Friday, June 25, 2010

The Date

Back in May, I announced the date was set in jello. April 15th 2012 seems like a long way off. So, we've been thinking, maybe that is too far away. Why not move it up by 12 months or so? Why not set the date for April 15th 2011?

We have a pretty full job list of things we want to do around the house to make it more sellable in this dismal market. You know, things like update the kitchen, add curb appeal, refinish the authentic wood floor (no laminate in my house) and of course paint. I don't know how we can get all that done between now and 2012. Most of our energy is spent on day jobs. If we retire 12 month earlier, we can get everything done and hit the road earlier. Seems to make sense to me.

So, can we afford to retire? A better question would be why can't we afford to retire? This reminds me of a conversation my DW and I had in 1969. Then we asked, "Can we afford to have children?" We were told by some dear friends, if we waited until we could afford to have children, we never would. We now have two grown children and two grandchildren. So I am rethink the strategy on retirement. It is time to figure out how to make it work so we can retire early in 2011.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Plan

So what is the plan? The plan is to radically alter our current lifestyle. The plan includes getting rid of stuff (lots of stuff) and moving from an 1800 sq. ft fixed base house to a 400 sq. ft. home on wheels better know as an RV. “Are you crazy?” some may ask. “No, not at all,” is my reply. Radical, yes; crazy, no! How did this develop? Keep reading.
The idea was born in May 2007 while returning home from a family reunion in Giddings, TX. DW said, “You do know, dear, when we retire, I do not want to stay in Corpus Christi, I would like to live closer to family.” My reaction – STUNNED! My plan was to work until I was 70, settle quietly in our home in Corpus and just relax. As you can tell, we had not discussed our retirement planning very effectively. We were going two different directions. I had a lot to think about as we drove the 3½ hour trip back to Corpus Christi from Giddings, TX. As we traveled back home, our conversation turned more into open communication about retirement.
In 2007, we had family living in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Burton. Looking at a map of Texas, I determined the best place for retirement would be somewhere west of College Station-Bryan area. Zooming in on the map, we determined that Brenham would be a better place. It has all the feel of country living, and all the comforts of having stores (WalMart*, Home Depot, Starbucks) near by.
During the summer of 2007, we visited my brother, who just happens to live in Burton about 10 miles from Brenham. We drove around in Brenham, visited the Chamber of Commerce, looked at Blinn College, and Blue Bell Ice Creamery. I think we found our spot. We spoke to my brother when he said, “Why not just come out to Sonrise Meadows Farms; We have room out here where you could build a home.” HMM, that is something to think about.
Back in Corpus Christi we meet a couple at church (Bud/Maggie) who had been full time RVing for several years. After visiting Corpus Christi a few times, they decided to stop traveling as much and settle down here. As we got to know them, the seed for full time traveling was planted.
DW has a cool sister who gets what she calls “scathingly brilliant ideas”. She called DW and asked, have you ever heard of workamping? After DW talked to her sister, DW and I talked about it - the seed was watered. Being the nerd in the family, I Googled “workamping” and got several thousand hits. Scouring those hits, I found HitchItch RV Travel Adventures and Journals. This is a cool site that features those who have chosen the full time RVing lifestyle. Reading through the listings, I must have booked marked about a hundred or more websites of folks who are full time RVer’s. From that list, I found Howard and Linda Payne's website, RV Dreams. After reading just about all of their blog entries, the seed took root.
It just so happened that Howard and Linda were at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge near Freeport, TX. I knew where that is – and it is very close to Corpus Christi.  Gee, I wonder if DW and I could go visit them. We finally connected and set a date - January 2008. After meeting them, the seed sprouted.
More to come.