That Space Between Deciding and Going

Editors note: This is a guest post by Lou Schaber of The Uncommon Road.

Here we are, still stationary, nine months after we came to the conclusion that we wanted to live full-time in an RV.

Since that fateful decision in August we’ve had quite a few questions pop up (some even our own).

  • What happened that made us want to leave?
  • Why the long wait until we go?
  • What keeps us going during the wait?

Decision to Ditch

To be honest, my wife (Tricia) has always been in favor of packing everything up and living a nomadic lifestyle. She has been persistently sharing this vision with me since the moment we got married in 2001 . . . I’m just a little slow on the uptake.

Many things come into the discussion when we sit around the table and talk about the why of this decision.

There is the typical desire to downsize, paring down our belongings to only the things that add the most value to our lives and experiences. Sure, stuff is fun, but it often falls short of the expectations we place on our stuff. More stuff isn’t the answer.

Simplicity comes up a lot, we discuss how we can be more intentional with our time and activities. We don’t need to make things any more complicated, and there’s a desire to narrow our focus toward our family and away from some of the extracurriculars. Not that these activities are bad, they just tend to get in the way in their structured form.

But, the biggest why would have to be change. Not, change for change’s sake, but a meaningful shift from our current lifestyle to something we haven’t done before. We all love a good adventure, and the timing couldn’t be better than right now. We strive for new destinations, new experiences, new relationships, and new opportunities for growth.

When we were fist mulling over this whole idea of leaving our home, selling our stuff, and living in an RV, I came across a brief post here on Ditching Suburbia. It was simply titled, This Trip Is . . .

There was nothing fancy to it, no special graphics, no giveaways, not even 100 words long. Yet, it seemed to perfectly capture what our family has been trying to articulate in regards to this decision.

It read:

This Trip Is….

....not a field trip, but we want to be educated
...not a business trip, but we need to work
...not a family reunion, but we want to visit friends and family
...not a vacation, but we want to be re-created
...not a mission trip, but we want to be missional
Michael Boyink

Now that the whole family is on board (i.e. me, seeing how our daughter was an easy sell), we’ve been diligently plotting how to set this dream in motion.

The Schaber Family

The Schaber Family

Whiling Away the Time

To say that the wait has been easy would be a gross disservice. No . . . waiting sucks. But we have hung in there, and made the most of it.

The main reason for waiting has to do with getting things all set to go. We’re not just taking a vacation here. There are obligations to fulfill, jobs to restructure, things to sell (a lot), and stuff to buy (like an RV).

It would be great if we could just drop everything, make a couple big purchases, and burn everything else. Heck, that would save a lot of mental wrangling. But, being able to properly plan this whole endeavor has also brought our family closer together.

We’ve encountered folks who have been able to make a similar decision, and literally leave overnight. Others have waited years to see their plans unfold. So I guess we’re in the middle somewhere, but the horizon isn’t that far off.

For now, we wait. We continue to hone our plans, continue to scale down our possessions, and continue to move forward in our journey.

We’re still waiting, but waiting with a purpose.

6 Comments That Space Between Deciding and Going

  1. Picture of Sarah Fitzgerald Sarah Fitzgerald May 19, 2016

    whew….thanks for this today.  We are right there with you!  Months into the process of ditching…still months to go before we launch.  Some days its exhausting! 
    See you out there!

  2. Picture of Lou Lou May 23, 2016

    Hey Sarah, glad you enjoyed it! The in-between phase does offer many challenges, but we’re grateful for the opportunity to get things in order and really research this newly planned adventure in our lives. Hopefully we’ll all be on the road soon enough. Best of luck in your travels.

  3. Picture of Kevin Collins Kevin Collins May 26, 2016

    Hi Lou,

    Forgive me for not checking out your blog yet but I just wanted to make a comment for everyone out there who wants to do something different but still hasn’t launched. I took a 6 month leave of absence from a job I actually love (most days) to full time travel with my family. In 2014, we road tripped through the American Southwest and Colorado (in a minivan)  and then spent three months in France. It was an awesome trip and now we are planning on another sabbatical and or moving overseas (to Ireland) in a year or so. Long story short, don’t get caught up in the details. I know that sounds ridiculous when you’re going to jump off the cliff with a family to suppor but at some point you can’t plan everything. For us this meant our house in Illinois. In hindsight, instead of trying to fix and sell our house which ate up too much time before our trip I wish we would have rented it, left it vacant, anything but worry about it before the trip. The main reason I say this is because we had planned on traveling for much longer than 6 months but we had some things come up in our life that drew us back to Illinois. I wish I hadn’t worried so much and put so much time into the “what do you do with your house question” and just hit the road for 3, 6, or 12 months more or less carefree. We never sold the house anyways and ended up renting it instead.  My advice is if you can afford to do it just look at year one of your adventure as a long trial run. If things go well, your family really enjoys long term travel together, you like the new lifestyle, your business plans or money situation is still supporting your needs, THEN figure out how to ditch the house if that is the best decision for you.  It may be an American thing or just modern man that we overplan, think too much, have too many obligations to begin with instead of just trusting in the universe, God, whatever you believe in. Good luck with your preparation and as Nike says, “Just Do It!”

  4. Picture of Lou Lou May 26, 2016

    Kevin, great advice and I agree with you fully. If the opportunity is there to drop everything and go, then I’m all for it. Our circumstance is a bit different, as we’ve been in a holding pattern for a little over three years (too long of a story, but one day I’ll be able to share it). Unfortunately, being able to put our plans into action is contingent on seeing this “waiting” process through. If it wasn’t for that, we’d probably have an Instagram account full of amazing views. Your advice on the “trial year” is spot on, I’ve spoken to numerous people who have done just that. We’ll be out there soon enough. Until then, we have to make the most of it here.

  5. Picture of Shelley Swindler Shelley Swindler August 21, 2016

    Wow!!!! This was very close to my heart. We literally made the decision to jump one week ago! We don’t launch until late May…  I vacillate between wanting to throw up and dancing around the room!!!!  Terribly excited yet terrified!!! Thank you for the common ground!!!!

  6. Picture of Lou Schaber Lou Schaber August 25, 2016

    Hey Shelley, thanks so much for the kind words. It is always encouraging to have this crazy idea validated by others who are planning the same thing. We do lot’s of happy dances, followed by why aren’t we there yet self-pity at times. I think that is all part of the process. Best of luck in your upcoming travels as well.

Comments are no longer accepted on this article.