Hiking 12,000 ft mountains in Colorado was a challenge for us since we live practically at sea level.
At the highest altitude we could stand to hike, I could barely breathe and I tired quickly. The funny thing is that I didn’t realize the altitude as we were heading to the top until we reached the summit. The proverbial frog in slowly boiling water I was.
As we turned around to head back to the car, I realized that hiking real mountains like these and not those “mountains” we have in the East felt exactly like dealing with the lifestyle inflation we used to experience.
Having college loans, car loans, credit card debt, and a mortgage made it hard to breathe. We had more month than money, hence the credit card debt. We didn’t budget. We didn’t know what we spent. We just did whatever we wanted. That was until 2015 when we made some big changes.
Downsizing and paying down debt as part of our deflated lifestyle approach made it much easier to breathe. We felt less stressed. We had more money. We had a shot at getting the life of adventure we really wanted.
While on our trip to Colorado, we downloaded several podcast episodes to catch up on what’s happening in the personal finance community. One of the episodes stuck out as a must-listen…
Radical Personal Finance: How to Achieve Your Adventure Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible, Episode 552
Since we’re at the boring stage of personal finance, we find we don’t have much to do beyond remembering to transfer money to our brokerage account. So, I don’t often find a whole lot of new content that applies to our situation.
That was until I heard this episode. Here are my own “show notes” from this episode…
- Action leads to life change.
- What do you want to do? Get clear. Be as specific as possible, don’t just say you want to travel.
- Do you want to go to Europe or climb in the woods?
- Why do you want to do this? Why do you want to travel? Do you want to travel to spend time with people, hike, practice language skills?
- What is the bare minimum of circumstances for which you are willing to settle to do what you want to do?
- You possess the ability to travel now. Pack up your belongings and strap them on your back — you’re traveling. Might not be what you want but that’s travel. Get a used bike — you’re traveling. If you’re willing to accept walking or a biking, you’re traveling.
- If gear is important to you, put that on your list.
- The lower your bare minimum, the easier your goal is to achieve.
- You could retire on $5,000 a year. It’s possible. But what’s your bare minimum? You need to satisfy that bare minimum only.
- How much will your adventure cost you?
- Don’t put yourself in a situation where can lose money. Start with the minimum and go from there.
- Turn assets into income for the adventure. Sell or rent a house. Withdraw from 401k. Don’t ignore ability to work. Use what you have and inside knowledge to advance the adventure. Jobs are everywhere. Spend the money on adventure.
- Stop spending. Sell stuff. Work extra. Save to travel. Leave and spend the money.
- Take an inventory of your skills and turn those skills into income.
- Turn rent into a tent. Change your living expenses by changing your living situation.
- Your standards are the impediment to your adventure.
- Standards are negotiable.
- Challenge yourself to do something radical in one area, cutting your expenses drastically in an area. You will adapt.
- What’s the bare minimum necessary to fulfill this vision to help you achieve this? The clock is ticking. It’s faster and easier for you to achieve if you’re creative.
We have all the gear we want. In fact, we have more than we need. We have a minivan, a tent, and a teardrop camper. We have kayaks and bikes. We’re ready.
So, why did it take so long for us to get to the point that we felt confident enough that Garrett would be willing to walk away from his job? I’m blaming a scarcity mindset on this one.
When Joshua said that our standards are the impediment to our adventure, everything clicked. In that instance, I knew that Garrett had to leave his job so we could get to adventure faster. We can’t play it safe and go on adventures together — that’s oxymoronic.
We thought that by being totally debt free (and mortgage free) that we’d be comfortable with Garrett leaving his job last year. Didn’t happen.
We thought that being totally debt free with an emergency fund that we’d be comfortable with Garrett leaving his job last year or earlier this year. Didn’t happen.
Finally, we decided that we were the impediment. We were standing in the way of ourselves. We were never, ever going to have enough money to feel comfortable enough with Garrett leaving his job. Sounds crazy, right? But, I think it’s akin to altitude creeping up on me when I’m hiking. And that time we didn’t realize we had more than $200k in debt until we added it all up.
So, Garrett had to quit his job in August. We had to make a go of this, to invest in our business, and hit the road to take up those action verbs we’ve been talking about for years. It was high time we quit so we could get to adventure faster. We were on the fence about when he should quit his job and this podcast episode pushed us over.
Yep, a podcast made Garrett quit his job. Look at us, such trendy millennials with our tiny house and aspirant vanlife. Haha! 😉
Seriously though, we secured our financial position the best we could and took a calculated leap to be able to run a business on the road. So far, so good. 🙂