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Selling the house and touring full time?

Old 08-22-19, 09:05 AM
  #1  
riverdrifter
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Selling the house and touring full time?

Are there others here who have done this? My wife and I worked hard to pay our house off, and gave up the adventuring we used to do to accomplish that. We both agree that the dream of home ownership isn't as rewarding as we thought it would be.

We are looking at several options to make adventure, experiences, and travel the priority in our lives. We have 2 small children and we want them to experience all the world has to offer. We already homeschool, and have cut down to one income. We have considered selling our home and buying a (very small) home of some type, or selling and buying an RV rig of some type, or selling and travelling by bike full time for a few years.

This is a small, inexpensive home that we have paid off, so selling it is not going to set us up for life or anything.

Just some random thoughts, and wondering if others on here have done anything similar?

I know this may well open a can of worms, so I thought I should add that I am not looking for life, financial, or parenting advice. I just want to start a discussion with people who have done something like this, or considered it.

Thanks for any input!

Last edited by riverdrifter; 08-22-19 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 08-22-19, 10:30 AM
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The more usual scenario would be to get a boat and sail somewhere/around the world. You'll find several accounts in that vein.

I've seen a few stories of families on an extended bike tour. But not that many.

And let's not forget the RV expedition.

I don't remember *ever* reading a regret story.

Have fun with your plans

[edit]

We travel quite extensively (sail/bike/hike) with out kids. Summers, though. A sailboat is the best and the worst option. Bike touring is great, but might be a challenge if year round.

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Old 08-22-19, 10:49 AM
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From various documentary movies that I have seen about families who went homeless and traveled around the world ... the kids kind of hated it , same probably with military brats - kids of a military person who moved every few months to another base. Both kind of hated giving up their newly acquired friends an starting from scratch again.

I personally fantasize about selling our house and travel around the world for a few years but my spouse seems to prefer not to uproot 100%. I kind of agree with her reasoning but for me the cost of upkeeping a house that I won't use 90% of the time is irritating. We are considering something of this sort in a few years but one of the reason to be willing to do this is that our kids grew up, finished their education and moved out of the house. I do not think I would consider this during their school years.

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Old 08-22-19, 11:07 AM
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I've heard of it, but can't remember where. It seems to me the vast majority of tours end at some point, whether it be after 1 year or 5 years. I would think you would want to have plans to take occasional breaks of maybe several months based on weather/season or just interest in the local. I would also assume you need to have plans to return from full time touring at some point - age/physical ability or just interest to continue with the nomadic life may wane in the future.

But yes, selling the house, endless touring, and renting when needed could work for people with the right attitude.
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Old 08-22-19, 11:37 AM
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I have not done it.

What I have done in 2016 was
- quit my job
- empty my townhouse, put everything in storage and get a management company to rent it out
- go touring for 18 months (Alaska to Argentina)

Also in my dreams is essentially selling my townhouse, going touring for a few years and settling elsewhere after that. I have met people during my travels who have done what you suggest. A few general logistics comments...

1. Some things have become easier in the past years. In particular, I have use a few services, even now (a) a maildrop company. Any mail that gets sent there causes a notification to be sent. Upon that notification, I can have the mail scanned (b) an IP phone. One useful aspect of this phone is any messages left are recorded to mp3 files and sent to me by email. By selling a house and gettingrid of stuff, you can get rid of most need for many calls/mail. However, maildrops and IP voicemail still help in those rare cases, e.g. when cycling in Bolivia one of my investment accounts sent a message I needed to respond.

2. Health care and insurance become their own area to address. There are alternatives here, but useful to think through. Some of this will also depend how much of your time you spend in US vs. other places.

3. My trip was always defined as temporary in nature, so needed to think through "re-entry". In my particular case I had been over-optimistic on how quickly I would find my next job. I found one I enjoy but it took a bit. This has influenced my dreams of my next open-ended journey. Essentially, assume it will also take longer or even use it as excuse to more permanently "retire".

4. I don't have kids, so no particular perspectives there. One pointer I will provide is Nancy Sathre-Vogel (they used to have a site on familyonbikes.org but doesn't seem to be up at present - here is an archived copy - https://web.archive.org/web/20180807...lyonbikes.org/). It wasn't open-ended but they took a 2.5+ year trip with two 10 year olds from Alaska to Argentina. Nancy would likely be good person to provide pointers to other families in similar setups.

Last edited by mev; 08-22-19 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 08-22-19, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Eggman84 View Post
I've heard of it, but can't remember where.
Maybe you are thinking of that woman named Nancy and her family. She used to post here.
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Old 08-22-19, 11:45 AM
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There are so many things I would rather do than travel the world. Seems like a waste of time to me and I’d get bored with constantly traveling. I plan to work until I no longer can, and will probably shift my emphasis to something that will benefit future generations. I have some ideas, but that is far off in the future.
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Old 08-22-19, 12:03 PM
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I definitely DO NOT want to work until I no longer can. I like my job but I have way too many interests and places I want to visit ... there isn't enough time unless I retire early.
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Old 08-22-19, 06:46 PM
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This sounds somewhat appealing to me, but I don't think I would do this with two young kids. I'm no psychologist, but I would think that kids want or need more stability. Don't take my word for it. Look into it with professionals.
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Old 08-22-19, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Bike touring is great, but might be a challenge if year round.
Why?
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Old 08-22-19, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
I have not done it.

go touring for 18 months (Alaska to Argentina)
Did you stealth and camp ground it? Or credit card, friends/family, hotels/motels tour it?

I have use a few services, even now (a) a maildrop company.
Who do/did you use? How did you maintain state residency?

This has influenced my dreams of my next open-ended journey.
Where would you go next? If you had to do it again knowing what you know now, would you do the same thing for your first big trip or would you go somewhere else?
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Old 08-22-19, 07:48 PM
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My wife and I (no kids) achieved financial independence by age forty (over twenty years ago), but we kept a house during all the ensuing adventures. We've rented it out, up to 18 months at a time. Some seasons we trade, some seasons we just give free use of it to fellow travelers who are in our town. It always felt good to us to have a home base.

Try taking a look at Mr Money Mustache for like-minded people.
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Old 08-22-19, 08:49 PM
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maintaining state residency should not be a problem. the states want to keep taxing you on your investment income for the rest of your life, or until you claim residency elsewhere. it's getting any state benefits that could be a problem.

i'm still registered as resident of texas, still mail in ballots each election, do annual federal tax form but no state forms for texas, even after 15 years in aisaland.

but you might lose your drivers license so outa luck if need to rent a car. texas license can be renewed only once online, next time must be in person. and international license is based on your state license.
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Old 08-22-19, 09:08 PM
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I like that idea of renting your house out while you travel. You get some income while not losing your investment. Good luck.
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Old 08-22-19, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Bike Jedi View Post
Why?
In our experience, bike touring is very frugal. Camping in foul weather is no fun; you have a fairly limited range of food options (no refrigeration). I would not consider it as a lifestyle option when there are kids.

Don't get me wrong - we've spent two summers bike touring with our daughters and plan to do it again next summer. Bike touring is a great way to travel.
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Old 08-23-19, 01:53 AM
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My wife had a colleague who is doing something similar. But instead of selling their house, they are renting it out while they travel around Europe with their 2 small children in a campervan. From the photos, it looks like they are having a wonderful time. As your house is paid off, it could be a way to generate income to continue your travels, but still have a place to go to should you need it.
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Old 08-23-19, 02:56 AM
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Twice I've given up my rental place, put everything into storage and hit the road for reasonably extended periods of time.

I don't regret either of those adventures!
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Old 08-23-19, 03:35 AM
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I'm about to do just that next week.


I hand over my keys, wander around locally for a couple of weeks tying up loose ends, then catch a ship across the Atlantic. My plans are open ended. I expect to be on the road for 18 months or longer and to have travelled as far south in South America as I can. At that point I'll re-evaluate and see how my budget/body/bike/desire is holding up and make some new plans.


I have research of a type done, I have preferred routes that I'd like to follow, with backups and alternatives. I've done a lot of practise the last few years, for example, camping in cold and inhospitable weather. I'm happy enough that I can deal with most things that will come at me, and that gives me the confidence to deal with unexpected things. But a lot I won't be able to appreciate fully until I hit the ground. My mind is open to significant changes to my "plans" on the road.


The logistics and bureaucracy is difficult, needs to be properly investigated and researched but is not impossible. Things like insurance were stressful to research and organise. I need to be sure that when I need it, it will work as I expect.


I am fortunate in that I am single and have no-one to answer to other than myself. In fact, that is probably the main reason I am doing this now. A partner willing to do the same is a rare creature. A secondary reason is that I reckon I have at least another 20 odd years of work in me. I'd hate to wait until I was retired and then discover that I was physically unable to do this or too embedded in my life to easily extricate myself.

I'm not wealthy in any material sense, but I have lived frugally and saved to give myself the chance to do this.


While I love to see parents and children touring together, I can't help but believe that there is a significant difference between going on a defined tour and heading away for an unlimited time. There is a different kind of psychology at play.
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Old 08-23-19, 04:44 AM
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Earlier in the summer, we hosted two touring cyclists (Janet and Stephen Rickey) who sold their home in Seattle when they just got tired of cold and damp winters. They started riding south, turned left at San Diego, turned right at Tampa, made a U turn at Key West and 7 months and about 7300 miles later they were at our house in Maryland for a few days. They headed north, turned right at Connecticut, made a U turn in Maine and they are now in Montana! They had no real plans for stopping, but that may have changed since they left us.

You can see their ride blog on CycleBlaze here.
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Old 08-23-19, 06:25 AM
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There is a family that did just that and posted about it on crazyguyonabike.com. I forget the name and the details. I am to lazy to look up the details for you, but a search there ought to find them. I think the Mom's name may have been Nancy, but I might be wrong. She was the one doing the posting.

Edit:
I just remembered that it was the Vogel family.
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/..._id=1495&v=1mC
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Old 08-23-19, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Bike Jedi View Post
Did you stealth and camp ground it? Or credit card, friends/family, hotels/motels tour it?

Who do/did you use? How did you maintain state residency?

Where would you go next? If you had to do it again knowing what you know now, would you do the same thing for your first big trip or would you go somewhere else?
I had a camping gear. Perhaps the largest number of nights were in small hotels as the cost wasn't particularly large in many Latin American countries and were reasonable places. However, camped a fair amount as well. I would describe the camping mostly as "wild camping" rather than stealth, since I wasn't particularly trying to hide and asked permissions in places it made sense to do so.

State residency isn't hard to maintain. My maildrop gives me a PO box address in the US and I could keep my state driver's license and even returned to vote in 2016 elections. The mail service I used (and continue to use) is travelingmailbox.com, but there are others as well.

My 2016 trip wasn't my first long extended trip. I also took 12 months in 2001, 10 months in 2007, 6 months in 2013, etc. Everyone is wired a bit differently, but I've found I enjoy an extended trip (changing lifestyle rather than just a shorter vacation) but also something tied together with a goal like crossing continents, etc. Not completely open-ended which perhaps also different feel to it, but long enough that need to stop doing most things in current life - and then restart on return. My next long trip will have some of those same characteristics (a) extended travel 6, 12, 18+ months... (b) some general goal, e.g. crossing continents, visiting all capitals, etc (c) wrapping up entirely life in TX before starting and picking up somewhere anew after that. Specific location/goals not yet finalized.
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Old 08-23-19, 07:16 AM
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An example of some fellow extended travelers I met on the road. El Bicho Latino. A couple left in 2005 (it was 2017 when I met them and when the photo was taken in Oaxaca) and were making a very leisurely set of travels slowly up Latin America. They started as a couple and their children were born while on the road.

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Old 08-23-19, 09:42 AM
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When I was 25, I quit my job and went on an open-ended tour that ultimately lasted 14 months and took me to 3 continents. 6 of those months in the middle were mostly not touring. I didn't own a home, didn't have a partner, and most importantly, didn't have kids. I had an idea of what I would do when it was over, and that worked out.

When someone decides to have kids, they're making a commitment to feed them, provide shelter for them, educate them, and protect their health & well-being until they become adults. I'm wondering if the OP has thought through how they will provide all of this for their children both during and perhaps more importantly, after any travels?
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Old 08-23-19, 02:12 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
maintaining state residency should not be a problem.
Are you talking about legally or through loopholes?

I know there is ways of doing it, but I am wondering how I can do it legally, so I don't lose my residency in Colorado, AND wouldn't have to lie on many applications that say, "have you live in the state for the past 12 months?"

I am aware of loopholes and how to do things, but I am wondering how people do this totally legally. Because from everything I can see, "legally," the virtual mail boxes do not qualify "technically" as a legal resident. I am on Social Security, and this is one of the things I am concerned with the most. I don't know how to maintain legal residency, without having to lie at some point in the process to do it. I know a lot of folks are fine with doing that, and if ultimately I am left with no other choice, I might have to do it...but I don't know how if I go on a tour for more time than 12 months, how I can ethically and legally still answer questions like, "have you been a resident for the past 12 consecutive months?" They even word it on many things now so you would have to technically lie. If you have a residence where you are paying taxes, mortgage, etc... that's one thing. But I wouldn't have that, and I am actually very concerned on what will happen when I cross that road. I don't want to pigeon hole myself into a situation where I will eventually have to lie. At the same token, "not" having a permanent residence somewhere can make things difficult at best at times.

That's why I am asking. I am not sure how to address certain things if I want to be a permanent bum so to speak like suggested in other threads, by bike touring without a central home base for a while. I am never going to own my own home or be in a financial situation to gain those benefits in life, or at least, not any time soon. But residency can cause problems on other issues when you are dealing with things like insurance, Social Security, and the like. My health care plan and premiums are tied to what region I live in and have to be applied to a local address. So I am confident that a virtual mailbox will address this problem, but I also don't want to get myself into a spot where I have to actually lie to the insurance company if they ask me where do I permanently live, and I have been out biking around the world for 3 years. There is a fine line there between what folks might say is real versus what is real. Technically, you are lying when you haven't been in a state for the past 12 consecutive months at a time in the state of Colorado. If you own a home, that gray line can be pushed a whole lot more and never even come into question because you are paying state and city taxes. What if you are not though? How do you do it and still maintain legal residence without ever having to lie?

I lived in Colorado for half my life at the age of 50 now. It's my home. It will always be my home. I want to always come back here and consider this home. But I would like to leave and see a lot of the world while not losing my status of this being my home. If something was to go terribly wrong, this is where I would want to come back to for health, recovery, or ride out whatever time I have left if I can't bike anymore.

How would I even vote if I don't have a legal residence?

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Old 08-23-19, 02:38 PM
  #25  
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you'd best check colorado law. most likely, you remain a resident of colorado even if not physically present until you have residence (or intent) established elsewhere.

you can have absentee ballots mailed anywhere, but you need to check with the state registrar on requirements. texas now emails ballots and envelope pdf files - print 'em out and mail 'em in.

you can file tax returns from outside the state even if no tax due to show intent to return.

for health insurance, you need a policy with worldwide coverage including repatriation.

you need to get all your banking/financial accounts set up before you set off, usually no way to open us-based accounts from outside the us. need a us address......banks won't send credit cards outside the us. (one exception is navy federal, they accept foreign addresses and will post cards ex-usa)
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