Hi, Julie. Today we have Julie Bennett from RVLove.com. She and her husband are location-independent professionals. They are seeing the world by RV. Hi, Julie.
Julie: Hi, Ingrid. How are you?
Good. It’s great to talk to you. I’ve been admiring your website. I love what you’re doing. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about how you ended up taking this giant leap to move out of your house and into an RV and start traveling the country.
Julie: That’s a good question because it is a giant leap. It is definitely a big step in life to make a decision to sell your home which is what we did. We had a town home in Colorado that we had for about four years. Decided to sell that and buy an RV and hit the road and travel the USA. It is a giant step, but it’s not like it just happened overnight.
I think if we go back to the steps, I could probably go back as far as 2007 when I was starting to make decisions in my life and my business in Australia that I didn’t really want my business to be tying me down to a particular location. I think I had that awareness a good six, seven years before that.
It wasn’t until October 2013 that we really seriously having a conversation about living this way and we hit the road in June 2014. It was about seven months from when we really started talking about it seriously to when we pulled the trigger, sold the house, and hit the road.
That’s fast. I think seven months is not too much time. How did you accomplish everything that you needed to do in order to feel confident in going out or do you feel like you did?
Julie: That’s a good question. When it first started we liked doing vision boards and putting time and effort into thinking what we want to create in our life. We’re not people who just let our lives happen by accident.
It was a Friday night and we were sitting down in the TV/media room with the iPod projected onto the big screen TV and said, “What do we want to do? Where do we want to go?” We created a Pinterest board. It was just very random. “Oh, I’d like to go here. I’d like to go there. I’d like to see the Grand Canyon. I’d like to go to Greece.” We were just putting anything and everything which of course is so easy to do on Pinterest because it’s such a visual feast of fabulous experiences, ideas, and places.
What we realized is we identified a theme. “Wow, this thing is really about travel and experiences and places. We haven’t got things on here.” We’d already decorated and nested our home. That was kind of done. We finished the basement. That was done. We’d changed out our car situation to something that we really loved. That was done. Once we realized that, we started talking more seriously.
The next morning Mark actually reminded me. He said, “Don’t you remember back in 2011 in Colorado Springs?” We were at this pizza restaurant coming back from the Great Sand Dunes. We were chatting to this couple who were from Florida who were affected by the housing crisis of 2007-8. They lost forty percent of the value of their home and decided to just walk away from it all, buy an RV, and start traveling full-time. They were so incredibly inspiring to us. Of course, we thought that was great, drove home, life got in the way. I got a new job. We got married and started nesting in our home.
The conversation and the idea was part just because, “Oh, that would be fun one day.” It stayed in the “One day” bucket until this day in 2013. Once we started having the conversation and Mark reminded me about the motor home idea, we thought, “Oh, that would be cool.” I think the first step was overcoming our lack of education around, “Well, how much does it even cost to buy one of these things?” We thought they were like hundreds of thousands of dollars, which of course it’s not like anyone has that kind of money around. Not too many people I know. I did a search on Craigslist I think. I started seeing them for under a hundred. I’m like, “Oh okay.” That felt more achievable.
That kind of just opened researching more. We started looking more. The more researched, the more we looked. The more we thought, “Well if we’re going to do this, let’s do it full-time.” Mark’s job was fortunately already a virtual role. He had a new job. He’d always wanted to work from home and he’d started just six months earlier in a job where he was able to work from home. That was a big part of the puzzle that I think was in place before we even started to do this.
The thing is you are mid-career professionals. You’re not retired. You’re not twenty-something.
This is highly unusual I think. Wouldn’t you say?
Julie: I think I’m starting to realize that more and more. I think because I’m an Australian and we’re a pretty well-traveled country and that’s not uncommon, it didn’t seem unusual to me. I’ve done some travel. Certainly I’ve come to realize in the United States it’s definitely less common. It’s much easier for twenty-somethings to go and do something like this because they don’t have the commitments or they’re not as invested in a career or a family or any of those kinds of things typically as yet.
Retired people of course they’ve probably had this vision for many years and then waited until they reached a point. They had income from retirement or a pension or social security or whatever it is they have. Sell their house. People in our age group, we’re in our forties. People sort of in that thirty to fifty, thirty-five to fifty-five range, it is definitely more unusual. We do definitely see them out there, whether they’re couples like us or families, but we’re definitely a smaller demographic than retirees obviously.
That also makes me think about how you meet people along the way. You’re maybe not going to meet people in your similar situation. How does that work? Is that encouraging, discouraging, or does it matter?
Julie: We’re actually, Ingrid, meeting more people in our situation than we thought or even than we were before. I think the reason for that is one of the things is we joined a camping network which is a network of about eighty campgrounds around the country with a company called Ten Thousand Trails. When you’re a member of that, when you’re staying at campgrounds, you often run into the same people if you’re traveling in a similar geographical area as you. For example, when we’re in Oregon we met a couple. As we discovered through conversation or future visits, we ran into each other at three or four different locations over the next few months. We became friends with them and we’d have wine and dinner and play board games and cards and things.
We’re finding that has definitely been a way to meet other people. I think we meet a lot more people that are of a similar mindset to us because anyone who is doing this has stepped out of the norm of society. Particularly, non-retired people. We meet other couples who are working, who have their own businesses, or who have virtual jobs. Other couples that have retired young or early. Some people are just taking a year off work and life as a sabbatical. That happens too, or in between jobs. I think we’re actually meeting more of the kind of people that we enjoy connecting with because it’s a mindset. It’s about having the courage to do something different and to step into a whole different life not knowing what you’re getting yourself into.
Right, exactly. The thing is you have on your website, RVLove.com, so many practical answers to this that I probably won’t delve that much into the practicality because you have a wonderful way of spelling out how you get your internet, how you decided to buy what kind of RV, basically how you packed up and left. I think that’s fantastic.
I’m a little bit more curious about the emotional advice you would give to people. The funny thing is you’re Australian, your husband’s American. Like you said, Ozzies, if you travel around the world you will see them everywhere. They will go for months at a time. It’s no big deal. It’s in fact a rite of passage. I think Americans, we’re probably the polar opposite I would say. I’m very curious how you as a couple, what kind of advice you would give and did you have any trouble, sort of getting to the same place? How did you both get to the same place?
Julie: I think that’s an excellent point because that is something I’ve reflected to Mike just only in the last few weeks. My awareness of the cultural differences between Australia and the US. You’re right. Australians travel everywhere so that’s never been such a big deal for me. Like you say, it’s a cultural thing. Here in the US, way less common. In fact, when I met Mark, my husband, back in 2010 I did ask him about his travel aspirations because it’s so important and high value to me. He was pretty clear that, “I love Colorado. I’ve spent my whole life in Colorado. My entire extended family is in Colorado. I pretty much don’t see myself living anywhere other than Colorado.”
I remember having that thought because we knew the relationship was going somewhere serious and somewhere special. I asked him about his interest in travel in general. He was definitely interested in exploring and seeing more of the world and seeing other places. I’m like, “You know what? That’s great. As long as he’s open to travel and doesn’t just want to stay stuck in one place and never go anywhere, then I can work with that.” I loved Colorado too.
What the turning point was though was in December 2012 we flew to Australia for the first time together. It was Mark’s first trip overseas apart from trips to Mexico which he doesn’t really count because it’s kind of not really overseas. It’s technically Colorado’s backyard. It was his first time. He was nervous because it’s a long flight. It’s something like fourteen, fifteen hours just from LA to Sydney. We were there for three and a half weeks. He met a lot of my friends and family. The thing that he brought home was, “Wow. Your friends and family are so well-traveled. It seemed like everybody that I met has seen so much of the world. It just makes me realize that I haven’t. It just makes me realize that apart from business travel around the country, I really haven’t traveled that much.”
I think experiencing and talking to and meeting other people that had done that really opened up his world and his mind. The funny thing about that is he’s really the one that has driven this whole adventure, pardon the pun. Literally he does the driving. I wasn’t the one pushing it because I always had in the back of my mind, “Well, he’s always going to want to live in Colorado,” but he was the one that was really actively moving this along.
Together we did a lot of research. We don’t have children so Mark’s really good about work-life balance. He just does his forty hours. We had a lot of time after hours and on weekends to explore and research. I think that’s how we managed to do it so quickly in that seven months from idea to driving off into the sunset. Literally, we put hundreds of hours of research into this. I know of couples that just say, “Hey, let’s do it,” and jump in and go, but we didn’t do that. It was a very big decision for us on a number of levels. It was very, very well researched and considered and thought out. He was really the driver and that trip to Australia kind of gave him the bug. Having already a virtual job and technology these days with Wi-Fi so easily available through your cell plans, through Verizon, and that kind of a thing, it became a no-brainer.
The other side of the coin is you must have had the family and friends and the nay-sayers who were just like, “You guys are crazy. What are you doing giving up your great lifestyle and driving off into who knows what at this time in your life.” How did you deal with that kind of thing?
Julie: Yes, that is a big one. I think Mark’s family was shocked when we first told them what we were thinking. Initially they thought it was great because his brothers both had campers and they did that growing up. I think as the realization started to sink in that, “No, we’re not just getting a camper. We’re thinking about getting a big bus and living in it and going off and doing this full-time.” Then it started to sink in. I think his brothers didn’t believe it because one thing I have noticed a lot, and again it’s a cultural difference and I’ve come to realize this the last month or two, there are a lot of people that talk about what they want to do or talk about their dreams and ideas. That seems very common to just do that; talk about it. It’s a very small number of people that actually take steps and action in the direction of what it is they want to do. I’m noticing it more and more and more.
For me, if I talk about something, I do it. When somebody says they’re going to do something, I believe them. I think they’re going to. It kind of was surprising to me the number of people that don’t and why they are so shocked that we are doing what we said we were going to do. People are really shocked. They think when you just talk about it, that’s all you do, right? You just talk about it, but you’re actually doing it. That does shake people up. It was very challenging for Mark’s mom. She’s very family-oriented as obviously many moms are. Mark is as well. His brothers are his best friends, but they’re very busy with their own lives. They have wives and children and busy jobs and that is their world.
Our world is really different not having that busy schedule of work and commutes. I mean we do work but not doing fifty, sixty, eighty hours a week like many people. We don’t have commutes. We don’t have children. We have a lot more time. What we found was a lot of our friends and family were all just busy with life. They’re just busy, hard to make plans, hard to make commitments, hard to spend any time with. For us, it got really a little sad and lonely and boring.
We can’t put our lives on hold until your kids grow up or until you’re in a different situation because the reality is that may not ever happen for people. It was difficult. Once they realized we were serious and were doing it, I think they definitely started having more responses. We’ve had definitely some people say, “Oh my gosh. That’s awesome. We’re so inspired. I’m jealous. I want to do that. You’re living my dream.” Definitely had a lot of those. We’ve also, I’m sure, had some people thinking, “What the heck are they thinking?” They won’t say it, but they’ll think, “They’re a little crazy.”
I also read about your other website, TheGlobalJewels.com, and you have a lot of experience with life teachers and coach types. I’m wondering if you’ve become sort of an ambassador for living your dreams, going after things that you want? How would you tell people to do that who are really stuck, who have so much fear they just can’t move? Maybe they could do it if they put their hearts into it.
Julie: Absolutely everybody could do it. As I said, culturally I’ve come from a country where that is I think very common to take a gap year or take time off work. We get a lot more vacation in Australia. You get four weeks a year standard. You’re allowed to roll it over and take two months off the following year. You can’t do that here. I think the mindset is very different here in the US. This is not exclusive to any particular person. Anyone can do this around the world. Now, can you just pack up and take off tomorrow? Probably not unless you’re a twenty-something and you’re that kind of thinker.
I think a lot of people don’t have even the awareness of the belief that, “I can actually do something that I want to do, that I dream about.” Dreams don’t have to stay dreams. Dreams can become reality. I would suggest to anyone to just start with little steps. Start with little dreams. It might be your dream to cut your hours down to forty hours a week from forty-five. For some people, that’s a big step, a big start. It might be going and doing more things on weekends or exploring more of your local area or having a quarterly three-day weekend away. There are so many little steps that people can take to expand their life beyond just work and commute and errands and chores and kids. There are plenty of families who do what we’re doing with kids too.
I’m certainly not suggesting that this is for everybody, but it’s not even about the RV lifestyle. It’s just about stepping out of what you’re doing and taking a step in the direction more of what you want to be doing, what you want to be experiencing, things you want to see, things you want to do. I think it all just starts with a little step. I think people get crippled sometimes thinking about, “Well, that just feels so far beyond me,” either financially or time-wise or it’s so different.
How we got to where we are was a series of little steps. Yes, it took about seven months and we did fast-track it, but we were moving along very quickly with what we were doing. It was a series of steps. We sat down and did a budget. We worked out what does it cost us to live like this. We did a lot of research following other bloggers and other travelers to see what is their budget and what kind of expenses do they have that we need to factor in. Documenting all of that in an Excel spreadsheet and saying, “How manageable is this? Where do we think we can make some adjustments in our life?”
For example, we had two cars and two car payments because we both had jobs that we used to drive to an office and back so we needed two cars. I think that’s a fairly typical state for any household. Certainly an American household, it’s not uncommon to have two vehicles under finance. We thought, “Well, why don’t we sell the two cars. Get rid of the car payments.” Then with the money we had left over, we were able to pay cash for the vehicle that we now drive which is actually the best of both worlds of the previous cars. The Subaru WX was a sporty car. The Miata was a convertible. Now we’ve got a Minicooper S convertible so it’s a sporty convertible and a backseat. It’s got the best of what we loved about one car and what we loved about the other, but we have no payment. We paid cash. In fact, our payment on our RV, because you can get a mortgage on an RV just like you can get a home, the payment on that each month is less than what our two payments were on our cars.
You know, that brings me to another question I had. I know that when I backpacked around the world, it was actually cheaper for me to live that way than it was to stay at home in the US and have all the typical expenses that a working person has. What are you finding about living in an RV? Is it similar or not?
Julie: Yes. That’s an excellent point you raise. I think sometimes people think the cost of living is what they’re experiencing now and here or in this city or in this state or in this country. No, that’s one of the reasons that when I moved from Australia to the US my business had imploded after the economic meltdown. I couldn’t afford to stay in my apartment. I couldn’t afford my car payment. I couldn’t afford to move out of it either. I moved to the US and sublet my place in Sydney. For the money I got, it paid for the rent in Sydney and in Boulder. I actually lived rent-free for three months. That was kind of my creative solution like yours was to have those travel experiences but do it less expensively.
What we find here in the RV lifestyle is it does cost us less because we don’t have utility bills. We no longer have a mortgage. I should do say we have a mortgage on the RV but it’s very small compared to what the house mortgage was. We don’t have an HOA payment that we used to have on our town home. Like I said, we don’t have utility bills. What’s the big difference here Ingrid? You can live any kind of travel lifestyle, it doesn’t have to be RV, but any kind of traveling lifestyle as big or as small as you want. That’s why when people say, “Well, how much does it cost to do that?” Is like asking, “How long is a piece of string?” You can do this big. You can. You can buy a coach for a million dollars if you want or three hundred thousand.
Live like a rock star.
Julie: You can. You can stay in the expensive eighty dollar a night campgrounds. You can do that, or you can buy a little old camper for probably eight or ten thousand and put solar on it and go live out in the boondocks and live for next to nothing and eat noodles and baked beans and live for next to nothing.
We consider ourselves living pretty big in the sense that we go out for dinner. We’re not afraid to spend money in gas in the car and go out exploring. We put as many miles on our Mini that we tow as we do in the coach because once we’re with the coach we’re in one location for two or three weeks at a time. In the Mini we’ll do all of our exploring. The gas mileage is immensely more economical on that than the coach.
The big difference is with our regular life, about two-thirds of our expenses were fixed and about one-third was variable, so gas, food, eating out, entertainment. It’s been flipped. In this lifestyle, a third of our expenses are fixed being the repayment on the RV, our insurance, health insurance, that kind of a thing. Two-thirds is variable. We can decide to just stay three months in one place if we wanted and you get much better rates if you get a place for longer periods of time than just for a few nights or a week. There’s a saving right there. You’re not driving the RV so you save a lot of money in gas and tolls if you’re in those kind of areas as well. You don’t have to go out exploring as much in the vehicle. You can either keep it more local, you can bike, you can walk, you can get public transport. You can eat in. You don’t have to eat out.
Obviously you can vary how much you spend. We try to buy organic as much as possible and we know we pay a premium for that, but we have a high value on health and well-being. We’ll spend more on something because it’s organic than something just because it’s cheap. That’s our personal choice. Somebody, that may not be a high value for them, so you can save money on that. Gas is a big one. Our variable expenses are important because if ever anything happens or if we got hit with a big unexpected bill and we needed to pull in the belt, it’s a lot easier to do to just scale down your lifestyle than not make your mortgage payment.
Julie: That’s the biggest difference I think.
I think that’s what people’s fear is, that somehow it will cost far more than just living the typical American lifestyle. I think they’re shocked when they find out the practicalities of it.
My other thing is, so you’ve been doing this what? About a year now?
Julie: A bit over thirteen months, yep.
Okay. I’m thinking that the first year is probably the one with the most emotional ups and downs, the what-ifs, the what should I have done differently, the what did we do right. Can you give us a little run down on that?
Julie: Yeah, that’s a really great question. I definitely had more concerns about doing this than Mark which is interesting because I’m the one who’s actually lived in two different countries, I’ve traveled a lot more, and I’ve had my own businesses for a long time. He hadn’t. It’s kind of weird. It didn’t make sense logically that I was the one that had the more fears and concerns. I think maybe it’s been female. We tend to like to nest. I know for me, when we moved into our town home and bought our home together, it was really important for me to nest and build community and make friends. That’s what I did when I moved to Boulder.
I’m also an extrovert, Ingrid, and Mark’s an introvert so how we get our energy recharge is very different. He needs alone time out on his bike to recharge his batteries. I need social time with other people. I was really worried about meeting people and having the same conversation everyday. “Oh hi. Where are you from? What do you do?” I was terrified I was going to have these boring conversations that were really meaningless and not in depth at all. I have been very surprised. I think it took a few months for me to really emotionally adjust and really get more into my swing of it. I started to realize as we met more and more people …
We even started to make friends with people digitally through traveling networks and social media sites where you’re sharing an interest in a passion and way of life with other people. You’re making friends that way. Plus, with Skype and Facetime, I have a lot of contact with my friends back in Australia and back in Colorado just through technology and Skype. Of course social media helps with that too. I really take full advantage of all of those things because that is my need to fulfill my extroverted side. Sometimes I’ll jump in the car and I’ll take my laptop down to a café and I’ll hang out and work from there for the day. Even though I don’t know anyone there, just being around the energy of other people somehow recharges my batteries. It drains Mark, but it recharges me. I think having that knowing about myself and him having his knowing about himself and how we can take care of ourselves emotionally is a really big point.
I was sleeping a lot the first three months. I’ve always been a good sleeper, but I was sleeping a lot the first three months. I actually do wonder if I was a little bit depressed. I kind of hesitate to use that word because I don’t think I was really depressed, but I definitely was not my usual self. I definitely think I was feeling a little lost maybe, a little bit directionless. Well, I was adjusting. I was making a lot of adjustments in my life. I definitely felt it more than Mark. From day one he was just, boom, he was there which was really extraordinary to me because like I said, I’ve had a lot of change and moves and done all that by myself. Relocating alone to another country at age forty is a huge thing. I don’t know. This seemed like more of an adjustment for me. I think part of it because we were letting go of our regular home.
Also, do you think it had anything to do with the fact that he still had his job, which was everyday, and you kind of had gotten into a whole different world where everything was sort of going to be consulting or these other things that you’re doing?
Julie: Coaching and blogging. Absolutely. Yes, you’re absolutely right. He had structure in his day and in his week. He knew what time he was going to start, what time he was going to finish, and he was doing that Monday to Friday. He had that structure and focus. I was starting the blog and starting our video YouTube channel. I was creating new content. In the early days, we didn’t have a very big following so I kind of felt a little bit like I was talking to an empty room, and because I’m an extrovert and I need that feedback and interaction, there was very little at the beginning. I had to keep showing up and producing content not even knowing if anyone was even reading it.
I know the feeling.
Julie: I know. It’s like that for all bloggers when you start. It’s like that for all of us. Then I just kept showing up. Definitely when the blog started picking up and we started getting more followers and our YouTube channel really expanded. Around the six month mark, that actually kind of exploded around four hundred percent around Christmas. That kind of really gave me an injection of energy where suddenly I had more purpose and more focus and more structure. Now I’m finding that I’m really excited that I have this opportunity to write and create and do the things that I love doing while we’re travelling. I’ve got things to write about and share because our life is so much more interesting. I’ve definitely had a big shift.
It was also an emotional adjustment for me, Ingrid, just from my friendships and relationships. We went back to Colorado in June. What was really challenging for me was I was so excited about seeing a lot of my friends. Frankly, honestly I would say more than half, maybe two-thirds, were just so incredibly busy with their lives that even though I’d been away for a year and we were back for this finite period of about eight or ten weeks, so few of them could really show up and make the time to get together. That was hurtful.
Yeah, that’s hurtful. It seems to me though, it’s often that when you take a leap like you did and you leave these friends behind, when you come back you’re on such different wavelengths that I think sometimes that can make it difficult. They don’t even think about you just being there for eight weeks because in their mind life goes on the way it always did. They’ll make time for you at some point. It’s kind of interesting I think when you go back after you’ve been away.
Julie: That is what I came to realize. I think for the first month or so I was taking it quite personally. I felt really sad that people couldn’t show up and make a commitment and say they’re going to show up and actually show up. That was really hard for me to kind of adjust to. Toward the end of our stay I realized exactly as you just said. We’ve changed but we didn’t realize it because it was happening so gradually over the course of a year. Our values or what’s important to us, time and quality time and connection, and real conversations and meaningful conversations of depth; we have more of that with people that we can meet that we may only ever meet and see once. We can have a more connected, real, authentic conversation on the road with a so-called stranger than I was realizing I was able to have with some of the people that I had gone back that were my friends. We changed.
We could have a long conversation just about that because I think that is kind of one of the big problems with our society; the busy, busy, busy. The true connections are lacking and our sense of community. That’s a whole other podcast.
Julie: It is a whole other podcast. I do also think that it’s challenging for other people. I don’t even know that it’s a conscious awareness, but unconsciously when you go out and do something in your life, not just us, but anybody, that you either say what you’re going to do or you go and do something that really is honoring yourself and dreams. It kind of unconsciously sends a message to the other person, “Well, why aren’t I doing that?” It kind of makes them realize, “Well, if they can do it, why can’t I do it?” They may not be ready to face that so it’s uncomfortable or maybe they just really don’t want to hear that your life is great and you’re having a great time because maybe their life isn’t like that. I do know some people like that where I think they really don’t want to hear it. That’s fine. We respect that.
We’re not trying to advertise that to anybody. We just really want to catch up and see what’s been going on with them because they hear enough through our blogs and our email newsletters. We don’t need to tell them what we’ve been doing, they know.
What’s the next step for you and Marc? Where are you heading? Do you have the next year planned out? The next six months? Two days? How’s that work?
Julie: We’re making our way across to the east coast to Maine. We haven’t done the east coast yet. We started out in the West in 2014. This is a big country and there’s a lot to see. We like to take our time and spend at least one, two, or three weeks in each location. We’re taking our time getting across to Maine. We’re currently in Michigan and we’ll be in Niagara Falls in about a week and a half. After that, we’ll be in Maine for six weeks. Then we’ll make our way down the east coast and be in Florida by December. That’s where everyone flocks south for the winter where it’s nice and warm. We’ll be down there for at least two or three months, and then do some of the southern states as well which will take us into early 2016.
I actually have the majority of our itinerary and where we’ll stay already mapped out, even if they haven’t been reserved yet. At least they’re on the calendar of where we aim to be and when right up until the 31st of December, which doesn’t sound like it allows much room for spontaneity. We have so much spontaneity in our everyday life anyway that it actually gives us a lot of certainty and peace of mind knowing that where we’re going to be parked we have good cell coverage. We know we can work. You have to be flexible.
Your day excursions are you adventures too and exploring around.
Julie: Absolutely. It’s daylight savings still in the summer which is fabulous. When Marc finishes work, we can go out and do another three or four hours of exploring before it even gets dark. There was one day last year where we on pacific time. That’s the other thing, our time zone is changing all of the time. His and my working hours change in line with that so when we’re on the west coast, he would be finishing work at 3:30 in the afternoon. We’d be in the Mini by 4:00. We’d put the top down, drive around Lake Tahoe, do some exploring, stop off, take photos, go for dinner, and then take photos of the sunset, and it felt like a whole other day. It felt like two days in one. It was a weekday. It was a Tuesday afternoon. It was fantastic.
There’s just so much more life in our life because we’re just not running around doing errands. When we were back in Colorado, all of the driving we did felt like we were running errands the whole time. Here when we’re out driving, even if we’re doing errands like going to do the grocery shopping, it feels like you’re exploring because it’s new places. It’s definitely part of the everyday. That’s where the spontaneity comes in.
Part of your sort of tagline is, “Fulfilling our life long mission to explore the world.” Do you think you’ll go beyond North America at some point?
Julie: Yes, definitely. Now whether we do it with this coach, probably not because it’s not really feasible either financially or just with all of the loopholes involved to ship this thing to another country. Frankly, other countries aren’t designed like the US roads and highways and campgrounds. They’re amazing for large vehicles like ours. We definitely want to spend some more time in Australia where I’m from. We may or may not do that traveling in an RV. We’re not sure yet, but we definitely want to go to Europe. I am fortunate that my dad was English and so were his parents so I actually have a British passport as well as an Australian passport.
Julie: That is a big, big thing for our ability to be more global is to be able to legally live in other countries. It’s huge. We’re very grateful and blessed for that. That’s definitely an opportunity that we plan to take up at some point in time.
I almost don’t even need to ask, but just as a last bit of advice, would you do it all over again?
Julie: Absolutely, yeah. There are just no guarantees in life, Ingrid. I think so many people hold off on their dreams because they’re trying to plan things out to the nth degree. I get the whole need to focus on retirement and financial security and stability. We’re certainly not ignorant to that and we don’t ignore that either, but what we’ve done is kind of repurpose what we already have in creative ways to be able to have the best of both worlds. We don’t need a big house. We had an eighteen hundred square foot town home which was more than big enough for us. If ever we did end up with another home again or an apartment or something, it would be small. We don’t want anything big. The freedom you feel of not being to tied down by things, things to do, and chores, and the financial responsibility of it. So many people we know are stressed financially trying to keep up with their lifestyle. That’s not very freeing.
The other thing we’ve realized, like you said when you went and traveled the world for a year, is that you can live more inexpensively in other places. I think a lot of people’s idea on how much you need for retirement can vary quite vastly depending on how and where you’re willing to live. It doesn’t have to be in a house in California costing you paying high tax rates and that kind of a thing. There are definitely different ways to do it. Just like anything, do your research and start exploring. It’s easy for us to try and make up these ideas in our head without really getting the facts and we end up making decisions on ideas of things rather than the facts of things.
I’ll just quote you actually with what you wrote in one of your blog posts. “Sometimes it just takes an open mind, creative thinking, some hard work or not, a spot of planning, patience, a good dose of courage, and of course the willingness to face your fears, take a risk, and just go for it.” I love that.
Julie: Thank you. Which blog post is that?
That was pretty good what you wrote wasn’t it?
Julie: Thank you.
Thank you, Julie. It’s been wonderful to talk to you. I am definitely a follower of your blog. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Julie: Thank you so much, Ingrid. It’s been a pleasure.
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