Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vagabonding


A little ol' trailer like this...


plus a truck like this...


If you're on Facebook with me, you might have noticed my post this morning about dropping out of "society" and becoming vagabonds for a year or so.

I don't know how serious we are. Dan is desperately unhappy at work. He's been engineering for 10 years now and while he likes what he does, he has only had one job that he really enjoyed - and alas, they were sold and everything changed. There's a kind of hostile takeover bid going on with his current work, a certain somebody there is driving him up the wall, and I think we've both kind of hit that point in our lives when we ask ourselves "This is it? This is all there is?"

It's escapism, to a point. And I have been making a real effort to appreciate the glorious, wonderful life that I was lucky/blessed enough to be born into. I have a home, I'm never hungry, my children are healthy, my husband has a good-paying job, we are not in debt and in fact have a decent safety cushion in the bank. We are very safe and we have always been very safe.

And sometimes safe is very boring, unchallenging, and unfulfilling. Aside from Dan's mission to Washington and my brief 4th-grade stint in SE Arizona, we've never lived anywhere other than southern California. We have never really been risky in any way. In a way, we live in fear - my compulsive terror of poverty, which I somehow must have picked up from my parents' occasional economic disasters during my childhood.

So I think to myself: Why not do this? Why not do something, even if we start out and say it's only for a year? What if we just dedicate 2010 to being together as a family all the time, goofing off and camping and visiting friends and trying new places? We could easily get a truck and a camper or a trailer for less than $10k, possibly a lot less. I finally listed the Suburban for sale. We would sell the furniture (the antique mahogany pieces would probably fetch a few thousand), the other cars, the music, the books, give away anything not worth trying to sell. Stephen, I've already started a kitchenware pile for you.

4 comments:

liannallama said...

I had a friend who did this for a year and it was really fulfilling. She lived in a motor home with her 3 cats and traveled around where the mood struck her. She got a couple of odd jobs on the way and just lived an adventure.

You can always put your most important stuff in storage--that way you won't have to completely start over when you decide to stop traveling.

Good luck with your decision.

Stephanie said...

Now's the time to do it. You could "trailer"school the boys and get some really enriching experiences out of this year.

It would be something you would never forget.

The practical side of me says "If he still has an engineering job right now, he should keep it" but the vagabond in me is a wee bit jealous that this could be a possibility with you.

You can make good decisions!

colleeeen said...

When I talked to Dan about it again yesterday, he said he can't consider quitting his job right now. BUT if the takeover happens, and his division gets shuttered or sold or broken up and sold, and he gets laid off, he would be very tempted to do it. So all I can do right now is prepare, because we are in limbo. I feel like I've been in limbo for over two years now, and I'm a bit tired of it.

Kimberly said...

Part of me would jump at the chance if I were to lose my job and have enough of a cushion to travel around and see everything there is to be seen. I think there is a lot to be said for giving your kids the opportunity to experience history, geography, and science up close and personal in a less stringent atmosphere than school. Money spent on providing experiences and memories is well spent. Plus, there are just a heck of a lot of experiences to be had outside of our little suburban bubble.

My cons with a situation like that would include having no place to escape to if I needed privacy. Having no sense of permanency- another sort of limbo I guess. Also, I'd be concerned about medical coverage because I'd have the luck of injuring myself or getting sick probably just days after leaving my coverage area. I don't know if you've considered this too, but I know that if there is a hole in your resume to account for time you weren't employed, employers might wonder at what made you unmarketable rather than to assume that you took the year off on your own accord.

It sounds like a hard decision. It is painful to have a wanderlust when you're grounded.

Good luck!