Monday, June 28, 2010

When You Own, You Owe

My friend Marlaina recently uttered those words. It came in the course of a conversation we were having about being a couple who spends most of their time on the road; she and her husband also do what we do, drive as a team. I completely agree with her.

Shortly after that conversation, I read an article about a couple who started hauling expedited freight and a year later, sold their house, their cars and almost all of their worldly possessions to live on the road. And their story is very similar to ours, minus the selling of the house, cars and worldly possessions. Oh, and the expedited part. Ugh - I would SO not want to be places on a crazy time clock like the expediters do.

We didn't have a house to sell, but we did put all of our possessions in storage and I got rid of my car. We did go house hunting a few years ago but the deal fell through due to our not countering the seller's last offer - he didn't want to fix some of the things we requested, so we decided not to buy the house. After that, Ed and I discussed it and we were actually glad we didn't buy the house. Why pay a $3,000.00 a month for a house we'd never be in? We decided instead to keep our things in storage and rent a room in a family member's home, which works out much better when you're on the road 300 days a year.

Our truck, as many of you know, is like an RV and we have everything we could possibly need inside its "four walls". But sometimes people who have a house take a tone when they say things like, "Don't you wish you had a house?" or "You like being on the road so much?" Hell yeah, we like it. Have you read this blog?? Have you seen all the places we've been?

I hear as much disdain in their voice for our situation as I probably feel for theirs. What I'd like to know is how they can stand being in one place all the time? How they can go to the same job, day after day, commuting sometimes an hour each way, only to wind up with a paycheck that leaves them no extra money to go, do and buy. How they can't even take time off work when they feel like it because they have to "request" it or "put in for" vacation days.

omeday we might buy something when we feel like settling down, but when we do, it won't be anything extravagant. We've been looking at stuff like this and we love it. Being on the road definitely shows you that you don't need much of anything to enjoy life and I've gotten to visit my family and friends much more than I ever did when I had a "regular" job. But I still get the impression from people's comments that they think somehow we are less because we have less. As if their possessions (most of them not even owned outright) define them; that we couldn't possibly enjoy doing this and not having a house like they do.

One line I really liked in the article said, "When you own almost nothing, you can afford the best." That's how I feel. Because we're not funneling my money into a house that we would never be at anyway, we have thousands of dollars a month (but more importantly, we have time) to do with as we wish, and as the article pointed out, "there will always be people who have more than you. If you spend money believing you are what you own, you'll always be less than those who have more."

Possessions really don't mean much to me. I have a few things that I will likely keep for the rest of my life, but on a daily basis, everything I need sits right behind me as I travel down the road. Not that I don't have "wish lists" of things I want, but when I think about most of it, it's usually not stuff I absolutely must have.

Right now I've got Ed by my side, money in my pocket and time on my hands. That'll work for now.

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hi said...

bravo to you is what i say! i am another who thinks you don't win by having the most crap. that you're still trying to pay for. that you don't even need, in many cases. my hubby and i spent some time on the road in a job and loved it. we don't have very much "stuff" now even though we currently have an apartment and i have a "regular" job (he's a musician, hardly counts as "regular"). our dream retirement would be to not have a fixed house at all, but to have an rv to go wherever we want ~ whenever we want. too cold? go to florida. too warm? head north. yay! freedom!!
i love your blog, girlfriend, keep it up!

Terry said...

Stuff can really tie you down. Your two followers think that we will be following in their footsteps too, but alas, the stuff, it ties you down. I could not sell my house and I think it would probably fall down without constant attention. I will have to live vicariously through them and you.

Sam Huss said...

I gave up all my stuff to live on the road. I do have a car payment, but that's it. I regret even buying that for no more than I drive it. But at least it's mine and I know it's at the yard waiting for me.

My personal thoughts on the subject...
"I'm the richest damn homeless man you'll ever meet!"

Gil said...

I think that if you ever buy a place it will be in:

Shipshewana, Indiana

Sorry, I couldn't resist!!

Unknown said...

People still shake their heads and wonder about us when we put our house up for sale and sold it with everything inside, except for our clothes. Pictures, knick knacks, furniture, linens, dishes......EVERYTHING. It was the most freeing feeling I have ever had. The saying "less is more" is true. You really begin to live life, when you simplify your life. All I really need is Craig beside me, and I will consider myself the richest woman in the world.

all things bradbury said...

i guess we're one of those couples stuck with "stuff"!...we have a house....i had it before i ever came out in a truck and although we have talked many times about selling, we seem to need that connection....that home base. that's not to say that we don't love our time out here on the road, but it is to say that we also love that nest surrounded by family and also must be said that we envy your lifestyle...we wish that we had been smarter when we were younger and set ourselves up in your same, at this stage in life, with retirement in the forseeable, although beit still distant future, it doesn't seem the logical step for us either...don't ever let anyone make you feel "less than" over anything....stuff, is just will come, it will go out in yard sales and to goodwill....the life you and ed have built for yourselves and all the incredible experiences you have will never have a tag on them.