philosophy / stuff that makes me think / travelling with kids / where we go

taking one more step off the conventional train?

May 2012 073May 2012 120May 2012 063

I ask your thoughts…

I’ve begun to seriously wonder if owning a home is occupying too much of our time, efforts and of course, money. That perhaps it’s one of those choices, that though everyone seems to aspire to, might not have nearly as many benefits as one thinks.

If we aren’t tied to any particular school, or work then perhaps we could take the show on the road. What better way to experience life and garner an education for our children than to travel.

We made a significant work and community transition almost five years ago. We were simplifying life. We bought a smaller home. We brought the kids home to educate. My husband began to share a medical practice. We were definitely stepping off the conventional train.

People asked why we would do that. Make less money, leave a community of people we loved, choose to sell the dream house, take our kids out of the mainstream social system.

At face value, I have to agree. It looked, well, unusual at best.

Simply, we chose to do it to simplify our lives. And simplify it we most certainly did. There were interpersonal transitions along the way: that wasn’t expected. A willingness to be real and vulnerable, a willingness to be known and to really know others. Less show, more glow. Happier to be in the moment, experience the moment, rather than plan, plan, plan for the future. It has been very good.

I remember a friend saying she is happiest when she is camping. Not because there are meals to prepare on the open flame, or mosquitos to shoo out the tent, or perpetually dirty kids to clean. Rather, because there were fewer ties that vied for her time. She was more in the moment with her kids.

This is how I feel about travelling. I’m not planning for the next paint colour, or calling the plumber again, or washing another floor. I have fewer household responsibilities. And lest you suggest I just get a full-time housecleaner, I’ve already been there in my thoughts.

It isn’t just that the house is always calling, rather the mere act of stepping out of the familiar, getting to know new people, seeing the world through an entirely different groups’ viewpoint, being exposed to different ideas and ways of living, seeing things one has never seen before, has a profound effect on a person.

So I ask you. Is it because people assume they are limited by their present occupation, by their family or social circle, or something else that keeps them tethered to their home?

8 thoughts on “taking one more step off the conventional train?

  1. There are pros & cons for sure with owning. The big plus for us is the equity – it is an investment that does reap dividends provided one doesn’t continually upgrade or tap into their home equity.
    I think really though, the tie that binds us to our home (same one for 15 years) and neighbourhood is fear. Fear of change and the unknown, of doing something different and going for those big dreams. Our world is full of fear and I think if most people are honest, it is fear that motivates the decisions made or not made and actions taken or not taken. It’s a big one.
    The big question that has loomed in my mind in recent years, is “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” What would I do? It’s incredibly eye opening, especially when the only thing that will ensure failing at it is not trying.

    • Perhaps it’s an increasing lack of fear in me that makes me seriously consider the option. Sometimes the option that is right in front of us is opaque because we’re too accustomed to following the crowd. And you know me, Ive been moving away from ‘en masse’ thinking for a good long time. But different strokes for different folks.

      If we decide to change our minds in the future, houses might be really cheap later (so says the doom & gloomers)…

      Carpe diem. The days are long, but the years are short!

  2. I think it’s society and banks, mortgage brokers and money planners that have bombarded us since we were young adults about the benefits of owning versus renting, from the get-go renting felt lesser. But I couldn’t agree more, I love the idea of simplifying life, freeing ourselves to choose our future instead of it choosing us. Go for it! Whatever it is! If my hubby had the work freedom it sounds like you might have, we’d do it in a heartbeat too!

    • Thanks for the encouragement. Though it sounds a little loony at first thought, I think there could be a lot of living, not just existing, that way. And I could always buy a house later if I decide it really was loony!

  3. We have made the decision to only rent, perhaps that in the end we will pay more in rent they we would in a morgage, but we arent responsible for the hot water tank, or the dishwasher, or the garage door, when they break. Or the carpet when it needs to be replaced. We can move with in a month and not have to worry about selling our house if our life takes us somewhere unexpected in an unexpected time frame. We enjoy renting. I dont think I could own a home unless I knew that for the period of the morgage I was NOT going to move. Otherwise, whats the difference?

    • Yup, I hear ya. Having rented in my college years, I thought purchasing was for the ‘have’ people. Now I am coming to see it as a choice people make, sometimes blindly. Lots of work taking care if the ole homestead…lots of our lives are consumed doing stuff we don’t want to do.

  4. I do not own my own home and I am 42. Finances have made that decision easy. But on the other hand, there is indeed a freedom that comes from not having to worry about maintenance and upkeep. And 100 years ago, unmarried women like me rented rooms, as I do. I do not think it is loony to simplify life. Simplicity in itself is freeing.

    • Amen. Simplicity, we’re told, is too simple. But really, it seems to give us more breathing space when we’re away from home. Having said that, with four children, i might be smoking something. There seems to be lite that is simple with kids, period. I couldn’t leave my six week old baby for a couple hours without complexity! Remember that? But i understand that I have a few years ahead of me, so I will pursue the dreams in my heart unless I get told otherwise.

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