When I think back on the decision to make this trip, it amazes me how much prep work we have already done. Who knew being responsible would make it easier to run away from home?
When we got married, we both had credit card debt and car payments. We worked at paying those down, but at the same time we bought a big house outside of Boston, traveled extensively, ate really good food and drank a lot of wine. We had good jobs, expense accounts, and opportunities to see and do some really great things.
But who wants to live in the suburbs in a big house when you don’t have any kids and even less time to maintain the home? We had a landscaping company, a cleaning company, a food prep service, grocery delivery – all the things that make a home a home were done by someone else.
Frankly, we weren’t really that happy. And the heavy travel schedules for both of us meant that we often didn’t see each other for days at a time.
When the opportunity came to move to Seattle for a new job, we had a long talk about what life should be like. The appeal of Seattle was the “West Coast lifestyle” that was more laid back. And my requirement was that we live in the city of Seattle, not a suburb, so we could enjoy life with people like ourselves.
Fortune was on our side because we sold our house in Massachusetts in just one day. In fact, I didn’t even have time to go to Seattle until the day we moved there 3 weeks later. Imagine landing in a city you’ve never been to, knowing all your stuff is being sent there whether you like it or not!
We decided to buy a cute Craftsman home in the tony section of town called Queen Anne. Until we saw the prices, that is. A “fixer-upper” was in the 600k range, and that last thing I wanted to do was fix up a house while living in it.
Then we discovered Fremont, a sort of hippie community with a lot of artists and quite a bit of gentrification already. We bought a beautiful townhouse with a rooftop deck on our first weekend in Seattle.
This is how our budget was affected moving from Massachusetts to Seattle:
- No state income tax – we got a pay raise just by moving here.
- We went from 3800 to 1100 square feet in housing and half and acre of lawn to HOA-maintained landscaping.
- We sold one car before we moved and now only need one due to public transportation.
- We paid off the last of our credit card debt and the car and now only owe our house payment. All credit card charges are paid in full every month.
- I opened my own consulting business, which decreased the travel immediately and made marriage much easier.
Life right now looks very different than it did 3 years ago. We have much less “stuff” – and the stuff we do have we really love. We have one car that mostly sits in the garage because I work at home and his company provides a shuttle service to work. We have terrific friends that we see often because our travel schedules are at a minimum. And we interact more with the general population every day because of this lifestyle.
I’m not sure I ever envisioned us taking this trip before, but I can see how all the steps we have taken up til now have made the idea of the trip much easier to imagine. I love this man I married, and the everyday money stresses just don’t exist. We both love people and new experiences, and we get to live that on a small scale every day.
We still disagree on a few things, but there is nothing even close to the level of conflict from before, and I can’t imagine anyone else I would rather travel with.
Even if he is a planner. And plans our “unplanned” time.
I’m still working on that.