Hi. We are Gideon (Gid’s) and Angie. We are a couple in our very early 50’s New to blogging and just about to start a new adventure as life is too short to wait.
This is how we have got to where we are so far.
Tuesday 26th April 2016 – “NO ONE HAS A CRYSTAL BALL”
Its 5.58 in the morning and about the fifth day of waking at 5 – 5.30 am. Not sure if its excitement, sheer blown fear, but one thing is for certain our minds are in overtime at the moment with the thought of our whole future changing. We thought that an account of our planning, challenges and the ups and downs of selling and changing our lives (hopefully for the better) spending many months away each year in a motorhome may be of interest to some folks.
So about 3 weeks ago we were fed up – really fed up. We had always wanted to do something different in retirement which we thought was in 10-12 years time anyway. We would need to sell our home and go smaller to clear the mortgage by then. We had previously dismissed being able to do anything until we were into our mid 60’s but we decided to look in to options. A plan came to light and the more we prodded and poked at it to find the flaw, the less we were able to find one. It wont be easy and we will be taking a gamble but we think it is do-able and life is for living not for regretting..
“ Life is not about the number of breaths that you take, it is
about the number of times that your breath is taken away”
We are not rich. Like many people, we have scraped through just about paying the mortgage and bills each month and going out a bit. We had the attitude of “live for today as you don’t know what tomorrow brings”. At the same time we had the responsibility of bringing up our son and the security we needed to do that. We now have a house with a good amount of equity in it, and two fairly well paid, full time and secure jobs. Most of our income pays the bills and we could bumble along like this until we reach retirement age OR potentially do something brave exciting and scary 15 years earlier and LIVE OUR LIVES in semi retirement NOW.
We don’t want to fully retire for two reasons
1) We like the idea of the months away being viewed as a long holiday rather than just another day in our life in a Motor-home and we think that we could become travel board or weary with no fixed agenda just wandering around Europe month after month year after year, so having to come back to a Job for 5 or 6 months each year resolves that.
2) We have not been as financially astute as many and having children is a very expensive but rewarding (at times) experience. We just could not do it without some form of income to keep us going so a seasonal job seems the way forward.
We are concerned that by stepping off of the U.K property ladder we will never be able to get back on it and it is something I have always advised against doing in my 30 years career as an estate agent ( please don’t hold that against me – *are you still reading? ) but on this occasion I am going to ignore my own advice.
We aim to work for 6 months or so each year and travel the rest and not worry about getting back on the U.K property ladder but instead perhaps look to buy in Europe, (probably France) unless of course we have a windfall. Scary I know but read on…
We have done the maths and we think that If we work at least 30-40 hours a week for 20-28 weeks a year with both of us earning the living wage of £7.20 per hour between us we can just about earn enough to cover all our costs of living for 12 months including our travel time abroad. If we cant quite cover our costs then a dip into the savings will be needed. This is on the basis that we can find work on a camp site or similar with free pitch and electric hook up. We will have nice lump to pop in the bank after paying off the mortgage and buying the motorhome which we hope can stay there as a safety net until we need it or until we decide where to buy in Europe .
So what about future security?
If after a few years of doing this we love it and decide we wish to buy again, France Spain or another Euro destination could provide the answer. £60,000 should get us a detached farmhouse or similar in fair condition that we can call home in France. This may even provide further holiday rental income if we were happy to rent it out whilst we work for a few months or travel.
Q; would we prefer to sup French wine, cheese and baguette in a warm relaxed laid back country with great weather whilst living in a detached farmhouse with land and views or live in a terrace house or flat in a cold wet and depressed area of the U.K for the same price if we are lucky and with the sky high living costs we have to contend with in the U.K –
A; Hmm’ let me think about that for a nano second.
So this is the aim – sell up pay off the mortgage, buy a motorhome get a seasonal job for 4-8 months to pay for a European adventure for the remaining time. Stick the rest of the proceeds in the bank or investment fund and go from there.
A great 5 or 6 year old motorhome can be purchased for £45,000 and this would do us well to live in for all 12 months of the year. All we need to do now is get a seasonal job.
UPDATE ; Applied to the Caravan and Camping club today fingers crossed mt we get a positive reply back.
Oh by the way if you are thinking of doing something similar check out this web/ blog site http://www.ourtour.co.uk it is amazing, inspirational, gives loads of info and costings that have helped us decide that it IS do-able (if that is a word)and shows how it can be done if you have been a little more financially savvy than we are. It also has links to many other like minded individuals blogs and how they have done a similar thing their way .
April 29th 2016 -“E-BAY VIRGINS”
Clearing has started – First item on to e-bay today a Pair of hardly worn Cuban Heals Dancing shoes (Yes Gid’s is a Cuban Salsa addict but the 1 1/2″ heals were a step too far excuse the pun) – having never sold anything on e-bay before it is our test item to just see how it works. With 30 years of togetherness there is a lot of accumulation to dispose of either by e-bay, gifting to others, storage or trips to the Dump. Even though we do not have a seasonal post yet, or even a Motor-home come to think of that we are determined that we will not let little things like no job and no where to live get in the way of our progress.
E-bay may be interesting to see the accumulated wealth or lack of it that we have in the home and loft – Oh good grief! we had forgotten about the loft.
May 3rd 2016 -“TELL TAIL & MOTORHOMES”.
A weekend of telling the family and close friends of what we intend to do – expecting much “You must be Mad” and ” Have you lost your senses” what we actually got was nothing but “That sounds amazing – DO IT! , I wish we could do the same, and I am so jealous etc” WOW – what a reaction and if anything it has added to our sheer determination to do it.
Still not heard anything from the camping and caravanning club a week on – will start applying for other similar jobs The Caravan Club, Haven Holidays, Individual sites etc. We have even thought about just selling, getting the Motor-home and then winging it doing a mini U.K tour and asking everywhere we stop if the need assistants in the future to give us a call.
Now for the fun bit – The Motor-homes. We have done our figures and research and we are working on a purchase budget of circa £45,000 – this may sound a lot and it IS but we think that as this will be our only home for a good few years it needs to be right. We need something that is large enough to be comfortable in and small enough to tour, reliable and taking into consideration fuel and certain must haves as follows ( these are our preferences based on our needs.
* Fixed double bed – Many think that this is a waste of space which it is however the ability to be able to go to bed when we want at different times and stay in bed if un-well plus not having to make the bed every morning and evening is a draw. We DO NOT want to have to climb over each other so French bed and transverse beds are out.
* British lounge at the front, swivel seats and two parallel sofas – We want to be comfortable and snug in the evening – we feel the European lounge area is just a bit too small for putting your feet upwith a glass of something at the end of the day .
*Decent Kitchen with large fridge and a freezer compartment 4 ring cooker (1 electric plate to save on gas) oven grill and perhaps microwave although we rarely use this at home – we will be cooking from here most of the time.
*Bathroom with separate shower cubicle we don’t want a wet bottom after needing a shower.
* Garage if possible – the bigger the better for Storage chairs fire-pits surf boards even bikes perhaps if large enough.
*No above cabin beds – a waste of space for us on our own and we do not do ladders
* Decent wardrobe space
Two days of internet searching and a few visits to the local dealers has created a shortlist of possibilities from smaller Brand new entry level models to larger better spec older ones. We have been really taken by
2012 AUTO-TRAIL DELAWARE island bed £43,995 27 ft
2011 AUTO-TRAIL FRONTIER COMANCHE island bed £46,000 nearly 30 ft
time money market forces and availability will dictate
May 8th 2016 – “ITS NOW OR NEVER”
Whilst walking and playing 18 holes on a superb Hampshire golf course in amazing spring weather with my ‘most grounded’ and inspirational bud Steve talking about nothing, apart from everything that is really important in life it came to me (via him actually) that everything that we are dreaming of doing is not a year or two away, but it is as long away as we want it to be. There is nothing stopping us doing what we want to except us and our reservation on what we are giving up. “Name one negative about what you are doing” he said in his van on the way home . It took me a while to come up with it and it was a real struggle to find the negative but after a while i said what if one of us died? – “Life is for living and ‘what ifs’ make no sense when the ‘what ifs’ did not happen” he said “and all you have done is give your self the excuse to not live life to the full”.I came home and spoke to Angie who was happily watching something on he telly. She has been an absolute rock in this whole process and when talking about this possibility once again she said quite positively “well we will just have to get a Motor-home I can drive too” We realized that there is no negative that can not be overcome.
So I sit here tapping away at 22.48 with a single malt over ice in a cut glass crystal tumbler after an amazing day with my best mate realising that we need to do something sooner rather than later. Sure there are things to organise – a quick flick round the house to make it spick and span to sell, and then clearing and selling our non needed possessions but we feel that within a month or two we are ready to take the plunge and sell our home for a better future and lifestyle. We have already therapeutically cleared the shed and Garage – it is amazing the different attitude you have to “stuff” when you realize that you will not be needing it going forward. The good news is that little luxuries like single malt and crystal glasses can fit in a Motor-home too. The ice may be an issue in the space limited freezer but I have always been in two minds if single Malt is better straight up or on the rocks anyway.
The draw of the open road and the fact that we could live for a year or two with no job if needed has rallied us in our determination to make it happen.
May 11th 2016 – “ANOTHER EUREKA DAY”
Well it certainly was a Eureka day today. I woke this morning at 5.38 am again as I have been doing for the last few weeks and suddenly had a thought – What if we just sold the house brought a motorhome and carried on working in the same jobs we are doing until we had a firm job offer -We could invest all our hard earned wages into a ‘future adventure fund’ with 3/4 of our monthly earnings going into savings rather than just paying the bills. Interesting note -If we did this for 10 years we would have £500,000 in savings (we are not going to do that obviously but it does put a different perspective on things).
With this in mind there is nothing to stop us getting on with it – Why didn’t we think of this before? Its a bit like the guy I spoke to a few years ago that used to rush to get to the w.c in a motorway service station not realising that he was pulling one along behind him in his Caravan and had been doing so for 5 years. We can now sell and buy a motorhome secure in the knowledge that we don’t have to take a massive gamble and leap of faith. We could carry on working if we want to (or do it for a few years and then go back to work in fact) live from the motorhome in a £10 -£14 per night 5 van site (which is where we intend to live full time anyway the only difference is we still have to go to work) and still earning two full wages. We can then apply for any immediate start posts as they come up. Decision made – house goes on to the market in 2 weeks once we have done a few tarting up bits to make sure we get best price
As if to solidify the ability to move things forward – We got a phone call this afternoon from The Camping and caravanning club asking us to come in for an interview – early days I know but perhaps it all just meant to be. Interview is Thursday 19th May – its a two hour drive there and a two hour drive back but at least we show willing.Fingers crossed.
Thursday 19th MAY 2016
Lovely day today in the Cotswold’s Lunch at a gorgeous pub interview with the regional support Manager of the Camping and Caravaning club Steve and his lovely wife. Passed the interview and now just need to do a work experience weekend in June, apparently as long as we don’t totally mess it up we will be given a job offer for 2017 season. A trip to Europe in the early Winter may be on the cards then. –
So here we are bang up to date on OUR whirlwind 3 – 4 weeks – Talk about making a decision and going for it!
ALL FUTURE PROGRESS WILL BE POSTED AS THEY HAPPEN.