After I wrote in yesterday’s blog that Terry and I started fulltiming in our mid-40s, a couple of people who are in that age range now wrote to ask me how we could afford to do that. They wanted to know if we sold a business or got rich in the stock market or something like that to come into enough money to drop out of the rat race at such an early age.
No, nothing at all like that. We never retired and never will. We were working RVers for all of our years on the road. We started out with a little bit of a nest egg, which wasn’t much, and the dream to build the Gypsy Journal into something that would support us. Eighteen months later that little nest egg quickly evaporated after Terry was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and our insurance company refused to cover it. We lost what we did have and rebuilt our lives from there.
With my newspaper background I could have gotten a job anywhere, but after having a taste of the fulltiming life before Terry got sick, we wanted it bad enough that that we refused to give up. And that’s the secret to whatever it is you want in life. You have to want it bad enough. You have to be willing to roll the dice and take chances and work hard, and if you crash and burn you have to get up and dust yourself off and do it all over again.
We worked RV rallies from coast to coast selling subscriptions to the paper and the guidebooks we publish. It wasn’t uncommon for us to work a rally in Arizona and close our both down on Sunday afternoon, and be set up and working another rally in Missouri three days later. Sometimes it was a choice between do we have enough money to buy another tank of fuel, or do we pay for postage to get this issue sent out and hope like hell enough renewals come in to keep us going for a while longer. Eventually all of that hard work paid off, and today life is pretty darned good.
I’m not writing this to pat ourselves on the back, but I hear from a lot of people who would love to hit the road while they still are young enough to enjoy it. I always tell them that you can make it happen, if you want it bad enough.
You have to come up with a reasonable plan to make enough money to do it, you have to cut expenses to the bone, and you have to get over the idea that you need the newest and the best and the biggest. After Terry’s cancer wiped us out, for many years we fulltimed in a 1976 MCI bus that we converted into a motorhome ourselves while living and traveling in it fulltime. We used to call it the buckboard, because every time we got an extra buck, we bought another board to work on the conversion project.
After my first Big Lake book made the New York Times bestseller list, a lot of people thought we would sell the Winnebago we have now and buy some fancy new diesel pusher. Why? Our motorhome may be a 2002, but it’s well cared for, we love the floor plan, and we can’t see any reason to spend a lot of money for something else. I’d rather put those dollars into the fuel tank so we can go more places and build more precious memories.
Whatever your dream is, just remember that the only person that can make it come true is you. You’re not going to win the lottery, and that rich uncle you never knew you had is spending his fortune on some bimbo young enough to be his granddaughter and you’re not getting a penny of it. Luck is spelled WORK, and the harder you work, the luckier you will become.
And just remember that tomorrow is only a promise. If you want something bad enough, start planning to make it happen today.
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Thought For The Day – One of your most powerful resources is your own creativity. Be willing to try on something new and play the game full out – Marcia Wieder