Actually, I have thought this through...
That last one always sticks with me. "Harder than what," is what I want to ask. Will it be harder than laying awake at night trying to figure out how I alone am going to come up with another $2400 house payment, $100 propane payment, $125 electricity payment, $135 water bill payment, $125 HOA payment and a $55 trash payment? Not to mention food, kids' expenses, technology and communication bills, gas, insurance, etc, etc, etc. Every.......thirty.......days. On less than $3000 a month income, including child support, which will come to an end as each child reaches 18. I welcome someone to make those numbers work where I have not.
The money aspect doesn't take into account the appliances that are starting to fail, the entire ground floor of the house that is bare concrete because the carpet was so bad I just ripped it out a few years ago, the backyard (I have 1/2 an acre) that is sprouting weeds EVERYWHERE, the irrigation pipes that keep breaking, the roof that still leaks, the leaking toilets, the stair banister that is breaking apart, the ceiling that is falling in the front room, the black mold in my son's room, the fence and gates that are crumbling, the kitchen cabinets that broke, the rodent infestation in the garage, or the seemingly hundreds of unfinished "home-improvement" projects that were started and never finished by someone else. It is absolutely overwhelming.
The way I see it, its all perspective. The kids and I do not live in a cushy, nice, well-maintained, high efficiency, low-cost house that we are leaving to live in a rickety trailer just because I'm following my life's "fantasy." I think that because I have a proclivity to always find the silver lining, to focus on the positive, and to know that everything in life finds a way of working out, that some are under the impression is that I am delusional about the reality of the life we are entering.
Rest assured, I have no delusions about what we are about to do. I will miss the 40 gallon hot water heater, my washer and dryer, the dishwasher, electricity, the backyard where my dogs can run free, the ability to just put my trash by the curb, turn on the faucet and let it run or just flushing the toilet without having to deal with where it goes or what I need to do later (empty the holding tanks). There are other things I will miss, but live in my world for just a few days and you will find that while there are things the average person would feel they would die without, I won't even notice they are gone.
The first is space. This is one thing I am always told I will miss. But not really. What will I be missing when it comes down to it?
Space = places to put stuff instead of putting it where it belongs.
Space = places to put things we don't even need that we just hold onto because we have the space to do so.
Space = higher electric bills for cooling, propane bills for heating.
Space = a lot of surface area to clean, which doesn't happen because there is just too much SPACE to cover in the small amount of time we occupy the space.
Which brings me to the next issue. The time we spend in said space. There are 24 hours in each day, 168 in a week. The kids and I leave at 7 am, Monday through Friday. No one is back home until at least 2:30 or 3 pm, Monday - Friday on the weeks the kids are with me. So that removes 37.5 hours, conservatively. We go to bed at about 10 pm each night, waking at 6 am. There's 56 hours of sleeping, which only requires the space in which our bodies are occupying. So far, that's well over half of the hours in the week. There are only 74.5 left. Now take into consideration that every other Friday, the kids venture off to spend the weekend with their dad and step-mom and no one returns from there until 3 pm on Monday. That leaves me with 72 hours of time where it is just me, every other week.
Ok, so you all know that this is about as much math as I can do before my head explodes, so lets just agree that the actual time spent at home is very limited. And this doesn't even take into account that I don't return home until at least 7 each night, or that two of my kids are in cheer until 8 pm two nights a week for now, or that they frequently go to friends' houses or the Boys' and Girls' Club after school. So why do we need so much "SPACE" to live in? What will we really be missing out on by giving up the space we are spending so much money to hang onto? Not to mention, we aren't exactly home-bodies or couch potatoes. My kids and I absolutely thrive being outdoors. We live in southern California. We can be outside most of the year. I've heard that there's a lot of space outside!!
So what is it about a house that is anchored to the ground and sits on concrete that is so important to others that a tiny home on wheels cannot provide?
Ownership? Nah, I just "rent" the house from the bank and with a $485k mortgage, it would take years to dig out of that before I can claim any equity in the house. Its just not worth it to me. The house is going through a short sale and the lucky new owners are paying just about $300K. It was a good run, but I never really "owned" this place, and unless you a have positive equity in your home, neither do you.
Security? What kind of security? Does being almost a half a million dollars in debt sound like security to you? Does always knowing where your home is, day in day out provide true security? I will know where our home is - its where our hearts are as a family. Where it will be parked from month to month does not dictate the heart of a home. Finding a new place to park when needed will be a challenge, but to me, it is part of the adventure.
The realities of full time RV living certainly do not come without its challenges, but I think I've pretty much made my case for why leaving the current situation is a positive decision. I know this is not a life that just anyone can live. It takes someone with a nomadic spirit who isn't connected to the idea of having a "sticks and bricks" home base. I am completely good with that. Really. I know me.
I will learn as I go, for sure. I am learning an awful lot already by an enormous online community of full time RV'rs that stay connected through social media and blogging. Finding them was like opening up a door to a whole new world I never knew existed. I won't be alone. I am not a trail-blazer. But I am soon to be free from the past and ready to close this very long chapter and begin writing the next.