Unknown Days

I interrupt this usually happy blog to bring to you some sad news. Changing that countdown ticker jinxed us.

We have had a HUGE setback in our plans to become nomadic and it is really upsetting. Words can not describe. Or maybe they can?

This whole fast motion of a journey was put into play 3 months ago when Derek asked his direct reporting manager to go work remotely. We based all the rest of our life changes on this one decision. We have told friends and family we are leaving, bought an RV, started to sell our belongings and even asked our landlord to break our lease early. (We posted the rent ad on Craigslist LAST night)

Well I got a phone call from Derek this morning and he sounded pretty disappointed. He said “I can’t work remotely after all.” WHAAAATTTTTT?!?!?!?!?! We have been planning our whole life around him being able to work remotely. Hell, we even went into debt for the first time because we thought we had an income on the road. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.

Come to find out, the manager above his manager disagrees with the whole “work remotely” thing. That would have been nice to know 3 MONTHS AGO! There has been multiple conversations between Derek and his manager, even the last meeting was about us leaving March 1 with a transition period starting Feb 1. Where Derek would work remotely 2 days a week at an RV park in Austin.

The more I sit here and stew over this, the more I get upset. We are going over our various options at this time.

But for right now….I don’t know when we will be on the road.

Stay tuned…..and I hope we will be back to the regularly scheduled happy travel blog.

81 Days (Originally 140 Days)

<—————See that little countdown ticker to the left….that was changed today. We moved up our launch off day by 2 months. Our adventurous family could not wait around for our lease to be up on our rental house in April , so we have asked our landlord to cancel our lease early and find a sublettor. New launch off day is Feb 1, 2013ish and we will  head west with a more relaxed first destination maybe Phoenix…or somewhere in west Texas. (Oxymoron…there is nothing in West Texas)

What made us move up the date?   There are a few things keeping us around for the spring, but we think by moving up the date and getting out of the house we can save some money. The plan is to be out of our house the end of the year, stay at a local Austin RV park for a month or so and than head west Feb/March.

This was our last weekend of relaxation and casual RVing before we buckle down, sell everything, rent out the house and get the heck out of Texas.

Some of the reasons or epiphany that made us change our date:

A giant To Do List should make us more productive, right?

1. I made a connection with another family that was on the road and figured out they were in Austin. We had breakfast with The Boyinks and I could have talked to them for hours about what it is like on the road.  In between little Miss Zoe Mae talking and wiggling around all I kept hearing from them is just get on the road, you will not regret it. They also gave me a great idea, so we were not completely overwhelmed by everything  Put a To-Do List in every room. Cross something off everyday. Thanks for breakfast and I hope our paths cross again someday.

2. We are impatient. Period. Since Derek and I met we have always had the “all in” philosophy. This should be no different.

3. Every time we take out the RV for a “test-run” Derek and I look at each other and say….why can’t this be right now. We took our favorite family out this past weekend. Sat around a campfire and realizing we will be leaving our friends in Austin soon.

So the To-Do List is updated, craigslist ads are flowing, Ebay listings are mutilping, with all this coming together so quickly it may be really hard to keep up with everything. On top of all this life transitioning,  I have a vocal daughter who is teething and wants to be held all the time. So I am just going to sit down, nurse her and look around at this empty house, realizing that this may be the last time I am in a house that doesn’t have wheels.

Love and travels,

~~~The Smeetings~~~

156 Days

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 
― Dr. SeussHappy Birthday to You!

Zoe turned One…..oh my we had some fun. The party that I had been planning for the past several months finally came together and was a blast. So much food, such much Seuss, so many smiles. Zoe slept through the first half of her party. (what mother schedules a birthday party during their child’s nap time)

I was so happy to have so many family and friends in one place. This is one thing I will miss while being on the road….having a large party.

Now that her birthday has passed and gone, time to start buckling down and selling “stuff.” So guess what we are doing on a Friday night? You guessed listing a few old items on craigslist and Ebay.

First thing on the list to sell:

1. Guest bedroom Furniture

2. Derek’s Nerdy board games

3. 4 containers of Halloween Customes

The entrance table, had all the guests sign a “Happy Birthday to You” Dr. Seuss book.

 

Daddy helping her eat her smash cake

 

To many people taking pictures at once, we had no idea where to look

 

166 Days

 

“Oh the Places You’ll Go”

Our daughter is turning 1 year this Friday and I have been planning my little(big) fanny off with a Dr. Seuss inspiration. Which is quite fitting, for the journey we are about to embark on. The planning of this party started when she turned 6 months. However, if I would have known that we would be leaving soon, I would have opted out for something a little more low-key. Who am I kidding….I love a good party and I can plan a mean party. Ask me what I have planned for our House-cooling-trailer trash-going away party for January. Details to follow.

The statement around the house continues to be “As soon as this party is over, we are going to start selling stuff.” There has to be a point where we start purging and stop consuming and get on the road full time. Knowing that everyone is different, I wonder the average number of days it takes a person to make a decision, stick with that decision, plan on that decision and than execute that decision. I am the type of person that has a million ideas a day of business plans, inventions, etc. Except I can never execute them. However, this is a different type of motivation, a motivation to do things differently. Always going against the grain.

Note to Blog:

We will be moving to our next phase of the road map to nomad: selling our stuff. But not until this kid’s birthday party.

I had my first non family member, non friend comment on our Facebook page. Sweeeet…someone is actually reading this.

Yes, that is my daughters little tiny newborn head in the pictures above. She is growing up way to fast.

 

168 Days

Another weekend….another practice run in the RV.

Still have not named the RV. This is kind of like naming a pet or a child, will it just come to us? I wanted to name her Bertha or Betty, that idea was shot down quickly.

Our family packed up the RV and headed south to McKinney Falls State Park. I had no idea that this state park was inside the city limits. It rained the whole weekend, but it gave us a chance to set up in the rain and what a day would be like stuck inside with no WIFI…eeeekkkkk first world problems. I read two books already downloaded on my ipad, took naps, hiked around the park and played board games.

Also cooked our first meals in the RV, Grilled Sage Chicken with roasted garlic brussel sprouts for dinner; and sausage, sweet potato, egg and cheese breakfast tacos. With the limited counter space you have to be more methodological with prepping your food. Dishes are a whole other problem. Basically I use it, wash it and reuse it.

Note to Self Blog:

Estimated time it takes to set up RV: 30 minutes, estimated time it takes to load up the RV: 45 minutes.

When it is windy, retract the awning so it doesn’t shake the whole trailer. Survived our first round of thunder storms in the RV.

When helping your SO (Significant Other) back up the truck, sometimes you just need to shut up and let him do it. Derek has become quite efficient at backing up the truck and hitching up the trailer with out my help.

When living in a small space, you do not waste time walking into another room to obtain an item, everything is within arms reach. Need to change Zoe’s diaper, great!….the diapers are under the couch, which is right here.

The bunkhouse originally set for demolition to make Derek an office, has become our adult retreat at night while Zoe is sleeping on our bed. Derek is now researching ides to set up an office outside, any thoughts?

I need to take pictures and post them!

175 Days

We almost had our first hurdle…almost.  One of the main reasons we bought the travel trailer is because this would we be the easiest and fastest way to get on the road. If we would have bought a motor home, we would have needed to buy a vehicle to tow or “toad.” So that would have meant buying two new things and coming up with the cash to do it. No way. Than we thought about a 5th wheel and that didn’t make any sense because once again we would have had to purchase 2 new things: 5th Wheel and a truck to pull it. So we settled on a lite travel trailer(pics coming soon) that Derek’s current Ford F250  could pull. Decided that we need to drive our truck into the ground, until it didn’t run anymore. Drive it until the wheels fell off.

I received a phone call from Derek on Friday evening, his truck had broke down and he needed me to come pick him up. He heard a pop and it was difficult to drive. Immediately he thought it was the transmission, me not be the over reactor, thought it was a belt. He drove it to a repair shop and parked it for the WHOLE weekend. We had the WHOLE weekend to think about the “What Ifs”. What if we needed to replace the truck? What kind of truck would we buy instead? How much would that cost? Would that put us in debt? Would that have pushed back out launch off date? We played this game the WHOLE weekend, or did I already mention that? …..Guesss What…….

Worried for nothing…just a spark plug with an oil change it cost $350. Geez guess we missed that hurdle.

179 Days

Geez I am ready to go now. The impatient person in me wants to get everything figured out in a month and leave. But realistically, we need more time. How long do you think it will take to sell everything, clean out a whole house and hit the open road? I think 3-6 months is a realistic time frame, Derek thinks we could do it in a month or less. There are a few responsibilities that are keeping us in Austin at least until the first part of the year.  Plus, we are starting to have great weather in Austin and it would be a shame to leave 50 degree weather. Another reason why we are waiting until April.

On a side note, our daughter, Zoe Mae’s first birthday is in a couple of weeks. Telling people not to get her gifts because we will just have to get rid of them, you would have thought I told them I was kicking their puppy. Our obsession with things has gotten out of control. I am ready to rid my stuff and live a more simple life.

188 Days

Took the RV out for the first time this past weekend and let me tell you we had such a great time doing it! I thought we were going to be setting the trailer up for hours, turns out it took us about 30 mins total. We stayed our first night at Jelly Stone Park in Canyon Lake, Texas. This was a great park for us first timers and it gave Zoe and I a lot to do while Derek was tinkering with the RV or taking a nap. (That’s all he wanted to do on this trip was take a nap in our new tiny home) Fine by me, gave Zoe and I some time to check out the pool. We only stayed one night and wanted to stay close to Austin for our first trip out. Next trip in a few weeks, Inks Lake Texas. We haven’t been here since taking Zoe for her first camping trip  last year when she was 5 weeks old.

Some thoughts about our tiny home after our first night

1. We were originally going to do some major modifications to the RV. First we were going to take out the bunks to make Derek an office area, that has been changed due to the fact how much we really enjoyed having the bunks as a retreat place. Zoe took some naps in the bunkhouse and Derek and I hung out in that are after Zoe went down for the night. (We are co-sleepers, which could probably be a whole other blog post just about this) The other modification we were going to make because we are co-sleepers is making room for a King size bed. We realized that if we did this, we would lose a ton of storage which will be very important when we are on the road full time.

2. We need some color in that RV. Anybody who knows me, knows how much I love bright colors and boy do we need some spice in that RV. Too neutral for my taste, however I am having such a hard time in trying to figure out what colors to bring into such a small space. I know, first world problems.

3. We have a many details to work out before we begin full timing. Although I have a sinking feeling that we will be out of our sticks and bricks house in the next few months, before we launch off cross country. After doing some research, we have found that we could live very inexpensive at an RV park in Austin and save more money before we leave.

On a side note, check out this article from CNN. “Tiny homes hit the big city” I feel like ever since we have decided to down size, live in a simpler space everything around me is screaming “YOU NEED TO DO THIS.”I look around my house and all I see is clutter, things that need to be cleaned and stuff we do not need. My goal is to get this downsizing process started October 21. The day after my daughter’s first birthday party. This will be the day we start down sizing and start working towards our life as nomads. Next Post: Can I downsize to 100 items?

195 Days

We picked up our new home yesterday and brought it to our soon to be old home. We were almost as nervous as the day we brought home our daughter, Zoe Mae. (that was a 3 block drive from the hospital to our house, the RV had to make it home 65 miles)

I can not tell you how great this feels to be making this huge change in our lives. 6 months seems so far away and I think if we can get the cards lined up correctly we may be out of our sticks and brick house sooner than what we had originally expected. Maybe. We have told the majority of our friends and family and here are some the responses we have received:

Why? I think the main motivation as to why I want to do this is, we want to spend more time with each other, with Zoe and with our family and friends, while visiting some pretty kick ass places. Derek’s WHY is probably a little different than mine) Derek gets 5 weeks of vacation and I get two from my company. The past couple of years we have struggled as to where to go on vacation, who to see and when we should go. Because of our off balanced vacation days we have a limited time where we can go. With higher airfare;  not enough vacation time; our family being in Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Alabama; it always seems like we spend our “vacation” going to see family in a rush extended weekend.

Where are you going? Everywhere, but we do have some sort of plan. Head West to California first, drive up the coast of California to see friends, spend the summer in Canada, come back down to the states to see friends and family in Colorado, Missouri and Kansas.(be there for Zoe’s Birthday) Head to Tennessee for Thanksgiving, Alabama for Christmas and head to Florida for the winter to hang out with my childhood friend Melissa. Who has been begging me to come see her for 10 years! Once it warms back up head up the east cost and end this trip in Maine. A state that I have loved since I spent the summer there as a camp counselor. I wonder if Camp Laurel will let me be a guest counselor in the Summer of 2014.

What about all your stuff? See that is the thing, it is just STUFF! AS long as I have Zoe and Derek, clothes on my back, food in the pantry and some shoes to get around, the rest is just stuff. Stuff we do not need. Yes, there will be somethings we can not part with, pictures, old grandmothers things, etc that we will just have to get a storage unit to hold this STUFF. (If I had it my way, we would get our most prized possessions down to a few boxes and ship them to our parents house for the year.) A storage unit is a reoccurring cost each month and if we do not decide to settle back down in Austin, we have to come down to Texas and get that all figured out.

I have to keep remembering is that we have a lot of things we still need to get done and we will need some time to get it done. I have read multiple blogs of other families that are doing this exact project and one family I found decided to do it in 2 months!

196 Days

We bought it! Our new home for the next year (or more)! After much researching, many nights watching youtube videos, reading reviews, looking through craigslist, multiple RV dealerships, we bought our new travel trailer. So now it seems more real than ever that we are leaving. Now can we wait the 6 whole months before we finally get to leave? WE still have so much to do on the “TO DO” list that it can be quite overwhelming. Here are the reasons why we chose this travel trailer over anything else we saw on the market.

First, we had full intentions on buying used, but after the great deal we got, we realized for an extra $1000-2000 we had a brand new trailer with a 2 year warranty. Anything goes wrong, we go right into a Jayco dealership and they will fix it. Since we are trying to get on the road ASAP, we did not want to waste time doing projects to get an older RV up to date.

Secondly, when we first started this process, I thought we would get a motorhome over a travel trailer. But after all the research we decided this was a better option for our family right financially. If we need to upgrade later on, than we will. But as of right now, this is what makes the most sense and the quickest way to get on the road.

Thirdly, Derek needs an office space. With him working remotely and a by the time we leave Zoe will be a toddler, we really needed a “space” that Derek could utilize for just working. So when we saw that the Jayco Swift had a bunkhouse, we knew this small area could be converted into his new cubicle with some modifications. After the modification I will post some pictures.

Lastly, I wanted some extra floor space for Zoe and I. With her walking soon and me doing the majority of cooking, I wanted our living are to be more than the small walkway that was in the original travel trailer we were going to get. I will let you know after a few months of traveling full-time if that was needed. I have read that the main mistake people make when picking out their RV, is thinking they need more space.

We are picking up the travel trailer in the morning near San Antonio, now we need to pick out a name for our new home.

More importantly we are one more step away from living OUR dream.