Should we leave the good job and do a year "on the road"? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 31 Old 08-04-2011, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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DH recently told me he wants us to sell most of what we own (store the important stuff with family) and somehow get an RV or 5th wheel and go on an "extended road trip". DH wants to take a year or two to rent a place near my family and finish his masters degree, do family stuff, be with our kids while they're young. He's thinking a year renting near family, and one year on the road. The issue is that there might not be a job available at the end of these two years. He thinks something will surface, or we will figure out a way to have our own business. Basically his job now is great for pay purposes, but everything else is missing in our lives---fun, family, connection with others. But I know people who have all of those things EXCEPT the pay and they think we're absolutely crazy.

An attempt at a quick background/summary of things to consider--
  • We've been having trouble in our marriage that we can't seem to resolve, mostly due to being so busy, so tired, losing the spark, lack of connection, emotional support, his job keeps him away from our family, etc. So he's hoping this gets us some good time together.
  • We have a 2yo and an 8 week old.
  • DH has a pretty good job-- very good pay that enables me to SAH, full benefits, 401K, etc, HOWEVER he works long hours and travels once or twice a quarter, and locations for this job are not near family or friends.
  • We have money from DH's grandfather who passed away...this is what we'd use to live on while on the road. We'd still have a cushion of some funds after the two years are complete, just no guaranteed job.
  • DH's uncle owns an RV dealership, so we might be able to get a deal.
  • DH is 40 and I'm almost 33, so we're not totally young.

The biggest sticking point is that we have two kids and we're worried that giving up the good pay will ruin their future if we can't find something good at the end of the two years.

WWYD? Should we do it? Is there anything to consider that I'm missing?

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#2 of 31 Old 08-04-2011, 11:19 AM
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This is totally my dream so I would do it in a heartbeat! But, that's really easy for me to say because I'll likely never have this opportunity, so I don't really have to think beyond the dream itself and get into the reality... the what happens after part.


Do you lean more towards excited about this or iffy about what comes after? I guess that's how I'd make my decision. If I felt like things would probably work out when it's time to settle down again, I'd go for it. If it felt like too big a risk, well, I'd probably pass on it.


Good luck!!!

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#3 of 31 Old 08-04-2011, 12:46 PM
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Well, I wouldn't do it. Given the state of the economy, there won't be better jobs in two years, and in fact, having a 2 yr leave of absence from work could hurt his chances of being re-employed. Also, who's to say that the "spark" will come back suddenly on the road? Maybe you'll all annoy each other living in such close quarters :P (partially kidding, but I'm just saying that other problems may arise that come from the new living situation).


I'd personally work on strengthening your relationship from where you are. Have date nights, go away for the weekend, when he's on trips, send romantic notes. See if there are other commitments in your life that can be reduced. To me, in this economy, gainful employment is not something to take or leave.

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#4 of 31 Old 08-04-2011, 02:02 PM
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I wouldn't do it. Even if you have the most awesome time on the road,  you'll be worrying about all the "what ifs" at the end and it will tarnish your adventure...kwim? Stress of not having a job is one of the biggest marriage killers. 



I'd use the $$ for trips, vacations, marriage therapy. If you have issues now, they aren't going to magically disappear while you're on an adventure. They'll still be there unless you deal with them. The idea of escaping for a few years sounds very magical and romantic. But the sensible side of me thinks that escaping isn't the answer. 


Good luck in whatever you decide. 


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#5 of 31 Old 08-04-2011, 02:07 PM
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In this economy I would not give up a good paying job to go on the road, unless you are independently wealthy or something. Extended traveling with 2 children under two is not my idea of fun. I can't say what you should do, but I wouldn't want to. 

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#6 of 31 Old 08-04-2011, 02:38 PM
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I don't think any amount of money is worth being miserable.  If the only good thing about your Dh's job is the money, I'd consider paying off any debt with the money from grandpa and seriously downsizing my life to a point where I didn't need so much money.  Going on the road sounds awesome, but not having any income at all is a little scary if you still have financial obligations.  Will you be carrying debt through this time off?  If you don't have any debt and are able to liquidate most of your stuff, it's not so scary to not have a high paying job at the end of it... you know, if all you need is a place to stay and food to eat kind of thing.  I personally downsized my life quite a bit when i had kids.  We forgo many luxuries we enjoyed in the pass and rarely miss it at all.  Time is the greatest luxury, and time spent working a miserable job away from your growing babies can't be gotten back.

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#7 of 31 Old 08-04-2011, 02:39 PM
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It sounds crazy, but fun.  It wouldn't fit my personality, but if it fits yours, do it.  (But keep in mind that gas prices may continue to climb).


And, just FYI, with young kids, it's easy for the marriage to have fallen by the wayside.  It will come back as they get older.  Hang in there. 



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#8 of 31 Old 08-04-2011, 02:39 PM
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I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I think you should GO FOR IT! It sounds like a once in a lifetime opportunity for your entire family. Your children will only be so young once, and it would be wonderful for your husband to share this time with them (and you). Your kids would also benefit so much from being near family, and I'll bet your family would love it, too. 


I assume that your husband might be more employable once he has his master's degree (of course this depends on his field), and the "leave of absence" from the work world will not look as bad on his resume since he will be spending that time completing a degree. I know that the economy is bad (oh boy do I!), and it will still be bad in a few years. But I just don't think that's a reason to make yourself miserable by working yourself to death in a job your hate. As long as you are on top of your finances and have a reasonable safety net in place, then go for it.


The one "red flag" for me is the issue that you mention with your marriage. In my own experience, extended travel with my husband was very stressful in many ways, which didn't help us to fix any issues we were having with our relationship. If I were you I'd look for some way to do marital counseling before or even during travel (I have no idea how that would work, but...). This would help you both to process your emotions and your needs/expectations for your relationship. And you'd have lots of time to process if you're together "on the road"!

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#9 of 31 Old 08-04-2011, 05:18 PM
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Would it be possible for him to take leave without pay instead of resigning? Maybe on the understanding that he will return in 2years with a masters?

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#10 of 31 Old 08-04-2011, 05:25 PM
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No, I wouldn't do it.  Two years ago my husband was diagnosed with Bipolar II.  We never knew it till the summer of 2009.  Our life has been turned upside down since the diagnosis.  We have no savings at all anymore.


So with our experience, no way would I risk  it.  With the stock market tanking today and nothing rosy in the near future.  No.

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#11 of 31 Old 08-04-2011, 05:30 PM
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Another thing to consider - would your two-year-old be wanting to start activities, like gymnastics, piano, playgroup etc, within the next year or two? That wouldn't work too well on the road. You could maybe meet up with other MDC mothers from all over for playdates, though. :)

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#12 of 31 Old 08-05-2011, 08:37 AM
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no way, for lots of reasons.


We lived in an RV for a few months at one point, and there were some fun things about it and some not fun things about it. there's very little storage for food and very little counter space. cooking for a family was a PITA. The bathroom was tiny tiny, and you'd be potty training in it. You get the fun of carrying your laundry, sometimes in rain. Most RVs are not set up for families, and storage for clothes for 4 people for a variety of whether is difficult. There's very little room for toys.


Rather than fixing your marriage problems, you would add a lot of stress to them.


You'd either pay a lot every month for insurance or just not have any, and many insurances don't have great coverage when you are out of state. You wouldn't have a regular doctor to take your child to if they had an ear infection.


Your DH sounds VERY unhappy and trapped to me, but I don't think this is the answer.


When was the last time you guys had a vacation?


How long as he felt this way? Having a two year old and new baby is tough. I'm wondering how much is the current situation. Could he just take a couple of weeks off work and recharge?

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#13 of 31 Old 08-05-2011, 10:22 AM
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Can he take a vacation? Rent an RV & give it a "trial run" for a couple weeks.
Personally, I would love such an adventure! We only live once! But, I would want savings in place and an "end plan". Enough saved for 6-12 months for job searching, or, some similar plan.
I don't know what field your dh is in, but, any possibility of part time/freelance type work while you're on the road?
Also, my kids are 8 & 4. Taking a trip with an infant & 2 yo sounds a lot tougher than taking the same trip with slightly older children. JMO.
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#14 of 31 Old 08-05-2011, 10:25 AM
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i personally would go for it if i had half an opportunity. 

make a pro and con list to help you decide, maybe? 

Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?

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#15 of 31 Old 08-05-2011, 11:51 AM
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No and H*** no.  I do not see the economy to be bombing that much in two years.  Also, we have had more than one friend have issues with finding a job after a period of unemployment.


One was a layed off teacher.  He was going through a bitter divorce so he decided to spent the time "recovering emotionally" and finish up his masters.  That year break has hurt him.  Even with his masters he is going to be earn $10000 less than before.  He is hoping he can use the job he took to step off into a better situation - BUT he needs a job to get a job.


I agree with thinking your dh feels trapped.  What is his education?  What is he wanting to work on for his masters? What field is his carreer.  

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#16 of 31 Old 08-05-2011, 12:06 PM
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I think I would do the renting near family while dh gets his masters, and then see where you are at.  It might be fun to be on the road travelling when the kids are old enough to remember it and learn from it.


When our second child was born my dh took parental leave, which is 35 weeks off work and it was actually very hard on us.  Finances were tight, but the real trouble was that  he didn't know what to do with himself since he is so used to being at work and being super busy.  He felt like he was on vacation and I ended up resenting it because I still had as much responsibility as ever.

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#17 of 31 Old 08-05-2011, 12:12 PM
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How much traveling are you really going to have time to do if he is working on his masters?

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#18 of 31 Old 08-05-2011, 01:08 PM
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With your circumstances, I wouldn't do it anytime soon.  Not to the extent that you propose here, anyway.  And living in an RV is a dream of ours!

I wonder about renting an RV from dh's uncle and taking a sabbatical from work for a month or two to see how you two like it?

What I know from experience is that it is impossible to leave your troubles behind, and that those troubles become hard to house and ignore in a very small space. 

At the least, I would do marriage counselling first, and get through baby's first year and then see where you're at personally, financially and emotionally. 


When we take the plunge and do the year-long road trip it will be when the children are older (say, 6 & 9 ish) and can understand and better enjoy long drives.  It will be a bonus to homeschooling, at that point.  Also, we plan to take a leave from our jobs (chef and paramedic) which are pretty stable, and sublet our co-op housing, so that we have safe, affordable housing when we get back. 


Good luck with your decision!


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#19 of 31 Old 08-05-2011, 01:36 PM
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An area of concern for me is how your DH wants the extra time with the kids because they are young. Which is great! Except that are really really young. I would think it would hard to raise a toddler and a baby for a year in an RV and both kids would not remember the experience. I would wait 2 or perhaps 4 years so the kids are age 4 and 6.


At this age it isn’t the opportunity of the lifetime for the whole family, just the adults. And it seems like DH is the one who really wants it. And his idea is pretty extreme from moving from a full time job to unemployed life in an RV, selling all your belongings in the process... seems a little escapist to me.


Another area of concern is would you be without medical insurance during this time? Not something I’d consider with kids.


One option is use some extra money and any discounts to buy an RV or great camper. Encourage DH to look for a new job (maybe closer to family) with good benefits, perhaps a small paycut and better hours, so he can be around more. Keep saving money, downsize into a small place. Plan on consistent short vacations and perhaps a yearly 2 week RV adventure. Then if you decide to take that year off later in the future you already have the RV and more money saved.... and kids who will apprecite the experience.


Good luck!



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#20 of 31 Old 08-05-2011, 01:53 PM
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1) I dearly wish my husband was the type to actually want to hit the road in an RV for an extended time.  To him that sounds like a nightmare. Very sad. 


2) I think your kids are too young yet.  That your dh is already 40 isn't really relevant. I don't see how it'll be any harder to be doing this at 45 than at 40. But Linda on the Move made great points, your kids are pretty young and physically dependent yet.


3) Perhaps a month or two on the road, instead of a whole year, would be more reasonable??



We're worried that giving up the good pay will ruin their future if we can't find something good at the end of the two years.


In this instance you should be more concerned about ruining your future, not theirs.  Say he doesn't find a good job at the end of two years.  How will this affect your kids?  You'll be poor and won't be able to buy them nice things and nice experiences like music lessons and sports and so on. You'll all feel bad, but their lives will be far from ruined.  You and your dh, on the other hand, have your retirement years to think of.  You need to think about the years when you'll be too old to be employable.   When he's 65 y.o. and tired of working long hours, and is facing age discrimination, he will greatly appreciate that he steadily fed a retirement fund all through his 40s and 50s.  


However I completely support his effort to change up your lives.  His job sounds souls-sucking.  Personally I'm not a big believer in marriage counselling.  But I agree with your dh, getting away from the job and spending some real quality time with the family doing something, anything different from the usual -will do a world of good for your marriage, and both your souls. 


I think the scope of his plan is too risky.  I think you guys need to take regular vacations.


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#21 of 31 Old 08-05-2011, 02:05 PM
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More about the retirement years, my dh's parents are basically experiencing this now.  They didn't make a lot of money when their kids were little and at home.  They moved often for FIL's different jobs. Then MIL got the bright idea of taking all the kids out of school so they could do a travelling family band.  They did this for about 3 years.  Parts of it were good experiences.  Really, FIL hasn't stayed in any one job for more than 5 years I'd say, and he is 64 years old now.  They do not have any money saved and are currently living with their youngest daughter and her husband.  Actually, this is their tentative 'plan', to rotate living with their adult children. 


A rather extreme example, I know. 


But while the inlaw's lack of planning during their prime earning years is negatively affecting them now, growing up poor did not ruin their kids' lives.  Dh and his siblings are all reasonably financially stable. Dh and one of his brothers is actually fairly successful. 



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#22 of 31 Old 08-07-2011, 02:50 PM
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How much have you traveled together? Have you camped in an RV with your kids?


Here are my thoughts:

-Traveling tends to add stress to a relationship, not relieve it.

-Some kids travel well, others don't. Have you traveled enough with your kids to know? I've got one kid who's a great traveler, one who needs to go home after 2 weeks. (We just got home after 2 weeks + 2 days away. The last 3 nights, dd was sobbing in our arms while we visited relatives because she was out of sorts. Really, she just needed to go home. It'll take her a week to get back to equilibrium.)

-A 1 year old and 3 year old (or 2 and 4) aren't really old enough to appreciate all of the things that you're going to see. 8 and 10 or 10 and 12 would be much better ages for on-the-road learning.


-Furthering his education is something that I think makes sense.

-Looking for a new job where he feels less stressed makes sense (especially if it's closer to family that you'd like to be near)

-Doing a trial run makes sense -- could he take a couple weeks unpaid leave + vacation and have you travel for a month next summer? That will tell you whether you can handle it for a longer period. (A week isn't long enough, and not even 2 weeks.) If that works well, then maybe a year does make sense.


What are you doing now to strengthen your relationship? Do you have babysitters you can pay to sit with your kids (in a few months' time, if you've got an 8 week old) so you and your dh can go out and reconnect? Sometimes just going to dinner or walking around a lake helps.


What are your husband's skills and job prospects? What are yours? Maybe investing in a career counseling would be a good idea for him.


It sounds like he's  unhappy and fantasizing about things being completely different. If you take concrete steps toward them, and think it'll work for you, OK. If he's willing to plan and do some of the hard work to get things going, that'll tell you whether this is a fantasy or something that will really make you both happy. I would love to spend a year traveling. But, right now, it's not going to work with our lives. I'm OK with waiting until the kids are in college and I'm retired. Some people wouldn't be.









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#23 of 31 Old 08-07-2011, 04:16 PM
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No. Take a vacation.  Poor people do not ave all the wonders of the world he is thinking they do. they are too stressed out screaming and yelling about money they don't enjoy life at all. They certainly don't have gas money to go camping or having fun.


Assume there is NO job at the end of his make believe tunnel. then what? I mean I guess you're pretty rich to buy an rv 30k? take 2 years off and spend 80k on college so maybe you're out of touch with real life.


I would never do this. But then again we are not well off and one month of running free with the deer would mean the death of us.

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#24 of 31 Old 08-07-2011, 04:19 PM
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My husband did not have a great paying job but he was loyal and it paid the bills 10 years or so. He got an ear infection and the nurse told him he had to wait to get in which made him lose his job. Took him nearly two years to find a minimum wage job. And it SUCKS. He's only been at it a few weeks and we are so stressed out. These crappy jobs are so not worth the stress (well they are but you know)

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#25 of 31 Old 08-07-2011, 10:44 PM
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having been in your dh's position i can totally relate to wanting to quit and spend time with the children. 


it IS doable.


but it depends on both your personalities. 


it is kinda living on the edge - and can both of you survive that kind of pressure.


i know parents who have travelled the world with babies and toddlers. these are parents though who knew what they were getting into and wanted to do it.


so you have to decide what you want to do. it sounds like your dh is a risk taker, but you are not so much. or this is too big a deal and calls for more thought. 


i have given up work your a$$ off high paying job. in my books all the risks that it covered were just not worth it. however in my case i was doing it alone and i hated it.  in my world it is much better to be poor with little (means we dont get to have many treats to do much) and time with my dd than be rich and without time with her. 

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#26 of 31 Old 08-07-2011, 11:56 PM
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in this economy??


spending more time with a newborn and a toddler? on the road?? shouldn't the kids have extra stability of a regular routine at this point in their lives?


how do YOU feel about this idea?

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#27 of 31 Old 08-12-2011, 10:50 AM
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I think it's a desperate attempt to reconnect.  And a willingness to give up a good job for it is quite sweet.  I would do it for the experience.  So you stay and he keeps the job... the marriage problems continue and you do not reconnect... Money over a chance for your marriages survival.  Money never trumps a relationship or atleast it shouldn't. 


Whether you do it or not, I think it sounds fun, but I would wait until the kids were older so they could experience it.  Maybe a summer long trip.  I imagine most jobs would consider allowing a few months off and would take back the employee after that time. 

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#28 of 31 Old 08-12-2011, 09:50 PM
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Sounds awful to me but I would worry incessantly about future finances. Also super-young kids in an RV for two years sounds like torture. There is a very real possibility that it would have a negative impact on your relationship with DH. Sounds like he is romanticizing the escape of two years on the road.



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#29 of 31 Old 08-16-2011, 10:29 AM
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I agree with the "no" votes. Though a lifestyle change may be in order, I don't see how living in an RV with a toddler and a newborn, and an uncertain financial future, will help your relationship. And starting your own business is a whole other kind of stress that is unlikely to increase his availability to your children when they are young.


But there are more possibilities than staying in a soul-sucking job or going on the road. If he can take some vacation time I'd go to an "all-included" resort for a break, then I'd work on a practical plan to get to where you want to be--which seems to be a less demanding job for him located near your families. Though we weren't looking at a move, when dh had a job like this he updated his resume and started looking for a new job.


"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#30 of 31 Old 08-21-2011, 11:40 AM
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I would say no and I actually did it. I lived with my then-husband, my then-four year old, a dog and a mouse in a 17' Airstream motorhome for about 18 months. 


There were some really cool things but many downsides. All of my normal stress relieving activities were gone--my volunteer work, gardening, cooking nice meals (did sometimes in MH but MUCH more challenging), friends, my bathtub, etc. 


The coolest thing was getting rid of stuff and living without it. And of course some of the places we went.


I think it greatly contributed to the demise of my marriage. Which has ended up being a good thing, but incredibly painful at the time. 


Life on the road can be very romanticized. I tried not to do that--but I did. And my ex REALLY did.


With marriage problems already, I think it is a really bad idea. With such young kids? Even worse idea. 



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