Sold house and quit jobs for touring in a motorhome.

It’s been an eventful few weeks. Our house sale completed, we have both left our jobs and we no longer have a house! That sounds pretty drastic but it does not feel quite so bad to us. Our house sale went smoothly and we said goodbye to our neighbours and moved a mile down the road to our temporary accommodation.

The removal company came to put our possessions into storage

We are in limbo, I suppose, because we are living for 3 weeks in a very nice Airbnb before going on a pre-planned holiday to Provence in France, so it feels like we are on holiday already. When we come back from France we will be picking up our motorhome to start our adventure. Our plan is to spend a year or two  touring Europe but we will be returning home on a regular basis to see family and friends.

Our empty house on our last day

Our temporary home has minimal kitchen facilities; just a  kettle, fridge and a microwave so we have been eating out most nights at some of our favourite restaurants including one we visited for the first time – The Ox Club in Leeds, which I can highly recommend. This has given us chance to meet up with friends , family and neighbours before we leave the area although we will be returning on a regular basis. We’ve also eaten at The Agora in Horsforth , which we love and tomorrow night we are trying La Cour in Horsforth for the first time.

Living in this Airbnb accommodation is also getting us used to living in a smaller space, after all living in a motorhome is going to  be a really tight squeeze!

In the next couple of weeks we intend to whittle our belongings down even further because I’m getting a little worried that we still have too much ‘stuff’ to fit in our motorhome.

Some people have wished us a “happy retirement” but I don’t see it as retirement. I intend to be busier than ever exploring new places, writing travel blog articles, taking photos and making video’s of our travels. I have told my ex-colleagues in the travel and tourism department of Leeds City College that I see it as extended CPD!

Breaking out of your comfort zone to go travelling fulltime

Our travel planning for our tour of Europe and living in a motorhome full time is in full swing. Our house is sold and we are just waiting for a completion date. It’s a big step but one which we are very excited about. We will be on a tour of Scotland in August before heading to France in September.

When we tell people of our plans they all say that it’s an amazing thing to do and that we are brave to do it. It’s not brave in my view. The fact is that we are only 2 hours by plane away from home so we can be back very quickly if needed. From time to time we have to remind ourselves why we are going off for a year, maybe longer, but the reasons for going on this adventure are still the same.

I recently saw a report that said this about travelling as you get older:

Travel during retirement can be much more than just an enjoyable activity. Travel and its associated activities have been linked to healthy aging – boosting physical, cognitive and social benefits. Those who travel tend to be more active, and research shows that older adults who are physically active have lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and cancers, and a reduced risk of falling in later life“.

These health benefits are on top of the fact that we will be seeing awe inspiring places and experiencing different cultures. There will be mountains, lakes, beaches, rivers, waterfalls, sea views, rolling hills, busy cities and quaint villages as well as the history!

To do this we will be giving up many home comforts such as TV, unlimited running water and deep baths in our new bathroom with  underfloor heating, reliable internet and a spacious house that has all the comforts of modern life.

When I walk out in the evening I see people watching TV and sitting on their sofas but I would rather see every full moon and see the stars in a true dark sky. We can’t take things for granted such as water and electricity. We will use these things sparingly and we won’t buy as much stuff in future.

You don’t have to own something for it to add value to your life and why should we stay in the same place all our lives?

I came across this excellent video on You Tube called “Everybody dies, But not everybody lives”. I think the message in the video is very true.

The less you own – the more you have!

Our last few weeks have been filled with planning. Planning for our big motorhome travel adventure around Europe. Our house sale is going ahead and will probably complete by the end of June, so we have two months to downsize.

This will be a big downsize and it’s exciting doing it. Our eBay sale is going well and we have so far made about £450 from selling stuff that we rarely used. I have sold 3 guitars from my guitar collection, bookcases, ski equipment and clothes. Having sold these things I don’t feel any worse off. I haven’t noticed that my life is any worse since selling these things. In fact, our house is looking emptier by the day and we still have piles of things to sell at car boot sale and on eBay. Very little will be going into storage.

We have made a list of all the “admin” jobs that we need to do before we leave on our trip. We have to inform the bank of our address change.  We will be using our daughters address in Cheshire. Doctors and dentist is a problem. Do we give them an address or just fall off their lists? We still have to think of the best solution. Please leave a comment if you have a solution for this. We also need to cancel all the usual things such as gas and electric, TV licence, telephone, council tax and any other bills that we normally pay.

In the last few days I have bought myself a 2TB back up hard drive and copied important photos and documents from my computer to that, so I can use it with a laptop.

I have been reading about living a minimalist lifestyle such as like on this blog and all about the benefits of living without too many material possessions and I must say that the more I read about it the more I like the sound of the benefits of living a minimalist lifestyle. So, what is “minimalism”? Well, the blog I have mentioned above says the following which I think is a good definition:

Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution”.

Owning a big house with lots of possessions costs a lot in maintenance as well as heating, lighting and council tax. We own two cars which we will be selling so that will save us the cost of insurance, road tax, servicing and MOT, and petrol. What I am saying is, that the more we own the more hassle we have, so it makes sense that the less we own the more time and money we have to spend on the more important things in life.

Here is a challenge for you! Get rid of everything that you have not used for 6 months! Happiness is a state of being and not a state of having. The marketing teams of large organisations want to make us all think that we need something to make us happier but after the initial excitement of owning something dies down do we still feel that excitement? I don’t think that we do. The thrill is in the chase!

I’m hoping that our really important personal possessions will fit into the boxes that I took a picture of below or even less and these will go with us on our trip.

Packing boxes for our house move

Stuff! Our obsession with materialism.

Are we all obsessed with materialism? I have started the process of going through my belongings to get rid of as much ‘stuff’ that I can as possible before we move from a house to a motorhome to tour Europe. We are selling our house and going to live in a motorhome that is 7 metres long, 2.3 metres wide and 2.7 metres high. This is going to be a challenge but one that we are very excited about but I have realised that we own far too much stuff that we don’t need.

Yesterday I had an eBay sale and made a few quid selling things that we don’t use. I sold a guitar amp that I have not used for two years for £75. I have another better amp and I don’t need two.  Most of us are obsessed with materialism. Is that good for us?

Downsizing from a house to a motorhome for 6-12 months is a bit of a problem because of the amount of belongings we have. Computers, printers, speakers, desks, drawers, radios, cables, gadgets, documents, extension cables, shredder, 3 x bikes, a shed full of tools and gardening equipment, clothes we don’t wear any more. I could go on and on. The list is endless. Oh I forgot furniture such as bedside tables and dining room tables/chairs.

We need to go to a car boot sale to sell a lot of stuff including dozens of books. I like books so we will put our best ones into storage along with our best furniture. Getting rid of all this is going to take some time but I think it will feel very liberating.

In preparation for our motorhome adventure I have been watching some YouTube videos about people living in tiny houses and it’s amazing how they all seem to love it and look perfectly content with life and their release from materialism. I think the key is that they all have other priorities in life other than working to buy bigger houses full of more stuff! That’s the message I’m getting from watching YouTube video’s  about people touring in their motorhome and spending several months living in a small space. In the USA many people live in their RV. Watch one of the video’s about life in an RV. You might be converted!

I think it’s important to realise that a motorhome is where you sleep and cook as well as sit when the weather is bad. The rest of the time you have the biggest living room in the world because the sky and outdoors is yours to use!

We have started the job of looking for storage for our furniture and other belongings that we are keeping. The two quotes I have got so far are for about £130 per month for 75 sq feet of storage space. A better option, offered by a removal firm, is for our belongings to be put into a big crate and for that to be stored in a warehouse. That works out at about £40 per crate per month so that might be the best option.

If you have moved from a house to a motorhome please leave a comment below with any advice that you can offer.

Resigned my job to live in a motorhome!

I have resigned my job to live in a motorhome! That sounds more drastic than it really is because it’s only going to be for 6 months or so. I have never handed in a notice of job resignation before so Friday was a first for me. I resigned my job as a teacher and gave a minimum of 3 months notice. My meeting with my manager was tinged with sadness but it was also very liberating. All my colleagues were envious as they said that they dreamed of doing something similar.

Most people have dreams of what they want out of life. After 44 years of hard work I have decided that I am still fit and healthy enough to have an adventure and now is that time.

Achieving our dreams is often very difficult but as long as you have a realistic dream then it’s possible to achieve that dream. The hard bit is having the strength of character to break out of your comfort zone and take a calculated leap of faith. There will always be unknowns that can happen that knock you back but you can learn from that experience.

If we all learn from our mistakes then why not make more!

So, the planning for our trip starts now but first we have to sell some of our belongings so that we don’t have too much in storage. That is going to be a massive job because it’s amazing how much we all buy. We have been fairly materialistic and we now need to be minimalist! We are all brainwashed into thinking that we need something when we probably don’t actually need it. Consumerism is promoted by banks and governments as a way of generating tax and profits for big business. This is how many people get into debt.

A recent report said that household debt is now at an all time high of £13,000 even before mortgages are taken into account. 

Touring Europe in a motorhome will mean that we need to live a minimalist lifestyle because we won’t have anywhere to store anything. I think that we will adapt well to that and focus more on the moment rather than a piece of furniture or the latest electronic gadget.

Let the planning continue!