No More Countdowns

by Kim on June 26, 2011 · 50 comments

The Countdown Will Not Continue

Photo by sashafatcat.  Flickr creative commons.

I’m sure you missed my monthly countdown earlier this month.  You did, right?

10 Months Until Our RTW

9 Months Until Our RTW

8 Months Until Our RTW

and eventually….

BLASTOFF!

Today I’m announcing that the countdown will not continue. Brian and I made a big decision and we don’t yet know what it means for our departure date. 

We are going to sell our house

After weeks and months of agonizing over the decision to sell or not to sell I spent a weekend at the World Domination Summit surrounded by fantastic people, many of whom have already been where we want to go. 

After that amazing weekend I spent a few days thinking intensely about what to do with our house.  It eventually became clear that in order to make a decision we needed to identify the intention of our trip.  In other words, what is at the core of what we are doing and which decision best supports that core? 

Determining the Core

We had to ask ourselves:

Is the purpose of our trip to go on a year-long vacation, visit the seven wonders and hop-scotch around the globe until our time is up, then come back to life as we know it?  If so, keep the house.

Is the purpose to set out on a journey that has no foreseeable end, follow our noses from one passion to another, try things out, move on when it feels right, and figure out what life is like when it is based on freedom, human connection, and learning?  If so, sell the house. 

When we looked at the decision to sell or not based on the intention of our trip, the answer was vividly clear.  How did we not see it before?  We cannot be tied down to a mortgage payment if we intend to live with very little.  We cannot follow our passions if we have a 20 ton elephant to feed (our passions are not to be trial lawyers or brain surgeons but writers and environmental educators- not the most lucrative gigs). 

The Decision Is Hard

Brian and I have thrown everything we have into saving for this trip.  We’ve made sacrifices.  We’ve piled away pennies like squirrels collecting nuts.  If we sell the house we will lose money.  We’ll have to dip into our travel fund to pay off the house, so selling is not an easy decision.

If we keep the house we can leave “on time” (whatever that means) and the countdown could continue, but we’d be hindering ourselves in the long run.  Keeping the house will get us out the door sooner but ultimately take away our long-term flexibility. 

The Madness Begins

We’ve now launched into the craziness of getting the house on the market.  We’re painting, caulking, mowing, having high-stress conversations with our realtor.  In many ways life just got a lot more hectic and stressful.  But inside I feel a calmness.  After all the stress and endless conversations and back and forth over the decision, I know we are on the right path.  I know because in the center of myself I feel calm and excited.  

Selling the house is the right next step and it appeared just when we needed it to.

(And if you could send us good house selling juju we would *really* appreciate it)

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt June 26, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there will be a bidding war for your house and you won’t have to take a loss. Either way the decision is made and that has to be a good feeling.
Matt recently posted..Fear Buster Episode 1 – Mark Powers

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Kim June 26, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Hi Matt! Now, that would be freaking amazing. Miracles do happen, I suppose, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed too!

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Lauren June 26, 2011 at 4:45 pm

You guys rock. I LOVE YOU BOTH!

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Kim June 26, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Thanks Lauren. Love you too :)

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Kieron June 26, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Tough decision but definitely a good one in my opinion – when you’re off traveling around the world, you don’t want anything tying you down!

Good luck with selling the house! :)
Kieron recently posted..A Cooking Class in Kuala Lumpur

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Kim June 26, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Thanks Kieron! We can certainly use all the luck you are willing to send our way.

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Maureen@Vaco-Vitae June 26, 2011 at 7:10 pm

You two are certainly not alone in this quest (which is not to diminish its momentousness to you by any means).

And I’m sure that running around doing the tasks necessary to get your house on the market probably feels like the direct opposite of the life you want to lead. Remind yourself daily that’s it’s a temporary condition.

When Jeremy and I decided to give up a full time house (first by selling the one we owned and a couple of years later even giving up the idea of renting a house long term and in one location) it felt like an out of body experience. But looking back on all the benefits that being “happily homeless” has given us, I am so glad that we made the choice.

You will be too, I promise–even if you do take a bit of a financial hit. Sometimes, money shouldn’t be the overriding factor.

When you’re on the right track (as you are) the end is always positive!

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Kim June 26, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Maureen, thank you for this wonderful and insightful comment. You nailed it when you said that “running around doing the tasks necessary to get the house on the market feels like the direct opposite of the life you want to lead.” That is SO TRUE. I feel like we are bleeding money to get this house ready to hand over to someone else (and what a deal they’re getting!). I will remind myself that it’s a temporary condition. I haven’t been doing that, actually, and the stress is getting to me. I always try to remind myself that when you’re in the middle of things you can’t always see that the goal is getting closer, but it is.

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Katie June 26, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Congrats on the decision, although I know how hard it must be to have to push things back. Hopefully you will be able to sell at just a small loss that won’t set you back too much.
Katie recently posted..Thirty-Somethings See the World: Megan Shaw

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Kim June 26, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Thanks Katie! I hope that things work out as best as they can considering the situation. I know you feel our pain!

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Sara June 26, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Good luck!!!

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Kim June 26, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Thanks Sara!

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Warren Talbot June 26, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Kim,
Congratulations on making such a huge decision. I love the process you took to make it as well. Travel is an amazing thing, but allowing yourself to set this trip us as a major life event is even better.

Once you are on the road you will absolutely love the freedom. Want to return in 6 months….no problem. Eant to stay somewhere new for 3 years…no problem.

The next few months are going to be scary as the enormity of what you all are doing starts to be realized. However, expect that it will happen and remember the feeling you have right now and all the reasons for leaping off this cliff. Just know you have a great group of friends to support you and a group of readers ready to pick you up if needed.

Congrats again and we look forward to watching the progress.

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Kim June 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Hi Warren,

Thank you for this kind comment. You and Betsy have been an inspiration to Brian and I as we follow in your footsteps. I’m trying to prepare for the scariness of the upcoming months. As we are preparing our house to sell it I find myself on an emotional rollercoaster. I’m sometimes so excited I want to sing but other times, like when I took all of our photos off of the refrigerator, I am overcome with sadness. When I think about our future plans it is with a mixture of excitement and fear.

I know we are running towards something that will be amazing. I crave the freedom like crazy- despite the fear. You, and the others who read the blog, have provided so much support.

Thank you!

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Usha June 27, 2011 at 12:44 am

WOW! the journey has begun then. :) Good Luck with the house guys!

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Kim June 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Thank you :)

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Gillian @OneGiantStep June 27, 2011 at 5:41 am

A great decision. Not having that hanging around your neck will make all the difference in the long run. I am sending all the house selling juju I have and more!!!

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Kim June 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Thanks Gillian… and thanks to you and Jason for being so wonderful and helping me work through the decision-making process!

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Rhonda June 27, 2011 at 7:49 am

I am so glad to see you did decide to sell your house. When we sold ours, prior to our RTW, it was as though a huge weight was lifted. What we did wrong that time was that we weren’t sure where our journey would take us and we hung onto all of our furnishings, etc and ended up w/ a storage unit payment, still one car payment, etc. We will NOT make that mistake again, as scary and, yes, sometimes painful as it might be, for our next big trip driving down the Panamerican hwy we are not just selling our house but selling basically everything we now own except family mementos and the travel souviners we’ve acquired from our previous traveling. These few boxes we’ll store at a friend or family members house and then we will, truly, be footloose and fancy free.

I know it is a down market, but price your house accordingly, spruce it up a bit and I bet you’ll be good. I am sending postive vibes through the universe to you! Excellent decision. You won’t regret it.

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Kim June 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Thanks Rhonda.

One thing that I failed to mention in this post is that we are putting our house on the market and selling it completely furnished… in other words we are selling our house and everything in it. The momentos, photos and other small things that really matter to us we will box up and store in someone’s basement.

Thanks for sending your positive vibes… I can feel them :)

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Carmel June 27, 2011 at 9:08 am

It sounds like this is the decision you’ve been wanting to make all along and you’re doing it. You never know what will happen with it, but you’re following your gut and I think that’ll always pay off. Although it meant you missed the beer festival on Saturday (boo), I’m happy that you guys are going for it. I think it’ll be best in the long run.

I have been keeping my ears open for possible buyers! :) Good luck!

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Kim June 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Hi Carmel! I thought about the beer festival a million times on Saturday- such amazing weather! When we sell our house I am throwing a beer festival of our own and you’re invited!

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Carmel June 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Yeah!

If it makes you feel any better, I got very sunburnt…it was a bit toasty.

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Lily (Explore for a Year) June 27, 2011 at 10:12 am

Hi Kim,

Congratulations on making this giant decision! What an exciting time! All the very best with the staging and selling (as well as minimizing your belongings). I didn´t have a house to sell when I started my trip, but I know the crazy feeling of knowing that you have to get rid of a LOT of stuff. Stressful but soooo worth it!

I´ll be thinking of you from Europe! :)

Lily
Lily (Explore for a Year) recently posted..Romania to Budapest on a 1st Class Train

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Kim June 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm

The stress is insane, eh? But worth it… I know you guys are right!

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A Slight Nod To Style June 27, 2011 at 10:24 am

what a difficult decision!! great attitude though…just imagine the freedom that will come with selling your house.

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Kim June 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Thanks :) In some ways I think making the decision really was the hardest part. Now, we’ve just got to keep our heads up and sell the house!!

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Peggy McPartland June 27, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Kim, great question to ask yourself in making the decision whether to sell your house. It’s a tough one to make but once the decision’s made, it’s so freeing!

I’m looking forward to following your journey.

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Kim June 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Thanks Peggy. It does feel great to have (finally!) made a freaking decision!

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Kristin June 27, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Love it! Down with the countdowns and deadlines! So much unneeded stress. Keep opening yourself up to the beauty of this experience Kim. Thanks so much for continuing to share your journey before the journey.

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Kristin June 27, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Oh and some super juicy house selling juju for you!

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Kim June 27, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Thanks Kristin. Thank you for listening to my journey before the journey. Sharing our story with everyone gives me the momentum to keep moving forward!

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Betsy Talbot June 28, 2011 at 9:28 am

Whew! That’s a big decision. Congrats on taking the time to work out what is best for you and not just what is convenient. Warren already commented more above, so I’ll just add a couple of links about what we did to sell our house quickly in a down market. We were in your exact situation, so I feel your pain. :( With the right prep, though, you can make a huge difference in how fast you sell – and for how much. Good luck!

http://www.marriedwithluggage.com/2010/04/09/how-we-sold-our-house-quickly-in-a-down-market/

http://www.marriedwithluggage.com/2010/04/16/how-to-have-an-indoor-yard-sale/

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Kim June 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Hi Betsy, thanks so much for your support and for the links. I love, LOVE the idea of writing a letter to our perfect buyer. We are going to do that and put it in a binder with brochures and cards and take-out menus from all of our favorite spots in the neighborhood. On a tip from a friend’s mom we are also going to bury a St. Joseph statue in our front yard (hey, I’ll try anything!). Apparently St. Joseph will help us sell our house!

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RenegadePilgrim June 30, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I was also going to recommend the St. Joseph statue. It worked for my sister a few years ago out in Sandy, when the housing market was even worse.

Good luck! Bummed I didn’t meet you at TBEX, but I’m in Portland if you ever wanna get together for coffee. I’m planning my next big escape in 2013….hoping to be gone longer than the five months I did last year. Luckily, I have no house. Just need to pare down the belongings.

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Kim July 1, 2011 at 9:23 pm

St. Joseph showed up in the mail today! We have given him a place of honor on a shelf until we are ready to bury him in the front yard. I hope it works!!

It would be great to get together for coffee… or beer! I will email you!

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Amy Riley June 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

Kim,

As you know we are in the same boat and I think that your logic and reasoning is spot on. I love it. It is so true – if you keep the house you are just coming back to the same old same old and that is not what you are hoping to get out of it. Neither are we – we are looking for a total life change and the way to do it is to break the ties. We are here for you both to vent and share stories as we embark on this at the same time. :D

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Kim June 28, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Amy, you know we are here for you too! Complain, vent, cry or celebrate with me anytime. I feel lucky to have you to lean on as we go through this experience together 3,000 across the country from each other!

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Russ July 2, 2011 at 10:39 am

we wrestled with the same decision! in the end, we couldn’t bear to sell the house, it just meant too much for us. that decision alone put us back a month or two, as you so clearly found out for yourself.

so, we’re taking a different path with regard to the house and, who knows, maybe down the road we’ll return just to sell it.

i noticed betsy and warren talbot commenting here and they were a big part of guiding us to our trip, whether they knew it or not.

great luck to you guys! we’ll be in europe for august and september then to south east asia. maybe we’ll meet?

russ

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Kim July 2, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Russ, it is such a hard decision! We are definitely going through an emotional roller coaster as we prepare to sell our house. Who knows what the right decision is, really?

Safe travels to you guys… it would be great to see you on the road.

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jill- Jack and JIll Travel July 6, 2011 at 5:23 am

That’s awesome! I’m sure it must’ve been a very tough decision but hopefully one that will lead to many unforgettable adventures.

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Kim July 6, 2011 at 7:44 am

Thanks Jack and Jill. We hope to get the house sold and follow in your footsteps shortly!

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Bama July 25, 2011 at 8:12 am

Finally, the great decision that changed your life! The roads to wonderful corners around the world are now laid before you. Can’t wait when you finally depart!

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Kim July 25, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Thank you! We can’t wait either… still got a little ways to go but we! will! get! there!

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Don Nadeau July 25, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Great to see you’re on track! It’s 7 months since I first got excited about your upcoming trip.

I’d probably sell too. After all, there’s no guarantee that the mortgage will not become even more underwater & it’s not as if you’ll be needing a roof over your heads in Oregon.

And, I’ve heard horror stories about people who try to manage a rental from a long distance, although I guess you could hire a professional for that.

All the best. I quit a hard-to-get-again tenured position to travel for several years and have never regretted it.

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Kim July 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Hi Don, I know, 7 months! Sometimes I feel as though time is flying by and sometimes I feel as though it is draaaggginnnggg.

I love hearing stories like yours (quitting a tenured position to travel), they give me courage.

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