Building Our Home
In the spring of 2015, we were living in Middleton, a charming little town in Idaho. We had moved to Middleton two years earlier. This was the town Nate spent his teen years in and it was home to him, always calling him back. So after eight years of marriage, he finally talked me into settling down in his hometown.
We had built a new home in a quiet neighborhood. We felt like we had made it. We had our family, two cars, good jobs and now a mortgage. We were finally adults!
Life was good. We had great friends for ourselves and for our kids. We worked hard to keep our house and yard nice. We were raising rabbits and chickens. Nate was working hard to provide for our family. We dreamed of taking our kids on awesome vacations to see different areas of the world.
In spite of our good life, we felt like we were locked up and someone had thrown away the key. Nate earned good money and my teaching contributed a little but we always felt like we were stretched too thin, like we would never get ahead. After the monthly payments of our mortgage, two cars, student loans, credit cards and up-keep on the house, plus the expenses of raising a young family, there was rarely anything left over. The dream of travel felt completely unreachable.
That’s when the gears started grinding. I say grinding because change is never easy. This wasn’t an easy or quick decision. We had to make some big changes in our lives if we ever wanted to feel free. We started to look into our options. Luckily, we bought our house at the bottom of the market and two years later our house had a decent amount of equity built up. After doing the research, Nate showed me how we could sell our house and use the equity to pay off all but a couple thousand dollars of our debt.
This was a huge decision! How could we sell our house? I had finally put pictures on the walls. We had a garden and fruit trees growing in the back yard. This is where our friends were and where our kids went to school. Where would we go if we sold our house?
Around this time, I heard some song lyrics that hit me. The song said, “You can’t sail with your anchor down.” I was mowing the lawn and only half listening to the music playing in my ears but when I heard that, it made me stop and consider where I was and what I wanted. What would happen if we raised our anchor and sold our house? What freedom would we find? What could our sailing look like and where could we go? (Miserable by Kacey Musgraves)
What Would Happen if We Raised Our Anchor?
Nate’s mom had a house in nearby Boise, that she said we could stay in until we figured out where to go next. Everything was lining up to make this crazy change achievable. So we found a realtor. We started getting our house ready to sell. We pulled out our to-do list and started working on the projects that we hadn’t ever gotten around to. Our house never looked so nice.
While we were getting our house ready to sell, we also started looking for a new house to buy. Something that we could afford better once the debt was mostly paid off. I’ll admit, I was pretty picky about what I wanted in a house. I wanted something newer, cleaner and with enough space for us to grow into. I soon saw that I couldn’t have everything I had in my current house and hope to pay less than what we were already spending. The idea of saving some money each month sounded nice but I didn’t have any solid reason why I should have to give up the comforts that I had grown accustomed to.
Celebrating Our 10th Anniversary
During this time, Nate and I were getting ready to celebrate our 10th anniversary. He had saved enough miles from his business travel to get the plane tickets and we were heading off to a dream Caribbean vacation. In another post I’ll tell you all about our vacation in Roatan, Honduras because it deserves at least one post all of its own.
For this story, I’ll give you the relevant pieces. We went on this vacation to celebrate our marriage and to have a nice, relaxing time before getting back to the stress and drama of selling our house and looking for a new one. On the way, we were still looking at real estate sites, trying to find the right house for our family. Once we got to paradise our house search was forgotten. We enjoyed every day we spent there!
We met people from all over the world, vacationing in Roatan for all different reasons. Staying in the same AirBnB as we were, was a family from Ukraine. They told us that they had taken a year off and were traveling around Central America. They talked about the places they had been to and about the experiences they had had.
Listening to their stories, my mind immediately started whirring. How could we do this same thing? The timing seemed perfect! We were already set to sell our house and within a matter of months we could pay off every penny of our debt. There would be nothing to hold us back!
I knew that Nate was going to take some time and convincing before he would be on board. So I started making plans in my head and figuring out ways and reasons why we should do something similar. The more we talked to our new friends, the more excited I got. After talking to them one time, Nate could see the excitement in my face and knew what I was thinking.
I spent the rest of our vacation dreaming and researching how we could make a trip like this work. Nate spent the rest of our vacation wrapping his head around the idea. If we were going to do this, that would mean making a huge change. We would be slamming on the breaks and grinding the gears to start in a new direction before we had let ourselves come to a full stop.
Before we left the island, we said good-bye to our new friends and exchanged e-mails. I wanted to make sure that I would get the chance to hear the rest of their story! Ever since I first heard about their year-long trip, I couldn’t stop thinking about it! I felt alive! I felt electricity surging through my veins. I wanted to get back home and get things moving.
I finally had my motivation to make changes in our lives! When we got home we put our beloved house on the market. We accepted an offer a week later. We moved into Nate’s mom’s house. Within a few months, we had all our debt paid off (except for our two cars, which we decided to hold onto until it was to time to leave). We started saving! And finally, together, started planning for the possibility of taking our family to explore the world!