny-living’ accommodations, we decided a travel trailer was the way to go. So, we traded-in our luxury vehicle and bought a rugged Ford pickup truck (one we knew would pull any travel trailer we chose). We sold our home and moved into a two-bedroom apartment and used the second bedroom to store all that unused and un-sat-in formal furniture. And then finally, the time to decide which travel trailer to purchase had arrived. We already narrowed down our list to the ones we were most interested in, and even traveled to other cities and states to tour them. In the end, we chose our Airstream Flying Cloud 23FB. It offers approximately 150 square feet of living space.
Even though we had already taken huge leaps toward our new life, we still had to confront what would prove to be the most difficult decisions we ever made. We first had to figure out what to do with all of our ‘stuff.’ Reducing or eliminating 2,500 square feet of ‘stuff’ is no easy task, but it had to be done since we couldn’t take it with us. We either sold it, donated it or stored it until nothing remained in the apartment. The process took much longer than either of us anticipated and it was much more emotional than we ever thought it would be. And finally, after all the research, preparation, hard-work, and quite the emotional ride, only one thing stood in the way of the new life we were so close to living…. our jobs. We had to quit our jobs! This was probably the most difficult decision to make since it represented the final chapter of the life we were about to leave behind. We took the plunge together and turned in our resignations on the same day. And just like that… we were done. We had gone from having respectable careers and a beautiful home and luxury vehicle, to being jobless, on a budget and living in a tin can. It made little sense to most, but we knew our tiny home would provide us with the one thing we longed for most………Freedom.
This blog is about our life-altering decision to trade in our old life for a new one. It’s about swapping possessions for experiences in search of freedom and fulfillment. Along the way we’ll share our experiences, adventures, tiny home, how we earn money and so much more! We hope you continue to follow our journey and always feel free to share yours with us. We can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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