I’ve been married a long time. My wife, Teresa, and I managed to raise two kids into adulthood. Now we find ourselves on the verge of becoming empty-nesters, and one of our possible choices is getting rid of the nest.
As of late we discussed becoming Digital Nomads. We both love to travel, and I can do my job from anywhere with an internet connection. Until recently, Teresa was tied to an office. She has since embarked on co-founding a startup that also gives her location independence.
It all seems to fit the plan. It fits the dream.
Every morning we take our dog, Luna, for a walk. During one of those walks a few days ago Teresa hits me with “Let’s sell the house.”
That scared me.
She was only half serious. We won’t sell our home while Luna is still with us. Still, she was at least half serious.
The nomadic lifestyle is growing in popularity, and many of the nomads are not tied down by real estate. I’ve been envious of them and dreamed of us doing the same.
A dream is very different from actually giving up our home.
I’ll be the first to admit that I do not genuinely enjoy home ownership. At the least, I do not enjoy mowing the lawn, shoveling the driveway, landscaping, gardening, replacing a roof, windows, etc. Owning a home comes with a long to-do list.
Yet, there are also upsides. There is comfort in a home base to return to. Whenever we travel, I love coming back to our bed, shower and the hot tub in the back yard.
Those are physical comforts, and I know I can live without them. The thought of giving those things up is not what scared me.
We’ve been homeowners for a long time. Since we’ve been parents, we’ve owned homes in three states. It was the kids and our desire to have pets which made us want to have a yard and thus a house.
There was (and still is) a lot of conventional wisdom around owning a home. Rather than paying someone rent, it made sense to invest that money into a home. Property appreciates in value, and it’s just smarter to go that route. That last part has been true for us. We’ve made some money on every house we owned.
It seems that our current house will also net us some money.
That’s where Teresa scared me. It wasn’t just “Let’s sell the house”, but also “We can live off the money we make for a while.” (FWIW, I took a look at the tax implications and for us filling jointly we could make up to half a million dollars without being taxed.)
Part of me thought it was an awesome idea. We’ve talked about living in different parts of the world. Some places we’ve discussed would allow us to live quite well for a long time. We would have enough money to take the time and create a whole new life. There would be time to create a new business, work on a project, or create alternate forms of income.
So why is it scaring me?
That’s what I can’t quite seem to figure out.
Perhaps part of me is more of a conformist than I’d care to admit. Maybe I’m worried about burning through a bunch of money irresponsibly.
I’ve been making a lot of changes. I think this one will just take a bit of time for me to work through.
Fortunately, I have my wife who will keep me thinking (read: scared) about it.
In the meantime, we’ll continue getting rid of stuff and downsizing our life while we enjoy walking our Luna every morning.