When folks start thinking about transitioning their lives to become fully mobile, everything involved with that transition can be quite overwhelming. And that overwhelm can easily become an excuse that keeps you from moving forward towards your goal.
There’s so many things that have to come together, such as:
- securing a mobile friendly income source
- deciding what to do with all your stuff
- figuring out all of the logistics such as mail & domicile
- getting the kids & spouse onboard with the idea
- making arrangements for pets
- balancing your desires for community while you travel
This post is part of our slowly but surely growing series on How to Handle the Common Excuses Not to Travel Full Time.
Even with a best case scenario of not needing to dispose of a house and stationary job, all of the details are daunting and seem to create an endless to-do list – with no clear place to start. So many questions to answer and execute.
- Do you start transitioning your career now and try to build up enough income working remotely?
- Do you try to sell your house or rent it out for the time being if you own in a slow market?
- Do you get rid of all your possessions or store them in case you want something later?
There are no straight up answers anyone can give you to these sorts of questions – every scenario is so unique that only you can find the right answer.
But how do you find those answers and act?
Where to Start? Set the date!
So many folks we’ve talked to approaching these sorts of transitions tell us that they’re waiting for all of the pieces to come together before they actually set a date to close the door behind them. And you know what that leads to? Never making that step and keeping it as a someday dream.
At no point will all of the pieces magically line up for you. There is never a perfect time and perfect conditions. Sure, there will be times at are better than others. And life will present you with convenient transition points – such as getting laid off from a job, a kid starting college or a major life scare.
Today is yesterday’s someday, and tomorrow is quickly approaching.
Things like setting up all of the details, getting rid of all of your stuff, earning a mobile income – they’re not going to get done with out motivation. And motivation is not going to happen unless you make it real to yourself. Really real. If you don’t have a deadline set, you will find ways to keep putting off the mundane and difficult work of making your dreams happen.
A seasonal purge is not the kind of purging of stuff you’re going to have to do to get ready to hit the road full time.. it’s grueling, emotional and has to be done consistently day after day after day, even when you want to curl up and watch TV. Starting a blog and putting Google Adsense on the sidebar is likely not going to earn enough income to fund your adventures after you quit your job (but it may buy you the energy drink needed to stay up late going through your sock drawers). Looking at endless Craigslist ads, blogs like this one and RV sites may have you dreaming about the possibilities of what you might like in your mobile substrate – but unless you’ve given notice on your current life path, you’ll keep dreaming instead of deciding.
If going mobile is what you really and truly want – and you want it in the foreseeable future – the most efficient way to make it a priority is to give yourself an eviction notice. Pick a reasonable but ambitious date for your situation, take a deep breathe and mark it on the calendar. Announce it to your friends & family, let your landlord know or contact a realtor. Let your boss or clients know. The more you make it real, the less opportunities you have to back out later.
Everything changes now.
You hold your body differently, you think differently.
Take Steps if You Need To
Nothing says you have to do everything in one big leap. When setting your date, it doesn’t have to be a single date for having everything handled – such as quitting your job, getting rid of everything, planning your first destination, getting an RV and securing your mobile income. Sometimes it just makes more sense to come up with sensible steps that represent major milestones.
In Chris’ case, he was laid off from his Silicon Valley job which gave him a great launching point to put his dreams of nomadism in motion. He gave notice on his apartment and then pushed himself to get all the details together at once. Chris thrives on tackling big overwhelming projects all at once, but not all of us do.
In my case, I went in stages. We set a date together for when we’d hit the road for an extended trial run. I purged a good deal of my stuff, but I didn’t focus on getting my house sold at first. Instead, I focused on getting my life in order to handle being completely mobile and getting Chris’ little Tab trailer ready for two of us living in it. When I decided that nomadic living was for me, I then set another date to take care of the rest.
In the case of our friends The Tacky Texans, they’re taking things in stages as well. Their first step was moving into their new mobile setup – a mega cute Avion trailer. This entailed them purging a lot of their stuff and moving out of their apartment. Neither has quit their jobs yet, they just moved down the road to an RV Park so they could adapt to living in the trailer first. Now they’re focusing on transitioning their careers to support generating income while being mobile, and are pondering what deadlines to set for themselves.
By taking things in manageable bite size stages, you can reduce the overwhelm of trying to tackle everything at once. Your steps will likely look different than any one else, because your situation is going to be unique. Find what works for you, and don’t hold up anyone else as a model you have to strive to match.
The critical part remains though – with each stage, set a deadline to keep you on track and motivated.
Kicking it into gear
It’s amazing what happens when you switch from this being a someday dream to being a what you’re actively doing. It’s a mental shift that just can’t be achieved otherwise, and it’s the shift that is necessary to actually get stuff done.
Now the fun begins!
That to-do list that once seemed endless? It now has an end date and can’t be endless – there are things on that list that absolutely must get done. It’s kinda like those all-nighters we used to pull with big assignments due in school that we put off to the last minute. I know I made massive quality progress when a deadline was looming.
From here, it’s probably best to institute some sort of project management system. If you’re already using a Getting Things Done system such as OmniFocus or Things, set up projects within those to track all of the details that you’re going to be tackling. If you’re not already using a system like this, now is probably not the time to research and set up the options (unless your deadline is far out enough) – as that can become a massive project all of its own. I’ve certainly encountered folks who spend more time setting up their systems than it would take to just get the things done on their list.
In our case, we set up a series of Google Docs where we kept shared notes on all of the projects ahead of us. We had notes for the purging process, maintenance to be done on the trailer, purchase lists, trip planning, social engagements and logistics to handle (such as insurance, banking, mail forwarding, etc). Thinking through each project allowed us to write down individual tasks that had to happen to complete the overall project. And then each individual task became a manageable and achievable item that was much easier to approach in an afternoon. Instead of having a goal of ‘get rid of everything you’re not taking with you’, I could approach different areas of my house as mini-projects each evening- such as my closet, bathroom, kitchen, etc.
We put aside time every few days to go over each of the projects together and make sure we were both caught up on what the other was doing, and what other tasks would come up. We divided up the tasks and made sure we each knew who was responsible for what, and which had a higher priority for getting done sooner versus later.
We’d put even the small stuff in our system to keep the motivation up by feeling we were making progress and made sure to schedule date time with each other non-related to the project at hand. We’d celebrate each time we completed a major project, helping keep the enthusiasm going.
If I had it to do over again with today’s technology, I’d also be using Google Calendar’s task list feature that has since come out to manage a to-do list for each calendar day. I’m using that system now with great success, and I can totally see how it would have helped with the daily items that I needed to accomplish during my nomadic preparation days. These days Chris uses OmniFocus to manage his projects.
Chris’ exodus and both of mine were right on target for having everything ready on our circled date on the calendar. The system worked.