We Live in Our Vacations
I have learned long ago that an average income in The United States and two weeks vacation wasn't going to allow for too many adventures. I have wild fantasy exploration ideas and limited resources. Anyone can travel if they have gobs of money and time and if that's you, congratulations, but the rest of us have to get creative. I think deep down I actually prefer it this way having to be resourceful and scrappy. I am most impressed by the people like Stefan who has travelled the world on very little resources and is still going. We meet Stefan walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Stefan can walk 30 miles in a day and live in a bush. I can not. What I can do is try to live in my vacations.
How does one live in their vacations? Well, I have a general idea of area of where I would like to vacation and then I target viable employment in that area. And what I mean about viable, is a real salary with real benefits so we can travel, work, go to doctors and dentists and save for retirement. Temporary jobs have been useful to keep trips going but I always run out of money or even go into debt with the low-pay service jobs available on the road. Gone are the days you can work a front desk in a hotel or a waiter job and make enough to support yourself in a resort town. So my recommendation is if you gotta travel like we do, invest in a home on wheels or learn to cheaply set up an apartment and look for real employment in a area you want to explore. We do both . We bought the Fifth Wheel trailer and Chevy Silverado 2500 truck when we moved to Philadelphia so that Charlie could go to graduate school. We didn't want to waste thousands of dollars on a rental.
The payments became our housing costs and I worked full time for health insurance and everything else that wasn't covered by Charlie's stipend. Charlie received a scholarship and stipend and got paid to go to school so we couldn't pass it up.
Charlie graduated from Villanova University and it was time to move, I knew we had a window of opportunity for summer travel and to see family but we had no money.
The time-money problem. Charlie was able to paint my family's house so we could stay in the 1000 Islands, NY with my parents while we were still covered under my health insurance under cobra and then we went to Europe for a month and a half in July- August which cost around $3000.00.
I use a no interest credit cards for a year for these periods. FYI, if I wanted to keep my health insurance it would have cost over $1000 a month while travel health insurance for the both of us for 45 days in Europe was $250.00. We saved so much money on health insurance by going to Europe it almost paid for our trip. So messed up. (Camino article coming soon.)
When we got back from Europe we still had some finishing touches to do on the house. We waited till after Labor Day to head south, much cheaper and less crowded travel in September.
We went exploring during our relocation and had an opportunity to see a few places we always wanted to. We stayed in Walmarts and rest stops on the way. We went to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, Myrtle Beach SC, Wrights Beach, NC and then Asheville , NC.
We set our sites to Asheville, NC to live and work. We love that city but we quickly found it wasn't cheap to live in a RV there and salaries were too low. We were now living on credit cards, no health insurance and I was still injured from my trip so we consulted Raphael, our arch-angel, who helps us in travel and an opportunity opened.
One of Charlie's old coworkers was a manager of a building supply company in Douglasville, GA. He saw Charlie's Facebook posts and asked him if he wanted a job down south. Now we weren't looking to move to Georgia and we wanted The Smokies but we were getting a little nervous about money. Charlie drove down for the interview and was offered a few locations. Madisonville TN was one of them. Getting out our magnifying glass we found the town. It was perfect. Cheap living and perfectly acceptable to live in an RV in Tennessee.
So we rolled into town with about $13000 credit card debt and a torn achillies for me and no health insurance. I was blessed to find a customer service job on the phone, off my feet, with mandatory overtime for the winter months. We both went to work and were out of debt in 3 months. Our hard work paid off. We also got to take advantage of being back in corporate America for a while. Charlie's company hit a milestone that year and we got to go to Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in PA to a all inclusive five-star resort and spa weekend. After living out of a back pack and in our RV for 3 years this was really luxuruios and very appreciated. We had been penny pinching for years while Charlie was getting his Masters degree. It felt like a parallel universe to get fancy free messages in a beautiful spa with big fluffy robes and then shop in the over priced gift shop and actually be able to buy stuff.
In that same year the travel Angel shined on us again and we took advantage of a newly renovated condo to rent in Fort Lauderdale, FL for only $500.00 from Charlie's company. I can't remember the last time I had stayed put for a whole week on vacation. Once again the accommodations were outstanding. A luxury ocean-front condo with five star amenities, fabulous pool and walking distance to great restaurants. I feel part of the traveling spirt is to take advantage of the extras offered to you. We spent a comfortable year in Vonore, Tennessee. We had a wonderful RV spot overlooking the mountains for $450.00 a month including electric and water from the nicest land lady you could ever meet, who now sees us as family. All our new friends said it was a very mellow winter and we agreed. We love Tennessee. We even entertained building a house and staying there until the bug and a promotion bit us again.
The key to keep moving is to constantly troll for a new gig or cool experience. We are currently in the city of Atlanta and it our lease is up on October 1. We are interested in living by the ocean, focusing on Florida but we are open for opportunity.