Out of debt
and celebrating getting our heads above water.
After returning from VAN we had a few days of work around the studio and catching up with friends and clients before the weather turned again and another heatwave settled in on portland. A great excuse to run away to the coast with the fam and play for a few days where its 20 degrees cooler. We would always do just about anything to avoid 100degree days in portland, but right now- living in a hollowed out studio apartment with no operable windows or insulation... and we couldn't pack the bus fast enough!
Instead we headed for the coast, slept in the bus just steps away from loved ones and had a great few days of what felt like summer camp. Waking up with the kids, playing all day and toasting marshmallows around the fire at night. Add in some board games and a few good movies and we had plenty to celebrate and enjoy until an appointment brought us back to the city on sunday.
Frankly, it seems there's always a reason to celebrate these days. We are finding that is actually one of our largest concerns (true first world problem). It seems we can turn just about any day, meeting, success, conversation or insignificant event into a chance to celebrate. A reason to have a few cocktails and a tasty meal to mark the event. Terrific for the fun scale, but not necessarily great for our finances or for our health. We realized at some point during our stay in Vancouver that we actually want to be healthier. Get our "beach bods" on...even thought we've never really had them to begin with. That seems to happen when hanging out on a beach in a city full of very active, very fit, very attractive people. Now we are back in portland and our level of exercise has decreased do to lack of volleyball; so we're attempting to watch our "intake" levels a bit more closely .
Suffice to say...that one of our realizations is that we aren't very controlled. Far from it actually. This is apparently one of the things that happens when you don't have to wake up to go to work the next morning and have no immediate excuses for saying no. We find ourselves with odd hours and odd habits, and rarely catch ourselves saying no to what sounds fun or easy. We are always on vacation and the "its five o'clock somewhere" logic just seems too easy to adopt. Great in theory, but also requires an occasional checkin when it comes to our health and bodies.
I may be more focused on this than usual because I had some shoulder pain during our volleyball in VAN and then last weekend at the coast my back suddenly seized up and went into spasms. I used to have chronic back pain but have had almost no issues since we took the job stress out of our lives three years ago. Needless to say...being huddled on the floor in the fetal position for a few hours got my attention (some of us don't do well with subtleties). We've been talking about setting heath goals for a while, but it seems maybe a good time to put a few of them on paper... soon-ish.
That said, our return to Portland has come with random sets of good news. A new client here, a fun project there...but most of all that we wrote the check that paid off our credit card debt. When we "bounced off" the zero line of our account a few months ago it wasn't exactly the zero line. We actually didn't realize we were broke until after accruing a credit card bill that we couldn't pay off...meaning we were well below that line. The beauty of our current setup is that the best way for us to save money is to leave town and travel... so the last few months of being willing to live outside our home, moving from place to place and traveling has also allowed us watch the account grow just enough to make that payment. We're now back in the black and more confidant than ever that we may never return to the corporate world.
It's funny actually...the change in our mindset that sequence of events is having. Even for us it's a difficult thing to settle into. We actually make more money when traveling than we do when we're home. Praise tiny 6pound 9once sweet baby microwave jesus! Okay, to be fair- that statement is obviously hugely dependent on how we travel, but frugal has been our means to that end for a while now. It also means we live semi-nomadically, that we have a different lifestyle than almost anyone we have ever met...but it also means that our lifelong goal of more travel and experiences (and being able to pack up leave for them at a minutes notice) is not only fully realized, but almost fully funded. The old me that couldn't possibly dream of leaving his job for lack of another path simply feels like a shmuck. A fool who was too terrified to see what was on the other side of the door.
Im so thankful that Jen had the guts for both of us, that she pushed the envelope and energized us to make this happen. I'm so thankful that we had people in our lives who loved us and made us feel like we could accomplish anything (or live on their basement floor for a while if we had to after trying and failing). Im so thankful that we listened to ourselves and the voice inside us that was screaming for change even when we kept responding with "why cant we just be normal?"
We have never claimed to have answers in life, merely supporters of the process of looking and searching- of trying something new and breaking out of your comfort zone. My confidence/strategery/expertise in the financial world may be even less acute... but why anyone who loves to travel wouldn't look into downsizing, using AirBnB and short term rentals as part of that goal I have no idea.
Before our trip, everyone that we reached out to told us that there was one tried and true method for saving for the type of trip we were seeking. Sell your house, travel on the profits and then figure it out when you return. I'm so thrilled that we didn't make that choice. Keeping our house is proving to be the exact thing that allows/funds our lifestyle rather than the thing that prohibits it (it just took being willing to let someone else live there).
So...now what? Now that we are back in the black we can start planning. Scheming. Setting goals. We see how far we can take this little exeriment. Our goal for 2015 was to actually be profitable. We will have a struggle to get our account back to where it was before the most recent project (within the calendar year)...but that's still the goal. As is to travel further away from home...we can feel the wanderlust rising up inside of us. Those are the basis for our conversations, and the things we have our mind set on- and those will set the pace for everything else (oh, right...and getting healthy).