While we have been quiet online a lot has been going on since we got back home about 25 days ago. This isn’t going to be a recap email though. Instead, we will give you insight into how and where we live when we come back home. But first…
Health update for Brock
As we talked about in the last post Brock had emergency surgery for an acute appendicitis (plus another procedure) on December 21, 2021, at 2 am. The good news is that he is making a lot of progress. He is getting better each day. He still has some pain from the procedure sites and is not back to “normal”…or at least as normal as he gets 🙂 Friday, January 7, 2022, was the follow-up appointment. The surgeon said everything looks good and is improving at the expected rate. With that covered we can get back to the main topic. As our family, friends, and readers know we are houseless (we sold it in 2021). So where we live when we come back home is a complicated topic given our now generally nomadic lifestyle.
The main answer is that we don’t live in one place. Instead, we have stayed at 4 different houses since being back. We have stayed at 3 houses for multiple nights. At all houses, Brock has used his 8-inch foam twin bed. He is not a fan of inflatable beds. Using his twin bed has helped to make each location comfortable for all four of us to sleep at. We also take the tote of bedding items for the twin bed. To answer the question you may be thinking…yes, every time we go to a new location we load and unload the bed and bedding tote!
The other part of being houseless is where you store your stuff. We were able to sell the majority of our large items. Hence we do not have a storage unit. But even with all the selling we still have too many possessions. At this time we have our stuff at four different locations (1) Waunakee, WI; (2) Boscobel, WI; (3) Sherrill, IA; and (4) Dubuque, IA.
Our primary location
Our primary location is near Madison, WI in Waunakee, WI. We live with Brock’s cousin Matt, his wife Rachelle, and their son Marek. There are also 3 other cool adult guests staying at this house. The room setup is that we are located downstairs. We have a large room that does not have a window (which has been nice for sleeping in some mornings)! There is also a bathroom/shower right next to this room, which is also used by the other house guests. Our queen bed is permanently at this location. We have the ability to use the kitchen and living room which are on the main floor. There are no bedrooms on the main floor, so everyone other than us sleeps upstairs. This works well in case our kids are being loud when we put them to bed. We have about 33% of our possessions at this location.
We have loved being here and find ourselves spending so much time chilling and talking to Matt, Rachelle, and everyone else! The house has the energy of a hostel, which has been great (especially for Brock and Becky). Our kids have had a lot of fun playing with Marek. They have also loved having interactions with Rachelle (for example reading books together) and Matt (he is an expert fort builder). Lastly, being near a city the size of Madison is great for being able to shop for the items you want/need.
Family location closer to roots
The place we have been the second most is at Brock’s parents in Boscobel, WI. In this location, there is no set sleeping room. Here we use a blow-up queen bed by the couch in the living room. Brock’s bed also goes in the living room (or some nights downstairs). Most nights we have been there Kyra has slept with NaNa (Brock’s mom Sheri). We also use all the shared rooms like the kitchen, bathrooms, and so on. We bring what we need with us each time.
At this location, we have many items stored, most of which are outside. We have about 33% of our items here. Most of our items here are stored outside in a truck shed. However, some items like our kid’s toys are stored in the basement.
Being here has allowed us to see family, celebrate Christmas, and help with business items. This is where we stayed after Brock’s surgery until he was ready to travel. Kyra has also stayed overnight for several nights with Sheri on her own. The kids love being here, it is the place they ask to go to the most. They are always excited to see Brock’s family and the outside cats who live here.
This is also where we have the bulk of our mail delivered. We use this as our mailing address. A point of emphasis when we decided to retire early and become nomadic was becoming as digital as possible. Sadly some items still require sending snail mail. Thad, Brock’s brother helps us by handling the mail that comes in. As a first step, he throws out the junk. For the important items, he scans them in when we are on the road so we can see them. We are grateful for his help and support!
Family location closer to where we used to live
We have also spent several nights at Becky’s grandma Janann’s house in Sherrill, IA. We have done this to make family events and doctor appointments in and around Dubuque, IA. It was also where we spent our first night back. In this location, we have two small bedrooms we use. Again we share all common areas. This location is not ideal for Brock’s allergies so we can typically only stay one night at the most. An upside of being here has allowed Janann to have time during the day with the kids. Janann is the Grandma who is always cooking and has numerous yummy sweets ready to go. Also, Janann is such a fun person, which makes for a lot of laughs.
At this house, we have about 25% of our possessions in the basement. These are mostly items from our kitchen and kids’ clothes. We also do have some hanging items in the closets. We also have a few items we are still trying to sell here.
This is our residency address since it is the only one in Iowa. For now, we do not want to change residency (mostly for medical provider reasons). We appreciate Janann being willing to have mail we can’t send to Boscobel at her house. Becky’s mom Sharon has sent us images of the mail as needed which has been great and we appreciate her support.
Other locations; plus weather
But wait there is more! We stayed with a friend (Nicole) one night in Dubuque, IA. This allowed us to spend time with a great friend and for the kids to have a sleepover with friends. Lastly, we spent a night overnight in the hospital when Brock had his surgery. Although Kyra and Verity were with Brock’s mom in Boscobel overnight.
Lastly, we stored the last several items with a friend (Rick) in Dubuque, IA in an upstairs room. These are items that we would like to sell. Many of these items were left from Becky’s last business closing. The timing of this being so close to when we left made it hard to get the items sold. My hockey equipment is also here for the time being.
We know that being in Wisconsin/Iowa in the winter means you have to be willing to be flexible to stay safe. Based on weather conditions, we have had to change plans but so far it has only directly impacted one day’s appointments and plans. We could also see a point where we need to stay in a hotel due to either weather or wanting to be somewhere outside of the normal area.
Why not one place?
After reading to this point it would be reasonable to ask “This all sounds like a lot of work, wouldn’t it be easier to have one place?” The easiest answer is yes, but we are not sure it would be better. Plus, there are practical realities that make that hard unless we want to spend a lot for a place we will only use a few weeks a year. Part of why we were able to retire early is that we got rid of all the payments that go with maintaining housing.
Despite our best efforts we simply have too much stuff. At this point, it is not feasible to expect any one person/place to allow us to store it all. Our plan is to continue to downsize and we have even worked on this since being home. We think that being on the road will help to make more clear what we can get rid of after a few trips. In part, though we kept more in case we decided we wanted to reverse course. Additionally, our kids like seeing different people and being in different places. This flexibility has made it easier to see friends and family which we have done frequently since being home. We also suspect that all the people we stay with probably need breaks despite loving us and our kids. Additionally, if any place wasn’t available for some reason we have other options.
In regards to, where we live when we come back home we know all or part of our options could change at any point. Nothing is permanent in life. For us, this working situation is what we needed as we changed from a family in a house to a nomadic travel family. We want to thank all the people who have hosted us, helped us to store our items, and helped with our mail! We are lucky that people have stepped up to help us.
Having this has allowed us to pursue our FIRE Travel Family lifestyle. It has also allowed us to come back home and spend time with the people we care about. In the end, retiring early (and life really) is about spending time with those you love and doing what you love. As we shared in the “what retirement means to us” post, we love having this life and time flexibility.
Where are we going next?
As of Wednesday, January 12, 2022, we have not made any official plans or booked any flights. For now, we are just spending time with friends and family and getting things done, like preparing for taxes for our and other family businesses. When we have official plans we will let everyone know.
Brock & Becky Waterman