As we continue to prep for retirement, we have really begun to ask ourselves tough questions. What do we really want the next 7 pre-retirement years to look like? And what do we want the next 40 plus retirement years after that to be like? We are starting to really define our goals and solidify what we want those years to look like before they are actually here.
We’ve come to the realization that the answer to what we want in both pre-retirement and post-retirement is the same: We want freedom.
What does freedom mean to us?
As you can guess from many of my previous posts, my husband and I like love to travel and try new things. I think I’d go so far as to say we are slightly addicted to getting away from the daily grind and trying something new. I know that I am.
Freedom to us is being able to go where we want whenever we want. Freedom is being able to answer solely to our own schedules and plans. If we want to spend autumn watching the leaves change in New England, we should be able to do that. Maybe we want to cruise down to the Baja Peninsula and dive with sharks in the middle of July, we should be able to do that too. And if we want to ski at noon on a Wednesday in Telluride, well that should also be an option too.
Some people may think this kind of freedom will need to wait until our retirement at age 41, but the more my husband and I talk about the future, the less we want to wait. We want to start experiencing that freedom now. I bet to a lot of people this may sound selfish. And to a point it is, but it’s the life we want to live and we are trying our damnedest to make it happen. Life is short. I want to make the most of it each and every day and right now, I don’t feel like that is always possible.
Do we have that freedom now?
The short answer is no. Right now, I have to go into an office each and every day. My fellow employees and I have petitioned our leadership for remote work at my office. However, our senior leaders are old-school and want people to come into the office everyday. I think it’s just as easy to collaborate over phone and email, but apparently not everyone thinks that way. We are also out of desk space at my office, so it would be so much easier to just have some of us work remotely. They recently re-arranged all the cubes to make them smaller and the new arrangement is pretty crappy. I do not like coming in each day to sit at a small desk at my new cube, which now faces a white pillar. Yuck! (However, I am planning to decorate said pillar to make it pretty!)
My husband used to have a completely remote job but recently that has changed. His job now wants him to make appearances at the office. His company doesn’t have meetings or anything at the office, but they want him to make his calls from a small, windowless room just to say that they have folks coming into the office. Alas, it is just part of working.
Decades ago, heading into an office daily used to be the only option available to anyone looking for a full-time job and steady paycheck. But that’s not the only option anymore. We are hoping to take advantage of the internet age.
How are we planning on doing this?
We are planning to buy an RV and cruise around the US and Central America. Why not?!
So how are we going to do that? First, early next year, my husband and I plan to ask our current jobs if remote work is a possibility. The worst our jobs can say is no. No is exactly the answer I am expecting from my work. So we have already established a Plan B.
If our jobs decline the remote work option, we are considering applying to remote jobs at the middle to end of next year. That’ll give us time to save up money and buy an RV and plot our travel route. I’m currently working towards my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification as well. The PMP demonstrates someone’s ability to manage large-scale projects, which opens the door to a lot of new opportunities in the world of remote work. Many companies are looking for someone who can simply drive the project to the finish line for them. This is pretty easy to do over email and phone. I already do this with projects in Malaysia, Colombia, and Portugal, so I imagine working on US projects to be even easier.
Why would we want to live in an RV?
Well, wh at if we didn’t choose just one place to retire?
That’s our big thought now. We will eventually choose one place as a home base in retirement, but what if we turn 41 and that hasn’t quite happened yet. Based on my wanderlust ways, there’s a good possibility that I’ll want to explore as many places as possible before settling on just one. And I won’t be able to see them all in the next 7 years. We’ve ticked Belize off our list already and Costa Rica will be coming up soon. However, there’s many a place left in Mexico, Panama, Honduras, and Nicaragua to explore. Who says we can’t tour these by RV?
Also, we’ve never had the opportunity to just drive around the US and check out places that are a bit off the beaten path. I’ve never been to any seaside towns in Maryland, wandered the streets of Savannah, or hiked the trails at Crater Lake in Oregon. I’d like to do all of these things and one of the best ways to see them all is by taking a year or more and checking out all of these places that we’ve never been. And the best part is that our dogs could come too 🙂
Could we live in an RV?
Oh yes. Anyone who knows me realizes I have no problem eliminating clutter and getting rid of stuff. And I don’t mind tiny spaces. Three years after we first starting dating, my husband and I bought a 2400 square foot house together. It was huge and had way too much room for just the two of us and our pups, Kiwi and Blondie. We lived in that 2400 square foot house in Las Vegas for 5 years and never filled it up. When we moved out 5 years ago, we still had an empty dining room and two empty bedrooms. When we left Vegas, we decided we needed to downsize.
Right now, we live in an 800 square foot, two bedroom/two bathroom apartment with two dogs. It seems roomy for us because we tend to get rid of stuff we don’t need. I hate clutter. It stresses me out. I can’t even leave a dish in the sink over night because to me it makes the kitchen look messy and cluttered.
An RV would be an even bigger downsize. We are looking at 41 foot fifth wheel with about 400 square feet of room. Since we’d be parked in campgrounds, we’d have the whole outdoors as part of our living room. The dogs would love it too. We lived in an RV for a week with Mike’s parents in Alaska in the summer of 2015. I thought it was nice, so I imagine if I like a small RV road trip with my in-laws (who are fabulous by the way!), I’d like it just as much with my husband and dogs.
Can we really make this happen pre-retirement?
Our thought is yes. My husband and I tend to be big-time doers. We don’t just sit around and wait for things to happen. We get out there and make them happen.
Freedom. Plain and simple. That’s one of the most important things in my life to us. Maybe we go on our RV adventure and learn it’s not for us. Maybe we drive down to Nicaragua and immediately find a place on our first stop we never want to leave. Either way, it’s an adventure and one we want to experience now. Not only will this help us in discovering our retirement location, it will give us a great experience with our little dog family before we are 41.