Here we are again! Let’s get right into the second part of our conversation without any further ado….
WHEN? Now this question is the easiest to answer but actually sparks the most questions and puzzled looks. We live in our bus. Yes, live. All day and night, every day and night, 24/7/365. It is our home. With all of the new interest in tiny homes, it is funny how people still consider this strange. Tiny homes are on wheels too! But, since our home has an exterior that looks like it’s first life (a church bus) folks get all skewed about this being our “tiny home”. Not just the general public. All types of government officials in all forms of municipalities get funky about this being our home as well. We are, technically, considered homeless. It is amazing how many times the VA has offered us a housing voucher because of their concern for our “homeless” situation.
Wait, WHY? Okay. This is my favorite topic. It is also the hardest for others to understand. We have been so conditioned to believe, since the return of troops from WWII, that the “American Dream” is a Cape Cod on a postage stamp lot in a nice neighborhood with a white picket fence where Dad gets in the family sedan wearing a suit and tie every weekday morning while Mom takes care of the home and the 2.5 children (one boy, one girl). Then, on Saturday, Johnny mows the lawn, Suzy weeds the flower bed, Mom bakes a pie, and Dad barbeques hamburgers and hotdogs. Sunday, of course, the whole family dresses in their best and attends church together after which they go to the lake for a picnic.
NOT! I am not, nor will I ever, knock that version of the dream. Go for it if you really feel that is your dream. I am behind you 100%. However, that is not where we found happiness. We tried it! We gave it our all. What did we find. Well, for us it was more like both of us working 70-80 hours each week with no such thing as a Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm job. When we weren’t at work we were grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, or sleeping. There weren’t many barbeques with the family and we rarely ever got to the lake for a picnic. As a matter of fact, when we lived right on the beach we spend most of our time walking out the back door to the car. If we tried it usually ended up creating more frustration than joy. On top of that, whatever shopping, cooking, or cleaning was put aside just tended to pile up and create havoc later on.
On top of that, we wound up further and further in debt because the harder we worked to pay things off the more the government wanted and the faster the cars, clothes and other “necessities” wore out and needed to be replaced. It was like a tornado twisting backwards and we were caught in a cycle of destruction with no hope of coming out the other end alive. We found it felt like a life spent waiting to die. So, we decided that we would rather have a life of actually living and we jumped off the merry-go-round.
We chose to get rid of all of our “necessities” and the payments and interest that went along with them. We put every penny we had into the switch and now we pay cash for everything. (We have one monthly payment which we will cover in a future post where we discuss our budget.) We own our home. Own it! We do not have to make a payment to someone else who actually owns it. It is ours. 100% free and clear. If we want something, we save until we can purchase it outright or we do without. We live a very minimalistic existence and we have found that to be so liberating.
You know, never once, when we were on a vacation or away from home for some other reason, did I ever find myself wondering how my crystal goblets were doing while I was gone. I never had reservations about leaving my vintage teapot collection. I didn’t hope my vintage pie plate collection would be fine without me being there every day to check on them. Truth! Yes, they all looked nice in their places and our home was beautifully decorated. Still, not one of them was something that I needed to be happy. They were simply things that I continually spent more and more money on collecting even more. Honestly, not one of them added anything special to my life. I can admire them in another’s collection just as much as having them in my own place.
Don’t get me wrong. I still have a few knick knacks sitting around the bus. We do like beautiful things to create a soothing environment. The difference is that we have two or three pieces instead of cabinets and shelves full of collections. When we finish a couple of small changes in our living space and get it set back up I will share photos so that you can get a visual on what I mean.
I would like to mention one more WHY before I close this out. The cost of our lifestyle is now so much less than before. Yet, it is even more rewarding. We produce our own energy with solar. We use only what we absolutely need rather than leaving stuff running 24/7 out of sheer laziness. We watch our water usage because we no longer have a unlimited supply coming from the chemically treated public system. We use tanks and we recycle our water so, while we only have a finite source, our water is free. Since we use a compost toilet we have no sewer costs. Plus, we no longer have a mortgage payment or real property taxes that can increase continually by millage votes, leaving no individual control of that expense. Just like that, we took control of our expenses and cut our expenses for the “necessities” by 2/3 of the traditional lifestyle.
I will delve further into how we manage all aspects of life on the road as we go along, but this is a brief overview of the basics. I hope you will feel free to send any questions you have to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to see what you think about this topic as well so feel free to send comments to the same address.
Until then, God Bless. Can’t wait to see you on the Byways.