We are the Awesome Family. (No, really)
This blog is going to be our documentation of our adventure from “the norm” into something more extraordinary. We are joining the ranks of families that have given up, for whatever reason or duration, their brick and mortar homes, and are living full time on the road.
Our plan is to try this for a year. And if we like it, then we’ll go for another year. And we’ll do that until we decide we’ve had enough. (if we decide we’ve had enough)
So, here’s a little bit about our background:
We met a great couple here in Raleigh by sheer happenstance. We moved here on a whim (we’re kind of naturally gypsy)… pretty much threw a dart at a map, and landed here. Wait… let me back up a little farther. Let me start with why we’re able to even write this blog:
I work in the gas and oil industry. I work for a third party company, helping drilling companies get their holes drilled. I might elaborate later, but, that’s not what this is about… so I probably won’t. But, because of the industry that I work in, I work a schedule that is advertised as 30 days on, and 30 days off. The pay is better than working a 9 to 5 doing the same thing anywhere else in the world. Now, while I pester my employer about getting all the overtime I can, I still enjoy a substantial amount of time off. They pay for me to travel, and aren’t even based in the same state as us. In fact, my company has people that live all over the world. So, as long as I can get to an airport, I am employed. When “the call” comes, I have my suitcase already packed, I simply let them know what airport I’m flying out of, and they issue me a ticket. I fly wherever they need me, spend my time doing the best I can, and then let them know where I need to fly into to get back to the family. Up until now, those airports haven’t changed… but, I’ve talked to my boss, and he’s onboard with our plan.
So, that takes care of how we pay for things… I have a job that doesn’t tie me down to a brick and mortar house. And since we’re not tied down, we decided to do what most people wait to do until their retired…. travel!
Ok, so… onto how we got to this city. We lived in Denver for a bit, and the gypsy in us started acting up… so, it was time to move. We had friends in Raleigh that said they loved it. It was a low cost of living, jobs were competitive, and there was lots to do with our kids. At the time, my job was brand new, and we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to handle the lifestyle of a travelling oilfield worker. We wanted to make sure that if the job didn’t work out, we weren’t stuck somewhere with no local economy. So, we loaded up the truck, and we headed to Raleigh. Stayed a few nights at our friends’ house, and found suitable housing just as fast as we could. We spent two years in an apartment where we could spend less than what we were used to, so that we could save save save. Of course, the saving never happened. It’s funny how when there’s discretionary money at the end of the paycheck, it’s spent without discretion. We spent two years living on a reduced budget, making better money than we’ve ever made, and didn’t have a thing to show for it. The low rent that our apartment complex was asking started encouraging “low rent” tenants. The folks that were there when we first got there were starting to move out, and we started wondering when we should follow suit. Soon after we left, a friend of ours who stayed started telling us that the neighborhood has really started to get bad. It’s a shame, because it was a nice little refuge to go home to. We moved to a house, with a one year lease, and again, our plan was to save save save. We’re doing a bit better this time, but, halfway through our lease, our plans have changed again. We had pulled our girls out of public schools half way through the lease in the apartment, and now, there really were none of the typical ties to a community. We still have local friends, and some of the relationships we’ve started through our church are really starting to blossom… but, those aren’t the ties that I mean. We’re renters, I work remotely, and our kids are homeschooled. And except for the pots and pans hanging off our wagon, we’re about as gypsy as they come. It was inevitable that the thought of going on the road full-time occurred to us.
The next ingredient came in the form of our friends who take care of our vehicles. I like to think of myself as mechanically inclined (especially since I used to make my living as a mechanic), but, I’m not ubiquitous. I can’t change the oil in my truck in Raleigh, while I’m on an oil rig in Equatorial Guinea. (I’m not even going to try). My wife (and co-author) is not a mechanic. And even though she’s pulled through and worked magic that apparently only moms can… she’s done things and accomplished things that I would seriously have probably just paid a professional to do, if it were left to me, she’s not prepared to be under the hood worrying about tracking down some knock, or squeak.
Back to our friends; they were referred to us by a friend of a friend, and have become not only good friends, and invaluable to the health of our vehicles, they have also become the doorway to our future. They run an auto repair shop, not just some shade-tree operation. As I write this, it occurs to me that we haven’t talked to them about divulging information about them on our blog. If they sign off on it, we’ll get some sort of information about them and their shop so that local people or anyone travelling through the area can look them up. But again, I’m getting off track… As their kids are grown now and (sort of) out of their house, our camping enthusiast friends decided that the 32’ camper they had, needed to be replaced with something more size appropriate to the two of them.
With their camper on the market, and our family in the market, a deal was struck. The journal that follows is going to be a little bit of a lot of things. It’s supposed to be a story for our friends to follow our experiences, because we won’t be local, but we still want to share our lives. It’s going to be a logbook for us, so that we can refer to it, make corrections, and make this experience as relaxed and easy as possible. It’s going to be a diary we keep on our kids’ behalf, so when they’re older, and their comprehension of things is more developed, they can go back and look at their childhood journey with a new set of eyes.
And hopefully, it might help the next group of emerging gypsies learn from our experiences, and of course, our inevitable mistakes.