There’s a planetary shift happening. Call me coo-coo if you want, but if I’ve learned anything it’s follow your gut. Somewhere between Covid-19 and the march for George Floyd I’ve decided this isn’t for me. No more paying someone else’s mortgage, no more depending on others for my power and water. I no longer want to live under a banking system, if you own it - nobody can take it away.
I want to be free, I want to drive and experience real life. This is not checking out, in fact, I’ll be checking in.
Quarantine shut down so many businesses and I’ve witnessed my friends gasping for air as they drown in debt and dilemma. Personally, photography has been taking a hit for a while. As tech and phones advance, the more I understand how the cartoonists must have felt watching Pixar take over the scene.
Creating a passive income is the most important thing you can do. These are things that make you money while you sleep, for example downloadable goods online. That’s what prompted me to start my Patreon account. The membership gifts you with boudoir images from my career twice a month for the same price as buying me a drink at the bar! I upload images on a schedule and walk away with half of my rent paid (and still growing)! There’s also a booklet I’ve created on branding that you can download on my website.
There’s also consulting work, the options are endless if you can step out of your box.
It’s time to really start thinking about your talents and gifts and how you can monetize them! It’s time to live the life I want to live, not the life I was told to live.
Secretly, I’ve been designing jewelry and setting up an online boutique called Dark Waters (go ahead and look - but I’m not up and running). Everything is moving online and I want to create a life where I can travel and buy unique jewelry items for the shop. Combining my marketing background with photography and my creative style could finally build me the lifestyle I’ve been longing for.
This girl needs to feed her soul.
Combing Through Your Finances
Look at 3 months of statements, searching for automatic monthly payments you may have forgotten about OR never realized you signed up for in the first place. Did you know companies actually count on you accidentally signing up for things? It’s even built into their profit sheets!
“I’ve signed up for so many things over the years and never look at my statements unless it looks off the mark. Some of the charges were for $2! After scouring through my statements and calling the companies I ended up saving $150 on my monthly credit card. “
Know which automatic payments are coming out of what accounts. Today, I’ll make sure they are all being paid out of one account (or one card, see below). It just makes things easier to track!
Create a budget. Everything from my streaming services to grocery spending. Use those bank statements and do searches under the names of gas stations and your favorite grocery stores to see how much you're currently spending. You can do the same with your favorite restaurants and entertainment spots.
Look at what you’re bringing in. Again, the easiest and most shocking way to do this is to go to those statements. You can easily sort the page by deposits and withdrawals. This is also good to do because when you see what you brought in versus what went out... well...
Life check, are you good? Do you have health insurance, a savings plan and car insurance? Now is the time to build this into your plan.
Sign up for an online budget tracker. There’s so many out there Mint, Truebill and Simplifi are a few that I’ve heard of. These systems will send you alerts about when bills are due, how your credit score is performing while keeping you on track with your budget. Plus, I’m visual so having pie charts and graphs to look at really helps.
Look at your accounts EVERY DAY! I’m not joking. Wake up and look at your money every single day. It will change how you move through the day, through the week even.
Credit cards have never been my thing, in fact, I only have one. SO, the plan is to move all of my automatic payments to one card. My entire monthly budget will run through this one card. Calling the credit card company and adjusting my monthly limit to what my monthly budget will allow is the plan. The card will be paid off through my bank monthly. This will also help raise your credit score people!
All of this should be based on a goal. What are you saving for? A house, a lifestyle? It sounds cliche but I’m thinking about how I want to grow old. I don’t have kids and I’m currently single, how will that look when I’m 65? What kind of property will I be able to manage? Not that I’ll be living in a van when I’m that old, but boy will I have savings if I can eliminate rent for a few years.
The Slim Down
When I first started thinking about living a life of travel a few years back, I knew I had to get rid of pretty much everything I owned. Shoes, pumps specifically? There were over one hundred pairs stacked high in my closet. Today, I have seven and could still get rid of two. Between garage sales, online markets and donating everything else is gone. The main questions I get are about the following:
Stop shopping or shop smarter. Clothes that have specific stitchings or stains/washes automatically date them. Keep it classic.
Turn around your hangers. Go into your closet turn all of your hangers around the other way. When you put your clothes away after wearing them, hang the hangers your usual way. Set a date/timer on your phone three months from then. After three months have passed revisit your closet. Anything that hasn’t been turned around... Peace out! (Seasonal items get sorted too! Think about what you wear the most and what you get the most wear out of)
What will your storage allow you? My entire wardrobe fits into four suitcases. (This doesn’t include my winter coats, which I keep at my mama’s house)
Sell it or store it! Most of my furniture is collapsable but it took years to get here. I kept two large pieces which I also store at my mama’s house, along with some artwork.
Use it or lose it. It took me two years to finish all of the lotions that had been purchased over the years. TWO YEARS PEOPLE! That’s how long I’ve been on this venture and THAT’S how much we overbuy! You have to get down to pretty much what you would take on a plane. Ladies, I took all the single eyeshadows and a few palettes down to my favorite makeup spot. One of the store clerks helped me make one palette of eye shadows and one palette of blush. After showing her the colors I brought in and pointing out my faves, she matched them in their brand consolidating everything down.
So Now What?
I think now all I need to do is look at my options. Airstreams were on the list for a while but then I’d have to pay to park it somewhere if I ever wanted to just use my car. The car I have now I love and really couldn’t imagine not having BUT I wouldn’t and don‘t want to live in it. If I make this life change I have to be comfortable and feel safe. And I’m not going to lie, I still want a little swag. My attention has now been pulled over to some of these cool sprinter van build-outs.
It’s not an RV and it’s not one of those buses, it’s something a bit in between. They can be customized to what you need including solar power panels up top and a pressurized sink for cooking and washing up. The only downside for me is the tires are small and I really do enjoy driving in some questionable areas that need those tougher wheels.
The price point is right and I love how you can really create your own vibe and feel in these vehicles. So, I guess the next step is to (A) List my current vehicle for sale and (B) Buy my van! Then I have to figure out if I’m going to buy something fully or partially done, or if I want to do the work myself.
There are plenty of videos online that I can reference and I have the tools and know-how so why not?
Everyone is going to see and then ask, “What about a shower?”. I’ll just do what I usually do when the world opens back up! Hit the gym! Look - There is no shame in my game! Having a gym that’s nationwide with 24-hour access will be important but luckily that is available.
Will I be able to use a crockpot?
Can you still order from Door Dash?
Dating... Need I say more?
As you can see the largest concern is food. At home, my diet is mostly vegetarian as I do eat fish occasionally. I also don’t eat canned goods, I make my own beans and soups and my veggies are fresh. I do lots of cooking ahead so I’m accustomed to freezing and jarring. This move will mean a significant change in my meal prepping but I got this!
So That’s The Plan
For so long I’ve joked about being a gypsy-pirate-mermaid (yes, a three in one) and I think I’m going to do it. Live rent-free, drive the country, take amazing pictures, work remotely, design on the road and buy for my boutique. Somewhere in there I’ll eat fresh off of farms, make new friends and STACK LIKE A SQUIRREL!
Am I crazy, maybe. But I’m excited, smiling and feeling blessed.