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Dear Claire,

September 5th, 2008

Thanks for posting. I am sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to you. We have been very busy working and enjoying ourselves. Thankfully, we have been able to do both at the same time.

Claire @ http://escapethe9to5.blogspot.com

Hi Jen

How long do you think your trip will last?

Is it a trip or a change of lifestyle? If it is a trip how do you plan to make the transition back to the 9-5 grind if ever? Do you worry about the future? Do you worry about being homless

How do you manage for money? Do you live off savings or do you work along the way?

I am really intersted in your blog and your plans for the future. I am having another life crisis and I need to do something to change my life.

Cheers

Claire

As for how long the trip will last: forever, I hope. It is definitely a change of lifestyle. From the shedding of all of our accumulated baggage and absurd “needs” to opening up to new people and opportunities, we have changed. Even if the trip was tragically cut short, I have learned new values that I will always keep with me.

At this time, I do not foresee myself returning to the 9-5. I find it very stifling. My career, while profitable, was a drain on my physical and mental health. I cannot imagine returning to a cubicle, ever. I cannot imagine sitting in an office working at least 9hrs a day, sometimes 16, for someone else’s dream. Life is way too short to live that way.

Do I worry? Of course I do. It would be silly not to. That said, I am not going to let fear dictate my life and keep me corralled into a “normal life” where money is all that matters. I remember how miserable the people I know who were trying to keep up with the Jones by working at a job they hated were. It was a stark contrast to the people that we have met on this adventure who are happy, generous, and grateful for today.

Some people are lucky enough to find out exactly what makes them happy at a young age. Sometimes it’s a corporate job, a career in medicine, or driving a dump truck. I chose an enjoyable (for 10yrs) path that had high income potential. But, the money wasn’t enough to placate me for the rest of my life.

I am grateful for the opportunity that our careers have given us. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to make this trip. It has allowed us to do it debt free and with cash reserves. Its much easier to search for yourself and your future when you don’t have to worry about money as much.

I don’t really worry about being homeless. While I am still young, I could always return to the 8-5 if I had to. Currently, my previous profession is in demand. That could always change like it did in the dot bomb, but I would have to deal with that either way. I have also learned that I can live in a much smaller space with less stuff, so less costs. If I find somewhere that I never want to leave, I plan on buying property there. Then I wont be homeless when I am older.

Do I have all of the answers? Nope. Do I know exactly what the future holds? Nope. Does anyone? Nope. Will it all work out? I have no idea. Am I making the right decisions? Only time will tell. Will I live to celebrate my 100th b-day like my Grandmother will do next March? Not a clue. All that I know is that I am happy. Very happy. Finally. I also know that all of the retired people we speak with in the campgrounds say that we are smart for enjoying ourselves while we still can.

We live of investments and income. When we moved into the camper and quite our jobs we were debt free. Both of us had savings and investments. We have been trying to stick to a budget which can be hard when you find new hobbies. We don’t eat out. We try to pay very little, if anything, for our campsites. We try to make more than we spend. We have worked a couple of jobs along the way which will help us stay on the road longer. We are going to work more short term jobs in the future. I would like to work at a whitewater rafting place next. We were offered jobs fighting wildfires last week, but we had a previous position lined up and couldn’t do it.

Speaking of which, I just arrived at our current job site (sorry, I wont have time to proof read this for errors). We are carnies at the moment and there’s lots to do before the fair opens. In closing I will say, if you are unhappy in your current situation, do something to change it. It doesn’t have to be as drastic as selling everything you own and moving into a van down by the river. Start with small changes. Remember, you are the only one responsible for yourself and your own well being. Best of luck to you in your decisions and please let us know how you are.

This is in response to a previous comment. Johnny said that 10 paragraphs constitute a blog post, not a comment. He’s right, so I posted it here. 🙂

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4 Responses to “Dear Claire,”

  1. Rene says:

    Right on, road sista!

    You can’t let the fear of things that haven’t happened, dictate your life.

    You can’t be ruled by a paycheck hanging over your head like a carrot.

    Don’t be fooled in believing there’s safety in having a job, because The Man can take that job away from you on a whim.

    Don’t let debt be the reason why you slave in a cubicle all day. Don’t be a slave to “things.”

    Do what you love, life is way too short.

    See you out there on the road.

  2. “We are carnies at the moment…” That about sums it up. What an adventure!

    Tioga George has the same attitude about fear. He pays it no mind. He just moves on down the road every day and deals with what is there. That makes more sense than dealing with what you fear might be around the corner.

    Again, thanks for sharing. Those of us who are currently rooted can enjoy the road along with you, as long as you keep taking the time to share. I am very thankful for that.

    Michael Lockridge

  3. Claire says:

    Hi Jenn

    Thanks for taking the time to respond – I really enjoyed reading your reply.

    Take care

    Claire

  4. Yarntangler says:

    Hi Jenn,

    I only wish we had started our 2nd life when we were your age and taken our kids on the road with us. As it is, we began in our mid 50s and on a strict budget. While our 32foot no slide,11 year old Winnebago has a bit more room than yours,we feel very much as you do. we have worked at tourist areas and for 7 show caves as well as told stories and camp hosted/managed. Currently we are telling stories at a Pumpkin patch.

    This past two years we’ve done a lot more boondocking and enjoyed it tremedously.

    One little piece of advice for you. Remember you are NOT homeless; your home simply comes with wheels attached. besides, you own the biggest back yard!!

    See ya down the road.

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