Oh hai! One Year In

Lake Wappapello State Park (Missouri)

Just about a year ago we gave up having a dedicated home of our own because we wanted to try living differently. We were tired of living in one place, feeling rather stuck. About four years ago now, it dawned on us that we didn’t have any debt, kids, or a mortgage so we looked around at our life and thought: why are we living like we have to be here instead of living how we want to live? What we found is that we were living by default, following the trajectory of our lives, far out on a tangent set into motion years before. Neither of us felt like we were living on purpose: we were just there, going through the motions of life.

Living on purpose–with intention–was our primary motivation for making such drastic changes in our lives. We no longer wanted to feel like we were living on default–living like we were living because it made sense and is what we were “expected” to do. It’s what we expected ourselves to do until we took a look around and started really seeing our lives. We didn’t find ourselves wanting the traditional things: kids, a house, land, nice cars, fancy things. What we wanted more than anything, when we made our decision, was time and space. We also wanted to travel, to see the world. But mainly, we both wanted to not feel stuck in a rut or keep living at the expense of what we really wanted to do in life.

There are very few automatic or well-worn paths in our lives but that’s exactly how we want to be living. One of the ways we stay engaged in our lives is to keep changing our environment and our surroundings. We live the same ordinary lives most people do, but we do it in different locations and new homes each month or so. This is how we keep life interesting. This is how we keep things fresh. This is how we do it so that neither of us gets tired of the inherent repetitive nature of daily life. The constant changes keep us sane, engaged, and interested. Living on purpose, in the moment, is what keeps us happy and content with life. It feels right. It feels free. We are not stifled.

The notion of home has become a unique one for us. We enjoy traveling but we are also homebodies by nature. Even when we travel, we spend a lot of time at home, either working, reading, relaxing, or resting. We have learned to make anywhere home. As long as we have a small dedicated space like a bedroom, we have a home. Overall, it’s been interesting not having a dedicated home. To adapt, we’ve evolved our idea of home. Home is where Jeremy and I are together. That’s what makes a place “home” now. It’s not the stuff we own or the familiarity of our surroundings. It’s us being together, living our life. We’ve become very flexible in how we adapt to our surroundings. The backdrop changes about every month but we are still together. We still have one another and that makes all the difference. Indeed, home is what we make of it.

What’s finally fallen into place for us is that I’ve been gainfully employed for the last six months–half our time on the road–working as an executive virtual assistant. It’s good work, it pays well, and I enjoy it. I also like that my work is flexible: I can work from anywhere as long as I have an internet connection. My work also helps keep me tethered to the outside world, which I appreciate. Further, I derive a sense of satisfaction from my work because I feel that it’s meaningful and that I’m making a difference. The people I work for are important (a CEO and a VC) and that makes the work I do important, by extension. It’s an interesting position in which to be, quite rewarding and enjoyable.

Now that we have money coming in it, we feel confident that we can sustain our new way of living. We both work as much as we need to, not as much as we are able to. That’s a fundamental distinction in our lives as well. We don’t work for the sake of work. We work to finance our life and our lifestyle. Thankfully that only requires about 30 hours of work a week between the two of us. Talk about living efficiently. We have so little overhead that we can make life work on that level. We live cheaply and cost effectively. We rather enjoy life that way.

Living as we have in the past year has felt more freeing, interesting, and exciting than anything else in our lives. We are living proof that other ways of living are always possible, if uncommon. We’ve taken control of our own lives and are living exactly how we want to. We do what we want because our wants, needs, and desires are modest and simple. We’ve succeeded in simplifying to the basics. We don’t have anything more than we need and that’s pretty amazing. We’re comforted by that fact, and it gives us the freedom and latitude to make decisions based on our goals, values, and priorities. It’s an amazing life and one that we feel so fortunate to live.