aka Why We Sold Our House & Are Now “Homeless”
2017 has the same 365 days as any other year, and yet it seems to have gone by even faster than before.
The biggest change for me this year is that Mike and I decided to sell our house and almost half of our stuff, put the rest in storage and became “free range humans” or modern day nomads. How did we come to such a seemingly crazy decision? Well, it was a long time in the making really.
When I was young, like most kids, I couldn’t wait to grow up. Becoming an “adult” was the only way I knew I could have the freedom to control my own life.
But somewhere along the way of growing up, I more or less fell into this template that society has laid out for most of us. Like a good kid, I graduated from university, found a steady job and joined the thousands of people who commute to work everyday. But I was living life as if on autopilot, and I asked myself “is there nothing else to life?” If you’ve read my “about page”, then you know the story of how I quit my day job and became a full-time photographer.
It was a life-changing decision. Within a short amount of time, I realized how much happier I felt – being able to decide what to do with my time. By no means is being self-employed easy, but doing something meaningful, something you love makes it worthwhile. The same year that I became a full-time photographer, we went to Iceland for the first time. And it was after this trip that I found myself wondering about being a “travelling photographer”.
Two years after that we spent 3 months away (2 months for Mike) travelling through Australia, New Zealand, Bali and China. I found that I didn’t miss “home” at all. The definition of home for me wasn’t just limited to a square box with a roof over my head anymore. Nor did I miss the convenience of home. The world was just too fascinating, I just wasn’t too concerned about where I showered, where I ate or slept – as long as it was clean and sufficiently comfortable. I liked being on the road and on the move. After this, Mike and I separately arrived at the conclusion that we wanted to do this more. We wanted to see more of the world while we are still healthy and physically able to, while we don’t have the responsibility of raising kids. We didn’t want to just vacation once or twice a year; we wanted to travel long term, for as long as possible.
That was the dream. But was it possible? Maybe the Universe heard us, or maybe we were just looking for it, but we read articles and blog posts like this one, this one, and this one. And we realized that it IS possible. Other people have already done it, and some even do it with kids!
At the time Mike had a full time job where he only had 4 weeks of vacation a year (I know, I know, 4 weeks is a lot but not quite enough for what we wanted to do). We also had this 3-bedroom townhouse in the suburbs, a car, and a townhouse in the city that we were waiting to move into. We owned all this stuff, but often times we felt like they owned us instead. You might not agree with me, and that’s ok because not everyone feels this way. But we definitely did. We had this huge place (huge by our standards) with 3-bedrooms and barely used two of the rooms. The guest bedroom was more like a laundry room and the “office” was never used because I preferred to work downstairs anyway. When it came down to it, there was just a lot of extra space that we didn’t need (not to mention the basement). But then when you have a lot of space, you feel the need to fill it with stuff. And then not only do you have to clean and maintain the house, you also have to maintain all your stuff.
The more you own, the more you are owned. We reached a point where we just didn’t want all this stuff to clutter our life anymore (I also have the Marie Konmari book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to thank as well). We realized we value experiences and memories more than material possessions. Selling them, at least some of them, was not only the right thing to do financially but also the right thing to do for the lifestyle that we realized we wanted. You can always make more money and buy more things, but you might not get more time.
I don’t have a lot of ambition, and the only one I have is to be able to live freely.
So what does this mean for 2018? Especially if you are one of my 2018 couples reading this – my commitment to my work is still the same. Of course I will be back in Toronto for the weddings I have already booked! But the rest of the times, I may or may not be in town.
All in all, 2017 was a very busy year, but also a very meaningful year. I can’t wait for what 2018 will bring! Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season, and a great year ahead filled with only the things that you love, of all the people that you love, and most of all, purpose and meaning.
It’s never too late to be whatever you want to be. And, “everything is possible, the impossible just takes longer”. (Never thought I would quote Dan Brown, but he knows what he’s talking about).
Here are some of my favourite moments from this past year.